Great will of China

 26 Oct 2017 - 15:22

The Peninsula

Chinese President Xi Jinping has become the first leader after Mao Zedong to have his name enshrined in the Communist Party’s constitution. As the world watched with awe and some trepidation, the 64-year-old Xi was returned as the leader of the nation that has led with new paradigms in economic growth and technological development.

The 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China is a twice-in-a-decade event that names the Central Committee and the seven-member Standing Committee of the Politburo that is responsible for governing the second largest economy in the world.

What has been included in the Communist Party’s Constitution is the ‘Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.’ With this, he is in league with Communist icon Mao Zedong whose portrait adores Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

The Party named the seven-member powerful Standing Committee — in order of seniority: Li Zhanshu, who serves as Xi’s chief of staff; Vice Premier Wang Yang; Wang Huning, director of the party’s Central Policy Research Office; Zhao Leji, head of party organisation responsible for job assignments; and Shanghai party leader Han Zheng, a veteran manager of the country’s financial hub.

What has come as a surprise is the exclusion of Wang Qishan, the graft buster and the head of the panel responsible for implementing party discipline, from the Central Committee. The erudite Wang was once considered the second most powerful man in China.

The 19th Party Congress has placed Xi for the second time in the centre of a state that has been looked up to for its industrial prowess and innovative technologies. The Communist Party has 89 million members who are part of a system that works to propel a growth engine on lines of Socialism with Chinese characteristics — a phrase that has increased in popularity after this Congress.

Xi has laid out a vision to take the country to greater heights despite Internet controls and international concerns over civil liberties. A pro-democracy agitation continues to rage in Hong Kong as the leader of the special administrative region praised Xi’s speech.

China has set certain benchmarks, which if achieved, are likely to propel it to global stardom. Next year, the country will mark the 40th anniversary of the launch of reform and opening up. Deng Xiaoping’s historic efforts at reform were crucial in the country’s history and raised income levels many fold. The 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China will be marked in 2019 — a year that will be used to assess the gains and challenged the state has faced over seven decades.

China has given itself till 2020 to bring income levels that qualify it to establish itself as a moderately prosperous society across all metrics. Xi’s leadership has been consolidated after the Congress and he has a team that will have the task of living up to the challenge of meeting the expectations of more than 1.3 billon people across the urban and rural hinterland of a grand civilisation.