On August 22, as China marked the 115th birthday of Deng Xiaoping, the paramount leader who led China into the reform era, a post sent to “People’s Reading” (人民阅读) and “People’s Daily Press” (人民日报出版社), both official WeChat public accounts operated by the People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, dealt with the now very sensitive issue of term limits for national leaders and reproduced a front-page article of the People's Daily captioned “Deng Xiaoping Abolishes the Lifelong Tenure System for Leaders”  (邓小平废除领导职务终身制).  The posts made to the “People’s Reading” and “People’s Daily Publishing House” WeChat accounts on August 22, were in fact passages from a book about Deng Xiaoping published by the People’s Daily Publishing House in March 2013.  The book, authored by former journalist Xu Wei (余玮), is called Deng Xiaoping: Ordinary Man.The post went viral on Wechat, Weibo etc leading to a discussion across social media that the authorities found unacceptable. The posts were deleted.  

(Comment: Limits on terms for national leaders ultimately came in the 1982 Constitution, which stipulated “no more than two consecutive terms” (连续任职不得超过两届) for key positions, including the national Chairman (国家主席), often referred to misleadingly as the “President,” the Deputy Chairman, and the Premier.)

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