ART BY ANNA MACIAS
Picture a future in which President Donald Trump reigns supreme, with no legal limit on the number of terms he can serve. Nightmare? Luckily, this destiny of an eternal presidency is not the United States’ to bear. Unluckily, China has landed itself this terrible destiny.
In a recent, obnoxiously rushed change of legislation, the Chinese Parliament has guaranteed President Xi Jinping the power to rule over the country of 1.3 billion people for as long as he wants.
On Mar. 11, China’s Parliament voted almost unanimously to amend the country’s constitution so that it allows President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely. With this vote, the President will not have to step down in 2023, which—prior to the amendment—was supposed to be the end of his two-term, ten-year long presidency.
Instead, President Xi will be allowed to campaign for more terms, and, if elected each time, may serve the people of China until he dies. This change will apply to every single leader after Xi, unless the Chinese government realizes their horrible blunder and reverses its actions.
Perhaps one of the biggest questions associated with this new piece of legislation is this: how and why did the term limit pass so quickly and efficiently?
In this question lies an enormous flaw in China’s political and social systems, which may very well lead to the downfall of political movements to come as a result of the recent legislation.
Among the various means of oppression that the government has menacingly imposed on the people, the oppression of a voice in politics is probably the most impactful and long-lasting one, especially in light of recent events.
The strict monitoring of media is seen everywhere, from newspapers, to education, to a nation-wide internet firewall, prohibiting the country’s citizens from truly expressing their feelings.
Take the piece of legislation passed on Sunday as an example.
On the outset, it seems as though just about everyone was on board with the idea. The media promoted the positive aspects of this unprecedented amendment. No one seemed at all fazed.
However, reality starkly contrasts this happy-go-lucky attitude towards the change: hundreds of thousands of citizens actually took the time to address concerns and raise questions about the legislation, only for their voices to be blocked on the internet, oppressed on the streets, and locked in their houses.
Only by resorting to such forceful, tyrannical methods of silencing its citizens, for whom the president is supposed to serve, was President Xi able to get the highly questionable piece of legislation passed through Parliament.
So why couldn’t the Chinese Parliament just put a little bit of thought into their decision and look further down the road when voting the legislation into effect?
Easy. The Chinese government is simply much too corrupt to function. Right now, most countries in the world function with bicameral Parliaments. This way, each party in Parliament can at least consider opposing arguments before making a carefully-analyzed decision.
This, however, is not the case in China. With its almost 3,000 members, the Chinese Parliament is the largest in the world; an unfortunate development is its lack of efficiency and fairness.
Its Parliament, which serves as the driving force in passing laws, functions as a unicameral entity, which means that the Parliament members share many beliefs and do not get a clear look at both sides of an issue before voting.
It does not help that, because of the unicameral nature of the Parliament, it is currently very much in favor of President Xi’s every move, as he reigns freely with the full support of the ever-powerful Communist party.
So, of course, it was not a huge shock to the Chinese people that such a radical change is now in effect.
The lawmakers in China have clearly failed to look further into the future of the country.
Sure, the President is relatively more supportive of the people and more vocal for the people than most other Chinese leaders have been. But what evidence do Chinese citizens and the government itself have to verify Xi’s loyalty to the people in future presidential terms?
Again, the answer is simple: they don’t.
And at the rate the Chinese government is achieving ultimate dystopia courtesy of the inherently oppressive communist regime, it will not be long before the vast amount of dictatorial power that Xi now has will truly hit hard.
If Xi was able to so smoothly get such a radical amendment passed, he will no doubt be able to seize enough power to take even the Parliament, which he arguably already owns anyways, given the omnipotent hold the Communists have in the lawmaking body.
When that happens, it will surely be too late. The government may truly become totalitarian, leaving people destitute and completely voiceless. It is important for Chinese people to realize the scary implications of this oppression and to react against it all by rising up and vocalizing their true opinions before time ticks away, and their society turns into one of utter chaos.