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China's recent constitutional amendment eliminating the term limits for the president and vice president has left much of the West aghast. Critics fear the emergence of a new and unaccountable dictatorship, with President Xi Jinping becoming "Chairman Mao 2.0 ". Term limits are little more than an arbitrary constraint, which are not needed to ensure competent and responsive government in China.In 1947, however, following President Franklin D. Roosevelt's election to four terms in office, Congress enacted the Twenty-Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; since its ratification in 1951, US presidents have been limited to two four-year terms. In this context, the removal of term limits will enable Xi to sustain a complex reform process that will take years to complete. It will not make him president for life, nor deliver him unbridled and undivided power.Western critics emphasize that Xi has done much to concentrate power in his own hands over the last six years. A strong leader is not necessarily an autocratic leader.Half of the members of the Politburo Standing Committee, China's supreme government body, are not of Xi's choosing.In the West, government accountability is closely identified with democratic elections.
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