The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) began on Sunday, October 16, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The week-long congress will assess the achievements made since the last congress five years ago and set the agenda and leadership of the party for the next five years.
President of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the general secretary of the CPC, Xi Jingping, inaugurated the congress proceedings on Sunday. He presented a report on Chinese achievements in the last decades and called on his countrymen to stand firmly with the party and the government to achieve the second centenary goals of the Chinese revolution.
He emphasized the principle of socialism with Chinese characteristics, claiming that “from this day forward, the central task of the CPC will be to lead the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in a concerted effort to realize the second centenary goals of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects and to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization,” Global Times reported.
2,296 delegates and 354 other participants will be attending the congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The congress, held once every five years, discusses the report presented by the general secretary, adopts resolutions about the future course of action, presents and adopts amendments – if any – in the constitution of the party, and elects a new central committee of the party.
Xi, who has already served two terms as general secretary (he was elected to the post in 2013), is expected to be elected once again and continue to lead the party and the country, given that the National People’s Congress removed the term limits for presidency in March 2018.
In his report, Xi emphasized the fact that China has grown tremendously in the last decade, abolishing absolute poverty as one of the three major events in the last 10 years and providing decent living conditions for all its peoples and regions, showing that “Marxism works particularly when it is adapted to the Chinese context and needs of our times.”
He called on party members to “fully and faithfully apply the new development philosophy on all fronts, continue reforms to develop the socialist market economy, promote high standard opening-up, and accelerate efforts to foster a new pattern of development that is focused on the domestic economy and features positive interplay between domestic and international economic flows,” Xinhua reported.
He said that China is looking for “high quality development” with modern and high quality industries and integrated rural-urban development.
He also reiterated that China will continue to give priority to rural revitalization with further developments in agriculture, and expansion of achievements in poverty alleviation and food security on all fronts.
Hinting at Taiwan, Xi said, “we will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and the utmost effort” with all the necessary steps. He also reiterated the CPC’s commitment to the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ as adopted in the case of Hong Kong and Macau, but called for a more patriotic rule for both these regions.
He claimed that China will not shy away from using force to achieve the unification, and face all attempts at disruptions with force. He called for greater modernization and strengthening of the People’s Liberation Army in order to face all threats to national unity.
Yet, the leader underlined that the country’s primary concern is to work for peace: “China always adheres to the foreign policy purpose of maintaining world peace and promoting common development, and is committed to promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.”
Highlighting that corruption places a great challenge to national development and the achievement of socialist goals, Xi praised the anti-corruption movement in the country and called for its continuation, calling it “the most thorough kind of self-reform there is.”
He also promised “high standard” opening up of rules, regulations, and institutions in the latest round of development with greater commitment to the party’s principles and its leadership.
Regarding the global climate crisis, Xi reiterated the necessity of environmental protection, “Nature is the basic condition for human survival and development. Respecting nature, conforming to nature, and protecting nature are the inherent requirements of building a modern socialist country in an all-round way. We must firmly establish and practice the concept that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, and plan development from the height of harmonious coexistence between man and nature.”
In order to advance in environmental protection within China and globally, Xi announced that the country would “advance the prevention and control of environmental pollution, continue to fight for the defense of blue sky, clear water and pure land, basically eliminate heavily polluted water, basically eliminate urban black and odorous water bodies, strengthen the prevention and control of soil pollution sources, improve the level of environmental infrastructure construction, and promote the urban and rural living environment remediation.”