China's nearly 30-year experiment with time-limited government is officially coming to an end. The Chinese Communist Party has suggested amending China's constitution to allow President Xi Jinping to serve more than two five-year terms. Considering that the party rules the country, and Xi rules the party, that means two things: The constitution will be amended, and Xi is going to be president for life, much like Mao Zedong or Deng Xiaoping.

From the standpoint of communism, this result isn't terribly surprising. From Vladimir Lenin to Josef Stalin to Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov, the Soviet Union was never out of the hands of a dictator-like ruler until Gorbachev presided over its collapse.

Nor is Xi's ascent surprising in the light of China's traditional norm of imperial rule, which effectively carried over into communism.