Top Asian News 6:46 p.m. GMT

BEIJING (AP) Xi Jinping, already China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, received a vastly expanded mandate Sunday as lawmakers abolished presidential term limits that have been in place for more than 35 years and wrote his political philosophy into the country's constitution. In one swift vote, the rubber-stamp legislature opened up the possibility of Xi serving as president for life, returning China to the one-man-rule system that prevailed during the era of Mao and the emperors who came before him. The package of constitutional amendments passed the nearly 3,000-member National People's Congress almost unanimously, with just two opposing votes and three abstentions.

BEIJING (AP) With China's rubber-stamp parliament voting to allow President Xi Jinping to stay in power indefinitely, recent history offers sobering lessons to the country's ruling Communist Party. For millennia, one-man rule for life was standard under kings and emperors. But from Zimbabwe to Iraq to North Korea, modern autocrats often blunder into economic stagnation, political dysfunction and war. "There is a tendency for erratic and sometimes unwise policy choices," said Erica Frantz, a Michigan State University political scientist who studies dictatorships, in an email. Those include "more belligerent foreign policy" and greater likelihood of war. On paper, deleting term limits on Xi's ceremonial post as president from China's constitution is a modest change compared with the vast powers he has ama....

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