President Xi Jinping yesterday hailed China’s rise as a global power and demanded unity around its leadership, launching a Communist Party congress expected to endorse its bid for power for a historic third term.
In a keynote address to 2,300 delegates gathered at the Great Hall of the People, Xi promoted and defended a series of signature policies – including zero-Covid and his anti-corruption campaign that downed rivals within the party. .
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“Unity is strength, and victory demands unity,” Xi said after taking the stage to a thunderous reception from hand-picked attendees who will vote during the week-long Congress on leadership. party for the next five years.
The president – whose 10-year rule has seen the country become a global superpower – said China’s “international influence, allure and power to shape the world have increased dramatically”.
During his 100-minute “working report” on the past five years, Xi also focused on two of China’s most sensitive security and sovereignty issues regarding Hong Kong, after democratic protests there swept away. been crushed, and on the self-governing island of Taiwan. .
He hailed Hong Kong’s transition from “chaos to governance”, while his vow to “never commit to abandoning the use of force” on the self-governing island of Taiwan drew enthusiastic applause.
Xi celebrated the party’s continued efforts to eradicate Covid – which put heavy restrictions on people’s lives and hammer the country’s economy – as a major achievement.
He insisted the approach had “protected people’s safety and health to the highest degree”.
He also highlighted as a success his crackdown on corruption, which saw thousands jailed and critics said it had been used to crush dissent and opposition to his rule.
Xi said the anti-corruption campaign had eliminated “serious latent dangers” within the Communist Party, the military and the state.
“The fight against corruption has won a landslide victory and has been globally consolidated,” he said.
In a speech mostly focused on domestic issues, Xi also told delegates that China would “actively participate in global governance on climate change.”
Xi also reiterated that China opposes a “cold war mentality” in international diplomacy, but made no mention of frayed relations with the United States.
Nor did Xi refer to the war in Ukraine.
There were no political announcements in the speech, which was largely a review of the current state of affairs, and analysts said Xi wanted to project stability.
If all goes according to plan for Xi, the 69-year-old will be named party general secretary after the week-long meeting concludes, cementing his position as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.
Xi and the other top party brass are expected to be unveiled on October 23, the day after Congress closes.
If chosen as party leader for another five-year term as scheduled, he is almost certain to be elected president at the annual meeting of China’s National People’s Congress in March.
In the highly choreographed, mostly behind closed doors conclave this week, delegates will choose members of the party’s Central Committee, which has about 200 members, which in turn selects the 25-person Politburo and its all-powerful Standing Committee – the highest leadership in the country. body.