Xi Jinping: The Final Most Ambitious Modern Chinese Emperor
Xi Jinping’s power grab places the might of the world’s most populous nation in the hands of one dangerously ambitious man.
Shortened from a piece by Jeremiah Jacques:
FROM THE MAY 2018 TRUMPET PRINT EDITION
The announcement from Beijing on February 25 was a bombshell. China’s ruling Communist Party said it would abolish a constitutional clause that limits presidential service to two terms. The move enables President Xi Jinping, already China’s most powerful leader in decades, to rule the country indefinitely.
Two weeks later, China’s largely ceremonial parliament approved the proposal with a vote of 2,959 to 2, with three abstentions, deleting the clause stating that the president and vice president “shall serve no more than two consecutive terms.”
President Xi came to power in 2013. Before the constitutional change, he would have had to leave office in 2023, after his second five-year term ends. But now he can continue ruling the second-largest economy and the largest national population in the world for as long as he lives.
Regardless of the constitutional revision, Xi, 64, can retain his positions as leader of both the Communist Party and the military indefinitely. Retaining the presidency, perhaps for life, consolidates his power completely and makes him what many Chinese refer to as “the paramount leader.”
It may be too late for the people of China to stop their nation’s great leap into authoritarianism.
With Xi holding the trinity of top posts, his authority is unquestioned, unchecked and undivided. He has already displayed ruthless dictatorial qualities. Chinese courts and police kill people as if they were no more than ants. Much of the nation’s land and water supplies are polluted by industrial waste. The rush to great power bring with it a rush to a hazardous environment.
This has alarming implications for the future of China and the world.
In the Absence of Power Limits
The presidential two-term limit was established in 1982 by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. It was put in place, along with other checks on presidential power, in an effort to prevent China from ever returning to the era of chaos it had suffered under Deng’s predecessor, Mao Zedong.
Mao founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949. He ruled the nation with almost godlike status for nearly three decades. He brought an end to generations of civil clashes and disorder that prevailed when foreign powers ruled, and he prepared China for its return to international relevance.
Mao accomplished much of his agenda with endless purges. He demonstrated an utter disregard for human life. His disastrous and cold-blooded leadership killed tens of millions of Chinese until his death in 1976 at age 82.
He was accountable to no one and scornful of all advice. The combination of his ruthlessness, incompetence and disdain for counsel made his rule incomparably tragic. Mao’s name is etched in history as the man responsible for the deaths of more people than any other individual.
His rule “ranks alongside the gulags and the Holocaust as one of the three greatest events of the 20th century,” said historian Frank Dikötter. “It was like [Cambodian Communist dictator] Pol Pot’s genocide multiplied 20 times over.”
In light of this history, thoughtful people of China are alarmed to see the removal of checks on the president’s power. Sadly, all Internet criticism is censured.
Within China, the critics of Xi’s power grab do not appear to be numerous for fear of persecution. Heavy-handed Internet censorship may be enough to keep the criticism from spreading.
Xi bypassed State Council authorities by forming policymaking party groups, many of which he chairs himself. He took personal control of writing policy on everything from China’s economy and international relations to its environmental strategies and Internet regulations. He implemented painful military reforms that positioned him as unchallenged commander in chief of China’s enormous People’s Liberation Army.
Xi also waged an anticorruption campaign resulting in the punishment or imprisonment of a breathtaking 1.5 million Communist Party members, including numerous former political rivals and senior military officials.
These moves placed Xi at the center of what Time’s Hannah Beech called “a personality cult not seen in the People’s Republic since the days when frenzied Red Guards cheered Chairman Mao’s launch of the Cultural Revolution” (March 31, 2016).
Li Datong and other Chinese openly decry Xi’s lurch toward indefinite one-man rule. But the Communist Party and most Chinese support the move.
In fact, Xi’s rapid ascent and his move to scrap term limits could not have happened without the full consent and assistance of Communist Party leadership.
The Chinese elite and many ordinary citizens see that the global order is unraveling. They see the rise of extremist parties in Europe. They see the so-called stable democracies destabilizing. They see American power declining and leadership vacuums opening up. They see that the international stage is primed for conflict, and they see a chance for China to take advantage of the volatility and emerge as a superpower.
Chinese top leaders recognize that for their nation to become a superpower it needs a ruler who can manage Chines, even world affairs without resistance. They want a strongman who is free of political encumbrances and capable of decisive actions. They want another Mao.
These sentiments led Communist Party elite to allow Xi to rise so rapidly and so high. Now these same sentiments compel the Chinese people to support Xi as emperor for life.
The World Is Alarmed
Xi’s abolition of term limits and leap toward autocracy also has major implications outside of China and for the global order.
But in recent years, China’s military has become a formidable force.
Under the streamlined leadership of a man who vowed last year to make China “stand taller and firmer in the world,” such a military should be taken seriously.
Even before the constitutional revision, President Xi led China on a path of international belligerence, grabbing territory from its neighbors and exerting illegal control over vital international waters.
Now that Xi is positioned essentially as China’s emperor for life, and since the Communist Party and most of the country’s population support him, the world should expect China to become even more internationally aggressive.
Xi, China and Bible Prophecy
Bible prophecy reveals that as America’s influence on the global stage diminishes, two power blocs will emerge. One will be a European bloc functioning in the tradition of the Holy Roman Empire. The other will be an Asian entity called in Scripture “the kings of the east,” headed by Russia, with China in a secondary leadership position. The Bible makes plain—in Jeremiah 50, Daniel 11 and 12, Revelation 16 and Matthew 24—that a clash between this European power and this Russo-Chinese-led bloc will play a major role in the most violent conflict in human history.
Xi can rule for as long as he lives. His ongoing rise and increasing control over China’s military and foreign policy indicates how the Chinese president could join forces with his fellow strongman in Russia and how China will be brought on its prophesied collision course with Europe. The February 25 announcement about scrapping term limits also indicates how near this future clash could be.
Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry writes in his booklet The Prophesied ‘Prince of Russia’: “This immense war between European and Asian forces will end in the return of Jesus Christ! … The conclusion of that battle will mark the beginning of a peaceful and prosperous new age for the entire Earth!”
Then an era of true stability and abundant, joyous living will begin.