News, Primary

China’s Xi Jinping Could Become President For Life

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Head shot of Chinese president Xi Jinping
Photo: Wikipedia

Under the current laws in China, the country’s president, Xi Jinping, would have to give up his job in 2023.

Now, he is trying to change that law.

That is causing some people to be concerned that he may try to become a “dictator” and retain power for many years.

The issue is about China’s “term limits” for its president. In other words, one person can only be president for a certain length of time–in this case, 10 years (two terms of five years each).

Xi Jinping became president in 2012. His term would end in 2023, although he could choose to continue on in another high-level job in the government. But he appears to have decided that he would rather remove term limits altogether, which means that he could choose to be president for the rest of his life.

Term limits were introduced in China in 1982, about five years after the country’s famous and long-serving Chairman Mao passed away.

In the United States, a president may serve for a maximum of 8 years. US president Donald Trump is reported to have praised Jinping’s decision to remove term limits on his power, jokingly saying, “I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll give that a shot some day,” according to CNN, a news service in the United States.

In Canada and in the UK, a person can be prime minister indefinitely (meaning, there are no term limits on the job). That’s because they “serve at the pleasure of Her Majesty the Queen,” meaning they hold the job as long as the Queen says they can (officially, anyway). The longest serving prime minister of Canada was William Lyon Mackenzie King, who was prime minister for more than 21 years (although, not all in a row).

Later this month, China’s “National People’s Congress” will vote on whether or not to drop term limits, and they could decide not to. However, it is normal for the People’s Congress to agree with what the president wants so it is likely they would vote for the new law. In the meantime, many people are watching China to find out what will happen next.

Related Links

Wikipedia page on the length of time each Canadian prime minister has held the office.

The CNN reports that US President Donald Trump jokingly said “Maybe we’ll give that a shot some day,” referring to Xi Jinping’s power grab.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
As today’s article points out, some countries have a term limit for their leaders, while others don’t. Create a T-Chart that compares the pros and cons. Compare your chart with a classmates. Add their best points to your own chart.

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences / Interpreting Text
The author of today’s article made a prediction about what may happen next in China. Find the lines of text where this prediction is made. Ask yourself, and discuss with a peer, how the author may have made her prediction.

Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning
 (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations 
(OME, Reading: 1,8).

Language Feature: Chinese Origin
Words and expressions that are used in English have many unique origins. For example, some of the English words and expressions we use everyday come from Cantonese and Mandarin, the two most widely used languages in China. Here are a list of a few:

Brainwashing, Ketchup, “Long time no see,” “No can do,” Rickshaw, Tycoon, Typhoon, Wok.