The Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee introduced a proposal last week to remove the presidential term limit constraining the rule of President Xi Jinping. On Monday, the constitutional amendment is expected to be overwhelmingly passed by the National People's Congress, permitting Xi, already enormously powerful, to extend his rule indefinitely.
The change has been subject to criticism on Chinese social media, and it marks a major undoing of reforms implemented since the era of Mao Zedong. "This is a critical moment in China's history,” said Cheng Li, a Brookings Institution expert on Chinese politics. "Deng Xiaoping's abolishment of lifetime tenure for the leadership and more institutionalized transitions in power are very much in question."
President Trump commented on the plan at a fundraiser in Florida Saturday. "He's now president for life, president for life. And he's great," Trump said of Xi. "And look, he was able to do that. I think it's great. Maybe we'll have to give that a shot someday." The White House did not respond to a Reuters request to clarify whether Trump was joking.