China’s decision to remove restrictions on presidential tenure has showed the influence of Xi Jinping in the country. The decision to extend tenure of Xi as a president beyond 2023 met with an uproar from Chinese citizens. After presenting the proposal in the constitution about amendments in the clause that restricts a president to serve only two terms, the Chinese citizens expressed protest on various social media platforms. They blamed the ruling Conservative Party of following footsteps of neighbor North Korea. Now, the proposal has been passed and the political dynamics of the world would change as Xi would remain on in the office for infinite term. Though there were geopolitical implications involved in Xi’s job security as the top leader of the country, the decision showed influence of Xi as the most powerful autocrat in the world.
Various countries have questioned leadership of the U.S. and Russia has expressed its willingness to abolish democracy. China’s move proves that Xi is on the path to establish his influence in not only domestic politics but also world politics. Jim Mattis, the U.S. Defense Secretary, said in early January while revealing the Pentagon’s National Defense Strategy that Xi’s China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia are seeking “a world consistent with their authoritarian models.”
Despite the backlash on social media from Chinese citizens, the ruling party went ahead with a decision to extend tenure of president beyond two terms. The party believes that its centralized system is necessary to govern its 1.4 billion population. It also expressed that it does not demand supremacy of a party. The country has been carrying out modernization of its military, claiming its territory on disputed territory in the South China Sea, and using economics to force neighboring countries to restructure Indo-Pacific region for their advantage.
The business dynamics in China have shifted as the ruling party looks forward to bend companies to its will. The debt-ridden private organizations have been pressurized to remove billions of dollars in assets. Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Chinese billionaire has praised the ruling party for providing stability and supported its strict control over online content. Moreover, he asked Google and Facebook to follow the rules to stay competitive in the Chinese market.
Last year, President Xi urged foreign companies to establish their servers in China. This move would make it easier to impart Chinese policies of censorship. Along with conducting a business in the Chinese market, foreign firms need to take political calculations into the consideration. According to the U.S. strategic review, China and Russia “are undermining the international order” of free trade, digital data flows, and unfettered capital. They are achieving it by exploiting its benefits and undercutting its principles simultaneously.
Xi Jinping is a strong believer in the Chinese system and he is in the system for a long term. However, being the center of everything would be dangerous for him. The anticorruption campaign has made him an enemy of many political and business circles. If the economy takes a plunge, all the eyes will be blaming him. But for now, he has been the most influential leader in China and building his influence outside. It is interesting to see how the world dynamics will be shaped in future as he stays in the office.