It all looked so simple as China’s President Xi Jinping was essentially voted in as communist dictator-for-life, with only two delegates voting against the change. But this development could have dire consequences for minorities within China and for the world as a whole.
China’s National People’s Congress voted to abolish presidential term limits in Beijing on Sunday, allowing President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely. Out of 2,964 ballots, just two delegates voted against the change and three abstained.
Almost 3,000 delegates cast their ballots on a series of constitutional amendments, including one proposing the removal on the restriction that had limited the presidency to two consecutive five-year terms.
The move has been justified as a necessity to align the presidency with Xi’s two other posts – head of the party and the military – with no formal limits on time served in both positions.
For over two decades the West has been betting on China becoming more democratic as it became wealthier. In one day that belief has been crushed.
Under Xi, China has assumed a more aggressive posture towards its neighbors and the United States. Recently, China came close to a shooting war with India over a remote part of the Himalayas.
The situation is even more grim for Chinese Christians. As the Washington Post reported, Christians in southern China were recently told that, “Jesus Christ won’t drag you out of poverty or cure your illnesses, but the Chinese Communist Party will, so take down those pictures of Christ and put up a nice photograph of President Xi Jinping.”
With this vote, it is without doubt that we can expect more state control of citizens, repression of minority groups such as Christians, and international confrontations.