Congress charts course to future prosperity

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will “make new strategic arrangements for the country’s reform and development over the next five years and beyond.”

China today raises the curtain for the national gathering of one of the world’s largest political parties.

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will “make new strategic arrangements for the country’s reform and development over the next five years and beyond,” Tuo Zhen, spokesman for the congress, told a press conference yesterday.

“It is an event of key importance as China embarks on a decisive stage of building a moderately prosperous society, and a crucial phase to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics,” he said.

A total of 2,280 delegates will attend the twice-a-decade event. About a third are selected from the country’s grassroots.

In many ways, the gathering will mark a milestone in the history of the Party and China.

A new leadership — whose five-year term will extend beyond 2020 when the building of a moderately prosperous society is expected to be completed — will be elected, and the Party’s constitution will be amended, Tuo said.

The amendment will include key theories and strategic thoughts presented by a report to be delivered at the congress.

It will “fully represent the latest sinification of Marxism, as well as new governance concepts, thought and strategies proposed by the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core since the 18th CPC National Congress, as well as new experience in adhering to and strengthening Party leadership and in strict Party governance,” Tuo said.

Discussion of Xi’s new governance concepts, thought and strategies is expected to make headlines throughout the event.

More importantly, delegates will pool wisdom on how to further develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. The phrase has been a familiar notion referred to repeatedly at previous national congresses.

Many have attributed China’s ongoing economic success — if not miracle — to various factors including the Party leadership, innovation, a people-centered ideology, stability, infrastructural upgrading and globalization, all of which could serve as an example for other economies.

This year the term will carry extra weight at the congress.

China has set 2020 as the target year to finish building a moderately prosperous society (xiaokang), just one year before the Party celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Two key components of the 2020 goal are to eradicate poverty nationwide, and to double the country’s GDP and per capita income from 2010 levels.

By 2049 — the centenary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China — it should become a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious.

It will be the first time in history that over 1 billion people have been lifted into modernity in such a short space of time.

Achieving these two centenary goals is key to taking the historic leap from standing-up, to becoming better-off, to getting stronger, and then realizing the “Chinese Dream” of national rejuvenation proposed by Xi in 2012.

Late Chinese leader Mao Zedong is commonly thought to have ended China’s century of humiliation at the hands of foreign aggressors by founding the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

Deng Xiaoping, the architect of China’s reform and opening-up, is the leader who is said to have paved the way for the nation to become rich.

Now, it is President Xi’s task to blaze the way for the nation to become a strong power in the world. Under Xi, China is following its own path.

Addressing a workshop for high-ranking officials in late July, Xi called for “upholding the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics on the road toward victory in building a well-off society and realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.”

In the tone-setting speech ahead of the congress, Xi stressed confidence in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which he called “the theme of all the Party’s theories and practices” since reform and opening-up began.

Xi’s constant referencing of socialism with Chinese characteristics points to his belief that the Party has chosen the right path for China, as evident in the great leaps forward over the past four decades.

China’s GDP expanded by an average annual rate of 7.2 percent between 2013 and 2016, compared with 4 percent growth in developing economies and just 2.6 percent of global growth.

The economy is building stronger momentum with steady progress and growth, while major international institutions have raised their growth forecasts for China.

Meanwhile, the number of people living in poverty had dropped to 43.35 million at the end of 2016, from nearly 100 million at the end of 2012, according to Tuo, who hailed the “remarkable progress made in China’s fight against poverty.”

China’s great achievement in socialism with Chinese characteristics means not only that socialism has gained strong vitality in China, but also that it has inspired and expanded the path for modernization to developing countries throughout the world, Tuo said.

Calling China an “active participant and contributor to global economic governance,” he said China is working to push economic globalization toward being open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.

“China is willing to shoulder more responsibilities and play a bigger role in safeguarding international peace and security, promoting global economic growth, and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries,” he said.

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