Chinese media label critics of constitution ‘prejudiced nay-sayers’

China says ending term limits for President Xi Jinping necessary for stability and reform

 A propaganda poster showing China’s President Xi Jinping on a wall in Beijing on Monday. Photograph: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

A propaganda poster showing China’s President Xi Jinping on a wall in Beijing on Monday. Photograph: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

 

Chinese state media have dismissed as “shameless” and “prejudiced” critics of this weekend’s vote in the rubber-stamp parliament to scrap presidential term limits, making it possible for President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely.

The amendments to the constitution were passed by 99.8 per cent of the delegates in the largely ceremonial annual parliament, the National People’s Congress, on Sunday and provide Mr Xi with a degree of power not seen since the days of Chairman Mao Zedong.

However, critics said the move made China resemble North Korea with its autocratic, dynastic rule by the Kim family, while others said they feared a cult of personality forming around Mr Xi.

“These naysayers casually disregard the fact that China’s political system has developed and is evolving in accordance with the country’s unique national conditions,” ran an editorial in the English-language China Daily.

The editorial attacked western politicians and media speaking ill of China, saying their thinking was outdated.

“Believing that the truth entails a loss to themselves, they have no compunction about making false claims and consider it excusable to speak so shamelessly.”

The critics “revel in their ignorance of China’s reality and hold fast to their mean, even malicious predisposition toward China’s political system out of their irrational, subjective and unprofessional ideological bias,” the China Daily said.

Just two No votes were cast, with three abstentions, from almost 3,000 delegates in the parliament, which gathers once a year in the Great Hall of the People to give overwhelming approval to Bills drawn up by the Communist Party leadership.

Dissenting voices about the constitutional changes have been mostly muzzled as the Communist Party pushes a positive message about the changes. Social media are being tightly censored to stop negative views getting through and official media have been ordered to be on-message about the events in the Great Hall of the People.

The tabloid Global Times said the revisions to the constitution were necessary to continue with the reform process, and dismissed western democratic political systems as inappropriate for China.

“In these years we have seen the rise and decline of countries and particularly the harsh reality that the western political system doesn’t apply to developing countries and produces dreadful results,” the paper’s English-language edition said.

“Luckily China has maintained its steady rise for a long period. We are increasingly confident that the key to China’s path lies in upholding strong party leadership and firmly following the leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core,” it said.

As well as ending term limits for the president – Mr Xi’s other roles, as general secretary of the party and head of the military are already open-ended – the NPC delegates also enshrined Mr Xi’s philosophy, “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” into the constitution and approved a new anti-corruption body.