This weekend, as Beijing emerged from its post-Spring Festival torpor, the Chinese Communist Party decided it would be a good time to mess with everyone by casually dropping a hint that we all better get used to Xi Jinping’s paternalistic grimace for the next decade or more.
The New York Times reports:
China’s Communist Party has cleared the way for President Xi Jinping to stay in power, perhaps indefinitely, by announcing on Sunday that it wants to abolish the two-term limit on the presidency — a dramatic move that would mark the country’s biggest political change in decades.
The party leadership “proposed to remove the expression that the president and vice president of the People’s Republic of China ‘shall serve no more than two consecutive terms’ from the country’s Constitution,” Xinhua, the official news agency, reported.
My Twitter feed is still processing the announcement, with views ranging from “this is actually a sign of weakness” to “Holy jumping Jesus fish, China’s got itself a new emperor.”
I heard the news while in the middle of my annual Godfather I, II, and III marathon. According to some reports, The Godfather is one of Xi Jinping’s favorite movies, too. I’ve always been tempted to call bullshit on that little factoid. It seems like one of those tidbits that causes the more gullible to think “Hey, he’s just like us! He likes gangster movies and Iowa, too!” But looking at the trajectory of Xi Jinping, it’s hard not to think of the parallels with la Familia Corleone.*