Xi Jinping’s one-man rule

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Xi Jinping’s one-man rule

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) began on Sunday in Beijing. The meeting is of keen interest to the rest of the world as it will certainly help consolidate one-man rule in the country under President Xi Jinping. The congress is expected to specify “Xi Jinping thought” as a ruling ideology in the party constitution, which is above the Constitution of the country, and grant him the position of supreme leader of China. The CPC will most likely end the convention of two five-year presidential terms to allow Xi to serve as head of state for another five years.

In that case, all the powers Chairman Mao enjoyed after the Communist Revolution of 1949 will be concentrated in one man. That goes against the collective leadership that was introduced in 1978, when China started to move toward opening and reform of the country under Deng Xiaoping. The collective leadership was also instrumental in helping China get along with the international community.

China has been a country ruled by one party that does not have the checks and balances of Western democracies. The problem is that China under Xi Jinping has immense importance in global affairs incomparable to Mao Zedong’s era. Thanks to its strong military and economic power, China competes with the United States in nearly all areas. The rest of the world looks at China with deepening concerns about the huge power Xi Jinping can wield over the rest of the world. Depending on how he uses his power, the world can maintain order and stability or be headed to confusion and tension.

The speech Xi delivered at the opening ceremony of the congress deepened such concerns in the international community. He made official his wish to unify China through peaceful means. Yet he stressed that he cannot give up the option of solving the Taiwan issue through military force. That could be a nuanced declaration of an intent to invade Taiwan within his third term.

The change in the international order China’s rise brought about is creating a new Cold War. Xi’s relentless pursuit of his so-called Chinese dream under such volatile circumstances will not only endanger the entire world but also does not benefit China itself. We urge Xi to not forget that China became an economic giant only after opening and reforms.

The Korean Peninsula is closely linked to China geopolitically. The way China behaves — such as its ratcheting up tensions in the Taiwan Strait — affects security on the peninsula directly and indirectly. The Yoon Suk-yeol administration must draw up a detailed and wise diplomatic strategy to deal with China.
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