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China begins voting on scrapping president’s term limits

The amendment will almost certainly pass.

Chinese legislators have started casting votes on a historic constitutional amendment that would abolish term limits and enable President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely.

The amendment’s passage by the National People’s Congress’ nearly 3,000 hand-picked delegates, gathered in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, is all but certain.

Observers will be looking to see how many delegates abstain from voting as an indication of the reservations the move has encountered even within the political establishment.

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The amendment would enable President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely (Oli Scarff/PA)

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

Once passed, the constitutional amendment would upend 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.

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”.

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