Xi Jinping already holds more titles than many of his predecessors. He is the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, President of the People Republic of China and Core Leader. What next?
by Victor Cherubim
( October 21, 2017, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Times change, substance and style take precedence. The legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party, in today’s China of President Xi Jinping, is seen as uppermost in the minds of the 2,287 delegates who attended the 19th Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on 18 October 2017.
“The First epoch was Mao Zedong in 1949, a revolutionary standard bearer who helped the country find its feet, then came Deng Xiaoping, the reformer who masterminded China’s economic opening and helped it grow rich, now its Xi Jinping to usher in a new era, being a global power,” with the One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative, a power vacuum left unclaimed by the West.
Global Power by 2050
Change is in the air in China – a leading global power by 2050 as stated by President Xi Jinping at the CPC National Congress.
Ideology was king, replacing it, is elimination of poverty for at least its 90 million members of the party. By merit and not as a birthright is the criterion for development. University of the Elderly is to be created, for the 230 million of population over 60 years old. These were a few of the visions outlined.
The changes already seen
The transition from an export led economic growth to a consumer driven growth is vividly seen by many observers. The GDP growth forecast of 6.8% today described as a “moderately prosperous society,” is in evidence.
The theme is to “live a better life, seek happiness for the people and rejuvenation for the nation,” within a one party rule. More and more Chinese are travelling abroad on holiday. They are returning back having seen the luxury of clean air and blue skies.
The second noticeable change over the past few years, China has made remarkable achievements in environmental protection; more weight than economic growth, with the latter an export abroad.
Smog filled skies in big cities along with polluted waterways and excess waste is being tackled big by air quality protection schemes. The average concentration of pollution in Beijing and Shanghai has fallen down digits especially due to implementation of anti-pollution. Unrelenting effort over the past five years to clear the country’s smoggy skies and toxic rivers by introduction of new environment standards has seen some improvement. In an effort to trim the dependency on coal, one of the biggest pollutants, production capacity is reduced, by the closure of over 1000 existing coal mines. To complement, China is increasing its wind and solar power capacity by more than 20%, seen in the manufacture and export of solar panels. A decline in heavy industry by policies limiting coal and instead promoting “sustainable renewables” will cause China to suffer a lot in the medium term. But, the 21st century China is a different story, as it hopes to leapfrog to a cleaner world.
Freedom of movement
Another feature of change is the freedom of movement within and outside of China. Chinese infrastructure projects overseas see many thousands of Chinese work abroad, their wellbeing inside China, is an incentive for travel abroad.
The exploding incomes of urban dwellers are colliding with the rising population in big cities where they live. Peoples control over their own lives has been enhanced in many ways. Chinese were not allowed to travel outside of China before 1991 and after 1994 they were only able to venture to Asian countries. In 2010 only 5,739 Chinese travelled to foreign countries. Many Chinese now have become the biggest spenders as record numbers head overseas and rising. Many snap up luxury brands which are much cheaper abroad than in China. Still others visit abroad to gamble their wealth, having made earlier visits to Macau and Hong Kong.
Priorities have changed
President Xi Jinping has consolidated power faster than his two recent predecessors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. Priorities have changed. Personal satisfaction and exploration overseas is becoming important as wealth and security.
Xi Jinping already holds more titles than many of his predecessors. He is the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, President of the People Republic of China and Core Leader.
In his bold 3 hour 23 minute address outlining his party’s priorities for the next Five Years, he said,” it is no walk in the park. It will take more than drum beating and gong clanging to get there.”
The government under President Xi is more interested in trying at curbing corruption and reforming the economy and withdrawing from many areas of society. Citizens we are told now, can start their own business, buy their own homes and travel abroad.
Chinese people have regained a great deal control over their lives. However, politics is one area that remains out of bounds for most Chinese people. Many observers state “you never know how far one can go in China.”