BEIJING: China’s plan for President Xi Jinping to remain in office indefinitely has sparked social media opposition, drawing comparisons to North Korea’s ruling dynasty and prompting a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist to accuse it of creating a dictator.
The social media reaction late on Sunday quickly saw China swing into a concerted propaganda push by Monday, blocking some articles and publishing pieces praising the party.
In Washington, the White House said it was up to China to decide whether to do away with presidential term limits.
The ruling Communist Party on Sunday proposed to remove a constitutional clause limiting presidential service to just two terms in office, meaning Xi, who also heads the party and the military, might never have to retire.
The proposal, which will be passed by delegates loyal to the party at next month’s annual meeting of China’s largely rubber-stamp parliament, is part of a package of amendments to the country’s constitution.
It will also add Xi’s political thought to the constitution, already added to the party constitution last year, and set a legal framework for a super anti-corruption super body, as well as more broadly strengthen the party’s tight grip on power.
But it seems the party will have its work cut out trying to convince some in China, where Xi is popular thanks in part to his war on graft, that the move will not end up giving him too much power.
“Argh, we’re going to become North Korea,” wrote one Weibo user, where the Kim dynasty has ruled since the late 1940s. Kim Il Sung founded North Korea in 1948 and his family has ruled it ever since.
”We’re following the example of our neighbor,’ wrote another user.