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OFFICIAL VOICE OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CUBA CENTRAL COMMITTEE
The National People's Congress recently agreed, in a unanimous vote, that President Xi Jinping should continue for a second term. Photo: XINHUA

In China, they say Mao Zedong made the country free, Deng Xiaoping made it "rich," and Xi Jinping made it a superpower.

The current Chinese head of state, and his vision of how the giant country's productive forces can be unleashed, has had a great impact among citizens, and his leadership consolidated, at the head of the government and the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Xi Jinping's ideas have been included in the Party's statutes, a privilege he shares with only Mao and Deng.

The National People's Congress recently agreed, in a unanimous vote, that President Xi Jinping should continue in his position for a second term (2018-2023).

His reelection took place just days after legislators in the world's second great power eliminated Constitutional provisions limiting those holding the country's principal offices to no more than two consecutive terms.

The two term limit, that had been in effect since the 1990s, was overturned by an overwhelming majority in the Parliament, along with other Constitutional changes proposed by the CPC.

Authorities in Beijing and Party leaders argued that ending the term limits would strengthen the Chinese leadership system and allow Xi Jinping to supervise ambitious development projects underway.

The new changes in the nation's fundamental law should allow Chinese policies to be adjusted to the new times, to update and strengthen the strategic plan for "the nation's grand revitalization."

The possibility of Xi Jinping continuing at the head of the country beyond 2023 alarmed the West and the corporate press, always attentive to anything happening in Beijing.

Analyses and questioning rained down on the assumed perpetual continuation of the current leader in office.

The same occurred with the recent Presidential elections in Russia, in which the main issue was not Vladimir Putin's overwhelming victory or his approval rating - a record in the country's modern history - but rather the number of years he has spent in the Kremlin.

Curiously, some days prior to this vote, the media had praised Angela Merkel's strength, after she was elected for the fourth time to lead Germany's federal government. After 12 years in office, Merkel was reelected and the press focused on her ability to direct the future of Europe's largest economy.

The term limit change was approved at an event known as the Two Sessions, annual meetings of the national legislature and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and, in the first place reflect the will of the people of the country, which since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, has designed and implemented its internal policy in an independent fashion.

"The removal of term limits does not mean a president can stay in the position for life or every president can serve longer than two terms," said Cheng Enfu, professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and deputy to the 13th National People's Congress, who noted China does not need to follow Western patterns, according to the Global Times.

Although totally discounted by the West, China has its own democratic system that every five years reaffirms leaders or elects new ones.

"China has unfinished economic, political, diplomatic and military reforms and the country needs a determined and innovative State leader to accomplish such goals," Cheng said, adding that if the country has strong and wise leaders, they can serve more than two terms, as a way to resolve the country's problems.

Likewise, academics believe that China - with the world's largest population, the fourth largest territory, and more than 50 million people living in poverty - needs stable, strong, consistent leadership, that will allow long term development plans to be implemented.

"China cannot take the vicissitudes of a short term policy," Mei Renyi, president of China's Intercultural Research Institute told Granma.

Over the last 40 years, the government and the CPC have led the country to impressive development, with the implementation of a policy of "Reform and Opening," and are now assuming new challenges, in line with the current reality and directing of the country along the path to building a socialism with Chinese characteristics, he said.

Inside the country, people also believe that the change was an important move to reinforce the centrality of three roles: the CPC Central Committee General Secretary, the President of China, and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, positions all currently occupied by Xi Jinping.

"A consistent expression in the thinking of the Chinese Party, State, and Army benefits the stability of the country's central leadership," said Xinhua Zhang Hongzhi, member of the National Committee of the Party's Central Committee and deputy director of the Center for Research of CPC Central Committee Literature.

"The CPC Central Committee general secretary and the chairman of the Central Military Commission have no term limits, so synchronizing the three roles makes them consistent with each other," Zhang explained.


XI MAKES HIS MARK

The possible reelection of Xi Jinping beyond 2023 is a decision based on the consensus of the Chinese people, but responds above all to an essential accomplishment of his administration: stability to consolidate China's position as a world power.

The majority of Chinese believe that progress made over the last five years shows that Xi Jinping is a good choice to lead the nation.

Xi's political power is undeniable and was demonstrated when, during the XIX CPC National Congress, members voted to recognize his thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics within the Party's Constitution, elevating his status to that of its founder, Mao Zedong.

Xi has shown, since his beginnings, a clear political vision, promoting large national revitalization projects and international initiatives like the Silk Road Economic Belt, as well as announcing extensive plans to end poverty in the country before 2020. He has also advanced the military's modernization and the enforcement of strict environmental regulations to reduce the high level of pollution in Chinese cities.

With the goal of "establishing the Chinese nation as a world super power by or before 2050," he has gone deeper and updated the implementation of the reform and opening policy, seeking a "new economic model."

When he assumed the position of general secretary of the CPC in 2012, he launched an anti-corruption campaign which, according to official data, has led to the disciplining of 1.34 million officials at all levels, accused of charges such as corruption, misconduct, and failure to abide by Party norms.

Xi has also followed a more proactive policy in foreign affairs, with more a involved and participative diplomacy, in accordance with the country's role in, and contribution to, world finances.

In an international context marked by protectionist, exclusionary tendencies, China faces challenges in the struggle against climate change and is projected as the great hope for world trade, sharing its development opportunities and aspiring to shared progress.