On Feb. 25, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) issued a formal amendment proposal to abolish constitutional term limits for the presidency. Assuming the amendment goes through, which it almost certainly will, there would no longer be any formal institutional obstacles preventing Xi Jinping from staying in all three of his current positions—Party Secretary, Chairman of the Central Military Commission and President—for life.
Taisu Zhang is an Associate Professor of Law at Yale Law School and works on comparative legal history—specifically, economic institutions in modern China and early modern Western Europe—comparative law, property law, and contemporary Chinese Law.
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Prior to the 2016 U.S. Election, commentators generally thought that a Trump presidency would be a double-edged sword for the Chinese leadership: on one hand, his brand of crass populism might do severe damage to American soft power, harming traditional American alliances both across the globe and specifically in the Asia-Pacific, and thereby strengthening China’s geopolitical position. On the other, he might challenge China over trade and international investment, potentially creating serious problems for an already unsteady Chinese economy.