Win for Democracy: China Scraps Presidential Term Limits

Win for Democracy: China Scraps Presidential Term Limits

China's new amendment to remove presidential term limits will democratize and strengthen the nation.
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Sunday, February 25, Xi Jinping, China’s popular and charismatic president, defied political convention when he proposed scrapping the presidential term limit, the first proposed amendment to the Chinese Constitution since 2004. Following the lengthy presidency of Deng Xiaoping (which was preceded by the equally lengthy chairmanship of Mao Tse-tung), China adopted for its highest office a time limit of two five year terms. As of right now, Xi is in the fifth year of his first term and will begin his second and possibly final term in March. The amendment will allow him to run for another. Though many western media outlets have decried this move, using even more than the usual amount of orientalist language, this will actually make China all the more democratic and ensure strong, capable leadership well into the future.

Official term limits, however well-meaning, are simply unnecessary. All elected leaders, no matter what the constitution does or doesn’t say, have term limits. They can only serve however long they can get the votes for. The Chinese people have questioned rigid, arbitrary, and undemocratic restrictions. Like the saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. To put it a bit more eloquently, as Xi did at the Second Plenary Session of the CPC Central Committee back in 2013: “an official … should act boldly and effectively in work, but he should also ensure consistency and continuity in the work.” The people want continued anti-corruption measures. They want to continue the modernization of the growing urban centers, the rural countryside, and Tibet. They want to remain optimistic and stay proud of their country and their government. In short, they want Xi.

Now more than ever, China needs skilled, experienced statesmen. Just in the last year, with Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, there have been more than enough cautionary tales showing us the dangers of great nations electing not-so-great leaders. Despite what “democratic activists” in Hong Kong might tell you, no one is grabbing power. We must remember that Xi is not even finished with his first term. Meanwhile, Germany’s Angela Merkel is on her way to a fourth consecutive term, having served thirteen years and counting as chancellor. No one is becoming president for life. Like the American Congress, they’re allowing more terms for leaders who can earn the vote more than twice.

The Chinese government and people are recognizing that China is in a place in its historical development that is unprecedented. In the last five years of Xi’s presidency, China has been eliminating poverty at breakneck speeds, all the while carrying out large-scale anti-corruption campaigns which have added a lot of fresh faces and removed more than a few old ones from the highest levels of government. And with nearly $1 trillion being put into the New Silk Road Economic Belt, China can’t afford to wait for a new president to learn the ropes.

With the nation set to become the world’s largest economy by 2020, their actions have consequences which reach far beyond just China. The sheer size and scale of their economy cannot be understated. Chinese goods can be found in every country in the world and many large foreign companies still favor Chinese labor, even as the costs mount. Despite its size, theirs is also one of, if not, the most stable markets in the world. And while nations like the United States, Japan, and Australia hope to compete against the emerging superpower, many are cheering as our once unipolar world opens up.

Though rarely mentioned by the Sinophobic western media, China’s development programs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have been nothing short of life changing. In addition to offering low interest loans and helping develop industry and agriculture across the world, China has forgiven just as much as they’ve lent, allowing struggling nations like Zimbabwe to get back on their feet. That’s without mentioning the 600 million people in China who have been pulled up from poverty in just the last few years.

China’s policies and strategy have been working, not just for China but for the world. A major change in leadership at this critical junction would be foolhardy at best, disastrous at worst. Lifting the restriction on term limits will only democratize and strengthen the country. I, for one, applaud the amendment; as I applaud President Xi on his successful first term, look forward to his second, and will have to wait and see about a possible third.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
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What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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An Open Letter To PETA CEO Ingrid Newkirk

For an organization whose sole purpose is to ensure the ethical treatment of animals, I have many questions.

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Dear Ms. Newkirk,

I, like you, am a firm believer in the right to compassion for all living beings around the world. Ever since converting to veganism from the omnivorous lifestyle I was raised to lead nearly six years ago, I have heavily relied on PETA.com and its affiliates for information, facts and statistics, recipe ideas, cruelty-free lifestyle selections, and activism opportunities on almost a daily basis so that I may further grow my knowledge and support for this permanent lifestyle change. When I search for new beauty or household products, clothing, shoes, and more, it is always comforting to see the "PETA-Approved Vegan" logo on the box, and I am confident in the purchases that I am making.

It was only recently that a new stream of data was brought to my attention that has altered my viewpoint of your organization and what it truly stands for, and I request that you provide the public your reasoning or justification for such acts, and any reparations that need to be made. Another lifelong vegan friend of mine recently pointed out to me a website called petakillsanimals.com where there is sizable physical legal evidence of immense animal cruelty, suffering, and murder at the hands of PETA over the last fifteen of years. Seeing as you have been the CEO of the organization for over 25 years, I figured it would be best to address you directly, seeking a response to this evidence of cruelty from the globally renowned organization that does all that it can to fight cruelty in every form.

According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, from 1998 to 2017, 85.2% of all dogs and cats transferred to your facility for shelter were euthanized within 24 hours of being brought to your facility. Despite your reasoning that you painlessly end the suffering of animals who would have otherwise been left to suffer anyway, the arguments and justifications that you are making mirror the arguments of the meat, dairy, poultry, and fish industries (whom you dedicate your life to combating) all too identically. Just as PETA fights to end society's blasé attitude toward animal cruelty and murder, your attempt at claiming that the way you euthanize the animals in your facility is "better", renders one of PETA's greatest catchphrases, essentially, worthless: "There is no such thing as humane murder".

Similarly, after wrongfully luring a family pet off its porch in 2014, PETA took the pet from its owner's property and euthanized it, bringing the dog's owners to file a lawsuit with your organization that was just settled in 2017, where PETA was forced to pay the family nearly $50,000 dollars in damages. Finally, terror is not ever a justifiable option to invoke change, so why are you personally and professionally so aligned with the Animal Liberation Front, a terrorist organization responsible for arson, extensive property damage, and assault? Why have you donated nearly $80,000 to groups that promote harming life in order to save a life?

Ridding the world of violence with more violence has never, does not, and will never work, so if I can request only one thing from you in this letter, even if you refuse to answer my other questions, it is this: please take the funds that are allocated towards extensive euthanasia drugs and services used by and in your facility, and put them toward building either another building to house more animals if physical space is a concern, for providing food and more extensive adoption services for these animals, or donate them to a true no-kill animal-rights organization like Best Friends Animal Society, Underdog Rescue, or any others provided on this list.

In this letter, my intention was neither to attack nor provoke you in an inflammatory manner, but rather to merely seek truth from an organization that I once so dearly respected and wish to one day respect again in the same manner. I thank you for your time, and for all of the lives that you have saved in between.

Sincerely,

An Animal Lover & Ally

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