President Xi reiterates belief in success of ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’
President Xi Jinping’s three-and-a-half hour address to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) here on Wednesday gave a loud and clear message to the world in general and the Chinese nation in particular that China will secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society and for that purpose all-out efforts will be made.
Wednesday turned out to be a historic day as President Xi not only took stock of the achievements made during the last five years since 18th National Congress in 2013 but he also gave a clear line of action for future, a strategy to follow to achieve the goals set by 19th congress. The achievements he said are result of Chinese leadership and the people’s strong belief in pulling together in their pursuit for peace, progress and prosperity. It is also because of the past 5-year policy that China’s economic and technological strength has increased significantly and a modern social governance system has taken place. He vowed to lead the country to basically realize socialist modernization by 2035.
Earlier, delegates kept arriving from all over the country at the Great Hall of China braving harsh winds, cold and persistent rain and taking their seats for the session was to start at 9 a.m. Secretary General of the CPC, President Xi who entered the Great Hall of China at around 8.50 a.m. accompanied by the Members of the Presidium including 91-year-old former President Jiang Zemin, was given a standing ovation upon entrance. Military bands played upon the President’s arrival and the Congress opened its first session with national anthem. A minute-silence was also observed in memory of the great leaders of China.
The President while addressing more than 2,300 delegates representing 90 million workers of the CPC pledged to usher in a “new era” that will be Chinese in characteristics, with moderate changes at home and abroad.
In his historic address, President Xi who is also Secretary General of the CPC spelled out his vision for an increasingly prosperous China and called upon the party to safeguard China’s sovereignty and pledged to make the country a modern socialist “strong power.” He was of the view that China must revitalize its culture and oppose the “erroneous” ideology and promote religion that is “Chinese in orientation.”
He also urged the party to encourage stronger social and economic development to better address “grim” challenges facing the country. During the 3 and a half hour address, neither the president nor the audience showed any sign of fatigue and every second pause of the president was followed by a huge round of applause from the audience’s side. “Through a long period of hard work, socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era and this is a new historical direction in our country’s development,” he said, using the term “new era” about 36 times.
The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is no walk in the park nor mere drum-beating and gong-clanging. The whole party must be prepared to make ever more difficult and harder efforts and it must realize that in order to achieve great dreams there must be a great struggle, he said.
“No country can alone address the challenges facing mankind; no country can afford to retreat into self-isolation,” Mr Xi said. According to Xi, he envisioned China developing into a “basically” modernized socialist country by 2035, becoming one of the world’s most innovative countries with the income gap between urban and rural residents significantly reduced, and its environmental woes fundamentally eliminated.
By 2050, he said he believed China would become a modern socialist “strong power” with leading influence on the world stage. Referring to calls for political reforms, he made it clear that “We should not just mechanically copy the political systems of other countries,” he said. “We must unwaveringly uphold and improve party leadership and make the party still stronger.”
He praised the party’s successes, particularly those engaged in his high-profile anti-corruption campaign, which has seen more than a million officials punished and dozens of former senior officials jailed.
He warned the drive would never end as corruption was the “gravest threat” the party faced. “We must remain as firm as a rock in our resolve to build on the overwhelming momentum and secure a sweeping victory,” he said.