- The Beijing Communist Party Congress began on Sunday in the Great Hall of the People.
- China’s head of state and party leader Xi Jinping has warned of difficult times and “potential dangers”.
- At the beginning of the conference, the president called on the people of billions to “prepare for the worst case.”
“So prepare yourself and be prepared to withstand high winds, rough seas, and even dangerous storms,” Xi said.
Internationally, the party leader sees “enormous risks and challenges” as well as “global changes not seen in a century”. His speech, which lasted nearly two hours in front of red flags and a golden hammer and sickle, was strongly ideological. He called about 2,300 delegates to faithfully follow his leadership for the formation of a “modern socialist state”. The next five years are crucial for that.
It dashed hopes that the strict zero-Covid policy could be eased. He described it as “essential” and spoke of “enormous and encouraging achievements”. As the rest of the world tries to live with the virus, China continues its zero-tolerance policy – with lockdowns, mass testing, quarantines and digital contact tracing, plunging the second-largest economy into a growth crisis.
The focus of the Party Congress, held only every five years, is to expand Xi Jinping’s power. The delegates would appoint a new Central Committee of followers and embed its ideology more deeply as a guiding principle in the party’s constitution. “Continuous changes will basically ensure that the party should do what Xi Jinping says,” said Ness Grunberg of the China Merex Institute in Berlin.
Xi threatens Taiwan with military action
Amid rising tensions over Taiwan, Xi Jinping has threatened military action. China strives for a peaceful “unification”, “but we will never commit ourselves to giving up the use of force.” His leadership will retain “the option to take all necessary actions.” Beijing considers the Peninsular Democratic Republic to be only part of the People’s Republic. On the other hand, Taiwan has always considered itself an independent country.
Taiwan rejects Beijing’s threats
Taiwan has rejected new threats from Chinese head of state and party leader Xi Jinping. “Confrontation is certainly not an option for either side,” a spokesman for President Tsai Ing-wen said in Taipei on Sunday. He was responding to Xi Jinping’s speech at the beginning of the Party Congress in Beijing that he wanted to promote unity with Taiwan.
The spokesman said Taiwan is “an independent and sovereign country.” The 23 million Taiwanese insist on democracy and freedom and vehemently reject unification concepts such as “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong. Nor will the Taiwanese people make any concessions to their territorial integrity.
The conference is taking place under heavy security, which was tightened again after a rare protest by a man on a bridge with a banner advocating against “dictator Xi Jinping” on Thursday. Once the week-long deliberation is complete, the 69-year-old is set to be confirmed for a third term, which is unusual. As he ignores previously respected state boundaries, the Politburo is reset around him for age reasons.
The world of Chinese politics sees increasing isolation
Chinese political scientist Wu Qiang sees increasing isolation as China closes its borders due to a zero-Covid policy and relies on independence. “I think 40 years of reform and opening up are over,” says the lecturer, who had to leave the famous Tsinghua University in Beijing because of critical analyzes.
“China has become strong through globalization, reform and opening up and has retained that strength, so it will not be easy to break away from it.” But ideologically, the policy of reform and opening up was abandoned.
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