Xi poised to extend power as China set to lift term limits

He began his second five-year term in October.

He can still retain his position as the party and military chief, although 10 year term is usually the limit.

Party congress previous year saw him cement his status as the most powerful leader since the late Mao Zedong.

The committee proposed removing the clause "shall serve no more than two consecutive terms" from the constitution, Xinhua reported.

Xi, who will be elected to his second five-year term as China's president in March, also doubles as the general secretary of the Communist Party, the organization's top post.

Term limits on officeholders have been in place since they were included in the 1982 constitution, when lifetime tenure was abolished.

There has been persistent speculation that Xi wants to stay on in office past the customary two five-year terms.

According to Gopalan, Xi laid the groundwork for Sunday's announcement in October last year when he presented a 30-year vision for China.

The current Constitution has been developed and improved based on the successful experience of China's socialist revolution, construction and reform, said Xi.

If Xi does decide to cling to power and push through endless power concentration policies, then the people of China will rue the erosion of greater liberalization that Deng ushered in.

"He now will become China's most powerful man, perhaps a cult of personality somewhat like Mao Zedong", Gopalan added.

"In China, ordinary people already consider Xi Jinping to be the emperor", said Zhang Ming, a professor of political science at Renmin of China in Beijing, to Reuters news agency.

In a Sunday commentary on its WeChat account, state television said: "The people love the people's "lingxiu"!", above a picture of Xi being greeted by an adoring crowd in Sichuan province earlier this month.

Next week, the party's central committee will hold a three-day plenum in Beijing that is expected to further strengthen Mr Xi's position by installing his allies as central bank governor and to lead the banking watchdog.

"Since 2050 is a long time away, he will need to stay in power for as long as possible", said Dr Lam.

When Xi did assume the top spot in 2012, it was as head of a reduced seven-member committee on which he had only one reliable ally, veteran Wang Qishan. However, it does not bar him from serving as the head of the military and the party. Wang, in the end, didn't remain on the PSC-though there's still a chance that he may not actually retire. Among those policies are a widespread corruption crackdown that has resulted in thousands of Communist Party members behind bars, a war on religion in which he has successfully co-opted the Chinese Catholic Church and promoted a new successor to the Dalai Lama, and an economic plan for world domination known as "One Belt One Road".

  • Tracy Klein