Xi's confident vision of a prosperous China
President Xi Jinping laid out a confident vision for a more prosperous China and its role in the world on Wednesday, stressing the importance of wiping out corruption and curbing industrial overcapacity, income inequality and pollution.
Opening the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, the country’s most important political meeting in five years, Xi pledged the building of a modern socialist country for a “new era” that will be proudly Chinese and steadfastly ruled by the Party but open to the world.
Xi, who is also the Party’s general secretary, said China’s development had entered a “new era,” using the phrase 36 times in a speech that lasted nearly three hours and 30 minutes.
“With decades of hard work, socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the threshold into a new era,” Xi told more than 2,000 delegates in the Great Hall of the People.
Xi set bold long-term goals for China’s development, envisioning it as a “basically” modernized socialist country by 2035, and a modern socialist “strong power” with leading influence on the world stage by 2050.
He told delegates: “What we now face is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing need for a better life.”
The evolution of the principal contradiction represents a “historic shift that affects the whole landscape and that creates many new demands for the work of the Party and the country,” he said.
Previously, the principal contradiction was described as one between “the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and backward social production.”
China has seen the basic needs of over a billion people met, has been making it possible for people to live decent lives, and will soon bring the building of a moderately prosperous society to a successful completion, Xi said.
The needs to be met for the people to live a better life are increasingly broad. Not only have their material and cultural needs grown, their demands for democracy, rule of law, fairness and justice, security and a better environment are increasing, he said.
“While China’s overall productive forces have significantly improved and in many areas our production capacity leads the world, our problem is that our development is unbalanced and inadequate,” he said.
“This has become the main constraining factor in meeting the people’s increasing need for a better life,” Xi said.
Despite the evolution of the principal contradiction, China “is still and will long remain in the primary stage of socialism,” and its status as the world’s largest developing country has not changed, Xi said.
He called on the Party to be “completely clear about this fundamental dimension of our national context,” and “base our work on this most important reality — the primary stage of socialism.”
Xi said the Party had drawn up a two-stage development plan for the period from 2020 to the middle of the century, calling the plan the Party’s “strategic vision for developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.”
In the first stage of the plan, from 2020 to 2035, the Party will build on the foundation created by the moderately prosperous society with a further 15 years of hard work to see that socialist modernization is basically realized.
In the second stage, from 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, the Party will, building on having basically achieved modernization, work hard to develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful.
By then, China will become a global leader in terms of national strength and international influence and common prosperity for everyone will be basically achieved.
The Party is the highest force for political leadership, Xi said, stressing strict governance over the Party and improvement in its ability to govern and lead.
Having gained overwhelming momentum in its fight against corruption, the Party is determined to secure a “sweeping victory” over what he called its “greatest threat.”
Established in 1921, the Party founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and started reform and opening-up in the late 1970s.
Over the past five years, the nation’s GDP rose from 54 trillion yuan to 80 trillion yuan (US$8.2 trillion to US$12.1 trillion), contributing more than 30 percent of global economic growth. More than 60 million people have been lifted out of poverty.
China launched over 1,500 reform measures, establishing general frameworks for reform in major fields. The country is also building world-class armed forces.
The nation has stood up, grown rich and become strong, and it now embraces the brilliant prospects of rejuvenation, Xi said. “Scientific socialism is full of vitality in 21st century China.”
It is also blazing a new trail for other developing countries to achieve modernization, and offers Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing mankind, he said.
“Achieving national rejuvenation will be no walk in the park,” Xi said. “It will take more than drum beating and gong clanging to get there.”
He reaffirmed China’s commitment to building a community with a shared future for mankind.
“No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion.”
Party will defeat the separatists
The Party has the resolve, confidence and ability to defeat separatist attempts for “Taiwan independence” in any form, Xi said.
The Party stands firm in safeguarding China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will never allow the historical tragedy of national division to repeat itself, Xi said.
“We will never allow anyone, any organization, or any political party, at any time or in any form, to separate any part of Chinese territory from China,” he said.
“Recognize the historical fact of the 1992 Consensus and that the two sides both belong to one China, and then our two sides can conduct dialogue to address through discussion the concerns of the people of both sides, and no political party or group in Taiwan will have any difficulty conducting exchanges with the mainland.”
The 1992 Consensus embodies the one-China principle.
“We ... are ready to share development opportunities on the mainland with our Taiwan compatriots first,” he said.
“We will ensure that over time, people from Taiwan will enjoy the same treatment as local people when they pursue their studies, start businesses, seek jobs, or live on the mainland, thus improving the well-being of Taiwan compatriots.”
People from both sides are encouraged to work together to forge closer bonds.