The Chinese Communist Party announced a proposal to abolish the term limits on the Chinese leader, through state media on Sunday night.
As the news was released, students posted screenshotted images of the announcement on their WeChat moments. “I feel that the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee is trying a bit too hard. Their attempt to avoid covering the issue is too obvious. I once read an opinion editorial claiming that ‘the enemy is in the Propaganda Department’, and now I kind of feel the same. In a way, they can be regarded as fooling people,” said one freshman, who wished to remain anonymous because they want to keep their political views private. “In some ways, it can be considered as an approach to save responsible personnel for longer terms. However, this also brings up more problems: it is questionable whether the power would be abused and provide a rich ground for corruption or even totalitarianism,” the same student continued.
One senior student spoke to On Century Avenue, but wished to remain anonymous as well. “It’s not even about removing that specific term from the constitution, but how easy it is to change constitution, and how everybody knows that it’s going to be approved once it’s proposed,” they said. “Then the country is not based on law anymore but just one man’s will.” This student began to consider leaving the country after the announcement. “It’s not about what’s going to happen immediately, but the implications and the possibilities. He has been a okay leader, but there’s got to be something when someone’s craving so much power and that scares you. With what’s going on with Taiwan and our borders in general, and what’s going on with our crazy craving of being a superpower, I’m scared of what might happen,” they said, indicating that they feared a war.
Another freshman shared their thoughts on the condition of anonymity, because they felt “this is a sensitive issue” and did not want to be judged on their political views. “It is essential to stay chill confronting such a political change trend. China is undergoing an important period of transition, facing challenges in the economy, culture and politics,” they said. “The stability of the leading group directly determines whether the policy would function well. And since the policy plays an important role in this “bottleneck” period of China’s development, this proposal is in the end ensuring the stability of people’s welfare.”
A third freshman wanted to remain anonymous to avoid causing conflicts with classmates due to different political views. “My basic view would be “Don’t accept. Don’t support. Don’t understand,’” they said. “I think this policy would definitely cause tension both inside and out of China. It might be plausible to extend the term to three or four consecutive terms, but removing the regulation is totally a different issue.”
This article was written by Allison Chesky, with reporting contributed by Simone Ye. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
Photo Credit: How Hwee Young/European Pressphoto Agency via The New York Times