Xi Jinping has cleared the way to rule for life in China after delegates at the country's rubber stamp parliament overwhelmingly voted to abolish presidential limits. By Telegraph



The move turns the clock back on decades of reform and reverses a system of ‘collective leadership’ that was installed following the turmoil of Mao Tze-tung’s one-man rule.
A total of 2,958 delegates at China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) voted for the measure on Sunday.
Only two voted against and three abstained, signifying almost total loyalty to Mr Xi’s vision for strongman rule.
At least two-thirds of delegates were required to vote in favour of the constitutional changes at Beijing's Great Hall of the People to allow Mr Xi to rule beyond the end of his second term in 2023.
Observers now believe the Chinese president is almost untouchable.
Andrew Nathan, a China expert at the University of Columbia, said Mr Xi has “locked up every possible source of power in the tripartite Party, state, and military apparatus” in China.
"I have no doubt, human nature being what it is, that there are many Party elites who are jealous and disapproving of him, or who hate him, partly due to the anti-corruption campaign and partly due simply to his monopolising power in this way,” he told The Telegraph.
"But they have been isolated, cowed, and silenced. Although it is hazardous to make predictions about China, I can see no sign of a brewing power struggle. Xi seems secure."
The ruling Communist Party says the move to scrap presidential limits has received widespread support from officials and ordinary people. China's tightly-controlled media have presented it as a routine matter.
But the country's huge army of Internet censors have been forced to mobilise to confront criticism which has emerged on social media.
Authorities have also moved to silence outspoken critics who have expressed concern about a return to one-man rule in a nation which now ranks among the most powerful on earth.
Roderick MacFarquhar, a former China Correspondent at The Daily Telegraph and a current China expert at Harvard University, said Mr Xi’s power grab still relied on the support of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the long term.
"As for Xi’s impact on the rest of the world," Prof MacFarquhar said. "It should mean greater certainty since one will only have to figure out one person’s ideas not a whole Politburo’s.
"It should also mean less risk-taking, since one bad adventure could lead to Xi being ousted. In that connection, the one group that Xi has to keep on side is the military."