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Chinese President Xi Jinping’s efforts to stay in power, explained

A 19-minute podcast to understand what’s happening in China.

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What will be the new term limit for Chinese President Xi Jinping if he gets his way? Nonexistent.

This week, China’s Communist Party is voting to change the country’s constitution to abolish term limits — a move that would essentially make Chinese President Xi Jinping an emperor.

Carl Minzner, a professor at Fordham Law School, explains:

With the removal of these term limits in the constitution, that also sets up the likelihood — the extremely strong likelihood — that going forward, Xi Jinping is likely to serve in all three roles [head of state, general secretary of the Community Party, and head of the military] indefinitely into the future, which of course would be a significant reversal from recent practice since the beginning of China’s reform era.

Though President Donald Trump has (jokingly) expressed his approval, experts largely agree that the move could destabilize decades of progress toward democracy and instead move China even further toward authoritarianism.

On the latest episode of Today, Explained, Sean Rameswaram talks to Minzner and New Yorker reporter Jiayang Fan about why this is all so frightening:

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You can get the news we’re reading throughout the day, facts and stats to make you smarter about the world, and behind-the-scenes photos on Twitter @Today_Explained. You can follow Sean @Rameswaram, Carl Minzner @CarlMinzner, and Jiayang Fan @JiayangFan.

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