China went into overdrive on Tuesday (Feb 27) to defend the Communist Party’s move to lift term limits for President Xi Jinping as criticism persisted on social media in defiance of censorship. The party has shocked many observers by proposing a constitutional amendment to end the two-term limit for president, giving Xi a clear path to rule the world’s second largest economy for life. Censors have scrambled to block critical comments on social media but users of the Twitter-like Weibo website continued to speak out on Tuesday, two days after the party’s announcement. “So pathetic, we have 1.3 billion people, no one can resist,” wrote one user.
Another lamented the lack of political reform: “I once believed that I could see a president elected by one man, one vote in my lifetime.”
Censors blocked searches for the phrases “I object”, “proclaimed king”, “tenure system” and “Winnie the Pooh” – the portly cartoon bear to which Xi has been compared.
Xi is expected to secure a second five-year term when the rubber-stamp National People’s Congress opens its annual plenary session on Monday.