Xi’s big moment

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Xi’s big moment

Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that he will build a strong and modern China unparalleled in its national power and international influence by 2050. At the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on Wednesday, Xi described the start of an era of a China in full-fledged competition with the United States. He made a concrete pledge for his second five-year term to fulfill the so-called China Dream he presented at the National Congress five years ago.

Standing at the podium of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Xi read out a 68-page report to more than 2,000 delegates from across the country for three hours and 24 minutes. The key words of his speech were “new era” and “uniquely Chinese socialism.” Proclaiming that China’s form of socialism has entered a new era thanks to the government’s persistent efforts, he said the new era refers to a bright future for the Chinese people following a period of rising and getting rich after having suffered a myriad of hardships since the dawn of the modern century.

What attracts our attention is Xi’s step-by-step strategies to evolve Chinese-style socialism. He said he will prioritize economic, scientific and technological power in creating an innovative nation by refining Chinese socialism for the first 15 years from 2020 to 2035. He underscored the importance of a strong military. Xi vowed to transform the Chinese forces by 2050 after making significant progress in the mechanization of the armed forces by 2020 and fundamentally modernizing the military by 2035, hinting at a more heated battle for influence with Uncle Sam on the global stage.

China experts anticipate that the uniquely Chinese socialist ideology will be stipulated in the Constitution of the Communist Party. Xi has been building his power since taking office in 2012 through a crusade against corruption in officialdom. Many pundits expected the 19th National Congress to be a coronation for Xi — and the start of a new era of prolonged one-man rule.

But some scholars believe it will not be easy for Beijing to ignore its peculiar collective leadership, which arose after the Cultural Revolution. Xi said that China’s new socialism is a guide to the revival of the great Chinese people after succeeding and developing not only Marxism-Leninism, Maoism and Deng Xiaoping Theory, but also a combination of the three, as upheld by Jiang Zemin, and the Scientific Development Theory of Hu Jintao.

Xi made clear that he also will inherit the legacies of his predecessors. The sight of Xi entering the hall together with Jiang and Hu was impressive. We are depressed to see a former Korean president refusing to appear in a court citing supposed human rights abuses against her and the incumbent president engrossed in digging out dirt on his predecessors.

JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 20, Page 34
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