Chinese politicians have voted to abolish presidential term limits paving the way for leader Xi Jinping to rule for life.
At today’s National People’s Congress meeting in the Great Hall of the People delegates voted 2,958 to 2 to endorse the constitutional amendment.
Since 1982 Chinese presidents have been limited to two terms in office after former leader Deng Xiaoping brought in the rule to prevent a return of a lifelong dictatorship which Mao Zedong enjoyed from 1949 until his death in 1976.
In the final ten years of Mao’s reign, millions of Chinese people were murdered or died due to famine under his infamous Cultural Revolution.
Xi JinPing had been due to step down in 2023 but during last October’s Communist Party Congress he refused to anoint a successor.
Today’s vote was effectively a rubber stamping exercise, as 3,000 delegates voted overwhelmingly to support Xi.
Mr Xi became president in 2012 and quickly gained a reputation for fighting corruption, punishing more than a million party members.
He has also set up a new anti-corruption agency which will have wide-ranging powers to investigate wrong-doing throughout the country.
Xi has become a familiar figure on the world stage, and has sanctioned huge infrastructure investment in Africa and Europe.
There has been no debate in Chinese media about the scrapping of presidential term limits but several critics did manage to send their concerns to some delegates.
Former state newspaper editor Li Datong told the BBC: ‘I couldn’t bear it any more. I was discussing with my friends and we were enraged.
‘We have to voice our opposition.’