President no more? US moves to ban Chinese leader Xi Jinping's title

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Aug 21, 2020, 03:10 PM(IST)

File photo of US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The 'Name the Enemy Act' would require that official US government documents instead refer to the head of state according to his or her role as head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

US lawmakers have introduced a bill to change the way the federal government refers to the leader of China. 

The 'Name the Enemy Act' would require that official US government documents instead refer to the head of state according to his or her role as head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This implies the new bill stands to prohibit the use of the term “president”.

The Chinese leader, currently Xi Jinping, holds three official titles, none of which is “president”: head of state (guojia zhuxi, literally “state chairman”); chairman of the central military commission; and general secretary of the CCP.

Critics say "president" offers unwarranted legitimacy to an unelected leader.

“Addressing the head of state of the People’s Republic of China as a “president” grants the incorrect assumption that the people of the state, via democratic means, have readily legitimised the leader who rules them”, the legislation states.

The House bill would prohibit the use of federal funds for the “creation or dissemination” of official documents and communications that refer to the China’s leader as “president”.

The legislation comes as many top cabinet officials, led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have recently begun abandoning the term “president” in favour of “general secretary”. 

Earlier in May, a White House report in May used Xi’s party title exclusively.

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