Washington: The US has indicated that President Donald Trump is not overly worried by China’s ruling Communist Party’s plan to abolish presidential term limits, a move that could allow President Xi Jinping to rule for life, saying it was up to China to decide “what is best” for the country.
The guarded reaction from the White House came after the Communist Party of China, which is in power since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, proposed on Sunday to amend the country’s Constitution to remove the two term limits for the President and Vice President, potentially allowing Xi to remain in office indefinitely.
“I believe that’s a decision for China to make about what’s best for their country,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference.
She said term limits “is something that President Donald Trump supports here, but that’s a decision that would be up to China”.
“The President has talked about term limits in a number of capacities during the campaign. It’s something that he supports here in the US. But that’s a decision that would be up to China,” Sanders said.
The CPC’s move triggered concerns as 64-year-old Xi would remain a single leader doing away with collective leadership system followed by the party to prevent a dictatorship of an individual emerging from the ranks.
While the White House and State Department have opted not to criticise the move to drop presidential term limits, Xi’s growing power and China’s rising challenge to US interests have not escaped notice on Capitol Hill.
“Instead of evolving toward liberty and rule of law, Beijing is backsliding,” Republican Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said.
His comments came as reports said Chinese censors were deleting satirical comments about the CPC’s move.
A day after the party announced proposed constitutional changes for next month, many Chinese internet users yesterday were unable to signal approval or disapproval with changes to their profiles. Key search topics such as “serve another term” were blocked, media reports said.