The CCP’s proposal to remove the two-term limits on the state’s president and vice-president, which is a disrespect of Deng Xiaoping’s will, has definitely generated various negative influences onto China as well as the world:
[a] paving a route towards lifelong dictatorship,
[c] producing a significant damage to China’s image in the eyes of foreigners, and
[d] arousing distrust of the leaders among the common people on the mainland and abroad.
Did President Xi Jinping, other leaders and various strategists not know all these possible impacts? I do not think so. How could the senior leaders be convinced to accept this proposal?
Other than the usual comment that Xi has a greed for power and all others are either insane or too weak which might be true, a possible second reason is that Beijing is preparing for a war in 2020-5 with reference to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s long presidency. Owing to the World War II, Roosevelt continued to serve as the president of the United States in 1941-5 after two normal terms (1933-41).
Two developments are leading them to the thinking of unavoidable military unification of Taiwan in 2020-5.
As early as in 2013, the China Daily Mail had already covered the discussion of an article published by an semi-official Chinese media “Six Wars China is sure to fight in the next 50 years”. The first would be the unification of Taiwan in 2020 to 2025 because peaceful unification has been out of consideration. More and more young people there have been seeking for formal or informal independence, thus supporting the pro-secession Democratic Progressive Party and voting its leader Tsai Ing-man into power as the president of the Taiwan government. Since late 2016, Tsai and Washington have been manipulating the ‘One-China Policy’ to squeeze for advantages respectively. The development in Taiwan is hindering China’s interest in East Asia.
Another development is that Washington has formally named China (and Russia) as a rival power, a revisionist power, and most importantly the top threat to the United States. I have provided detailed analysis of the likely confrontation and we all need to bear in mind that Washington has all the advantages to keep Beijing busy with Taiwan while launching a sudden attack on North Korea to eliminate the nuclear threat completely to the heartland of the United States in general and Hawaii in particular.
Beijing should have been aware of this and naturally they would prefer to solve the Taiwan problem at their disposal rather than being controlled by Washington. In case they really need to do it, say, in Tsai’s second term 2021-4, and also in case the combat is somehow out of their control, Xi would need more time to master the situation, thus a third term for him to serve the presidency could be a good Plan B.
Yet, whatever the reason may be, however strong the justification may be, removing the two-term limit will cause heavy damage to the institutionalization of the rotational power succession (I call it Helmsman Ruler System) in China.
The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.