On the morning of Oct. 18, Xi Jinping, standing behind a lectern in the Great Hall of the People, delivered a report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The 32,000-character report, the most significant of its kind in recent decades, drew more than 70 rounds of applause from delegates.
In the report, Xi said socialism with Chinese characteristics had crossed the threshold into a new era.
“This is a new historic juncture in China’s development,” he stated.
The report has been translated into 10 foreign languages. Most of the translators and foreign linguists involved used the word “powerful” to describe their first impressions.
“I was absorbed the first time I read it. I read from morning till midnight, even forgetting to have meals,” said linguist Olga Migunova from Russia.
U.S. expert on China studies and chairman of the Kuhn Foundation, Robert Lawrence Kuhn, said that with this political report and the congress, Xi, who is the core of the CPC Central Committee and of the whole Party, sees China as standing at a new historic starting point.
At the first plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee on Oct. 25, Xi was re-elected general secretary of the CPC Central Committee for a second term, a reflection of the will of the entire CPC. Media and observers, at home and abroad, see Xi as the right man to lead China from being “better-off” into a great modern country.
In 1949, Mao Zedong announced the founding of the People’s Republic of China, marking the end to a century of humiliation at the hands of foreign aggressors.
Deng Xiaoping, who put forward the reform and opening-up policy, then paved the way for the nation to become rich.
The coming five years between the 19th and the 20th Party Congress is the period in which the timeframes of the Two Centenary Goals will converge, Xi said when presenting the new CPC central leadership to the press.
“Not only must we deliver the first centenary goal, we must also embark on the journey toward the second,” he said, promising to work diligently to “meet our duty, fulfill our mission and be worthy of CPC members’ trust.”
He stressed that Chinese Communists “must always have a youthful spirit, and forever be the servants of the people, the vanguard of the times and the backbone of our nation.”
A MAN WHO MAKES THINGS HAPPEN
Five years ago, Xi, referred to by media as the first CPC chief of the social-media era, led the newly-elected members of the Standing Committee of the 18th CPC Central Committee Political Bureau to meet the press.
“In just a few minutes, the man who will lead the world’s most populous nation for the next 10 years laid out his agenda. In short: to make the Chinese nation great again, address the grievances of the people and root out corruption…. Mr. Xi used simple language easily understood by non-Party members,” said the Financial Times.
“He does seem to have the personality and political strength to start quickly and out of the box,” the report quoted expert on Chinese politics at Boston University Joseph Fewsmith as saying.
While praising his relaxed and confident demeanor, five years ago many took a wait-and-see attitude, as the new Chinese leader faced a plethora of headaches: a slowing economy, a widening wealth gap, corruption, and environmental woes.
The waiting and seeing is now well and truly over. Already some speak of “historic change” when describing what happened in the ensuing 1,800-odd days.
A total of 360 major reform plans were put forward and over 1,500 reform measures launched, establishing a general framework for reform in major fields and lending greater impetus to growth.
The economy expanded at an average annual rate of 7.2 percent between 2013 and 2016, outstripping the 2.5-percent average global growth.
More than 60 million people have bid goodbye to poverty.
Hundreds of officials at or above provincial or corps level have been investigated for corruption and a campaign targeting undesirable working styles has ensured that the Party with over 89 million members stayed pure and grew stronger.
The two million-strong Chinese military has reshaped its way of thinking and work style, organizational form and armament.
The “strictest environmental protection system” was put in place and numbers of officials were punished for insufficient work in this regard.
Moreover, the country made major progress in scientific and technological fields, seeing successes with a space lab, submersible, radio telescope and quantum satellite.
For the first time in over six decades, leaders across the Taiwan Strait met in person.
China is developing a new type of relations between major countries with the United States and Russia.
The Chinese currency, the renminbi or yuan, joined the IMF Special Drawing Right (SDR) basket. A proposal regarding a community with a shared future for mankind and the Belt and Road Initiative were incorporated into UN documents.
None of these were easy, but Xi and his colleagues have made things happen, with Xi’s unshakable will and commitment crucial to the cause.
If the Party and people need us to devote ourselves, we shall do it with no hesitation… If we cannot do it, then how can we ask others to do it?” Xi once said at a meeting attended by members of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau.
Xi’s roadmap for China’s future is inspiring: a two-step approach to becoming a “great modern socialist country,” once a moderately prosperous society in all respects is established by 2020. Socialist modernization will be basically realized from 2020 to 2035. From 2035 to the middle of the century, China will become a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful.
By then, China will be a global leader in terms of composite national strength and international influence. Prosperity for everyone will be basically achieved, a prospect that the Chinese nation has been longing for since the Opium War (1840-1842).
At this point, Xi is the unrivalled helmsman who will steer China toward this great dream.
Xi has been described by the media as “energetic,” “ambitious,” “sober-minded,” and a “pathfinder.”
He received the highest rating among 10 world leaders in a survey published by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. He also topped the domestic ratings that respondents gave to their own leaders.
A Nikkei report on Oct. 19 said Xi had drawn up the blueprint for the country’s development over the next 30 or so years and was expected to ensure that China regains its status as a global power. (more)