Just about everyone has something to say about the recent political news out of China. This limerick pretty much sums it up:
Mr. Xi, in a bit of a coup,
Got changes he wanted pushed through.
The state now affirms
That his limit for terms
Is infinity, rather than two
— Limericking (@Limericking) February 26, 2018
I was impressed by this analysis by Jerome Cohen, expert on Chinese law and government, who (rather amazingly) practiced law in Beijing back in 1979:
Xi’s move will have a profound effect on world order. It will enable him to move more boldly and increases the risk of his acting arbitrarily and perhaps mistakenly in international relations. It will surely hinder China’s efforts to be respected for “soft power” as well as military and economic prowess.
Xi decided to strike while the iron is hot rather than wait for later in his new term when increasing problems might have made the change more difficult. His brash step has undoubtedly aroused profound concern among the elite. Many high Party personnel, bureaucrats, judicial officials, lawyers, intellectuals, academics and business people, mindful of the past Maoist dictatorship and the increasingly repressive and arbitrary government under Xi, have seen this coming and now, in social media and other informal ways, are showing their anxieties and opposition.
But not many public signs of protest can be expected, since he has stifled free expression in the past few years.
At least it’s a relief to be able to quit pretending that the spread of liberal democracy has ushered in the end of history. Nope, the party is just getting started… and it’s gonna be lit….