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Sunday, March 11, 2018

China removes term limits allowing Xi Jinping to be President for life !!

It is always a great paradox that Commies are vociferous about human rights, people power and  more ~ but in the land they proclaim – such things are non-existent.  A couple of decades back – I recall affiliation to a TU movement that fought for minimum wages – all along keeping the staff in Union Office on contract basis, paying him much little !!  ~ here is something on China .. .. ..

There aren’t many 21st Century leaders who lived in a cave and laboured as a farmer before clawing their way to power. Five decades ago, as the chaos of the Cultural Revolution engulfed Beijing, the 15-year-old Xi Jinping embarked on a harsh rural life amid the yellow canyons and mountains of inland China. The region where Xi farmed was a bastion of the Communists during the civil war. Yan’an came to call itself “the holy land of the Chinese revolution”. Now President Xi Jinping’s second five-year term as leader will be confirmed at the Chinese Communist Party Congress. He leads a confident, rising superpower, but one which jealously polices what is said about its leaders.
Xi Jinping with Indian PM Shri Narendra Modiji

Before we read of the blatant desire to continue in power – here is something about China in space, or rather fall from space !  – in 2016, China announced that its first human station, Tiangong-1, would make an uncontrolled reentry into Earth’s atmosphere, and given the module’s large size and density, some big pieces might survive all the way to the ground. It’s predictably garnered a lot of attention, and the panic just won’t go away. Of course, there have been the standard frantic articles about the “doomed” station “spiraling out of control.” Some stories have insinuated that the station will fall in New Zealand’s backyard — though it’s far too early to know where it’s going to reenter.

~ and that will take to – Skylab,  United States' first and only space station, orbiting Earth from 1973 to 1979, when it fell back to Earth amid huge worldwide media attention.   In the hours before re-entry, NASA ground controllers attempted to adjust Skylab's trajectory and orientation to try to minimize the risk of debris landing in populated areas.  NASA's attempted target was a spot 810 miles (1,300 km) south-southeast of Cape Town, South Africa. Skylab's atmospheric reentry began on July 11, 1979,  and people on earth and an airline pilot saw dozens of colorful firework-like flares as large pieces of the space station broke up in the atmosphere.  Though the fears of skylab crashing into earth killing many was unfounded,  Skylab did not burn up as fast as NASA expected, and Skylab debris landed east of Perth in Western Australia, resulting in a debris path.   

In Political ground, China has approved the removal of term limits for its leader, in a move that effectively allows Xi Jinping to remain as president for life. The constitutional changes were passed by China's annual sitting of the National People's Congress on Sunday. The vote was widely regarded as a rubber-stamping exercise. Two delegates voted against the change and three abstained, out of 2,964 votes.  China had imposed a two-term limit on its president since the 1990s. But Mr Xi, who would have been due to step down in 2023, defied the tradition of presenting a potential successor during October's Communist Party Congress. Instead, he consolidated his political power as the party voted to enshrine his name and political ideology in the party's constitution - elevating his status to the level of its founder, Chairman Mao.

There is more interesting ~ censorship and Chinese media kept under wraps is nothing new ! – but this ‘Ce*sor’ was literal as China banned  letter N (briefly) from internet as Xi Jinping extended grip on power.  Negative social media reactions in China toward the government’s interest in abolishing presidential term limits sparked a crackdown on memes since last Sunday evening.  The Party’s Central Committee proposed removing a phrase in the constitution that stated the two leaders would “serve no more than two consecutive terms,” according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.  Many took to social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo with Winnie the Pooh memes, as the animated bear resembles President Xi Jinping to some degree. Winnie the Pooh has been associated with Xi for years and this week, he donned a crown and sat on a throne, enjoying his honey pot. These memes and social media posts were then taken down, hours after the Committee’s announcement, signaling that the public’s reaction was more unfavorable than authorities predicted.

The Chinese government has long kept tight reins on both traditional and new media to avoid potential subversion of its authority. Its tactics often entail strict media controls using monitoring systems and firewalls, shuttering publications or websites, and jailing dissident journalists, bloggers, and activists.  China’s constitution affords its citizens freedom of speech and press, but the opacity of Chinese media regulations allows authorities to crack down on news stories by claiming that they expose state secrets and endanger the country. The definition of state secrets in China remains vague, facilitating censorship of any information that authorities deem harmful  to their political or economic interests.

In trying to muffle public opinion,  Chinese censored the 14th  letter in the English alphabet and, in Scrabble, the springboard for more than 600 8-letter words.  It was not alone and according to a list compiled by the China Digital Times website, search terms blocked on Weibo, China’s Twitter, included:  ‘Ten thousand years’ (), which is China’s way of saying: ‘Long live!’ or ‘Viva!’; - ‘Disagree’ (不同意) ‘; - ‘Xi Zedong’ (习泽东) - a hybrid of the names of Xi and Chairman Mao Zedong ; - ‘Shameless’ (不要)  .. ..  ‘Personality cult’ (个人崇拜);  ‘Immortality’ (长生不老)  .. .. … the  name Yuan Shikai, a Qing dynasty warlord who unsuccessfully tried to restore monarch to China, was also banned as were the titles of two George Orwell books, 1984 and Animal Farm.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
11th Mar 2018.

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