Xi to continue pursuing national rejuvenation | By Sultan M Hali

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Xi to continue pursuing national rejuvenation

THE much-awaited 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has concluded and President Xi Jinping has created history by being elected to an unprecedented third-term of leadership.

Prior to this, only Chairman Mao Zedong had multiple terms. Xi’s re-election has come as no surprise since 2012, after assuming the mantle of General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, Xi had declared that he and his colleagues would lead the CPC in striving for national rejuvenation, pursuing a better life for the people and addressing problems within the Party.

In the past decade, China under his dynamic leadership has witnessed historic changes, with its economy more than doubling to 114 trillion Yuan ($16 trillion), absolute poverty wiped out and moderate prosperity attained for the country’s 1.4 billion people.

It was also a decade of severe challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic, a trade war with the United States and the downward pressure on the economy all posed hurdles for China’s development and tested the strength of Xi and the CPC.

He secured milestone transformations, ushering in a “new era” for socialism with Chinese characteristics; thus, Xi is regarded as the helmsman capable of leading the country in overcoming difficulties and pursuing full modernization.

What makes Xi stand out heads and shoulders above his predecessors is his motivation—the people of China—which is essential for China’s development.

One must take cognizance of the fact that Xi has an objective and comprehensive understanding of China’s current situation, as well as detailed and rational thinking of its future.

The key to understanding Xi Jinping’s psyche is his background. He was born in June 1953 into a revolutionary family. His father, Xi Zhongxun, was a revered CPC leader.

Describing his father as “someone who had devoted himself wholeheartedly to the Chinese people,” Xi Jinping said he was greatly inspired by the elder Xi and had pledged to follow in his footsteps.

Unfortunately, his father was purged by the Mao regime during the cultural revolution, while Xi himself was dispatched at the age of 15, as an “educated youth,” from Beijing to a remote village called Liangjiahe in an arid part of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, carrying with him a small sewing bag embroidered with Chinese characters “mom’s heart” by his mother Qi Xin.

Renouncing the life of comfort he had lived so far, Xi was destined to spend the next seven years in the countryside, working and living alongside farmers.

Dwelling in a cave with a bed made of bricks, covered with straw and a coarse blanket, suffered from flea bites, and worked as hard as fellow villagers to tend crops, herd sheep, carry manure and haul coal. Xi proudly called himself a farmer when he recalled his Liangjiahe years.

He joined the CPC after multiple attempts and later became the village party chief in Liangjiahe — the beginning of his political career.

Xi recalled his earnest wish then was “to make it possible for the villagers to have meat and have it often.

” He led them to dig wells, build dams, terrace hills and set up the province’s first methane-generating pit.

Xi said he gained his understanding of the meaning of the word “people” through his experience in Liangjiahe, and it strengthened his determination to “serve the people” — a principle he has adhered to over the decades.

In the late 1970s, after graduating from Tsinghua University, Xi served as a Secretary to the Minister of Defence.

In 1982, he volunteered to work at the grassroots level and moved to Zhengding, a poor county in north China’s Hebei Province.

Peng Liyuan, his wife, later said that many of Xi’s classmates went abroad and he could have just done the same.

But Xi stayed and chose a much harder path — to be a servant to the people.

In his three years in Zhengding, where Xi served as Deputy party chief and then party chief, Xi rode bicycles to all the communes and production teams of the county to inspect work.

Sometimes, he arrived when villagers were tilling the fields. He would join them and do the farm work.

He went on to spend over 17 years in Fujian Province and nearly five years in Zhejiang Province, serving multiple roles in the two coastal provinces including vice mayor, prefecture Party chief, municipal Party chief, provincial governor, and provincial Party chief.

In 2007, he worked in Shanghai as its Party chief before ascending to the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

The key to Xi’s success has been keeping a close bond with the people wherever he worked, even after he was promoted to work at the apex of the Party.

Xi has made it a tradition to visit the homes of the people ahead of every Spring Festival. Xi’s early-year experience of hunger and toiling on the farms may help explain why he would check the kitchen, bathroom and cellar in ordinary people’s homes.

Shunning protocol, Xi has frequented ordinary restaurants, standing in queue to order meals and joining common folk to dining as well as listening to their problems.

No wonder that he has been labelled as the “People’s Leader”. He also kept the habit of exchanging correspondence with the people.

Those who received Xi’s letters include farmers, entrepreneurs, pupils, grassland art troupe members, and soldiers guarding the borders.

In 2013, Xi initiated a “targeted poverty alleviation” drive and made plans for its implementation.

Altogether, over 255,000 work teams and more than 3 million cadres were sent to the countryside to help villagers shake off poverty household by household.

About 100 million people were lifted out of extreme poverty in the past decade.

Being with the people through thick and thin has strengthened his conviction: to strive for happiness for the people and rejuvenation for the nation.

The statesmanship of Xi came in the face of adversity through China’s detractors but he has led the country boldly and unflinchingly.

Truly Xi Jinping is destined to lead the country to the path of modernization through national rejuvenation.

—The Author is a Retired Group Captain of PAF, who has written several books on China.

 

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