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He dismissed the removal of term limits, for both president and vice-president, as a mere housekeeping item, aimed at "optimizing the leading structure of the country".

One person who managed to get past censors on China's Twitter-like Weibo expressed concern "about the safety of those two people who voted against Xi's will". Of the almost 3,000 delegates to the congress, 2,958 voted in favor. This move reflects a similar revision of the CPC Constitution adopted at the CPC's 19 National Congress in October of past year (China Brief, November 10, 2017), and makes Xi Jinping only the third Chinese leader mentioned by name in the PRC Constitution-"Mao Zedong Thought" and "Deng Xiaoping Theory" are also similarly honored.

As criticism within mainland China to the ending of the presidential term limit has been nearly entirely silenced, vocal signs of opposition are emerging overseas.

Another widely read paper, the Beijing Youth Daily, referred to the change as an "adjustment" that would help strengthen the party's all-round leadership and protect its authority, but did not denounce critics.

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He said parliamentarians, by giving a nod to a clause reading "the leadership of the Communist Party of China is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics", have "improved leadership of the Communist Party in China". "It is a successful arrangement that we [the party] have explored and developed over a long period of time". "We are increasingly confident that the key to China's path lies in upholding strong party leadership and firmly following the leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core", it said.

"Term limits, avoidance of a cult of personality, and the end of routine political purges - all of these were part of China's reform-era leaders' efforts to steer the nation out of the chaos and instability of the Maoist era", said Carl Minzner, a professor of law at Fordham University in NY and author of a new book on Xi's authoritarianism. He is already dubbed as the country's next Mao, founder of modern China who ruled from 1949 until his death in 1976. His violent Cultural Revolution cost the lives of millions of Chinese.

It is now hard to see Xi Jinping being challenged in any way whatsoever.

The amendment - announced by the Communist Party two weeks ago - removes the only barrier keeping Xi, 64, from staying on after his expected second term ends in 2023. In the past three decades, constitutional changes have nudged China toward western norms by legalizing the private economy, protecting individual property rights and even enshrining human rights. The bill also included Xi's political ideology, which was included in the preamble, and it strengthens the role of the party.

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"It is beneficial to the stability and safety of the entire country", said Shen Chunyao, chairman of the legislative affairs commission of the Chinese parliament's standing committee.

"As for the assumptions, conjecture and stretched situations in your question, I think that does not exist", Mr Shen said. In other words, the Communist Party is the only party fit to rule China, and with Xi's political thought and goals written into the document as well, he is now unquestionably the country's paramount leader.

"In fact, the more Xi Jinping's position is consolidated and the longer his governing time is to last, the more secure it is for the continuity of the policies", said Liu Jiangyong, a professor at Renmin University's School of International Relations. And that is risky, he said.

Over the years, Xi has come to hold a vice-like of China.

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But Sidney Rittenberg, 96, one of the few Americans to have personally known Mao, says China will never return to that era of isolation and violent political struggle. "Today's [vote] has clearly shown that the constitution is used as a political tool to rule the people [and reflect the top leader's political will]".


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