China's Xi outlines achievements, plans as party congress opens

BY PETE SANKEY
Senior associate editor
sankeyp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 19, 2017

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BEIJING, China — It was dark, wet and cold outside but inside the Great Hall of the People, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Xi Jinping warmed the hearts of delegates and observers as the 19th National Congress of the CPC opened here yesterday.

Xi, who is starting his second five-year term as general secretary of the CPC and president of China, outlined his major accomplishments since he took office in 2012, touched on world affairs and his vision for the future in a speech lasting approximately three hours and 24 minutes, under the theme “Secure a Decisive Victory in Building a Moderately Prosperous Society in all Respects and Strive for the Great Success of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”.

“Both China and the world are in the midst of profound and complex changes. China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development; the prospects are bright but the challenges are severe [so] all comrades must aim high and look far, be alert to dangers even in times of calm, have the courage to pursue reform and break new ground, and never become hardened to change or inactivity,” Xi said to loud applause.

“We will unite the Chinese people of all ethnic groups and lead them to a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and in the drive to secure the success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for the new era,” said the Chinese president.

He said that the five-year period since the 18th National Congress has been remarkable in the course of development of the party and the country. However, he said outside China has been confronted with sluggish global economic recovery, frequent outbreaks of regional conflicts and disturbances, and intensifying global issues.

“At home, we have encountered profound changes as China has entered a new normal in economic development. We have upheld the underlying principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, risen to the challenges, pioneered and pushed ahead, and made historic achievements in reform, opening up and socialist modernisation,” said President Xi.

According to Xi, the CPC has over the last five years:

• Had major achievements in economic development -— which has seen the economy maintaining a medium-high growth rate, making China a leader in major global economies, with gross domestic product rising from 54 trillion yuan to 80 trillion yuan. China, he said, has also maintained its position as the world's largest economy and contributed more than 30 per cent of the global economy;

• Made breakthroughs in deepening reform;

• Taken major steps in developing democracy and the rule of law;

• Made significant advances on the theoretical and cultural fronts;

• Steadily improved living standards, where decisive progress has been made in the fight against poverty as more than 60 million people were lifted out of poverty and saw the poverty head count dropping from 10.2 per cent to less than four per cent. Also, 13 million urban jobs were created for each of the five years;

• Made notable progress in building an ecological civilisation;

• Initiated a new stage in strengthening and revitalising the armed forces;

• Made new progress in work related to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan;

• Made further progress in China's diplomacy on all fronts;

• Achieved remarkable outcomes in ensuring full and strict governance over the party.

“The achievements of the past five years have touched every area and broken new ground, while the changes in China over the past five years have been profound and fundamental,” said Xi.

But he made it clear that China still has many difficult challenges to face, and listed among them acute problems caused by unbalanced and inadequate development, and still more work to be done in protecting the environment.

“In work on public well-being there are still many areas where we fall short, and poverty alleviation remains a formidable task. There are still large disparities in development between rural and urban areas, between regions, and in income distribution, and [some of] our people face many difficulties in employment, education, health care, housing, and elderly care,” said Xi.

He said, too, that the level of civic-mindedness needs further improvements, while social tension and problems are intertwined, and much remains to be done in seeing the country's governance is based on law. In addition, he said China's system and capacity for governance need to be further strengthened.

Xi said, however, that the achievements over the last five years are the result of the strong leadership of the CPC's Party Central Committee, and, more importantly, the result of all party members and all the Chinese people pulling together in their pursuits.

And as he prepares for another five-year term, Xi promised, among other things, to:

• Ensure the CPC exercises overall leadership over all areas of endeavour in every part of the country;

• Commit to a people-centred approach;

• Continue to comprehensively deepen reform;

• Adopt a new vision for development;

• Ensure that the people have a say in the running of the country;

• Ensure every dimension of governance is law-based;

• Uphold core socialist values;

• Ensure the improvement of living standards through development;

• Ensure harmony between man and nature;

• Pursue a holistic approach to national security;

• Uphold absolute party leadership over the people's forces;

• Make China a country of innovators;

• Pursue a rural vitalisation strategy;

• Promote the rule of law and work to ensure sound lawmaking, strict law enforcement, impartial administration of justice, and the observance of law by everyone;

• Improve the quality of employment and raise income;

• Give priority to the development of education;

• Strengthen the social security system, and win the battle against poverty.

• Effectively safeguard national security;

• Promote green development;

• Work ceaselessly to improve party conduct and enforce discipline;

• Secure a sweeping victory in the fight against corruption.

At the same time, Xi promised that China will increase assistance to other developing countries, especially the least developed countries, and do its part to reduce the North-South development gap.

“China follows the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration in engaging in global governance. China stands for democracy in international relations and the equality of all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor,” the Chinese president said to loud applause.

“China supports the United Nations in playing an active role in international affairs, and supports the efforts of other developing countries to increase their representation and strengthen their voice in international affairs,” continued Xi. He added that China will continue to play its part as a major and responsible country, take an active part in reforming and developing the governance system, and keep contributing Chinese wisdom and strength to global governance,

“The wheels of history roll on; the tides of the times are vast and mighty. History looks kindly on those with resolve, with drive, and ambition, and with plenty of guts. It won't wait for the hesitant, the apathetic, or those shy of a challenge,” said Xi.

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