Chinese Proposal to Remove Presidential Term Limits Paves Way for Despotism
His name is Xi Jinping. Officially, he is the General Secretary of the Communist Party in China, the President of China about to start his second term. Unofficially, he has earned a new nickname around the world: the New Chinese Emperor.
Last week, the People’s Republic of China made a move that will only lead them to sink ever further into the dark shadow of despotism. By almost officially removing presidential term limits from the nation’s constitution, China is paving the way for Xi to assert his will over the powerful state until he dies. Essentially, Xi Jinping has taken a play out of Julius Caesar’s book; he is about to become Dictator for Life.
Following the new constitutional change, Beijing’s National People’s Conference, a legislature that seems constructed simply to serve the General Secretary, announced additions to the state’s censored or banned list. Among these new illegalities are George Orwell’s “1984” and his other famous anti-dictatorship work “Animal Farm.” China has also banned phrases such as “proclaiming oneself emperor,” “constitutional rules,” and “election term.” But perhaps the most terrifying new addition to the censored list is the phrase “I don’t agree,” which has been officially barred from public use.
China has been a global powerhouse since the end of the Cold War, and the strength of such a brutally authoritarian state has caused worries in the West. Xi is set to amass power not seen in his country since the days of Chairman Mao. In an already volatile East Asia, the condition of that imprisoned populace is indeed a troublesome prospect worth our time and attention. Still worse is what it could mean for the whole of the region.
As U.S.-Russian relations erode rapidly, Russian President Vladimir Putin has continued to live up to his own nickname, the New Tsar, as his expansionist designs keep an already bleeding European Union on its toes. China is a close ally to Russia, both in proximity and in a common strongman ideology. Both have their sights set on expansion. A new Chinese Emperor in league with a new Russian Tsar can mean a lot of things for the democratic West, and none of them are good.
Essentially, the United States and its Western allies are in danger of being locked out of Continental East Asia en masse, leaving South Korea and Japan — a major regional player though not actually on the continent — as their main ideological footholds. If President Trump continues to agitate our enemies and allies alike, America’s influence could potentially wither to the point where China and Russia feel free to pursue their doctrine of conquest.
As of now, America is a nation without leadership, leaving a Western power vacuum unfilled. Ultra-nationalism has distracted leaders such as France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel while isolating others like Britain’s Theresa May. Events in Spain have neutralized their alleged democracy as well while other Mediterranean nations face economic and political turmoil.
While the West remains paralyzed, buffer states like the Baltics and the already crippled Ukraine are in grave danger from the Russian Federation, which may be able to exert its will without check before too long. At this pace, we’ll have to start checking to see if Poland is still there in the coming months. At the same time, all nations east of democratic India are soon to feel the heat from a powerful China with a newly emboldened leader, one who will assert his authority through force if given the chance.
There is no sugar coating it at this point. What we are seeing is simply scary. The world needs action and, right now, it has nowhere to look for it.