China Must Not Abolish Presidential Term Limits


NEW YORK (February 27, 2018) — The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) condemns the Chinese Communist Party’s proposal to abolish the two-term limit on the presidency. The intended abolition clears the way for President Xi Jinping to stay in power indefinitely.

"Elections have long been a formality in China's one-party dictatorship. Still, even the slightest degree of competition and regular transitions of power within the apparatchik could create cracks in the regime and eventually lead to its breakdown. With this proposal, the Communist Party makes a future with freedom even more unlikely by discouraging even inter-party debate," HRF President Thor Halvorssen said. "Xi Jinping seems obsessed with recreating Mao-era absolutism with himself at the center of the power constellation. He should remember that entrenched, God-like despots can also fall loudly and abruptly, as Nicolae Ceaușescu did in Romania in 1989."

The Communist Party announced this proposal ahead of the end of Xi’s first five-year term in March, and it is expected to pass unchallenged. Xi’s second term would end in 2023, at which time, according to the current constitution, he must step down. The two-term limit was put into China’s constitution following the Cultural Revolution to prevent Mao’s cult-like, one-man dictatorship from repeating itself. Xi Jinping has cemented his authority in the party in the past few years by consolidating power within the Chinese Communist Party, paving the way for the abolition of his presidential term limit.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

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