China lawmakers abolish presidential term limits

China's Congress of 3,000 delegates voted 2,958 in favor to allow President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely

A staff member stands in front of a ballot box on the rostrum before a plenary session of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Sunday, March 11, 2018. China's top legislative body is expected to approve an amendment too China's constitution on Sunday that will abolish term limits on the presidency and enable Chinese President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

BEIJING (AP) — China’s rubber-stamp lawmakers on Sunday passed a historic constitutional amendment abolishing presidential term limits that will enable President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely.

The National People’s Congress’ nearly 3,000 hand-picked delegates endorsed the constitutional amendment Sunday, voting 2,958 in favor with two opposed, three abstaining and one vote invalidated.

The amendment upends a system enacted by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1982 to prevent a return to the bloody excesses of a lifelong dictatorship typified by Mao Zedong’s chaotic 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution.

The slide toward one-man rule under Xi has fueled concern that Beijing is eroding efforts to guard against the excesses of autocratic leadership and make economic regulation more stable and predictable.

In a sign of the issue’s sensitivity, the government censors are aggressively scrubbing social media of expressions ranging from “I disagree” to “Xi Zedong.”

Copyright 2018 Associated Press