China’s 20th Communist Party Congress kicks off

Beijing, Oct 16 (EFE).- The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) kicked off Sunday, during which its general secretary and the country’s president, Xi Jinping, is expected to further reinforce his grip on power and continue as the country’s undisputed leader.

The current number two of the party, Li Keqiang, declared the event open at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in Beijing, before the national anthem was played.

This was followed by Xi presenting a report on the progress since the previous Congress on behalf of the 19th CPC Central Committee, in the presence of nearly 2,300 party delegates.

The Congress is underway under tight security and severe restrictions for journalists under the draconian anti-covid measures.

During the session, Xi is expected to secure a third term, something unprecedented among his predecessors, by staying on as general secretary of the Politburo Standing Committee.

Xi, in his address, underlined the importance of the current Congress at a time he described as “critical” for the party.

“It is imperative that all of us in the Party never forget our original aspiration and founding mission, that we always stay modest, prudent, and hard-working, and that we have the courage and ability to carry on our fight,” he said, according to state-owned Xinhua agency.

He added that the past five years have been “extraordinary” and that the CPC has rolled out strategies to deal with changes not seen in the world in more than a century.

Xi underlined the country’s technological advances and innovation in different industries, calling the progress of the Chinese economy in the past decade historic.

“In responding to the sudden attack of Covid-19, we put the people and their lives above all else and tenaciously pursued a dynamic zero-Covid policy. We have protected the people’s health and safety to the greatest extent possible,” he said.

The president also made references to the current tensions with Taiwan, which it considers a rebel province.

“In response to separatist activities aimed at ‘Taiwan independence’ and gross provocations of external interference in Taiwan affairs, we have resolutely fought against separatism and countered interference, demonstrating our resolve and ability to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Xi said.

As the “turbulent developments” in Hong Kong in the last five years, as Xi stressed that “the central government exercised its overall jurisdiction over the special administrative region (…) (and) ensured that Hong Kong is governed by patriots. Order has been restored.”

Xi also addressed the issue related to diplomacy, especially in th coentext of strained relations with several countries.

“Confronted with drastic changes in the international landscape, we have maintained firm strategic resolve and shown a fighting spirit. Throughout these endeavors, we have safeguarded China’s dignity and core interests and kept ourselves well-positioned for pursuing development and ensuring security,” he said.

It remains to be seen if Xi will find his loyalists in decisive positions in the government, party and the army, and if he will designate a successor.

The Congress, which comes amid an international crisis due to the war in Ukraine and a sluggish economy, will not only serve to elect high-level positions and reform the training structure, but will also lay down the party’s political and ideological orientations for the next five years. EFE


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