Peter Lam Kin-ngok, a Hong Kong delegate to the National People’s Congress, says that he believes the removal of term limits for state leaders ensured the continuity of policies and prevented chaos in society.

The official Xinhua news agency reported Sunday that the party’s Central Committee has proposed removing from the constitution a stipulation stating that the president and vice-president “shall serve no more than two consecutive terms.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping could stay in office indefinitely after his second term ends in 2023, as critics compare the move to a return to imperial dynasties.

Peter Lam Kin-ngok. File Photo: GovHK.

But Lam said he believed the move was intended to help the country develop in new situations.

“This is truly socialism with Chinese characteristics,” said Lam, the chair of Executive Committee of the Business and Professional Alliance for Hong Kong.

“You can see the recent strong development of the country – in fact many policies need continuity. If policies often change overnight, then many of them cannot be implemented,” he said at a session to introduce his party’s suggestions for the annual session of the NPC in Beijing next month.

He said that, in many places across the world, new administrations overturn policies of past administrations.

“Like the US, Obama’s policies are being completely overturned by Donald Trump, plunging the whole of society into chaos and instability,” he said.

Xi Jinping. File photo: GovHK.

He denied it would create a system of lifelong tenure for Chinese presidents.

“[The Chinese president] needs to be elected in every term. So I believe we should not attach too much importance to it. This is what the country needs, to let the Chinese people and Hong Kong people see the continuity of policies.”

He said his party’s stance is that it will support policies that are beneficial to Hong Kong and to the country, but added that he will have to look into the details once the documents are available.

Lam refused to answer further when asked about his voting preference, and his stance on former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s opposition to lifelong tenure, saying that he has already provided an answer.


Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.