Xi was greeted with thunderous applause from about 2,300 handpicked delegates as he took to the podium in the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
In his opening speech, he said the party congress is taking place at a critical time for China. He defended a tough coronavirus policy that has hit the economy and sparked protests, and praised Hong Kong’s “way out of chaos to governance” after a new security law in 2020 crushed the democratic movement.
– Taiwan must be reunited
He also condemned what he called foreign interference in Taiwan and vowed to fight fiercely against what he called separatism and interference in the self-governing island.
– He said, we have fought a great struggle against separatism and interference, and we have demonstrated our firm resolve and ability to safeguard state sovereignty and territorial integrity and oppose Taiwan independence.
He said China hopes for peaceful reunification, but also made it clear that China will never give up its right to use force if necessary when it comes to Taiwan.
Xi also stressed China’s opposition to a “Cold War mentality” in international diplomacy, although he did not mention the weak relationship with the United States or Russia.
He said that China opposes all forms of hegemony and power politics, opposes the Cold War mentality, opposes interference in the internal affairs of other countries, and opposes double standards, adding that “China will never seek hegemony, and will never participate in expansion.”
He also praised the anti-corruption efforts, which he said removed grave risks to the party and the military, and promised that China would actively participate in the fight against climate change.
every five years
The party congress is a major event held only every five years, and approves the policies of the party and government almost unanimously. It runs until October 22nd.
Among other things, Xi is expected to be re-elected for a third term as party general secretary, unlike previously the practice of only two terms. Thus, he will also, with the greatest certainty, be re-elected president in March.
Stronger since Mao
After ten years in power and now five more, he has become China’s most powerful leader since Mao, with complete control of the economy, domestic and foreign policy, and the armed forces.
The party congress is being held at a time when the Chinese economy is facing headwinds because the large real estate sector has slowed, and because the Corona pandemic with quarantine and other restrictions has severely damaged tourism, business and industrial production.
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