Photo: KHAM / AFP / Getty Images

The announcement of the planned State Constitution amendment to allow the PRC president to serve more than two terms rattled people inside and outside China.

Between the lines: It was not a surprise but rather the extinguishing of the last shred of hope that Xi would adhere to some of the institutionalization and norms, however squishy some have been, developed since 1978.

This revision is another move in the growing list of norm-busting changes Xi has pushed to allow him to stay in power for life. The most important substantive move towards this end was the inclusion of Xi Thought in the Party Constitution last fall. As I wrote in the October 24 Sinocism newsletter:

"The enshrinement signals that it is Xi’s Party and makes the question of succession while Xi is alive a moot issue. So long as Xi has not yet met Marx he is the man with an eponymous theory in the Party Constitution, which means no other official will have more authority than he does, regardless of whether Xi is Party Chairman, General Secretary, Central Military Commission Chairman or head of the China Go Association."

What's next: Now the National People's Congress will provide the institutional framework of the State to allow Xi, so long as he is alive and the Communist Party is running China, to be the most important and powerful person in China for life.

Be smart: In this new Xi Era, the world must learn to deal with the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, while China itself is now the strongest it has been in centuries. And it has plans to become even more economically, militarily and culturally powerful, on the road to its "Great Rejuvenation."

The big question: The debate over whether or not Xi respects "norms" should finally be over. This is not an academic debate. The question of whether or not Xi respects norms matters because it goes to the fundamental nature of Xi and the CCP. If the West does not understand this, how can the it possibly craft a viable response to the growing challenge from the PRC?

More: Read Brookings Institution's piece on "China’s constitutional conundrum" by Cheng Li and Ryan McElveen, and Axios Expert Voices by Richard Haas and Elizabeth Economy.

Go deeper

Parties trade election influence accusations at Big Tech hearing

Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

A Senate hearing Wednesday with Big Tech CEOs became the backdrop for Democrats and Republicans to swap accusations of inappropriate electioneering.

Why it matters: Once staid tech policy debates are quickly becoming a major focal point of American culture and political wars, as both parties fret about the impact of massive social networks being the new public square.

1 hour ago - World

Germany goes back into lockdown

Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will enact one of Europe's strictest coronavirus lockdowns since spring, closing bars and restaurants nationwide for most of November, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Germany is the latest European country to reimpose some form of lockdown measures amid a surge in cases across the continent.

How overhyping became an election meddling tool

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As online platforms and intelligence officials get more sophisticated about detecting and stamping out election meddling campaigns, bad actors are increasingly seeing the appeal of instead exaggerating their own interference capabilities to shake Americans' confidence in democracy.

Why it matters: It doesn't take a sophisticated operation to sow seeds of doubt in an already fractious and factionalized U.S. Russia proved that in 2016, and fresh schemes aimed at the 2020 election may already be proving it anew.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!