Xi’s growing influence goes beyond constitutional changes

Chinese President Xi Jinping pledges allegiance to the constitution at a March session of the National People’s Congress
Chinese President Xi Jinping pledges allegiance to the constitution at a March session of the legislature, which made several amendments to the document (source: dpa)
  • China’s legislature recently abolished term and age limits for the highest offices
  • The amendments are part of a broader effort to expand President Xi’s influence
  • Other, less noticeable moves are consolidating power in the Communist Party
  • Despite the changes, China’s direction and development will largely be unaffected

China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress made several amendments to the constitution at its March session, including one that abolished term limits for the presidency.

While it attracted the most international attention, the change was not very significant according to the letter of the law. The office of the president carries certain symbolic powers. The president engages in the state’s affairs and receives foreign representatives, appoints and recalls ambassadors and ratifies and abrogates treaties. Extending these powers beyond the two-term limit does not by itself bestow much additional influence.

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