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The 19th National Congress

The Communist Party of China (CPC) added "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era" to its Constitution on 24 October 2017. The amendment, approved at the 19th CPC National Congress, juxtaposed Xi's thought with Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development. Almost all previous top CPC leaders have had a reference to their ideological contribution included in the CPC Constitution, a fundamental law of the CPC which has supreme binding power for all the Party's 89 million members.

Enshrining Xi's thought into the Party Constitution proved the main highlight of the congress, signifying a leap forward in the sinicization of Marxism. China, which managed to stand up in the era of Mao Zedong and get rich in the decades after the reform and opening up initiated by Deng Xiaoping, is striding toward becoming a "great modern socialist country" by the mid-21st century under the CPC leadership with Xi at the core.

A wide range of new ideas, thinking and strategies put forward by the CPC Central Committee with Xi at the core were added to the constitution, including giving play to the decisive role of market forces in resource allocation, advancing supply-side structural reform and enhancing the country's cultural soft power.

Xi's thought makes eight fundamental issues clear, including the overarching objectives for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era, as well as the direction, model, and driving force of development, and the strategic steps, external conditions and political guarantees.

Clarifying the two centenary goals, Xi's thought rolls out a two-step approach to making China into "a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of the century." It also underpins 14 fundamental principles, ranging from ensuring Party leadership over all work, to building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Proposed in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Belt and Road Initiative comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes. The initiative has so far gained the support of over 100 countries and international organizations, and more than 40 of them have signed cooperation agreements with China.

China’s 89-million-strong Communist Party of China (CPC) kicked off its 19th Party Congress in Beijing on 18 October 2017. This key event occurs once every five years to set the Party’s national policy goals and elect its top leadership. The 19th CPC National Congress reviewed the Party’s work since 2012 and chart a course of action to guide the nation’s development over the coming years under a new leadership elected by about 2,300 delegates nationwide.

President Xi Jinping sits at the helm of the ruling party as General Secretary and will be seeking to tighten his grip on power. Since being chosen as Communist Party Leader five years ago, Xi has established himself as one of the most influential leaders in the country's history. His guiding principles are set to be written into the party's constitution at the congress. This was done in the past with the ideologies of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

Xi has presided over a series of domestic reforms, while flexing his muscle on the world stage. Since being chosen as the Communist Party leader in 2012, Xi has become all-powerful in China. He holds the top jobs in the party, the military and the state. Xi frequently refers to his slogan, "the Chinese Dream".

"The Chinese people are pursuing a dream," he said in a speech, "to realize our nation's rejuvenation." Xi won support by calling for reform and strengthening the nation's defense. During his first term, he has taken a hardline stance in the South China Sea, where China has constructed artificial islands for military purposes.

Domestically, he has pressed ahead with an anti-corruption campaign that cracks down on people from all levels of society. Top leaders, as well as their potential replacements, have been caught and detained. Information control has helped to stabilize the leadership. A law took effect this year censoring online communications in certain regions. Human rights and pro-democracy activities are being closely monitored.

The Communist Party likes what it sees in Xi, in 2016 choosing him as its "core leader", an elevated position.

In a nutshell, the National Congress creates a five-year roadmap for the nation. It is common knowledge that China has lifted more people out of poverty than any other country. In the past five years alone, China has lifted at least 65 million people out of poverty, about equal to the entire population of the United Kingdom. China plans to lift the remaining 40 million or so out of poverty by 2020. Together, that is about equal to the entire population of Vietnam, and all within eight years. Once the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society ahead of the 100th anniversary of the founding of CPC in 2021 is realized, China will eradicate poverty in a country with a population of about one fifth of the global total.

The second centenary goal, which aims to build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, and harmonious, will be completed by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Especially since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has made great efforts to realize the “Two Centenary Goals” and fulfill the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

The augmented role of the Party in governing commercial corporations — private and even foreign companies, not only state-owned enterprises — exemplifies Xi’s determination to strengthen the Party’s leadership of the country. Xi’s unprecedented anti-corruption campaign has won strong public support. His determination to root-out corruption and cut the wasteful and detested perks of officialdom is altering how officials in government, and executives in state-owned enterprises, work and even think. But some foreign analysts see Xi’s anti-corruption campaign as a weapon of political power.

The benefits of a system with a single leading party include implementing critical policies rapidly and assuring that strategies which require long-term commitment, have long-term commitment - for example, China's Belt and Road Initiative. The costs or dangers of a system with a single leading party is that society is much more dependent on the quality of its leaders, and much more vulnerable to their vicissitudes and excesses.

The CPC opened the 19th National Congress at the Great Hall of the People 18 October 2017. Xi Jinping delivered a report to the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The CPC has drawn up a two-stage development plan for the period from 2020 to the middle of the 21st century to develop China into a "great modern socialist country."

In the first stage from 2020 to 2035, the CPC will build on the foundation created by the moderately prosperous society with a further 15 years of hard work to see that socialist modernization is basically realized.

In the second stage from 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, the CPC will, building on having basically achieved modernization, work hard for a further 15 years and develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.

China's economy has been transitioning from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development. In developing a modernized economy, the country must focus on the real economy. China will support state capital in becoming stronger, doing better, and growing bigger, turn Chinese enterprises into world-class, globally competitive firms.

By the year 2020, military mechanization will be basically achieved, with IT application coming a long way and strategic capabilities seeing a big improvement. The modernization of the national defense and armed forces should be basically completed by 2035. The people's armed forces will be transformed into world-class military by the mid-21st century.

No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion.

China's anti-corruption watchdog said more than 1.5 million Communist Party members have been punished for graft and other breaches in the past 5 years. The party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection released this and other figures at a news conference in Beijing on 19 October 2017.

The release came on the sidelines of the party's National Congress now underway. The leadership under President Xi Jinping has pushed an anti-corruption campaign since its inauguration 5 years ago. The commission said 1.53 million party members had been punished for corruption and other disciplinary violations during Xi's first term. Of them, 58,000 were reportedly sent to judicial authorities for criminal prosecution.

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Page last modified: 30-10-2017 10:45:10 ZULU