New Leadership in China Will Stay the Course on Peace and Development
The Communist Party of China concluded its 20th Party Congress on Oct. 23 with the introduction of the new leadership, namely the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee, with a reelected Xi Jinping as General Secretary. This unprecedented third term for a Chinese leader is being touted by the Western media as some form of “power grab” by Xi but, as an American colleague has pointed out, the Chinese people are generally relieved that he remains in power, just as the Americans were when Franklin Roosevelt broke with tradition in 1940 to serve a third term as President, and then a fourth term.
For the world at large, it should also be a source of relief given the important role that China has been playing in rekindling a sense of peace and development in a world which is now threatened with serious economic, political and military crises. Indeed, as the congress underlined, this is a period unlike any others, requiring a firm determination to weather what Xi called “strong winds, choppy waves, and even a furious storm”. The U.S. and its allies have made quite clear their intention to prevent the People’s Republic of China, a socialist country, from having a major say in determining the course of history. That is the purpose of the tariffs, the sanctions and the attempt to stifle China’s technological development. Nevertheless, as was clear from the work report read up by Xi at the beginning of the conference, the Communist Party is determined to utilize the enormous human and other resources to overcome the obstacles placed in the way of its “rejuvenation”, and will create the necessary “science drivers” to continue propelling the nation to new heights.
At the same time, China will further open its economy to the outside world. This was a constant theme at the congress. While the leaders prepare in all areas — economics, foreign policy, technology and defense– to meet whatever the forces of the West will throw against them, the offer of peace and cooperation is always extended. Foreign investment and trade expansion will be greeted with open arms. The important Belt and Road Initiative, which has provided new hope to Africa, Asia, and Latin America will be expanded with a high-quality development focus. And China’s successful program of poverty alleviation can become a beacon for other nations to do the same in coordination with the UN’s Millenium Development program.
In speaking to the international press on Oct. 23, Xi noted that “Just as China cannot develop in isolation with the world, the world needs China for its development.” In that spirit, he insisted on the importance of safeguarding global peace, furthering global development, and “promoting the building of a human community with a shared future”.