From Martin Wolf at FT:
Sometimes an announcement succeeds in being both unsurprising and shocking. It had long been evident that China’s Xi Jinping would not — indeed, could not — step down from power. He has made too many enemies, particularly through his anti-corruption campaign, even if he wanted to go, which seems unlikely.
Yet the announcement that the two-term limit on the presidency is to go, is still shocking. What seemed likely is now a fact. Mr Xi has discarded the attempt by Deng Xiaoping to institutionalise checks on the power of China’s leaders — itself a reaction to the wild excesses of the era of Mao Zedong. What is re-emerging is strongman rule — a concentration of power in the hands of one man…..
Read the full article at FT.com
Masahiro Matsumura, professor of international politics at St. Andrew’s University (Momoyama Gakuin Daigaku) in Osaka, writes
…….the Chinese state apparatus is largely detached from the military, while the party’s top civilian leaders have only a loose grip on the generals.
Worse still, the current fifth generation of civilian leaders is made up of veritable dwarfs in military affairs. By contrast, the PLA’s leaders have become increasingly professionalized, but without the tempering influence of effective civilian control, which might well collapse entirely if China’s leaders continue to accept unauthorized military actions, particularly in the East or South China Sea, as faits accomplis. Line commanders could take advantage of the equivocality of civilian policy, particularly given the military’s growing political clout and the CCP’s dependence on popular nationalist sentiment.
Read more at Beware China’s civilian-military relationship – The Japan Times.