Revision to the Chinese Constitution

On March 11, 2018, China passed its revision of the constitution in a congressional meeting with anonymous voting. 2958 representatives agreed to this revision with two votes against and three abstentions. In the prior edition of the Chinese constitution, in 2004, the president could serve only two terms, or ten years. In this recent revision, the biggest concern of the Chinese public lies in the changing of the presidential terms.

The public’s response to this revision was tremendous. As technology and internet spread rapidly in recent years, netizens criticized this act. They called the president a “dictator” and “king” since the cancellation of the term limitation seems to give the president an opportunity to serve for life. People in China are afraid that President Xi will become the emperor of China and that the political system will regress to how it functioned 70 years ago.

In 1949 when the Communist party became the dominant government in China, the power was controlled by one person, Mao Zedong. At that time, there was no clarification on the number of terms a leader could serve, as it was assumed that the position was lifelong, which set a precedent that was only challenged in recent years.

This new act is especially concerning for many Chinese because it might be a sign that the society may go back to the turbulent and unstable times of the 1960s. In a period where democracy is encouraged and even expected, a step towards an idealized communist government is risky.