It was a bland, bureaucratic statement—but its implications could be profound. In late February, China’s Communist Party announced a proposal to abolish term limits for its highest office. The party hasn’t made a final decision, but the news seemed to confirm what many have long suspected:
Xi Jinping, the country’s leader, wants to be president for life.
The announcement wasn’t surprising, but many didn’t expect it to come so soon.
Aside from being president, Xi is also the general secretary of the Communist Party and commander in chief of the country’s armed forces. The term limits on his presidency effectively constrain his ability to hold the other two jobs. Since Xi took office in March 2013, he’s been consumed with his fight against corruption. This battle is basically a proxy for him and his allies to consolidate control over the highest levels of the party, as well as big state-owned companies. In Chinese politics, personal rivalries and differing agendas are rarely visible to the outside world. So many had assumed Xi’s fight was still ongoing, given how deeply entrenched corruption is in China.
If the party does decide to end term limits for president, it could have major implications for the nation—and the world. Domestically, it would rupture what has been a stable system of succession. Deng Xiaoping, the father of China’s economic reforms, created that system in 1982. Prior to Deng’s rule, China was mired in the chaos and pain of the Cultural Revolution, when Mao Zedong “had absolute power over the lives and deaths of others,” wrote Mo Zhixu, a political commentator in Guangzhou.
Post-Mao, Deng and his successors transformed China from an isolated, impoverished country into the second most powerful nation in the world. Many believe the country will inevitably surpass the United States in terms of influence and economic growth.
But Beijing has experienced these changes during a period of relative stability, when political transitions came to be seen as orderly, predictable. Deng’s successor, Jiang Zemin, handed power to Hu Jintao, who after a decade turned the party over to Xi. That predictability is now in question.
What’s not in question is that Xi wants to increase his country’s clout, to show the world that his model of government is a worthy alternative to those of the West.
Despite American resistance, Xi shows no sign of backing away from his efforts to dominate in the South and East China Seas.
He has also extended his country’s influence to the south and west, all the way to Pakistan, with his efforts to build infrastructure in developing nations. Xi believes the world should accommodate China, not the other way around. He shows no interest in deposing North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, despite Pyongyang’s nuclear antics, and will likely respond in kind to any American trade protections, like the ones the U.S. announced for steel and aluminum in early March.
In the West, many analysts seemed jaded after Beijing’s announcement—especially those who had hoped China would reform politically as its economy prospered (just as South Korea and Taiwan had in the 1980s). These observers finally seem to be accepting reality. China is now a more confident, more repressive authoritarian state than it was before Xi. His increased crackdown on anyone critical of the government, as well as his use of internet censorship and technology to monitor citizens the regime deems troublesome, are here to stay. And may even increase.
Despite China’s economic successes, there are still millions in the country who want more political freedom. But under this regime, they have no voice—and won’t, it appears, for a long time. At 64 years old, the apparently healthy Xi isn’t going anywhere.
He’s now, most likely, China’s emperor for life.
Any trade war with the United States will only bring disaster to the world economy, Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said on Sunday, as Beijing stepped up its criticism on proposed metals tariffs by Washington amid fears it could shatter global growth
After pressure from allies, the United States has opened the way for more exemptions from tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum that U.S. President Donald Trump set last week.
But the target of Trump’s ire is China, whose capacity expansions have helped add to global surpluses of steel. China has repeatedly vowed to defend its “legitimate rights and interests” if targeted by U.S. trade actions.
Zhong, speaking on the sidelines of China’s annual session of parliament, said China does not want a trade war and will not initiate one.
So Russia is attempting to “meddle” in our elections and disrupt democracy, eh? In the view of some observers, specifically analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency, that’s small beer compared to what China is up to. They’re actually trying to take over our country from the inside through huge investments and influence peddling.
And America isn’t their only target by a long shot. The Free Beacon takes an in-depth look at a recent CIA report which indicates that the Chinese are flushing vast amounts of capital and human resources into moving the United States to a position far more friendly to Chinese objectives.
The CIA has issued a classified report detailing China’s far-reaching foreign influence operations campaign in the United States, which imparts financial incentives as leverage to permeate American institutions.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is particularly interested in American colleges and universities, where they offer extremely generous endowments provided the academics there avoid taking positions which criticize China and its objectives. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given the Chinese philosophy of indoctrinating people at an early age to gain a lifetime of loyalty from them. How better than to infiltrate academia?
Such investments come on top of the already well known fact that China has been investing heavily in real estate and infrastructure in the United States for decades. Back in 2016, CNBC reported that China had already acquired more than a quarter trillion dollars in American real estate and that figure was growing exponentially. The amount of subtle influence you can exert by controlling that much property is significant.
But as I said, America isn’t the only place where this is going on. The Chinese have been overtly working to basically take over the government of Australia for years. A recent book published Down Under by a former government official and professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University has a lot of people talking. It’s one of those secrets hiding in plain sight, and the methods they have been using there closely mirror the details from the CIA report linked above. (ABC – Australian Broadcasting Corporation)