The National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp parliament, is expected to approve a historical constitutional amendment on Sunday that will scrap presidential term limits, paving the way for President Xi Jinping to govern indefinitely.
During Sunday’s session, lawmakers are due to lift the current limit of two five-year presidential terms and introduce “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” as a new principle in the preamble of the constitution.
The latter change would allow the government to treat criticism of Xi as unconstitutional.
A new national regulatory commission is also due to be enshrined in the constitution. The committee, as outlined, would operate with far-reaching authority alongside the judiciary – and independently of the country’s high court – against corruption, malfeasance of office or civil servants’ overly lax implementation of political goals.
Critics see the commission as a new tool of political persecution.
Xi’s power play was foreshadowed at the twice-a-decade Communist Party Congress last October, when the party appointed five new members of the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, none of whom was young enough or had the credentials to become Xi’s successor.