President Xi reveals grand plans for China

In his speech to the 19th Communist Party Congress, Xi Jinping unveiled his vision of China and for deep-reaching structural reforms.

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This week, in a speech to the 19th Communist Party Congress, Xi Jinping, party general secretary and the president of China, outlined his vision for China through to 2050.

Xi argued that China has embarked on a new stage of development. On the political front, he believed that China has become stronger and will move closer to the central stage of world affairs. On the economic front, he claimed that the “principal contradiction facing Chinese society” is now “between the people’s every-growing needs for a better life and unbalanced and inadequate development”.

Xi unveiled a detailed road map for achieving his vision of China in the decades ahead. According to him, the period up to 2020 will be “the decisive stage in building a moderately prosperous society”, while in the following phase, up to 2035, China should largely achieve “socialist modernisation”, with significant development of scientific and technological capabilities. Then, from 2035 to 2050, China will develop into a “great modern socialist country”, with further enhancement of overall capabilities and governance, thereby achieving prosperity for all people and becoming a leading global power.

Xi devoted an entire section of his report to outlining his ideas for building a modern economic system. He believes the Chinese economy has shifted from a stage of high-speed growth to high-quality growth. To modernise the economic system, Xi proposed six strategies including supply-side reforms, encouraging innovation, and allowing market forces play a greater role.

In summary, Xi’s comprehensive work report generally confirmed our earlier expectations. It provided strong indications of the further enhancement of Xi’s political power in China. Xi will likely use that power to continue to push forward structural reforms that facilitate China’s ongoing economic transitions. Finally, Xi’s determination to put China on the centre stage globally, a place currently occupied by the US, could fuel geopolitical tensions in the years ahead.

Xi also coined a new term to characterise the Chinese political system, “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, and proposed a set of suitable political theories, known as “Xi Jinping Thought”. The fact that Xi has proposed a new body of political thought indicates that his political status is being put on a par with that of Mao and Deng.

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