CNN described it as “China’s ‘Game of Thrones’” and warned about “the Cult of Xi.”Bloomberg fretted that there was “a great centralization of power in one man.” The Guardian cried of China’s “increasingly assertive – domineering, some say – foreign policy.” The Globe and Mail howled that “the Chinese system of authoritarian capitalism is seeking to undermine Western democracy.”
Far be it from us to question the assessments and characterizations of the mainstream bourgeois media – bastions of truth and democracy that they are – but it does seem that they have taken great pains to depict China’s 19th Communist Party Congress as a singularly threatening event. After all, such characterizations do directly support and facilitate imperialist plans to demonize, encircle and isolate China.
Clearly, something was astir at the 19th Congress, that caught the attention of these spokespeople for global capitalism and planted the seeds of panic. While there is a lot to be analyzed in this situation, the opening speech from Chinese President and Party General Secretary Xi Jinping is a good place to start. The following is based on excerpts from that speech:
“The CPC’s 19th Congress is held in this key period, on the eve of the victory of attaining an Affluent Society, of achieving “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics (SCC).” This is a key meeting.
“The 5 years since the 18th Congress have been extraordinary years for the CPC and country. Facing a world with weak growth, uncertain conditions, worsening global problems, and changing economic conditions, we remain steady to face our difficulties head on, to advance toward the historic outcome of modernising socialism.
“The poverty rate has dropped from 12.2 percent to 4 percent. The comprehensive development of education, the central and western regions and rural education has been significantly strengthened. Growth of urban and rural incomes exceeds economic growth, and middle-income groups continue to expand.
“Significant ecological protection and restoration projects are progressing smoothly, and forest cover continues to improve. Ecological environment management has been significantly strengthened, and the environmental situation has been improved. We have become a global leader, guiding international cooperation in response to climate change.
“At the same time, we must clearly see that our work still has many deficiencies and we face many difficulties and challenges. The development of quality and efficiency is not high, innovation is not strong enough, the real economic level needs to be improved, ecological and environmental protection has a long way to go. The contradiction between the urban and rural areas and the income distribution gap is still large. There are many problems in the areas of employment, education, health care, housing, and pensions. These problems must be addressed.
“We must speed up the improvement of the socialist market economic system. We should improve all kinds of state-owned assets management system, reform the state-owned capital authorized management system, speed up the optimization of state-owned economy layout, promote the preservation and appreciation of state-owned assets, enable state-owned capital to do better and effectively prevent the loss of state-owned assets.
“Our country is a socialist country under the leadership of the working class and a people’s democratic dictatorship based on the alliance of workers and peasants. All the power of the state belongs to the people. China’s socialist democracy is the most extensive, the most real and the most effective democracy to safeguard the fundamental interests of the people. The development of socialist democratic politics must reflect the will of the people, protect the rights and interests of the people, and stimulate the people to create vitality.
“We must develop quality education, promote education fairness, and cultivate the socialist constructors and successors of moral, intellectual and aesthetic development. We must promote the integration of urban and rural compulsory education; run pre-school education, special education and online education; popularize high school education; and strive to make every child enjoy fair and quality education. We must improve the student subsidy system, so that the vast majority of the urban and rural labor force receives high school education, and more receive higher education.
“We must improve the quality of employment and people’s income level. We must adhere to the employment priority strategy and active employment policy, to achieve higher quality and full employment. We must provide a full range of public employment services, and promote college graduates and other youth groups, and provide migrant workers with multi-channel employment opportunities. We will adhere to the principle of distribution according to work, improve the institutional mechanisms for distribution, and promote the distribution of income in a more reasonable and orderly fashion. To fulfill the redistribution function of the government, we must speed up the equalization of basic public services and narrow the income distribution gap.
“We must strengthen the social security system to cover the whole people, urban and rural areas. We must fully implement the national insurance program, improve the basic old-age insurance, and improve the unified basic medical insurance system. We must adhere to the basic national policy of equality between men and women, to protect the legitimate rights and interests of women and children. We will improve social assistance, social welfare, charity, the special care and resettlement system, and the elderly care service system. We will speed up the construction of housing supply, so that all people are housed, either through rental or purchase.
“We must resolutely win the fight against poverty. It is our party’s solemn promise to ensure the poor and the poor areas join the whole country into a comprehensive well-off society.
“We will implement a healthy China strategy. We will build the high quality and efficient medical and health service system, improve the modern hospital management system, strengthen the primary health care service system, promote a healthy and civilized way of life, and work for prevention and control of major diseases. We will implement a food safety strategy, so that people eat at ease. We will adhere to both Chinese and Western medicine, and support community-run medicine.
“The modernization that we want to build is the modernization of the harmonious coexistence of humanity and nature. It is necessary to create more material wealth and spiritual wealth to meet the growing needs of the people and to provide more quality ecological products to meet growing environmental needs. We must adhere to the principle of conservation priority, protection priority, natural recovery, the formation of conservation of resources and the protection of the environment.
“To promote green development, we will build market-oriented green technology innovation systems; develop green finance; strengthen energy-saving environmental protection industry, clean production industry, and clean energy industry. We will promote comprehensive conservation and recycling of resources, the implementation of national water-saving action, and reduce energy consumption and material consumption, to achieve a link between production systems and living system cycle.
“We advocate simple and moderate, green low-carbon lifestyle, against luxury waste and unreasonable consumption. We will carry out the creation of conservation-oriented organs, green homes, green schools, green communities and green travel and other actions.
“Comrades! We must firmly establish the socialist ecological civilization concept and promote a harmonious development of humanity and nature, a new pattern of modernization, in order to protect the ecological environment!
“China will hold high the banner of peace, development, and cooperation. The world is in a period of great changes. Peace and development are still the theme of the times – at the same time, the uncertainties of instability in the world are prominent, the world economic growth is not enough, the polarization between the rich and the poor is becoming more and more serious, and the regional hotspot problems continue to spread through non-traditional security threats such as terrorism, cyber security, major infectious diseases and climate change. Humanity faces many common challenges.
“The world we live in is full of hope and full of challenges. We cannot give up the dream because of the complexity of reality. No country can respond to the challenges of humanity alone, and no country can turn into a self-enclosed island.
“Comrades! The Chinese people are great people who are industrious and courageous and self-reliant. The Chinese Communist Party is a great political party who dares to fight and dares to win. History will only favor the firm, who forge ahead fighting, and it will not wait for hesitators, slackers, or the fearful. The whole party must consciously safeguard the unity of the party, keep the party’s flesh and blood ties with the masses of the people, consolidate the unity of the people of all ethnic groups throughout the country, and strengthen the unity of the Chinese people at home and abroad. We must unite all the forces that can be united, and work together towards the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation – the bright future!”
(translated and edited for length)