Xi Jinping has heralded a ‘new era’ for his country, as he addresses delegates at the start of a historic Communist Party Congress.
More than 2,000 delegates attended the congress – the most important Chinese political event, held once every 5 five years – where the party is expected to reveal the new members of China’s top legislative body, the Politburo Standing Committee.
Speaking at the 19th party congress, Xi Jingping opened the event by listing China’s recent achievements in a monumental three and a half hour speech – known under the title of “To secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and strive for the great success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.” While the speech covers a variety of fields regarding China’s global power, it also covered the Chinese people’s well-being.
Xi thanked the delegates for their “tireless struggle” in making China a superpower that stood “tall and firm in the east”.
The country’s rapid programme of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” showed for other countries that there was now “a new choice” he told the Communist Party Congress.
“The Chinese nation … has stood up, grown rich, and become strong – and it now embraces the brilliant prospects of rejuvenation … It will be an era that sees China moving closer to centre stage and making greater contributions to mankind.”
Xi became the Communist Party’s General Secretary – and thus China’s leader – at the last party congress in 2012, and has since emerged as one of China’s most authoritarian rulers since Mao Zedong.
China has never had a sparkling record, however, as many government critics, such as Yu Wensheng, have been placed under increased surveillance as hundreds, possibly thousands of Chinese activists and petitioners come under pressure to keep low as the congress speech gets under way.
Xi, who since the election of Donald Trump has tried to retain a strong and stable international figure, painted China as a responsible global power that was committed to tackling shared dangers such as climate change.
“No country alone can address the many challenges facing mankind. No country can afford to retreat into self-isolation,” he said.
It comes at a time where speculation about the Chinese economy has arisen. It appears to be making some sort of a comeback, even though potential risks still exist.
In October, the IMF released a report raising the 2017 GDP growth forecast for China to 6.8, 0.1 percent higher than its previous forecast in July. If this year’s growth does beat 6.7 percent, it would mark the first rebound in seven years.
This ties into Xi’s remarks that the country should allow more market forces to enter the country, in order to improve efficiency and develop a more sustainable growth model.
Furthermore, geopolitics has sprung back on the menu as China flexes its muscles towards Taiwan. Regarding Taiwan, Xi said: “ Any activity aiming to split the motherland will be firmly opposed by all the Chinese people. We have a firm will, sufficient faith, and adequate capacity to defeat any intention of “Taiwan independence” in any form.”