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Chinese Students’ Reactions to Xi’s Move to Indefinite Rule

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Hermann Rohr  |  Vision Times

A posters of Xi Jinping with the mention “Not My President” at a college campus outside of China (Vision Times)

Posters began appearing at several colleges this week seeming to protest the recent proposal in Beijing that would let China’s ruler, Xi Jinping, serve indefinitely.
“Never My President” said the poster that Longxiao Li, 24, put up on Thursday in the library at New York University’s MetroTech campus in Brooklyn, according to a quote from a BBC News article about how some students outside of China reacted to Xi’s latest move to tighten his political power in China.
While Chinese students have become the norm part of the American student population, they have usually been shy compared to their U.S. peers in regard to political activism.
“The Chinese Communist Party is an authoritarian dictatorship,” said Mr. Li, 24, a graduate student in game design from Shenzhen, in a telephone interview with The New York Times: “He’s never been my president. No one ever elected him.”

Posters hung out at many places

A Twitter account by the handle @STOPXIJINPING is tweeting links to images containing the posters, and recently made a tweet stating:
“We spoke up as we genuinely believe that Chinese citizens, overseas or at home, have the right to express opinions free from fear.”
Many believe the posters show a resentment for China’s current ruler, who just recently, together with 200 senior Communist Party officials, sat down to decide on implementing an indefinite ruling period for “President” Xi.
This move would allow Xi to rule over China for the time period of an entire generation. Below is another tweet from the aforementioned  Twitter account, which is gaining a large following after its user started posting links to pictures of posters hanging at different places protesting Xi’s presidency.

A portrait is painted

 Xi sees himself as China’s third transformational president, and is referred to by state media as a supreme commander, as noted in the Economist.
But even to those who thought they had a good profile of Xi, his present course of ambition comes as an unforeseen surprise. Wu Wei, a former official who advised Zhao Ziyang, the party leader ousted during the mass protests of 1989 in Tiananmen Square, said to The New York Times:
“I always thought Xi would seek to stay for three or four terms, and could even introduce a new presidential system after his terms were finished. But I never thought the Constitution would be revised so quickly.”
In China, Xi made sure that his move to ultimate power encountered as little friction as possible, as noted by The New York Times:
“Mr. Xi deployed speed, secrecy, and intimidation to smother potential opposition inside and outside the Party. He swept past the consensus-building conventions that previous leaders used to amend the Constitution. He installed loyalists to draft and support the amendments. And he kept the whole process under the tight control of the Party, allowing little debate, even internally.”
“Criticism of China’s decision to remove a two-term presidential limit has been heavily censored at home,” according to BBC News.

Awakening sleeping dogs

Xi’s move to absolute power might have awakened some sleeping dogs, with a vote passed recently in the National People’s Congress to amend the Chinese Constitution, removing the two five-year term clause that had been a core element of the Constitution for the past 34 years.
While the small college campus’ protests probably didn’t even cause a drop of sweat on China’s forehead, it sends out an important signal.
A signal that shows a simmering dissent among Chinese citizens and the willingness to speak out publicly by those who kept their heads below the scrutinizing eyes and ears of Chinese government-controlled censors.
Could the Chinese regime’s move to further abandon non-existing democratic electoral structure evoke even stronger descent among the Chinese people?
Could those silenced by fear see this as the last call to action, a lasting call to something reminiscent of the Arab Spring? Could a final move to cling to power be what will actually cost the ruler all his power, in the end?

The future is never written until it’s written

The future outcome of recent events in China is arguable. Whether Xi gets to rule for a generation or not, the mere suggestion of the matter and what consequences it might have seem to be grounds for concern among those critical of the merit in Xi’s leadership.
A fact, however, is that the resent number of posters and the number of followers on Twitter show that whoever initialized the appeal toward the Chinese totalitarian ruling system is finding resonance among possibly many, before now, silently sleeping dogs.

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