Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivers a speech at a gathering marking the centenary of the CPC in Beijing, July 1, 2021. /Xinhua
China on Thursday announced a landmark victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, known as a “Xiaokang” society in Chinese, as the Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrates its centenary.
“We have realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said at a grand gathering at Tian’anmen Square in Beijing.
Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, vowed that the CPC will lead the Chinese people to strive for better lives and national rejuvenation.
Founded in July 1921 with just over 50 members, the CPC has grown into the world’s largest political party with more than 95 million members.
The Party had set two centenary goals: The first was to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2021 when the CPC celebrates its centenary, and the second is to build China into a great modern socialist country in all respects by the middle of the century to celebrate the centenary of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
From humiliation to ‘Xiaokang’
Xi reviewed the historical background of the CPC’s creation and explained the role it played in the nation’s efforts to realize rejuvenation.
After the Opium War in the 1840s, China gradually became a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society and endured intense humiliation and the people suffered great pain, Xi noted. “Since that time, national rejuvenation has been the greatest dream of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation.”
After a series of attempts to “save the nation” failed, the CPC was created when the country urgently needed new ideas and a new organization to lead the movement, he said.
“Since the very day of its founding, the Party has made seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation its aspiration and mission,” he said.
Xi summarized the Party’s efforts and successes in leading a series of revolutions and the country’s modernization, particularly in pursuing reform and opening-up since 1978, which he called a “crucial move in making China what it is today.”
China, a relatively poor country decades ago, has become the world’s second largest economy with its gross domestic product (GDP) exceeding 100 trillion yuan (about $15 trillion) and per capita GDP over $10,000. It declared the victory in eradicating absolute poverty nationwide by the end of 2020.
Highlighting the fulfillment of building a “Xiaokang” society and other achievements, Xi said the Party and the people have shown the world that “China’s national rejuvenation has become a historical inevitability.”
A gathering to celebrate the centenary of the CPC is held at Tian’anmen Square in Beijing, July 1, 2021. /Xinhua
CPC’s close ties with the people
Xi underscored the close relations between the CPC and the people, stressing that the Party “has always represented the fundamental interests of all Chinese people.”
“Any attempt to divide the Party from the Chinese people or to set the people against the Party is bound to fail,” he warned.
As China embarks on a new journey toward socialist modernization, he vowed that the CPC will continue to practice a people-centered philosophy of development, address the people’s concerns and promote common prosperity for all.
“On the journey ahead, we must rely closely on the people to create history,” he said.
The people-centered philosophy of development was raised by Xi at the fifth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in October 2015. The philosophy stresses that China’s development must be for the people and by the people, and its fruits shared among the people.
The philosophy has been emphasized again in China’s latest development blueprint – the Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035. The document vows to further improve people’s livelihoods by pursuing more balanced, higher-quality development.
Military aircraft fly over Tian’anmen Square in echelons ahead of a gathering celebrating the centenary of the CPC in Beijing, July 1, 2021. /Xinhua
China’s commitment to peaceful development
Xi also expounded on the main principles of China’s foreign policy and vision on international relations. He reiterated the call for building a community with a shared future for humanity and stressed the country’s commitment to peace.
“The Chinese nation does not carry aggressive or hegemonic traits in its genes,” Xi said. “China has always worked to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development and preserve international order.”
China will stay committed to the path of peaceful development, he said. It will “promote high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) through joint efforts and use China’s new achievements in development to provide the world with new opportunities,” he added.
Proposed by Xi in 2013, the BRI which comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes.
A total of 140 countries and regions have signed cooperation agreements with China under the BRI over the past eight years. The aggregated trade volume between China and its BRI cooperative partners has exceeded $9.2 trillion, and Chinese companies have made direct investments totaling over $130 billion in countries along the Belt and Road.
The national flag guards march during a flag-raising ceremony at a gathering celebrating the centenary of the CPC at Tian’anmen Square in Beijing, July 1, 2021. /Xinhua
Meanwhile, Xi said China will continue to champion cooperation over confrontation and oppose hegemony and power politics.
The Chinese people have a strong sense of pride and confidence and will not be intimidated by threats of force, he stressed.
“We have never bullied, oppressed or subjugated the people of any other country, and we never will,” he said. “By the same token, we will never allow any foreign force to bully, oppress or subjugate us.”
Xi reiterated the Party’s stance on Hong Kong, Macao and the Taiwan region. “We will ensure that the central government exercises overall jurisdiction over Hong Kong and Macao, and implement legal systems and enforcement mechanisms for the two special administrative regions to safeguard national security,” he said.
He described resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China’s complete reunification as a “historic mission and an unshakable commitment” of the CPC, calling for resolute action to defeat any attempt toward “Taiwan independence.”