A turning point in China's history
The Communist Party of China (CPC) has virtually swaggered into their National Congress with a belief not felt in China for centuries. And for that, it was none other than Xi Jinping's central government that had guided the world's most populous country through precarious terrain to a rocketing economic power. And, if the unprecedented rise is any indication, the enlightened Chinese democracy – under the comrades – had really put the other giants in the shade. While addressing the opening session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, President Xi Jinping tried to keep his powerful sidekick in the post to solidify his grasp on power. He solidly told the 2300-odd delegates that they should 'strive with endless energy toward the great goal of national rejuvenation'.
Striking an upbeat tone in contrast with the grey skies and drizzle outside, the sexagenarian asked all the comrades to aim high and look far. It may be noted that Xi became the Communist party's general secretary and the Congress had heralded the start of China's third great political epoch since Mao Zedong's communists seized power in 1949. The first epoch was Mao himself, a revolutionary standard-bearer who helped the country find its feet; then came Deng Xiaoping, who masterminded China's economic opening and helped it grow rich. And, now it was Xi Jinping's turn to usher. Xi would be remembered as the leader who made China a strong and powerful nation as a transformative figure who saw himself in the same tradition as Mao and Deng. Briefly describing a two-stage plan for China's 'socialist modernisation' by 2050, Xi also warned against separatism, referring to movements in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong and reiterated the government's principle that Taiwan is part of China.
This new leadership, whose five-year term would extend beyond 2020 – till the making of a moderately prosperous China would be finished. It is certain that the amendment in the Congress would include key theories and strategic thoughts presented by a report to be delivered at the Congress. Discussion of Xi's new governance concepts, thoughts and strategies is also expected to make headlines throughout the event. Not to forget, many have attributed China's ongoing economic success to various factors including the party leadership, innovation, a people-centered ideology, stability, infrastructural upgrading and globalisation, all of which could serve as an example for other economies. Interestingly, China has set 2020 as the target year to finish building a moderately prosperous society – better known as Xiaokang – just one year before the Party's centenary celebration. The key components of the 2020 goal would be to eradicate poverty nationwide and to double the country's GDP and per capita income from 2010 levels.
And, it would be the first time in history that over 1 billion people would lift into modernity in such a short span of time. The fact is that it is President Xi's task to blaze the way for the nation to become a strong power in the world. Under Xi, China is following its own path. Xi's constant referencing of socialism with Chinese characteristics points to his belief that the Party has chosen the right path for China, as evident in the great leaps forward over the past four decades. It may be noted that China's GDP expanded by an average annual rate of 7.2 per cent between 2013 and 2016, with respect to 4 per cent growth in developing economies and just 2.6 per cent of global growth. It indicates that the economy is building stronger momentum with steady progress and growth, while major international institutions have raised their growth forecasts for China. Even the number of people living in poverty had dropped to 43.35 million at the end of 2016, from nearly 100 million at the end of 2012, which is a remarkable progress made in China's fight against poverty.
China's great achievement in socialism with Chinese characteristics means not only that socialism has gained strong vitality in China, but also that it has inspired and expanded the path for modernisation to developing countries throughout the world. In recent times, China is considered to be an active participant and contributor to global economic governance. As many speculations are on the cards, regarding Chinese economic policy that has immediate impact on markets has revolved around China's campaign to crackdown on debt, it would be really interesting to watch how would the Congress affirm the commitment to reduce risk in the financial system through continued efforts to reduce debt, and will tolerate slower growth after the meeting?