By Hoda Elmasry
China saw the most historic event since the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1921——the 20th National Congress of the CPC opened on October 16. The session determined the overall principles and strategies for the country’s future development and established its top leadership in the next five years.
Held every five years, the National Congress of the CPC elects the main leaders of the Party, including the General Secretary.
This session is of great significance for China, the world’s second largest economy in that it is not only held at the crucial moment when the country is going all out for achieving the Second Centenary Goal of building itself into a modern socialist country, but also at a time when it is confronted with many an external change and challenge. Under such circumstances, the session arrived at major resolutions unprecedented in Chinese history.
The whole world is following up the meeting, especially the election result of the CPC. As the ruling party of China, the CPC has a membership close to 97 million. According to the Party’s Constitution, the Central Committee of the Party is responsible for carrying out the resolutions of the National Congress, directing the entire work of the Party and representing the CPC in its external relations. When the National Congress is not in session, the Central Committee serves as the highest authority of the Party.
The highest authority:
After the election, some members of the Central Committee are promoted to the Political Bureau, and there are also new faces in the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau. Together, these people constitute the most powerful political institution of China.
Held every five years, the CPC National Congress is the most important and largest political event of the Party and the country. And given China’s ever more important status on the global stage, the session made the whole world sit up and take notice.
The 20th National Congress of the CPC made many important economic decisions and arrived at relevant resolutions in response to the internal and external challenges facing the country. China will continue to push ahead with the battle against poverty, control pollution, and focus on addressing such issues as unbalanced development among regions.
Challenges facing the country:
The 20th National Congress is held at a time when the world is assailed by problems in a multitude of respects including politics, economy, security, climate, etc. Also, the challenges arising from within the country cannot be ignored as well.
Since the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, China managed to build itself into the world’s second largest economy in 2010 thanks to the sound regional environment and proper development strategies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted heavily on the economy of China and the world at large, rendering shipping, manufacturing, and the global supply chain suffer. China is thus facing the challenge of reviving the economy while withstanding these impacts.
As for combating the pandemic, the country with its population of 1.4 billion has been persistent in its pursuit of the dynamic zero-COVID policy, believing it is the best measure as well as a basic policy to adhere to in the war against the pandemic.
Although being repeatedly criticized by the western media for such measures as lockdown of cities, closing factories and shops, and school suspension, the Chinese government has protected and saved its people’s lives effectively through these measures, minimizing the impact of the pandemic on the country’s economic and social development.
The first quarter of 2022 saw China’s GDP grew 4.8% year on year and the country maintained a stable domestic prices in the face of serious inflation worldwide. During the same period, the value of merchandise trade increased by 10.7%, and the profit of its largest industrial enterprise achieved a 8.5% year-on-year increase.
That being said, due to the complex and volatile global situation and pandemic developments, the Chinese economy faced significant downward pressure in the second quarter. Official data showed that China’s economy grew 6.5% year-on-year in the third quarter, lower than expected and the slowest growth since the global financial crisis.
At present, the impact of the pandemic on the world has faded somewhat, but China’s inflation rate is still far lower than that of European and American countries. In 2021, China’s total economic output reached 114.4 trillion yuan, accounting for more than 18% of the world economy. In the first half of the year, China’s GDP reached 56.2 trillion yuan, representing a 2.5% year-on-year increase. Nearly 100 million poor rural residents have been lifted out of poverty, which means China achieved the goal of poverty eradication in UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ten years ahead of schedule.
With the rise of China in the international arena, some call this century the “Chinese Century”, believing that the country will be leading the international system in 2025; still others believe that China will seize the leadership of the world by the middle of this century. Thus, while facing internal challenges, China has also external threats that cannot be ignored to deal with.
Of those threats, the Taiwan question will be the most prominent. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory, but it has been used by some European, American and Asian countries to hinder the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Also, such internal affairs of China including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang as well as human rights have been made tools by the West to contain China. Of course the CPC and its leadership are well aware of the existence of these threats and challenges, and are coping with them in earnest, especially by improving the Party’s own capacity for development so to adapt to the changing environment at home and abroad.
In terms of global situation and foreign policy, China is expected to further its endeavour in establishing a global order characterized by stability, peace, security and development, oppose unilateralism and achieve mutual benefit and win-win results among countries.
Lately, the Chinese official media described the political session as one of paramount importance, marking that the CPC and the Chinese nation are embarking on a new journey to build a modern socialist country in all respects, and are on the track to the Second Centenary Goal. Taking stock of the work of the Party in the past five years, the session summarized the major achievements and valuable experience of the Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core in leading the people.
Surveying the situation at home and abroad, the session achieved a comprehensive grasp of what is required for advancing the cause of the Party and the country in the new era and on the new journey, and better responded to the new expectations of its people. The session also formulated major action plans to call on its people of all ethnic groups to remain confident, give play to their initiative, and blaze new trails and forge ahead by leveraging available achievements.
Overwhelming public support:
Observers believe that President Xi Jinping’s election for the third term of office at the 20th National Congress was unprecedented. Since his election as the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee in November 2012, Xi has been regarded as a leader of determination, action, profound thoughts and sentiments and bold innovation; he is also hailed China’s “Leader for the People”.
Under Xi’s leadership, China is becoming a powerful country and entering its golden age of development. According to the report of the World Bank, China has invested immensely in poverty alleviation in the past decade and achieved remarkable achievements in its battle against poverty.
Meanwhile, Xi was also successful in tackling pollution. Six of the ten most polluted cities in the world were in China. But now, the figure has dropped to three, and the levels of pollution throughout the country has been reducing steadily.
As for combating corruption, Xi’s vigorous anti-corruption efforts have effectively consolidated the foundation of the CPC’s governance. Today, more and more Chinese college and university students, including those Chinese youths who have studied in Europe and America, are eager to join the Communist Party of China.
Xi also led a major military reform, abandoning the old operational theory, reducing the dependence on the ground forces as the backbone of the army, and promoting the new operational theory dominated by air force and science and technology.
According to Chinese experts and scholars, all Party members and people of all ethnic groups in China took part in the congress held “at a critical moment” via various forms.
The convening of this congress serves as reiteration of China’s commitment to the socialist road; it will continue to strengthen the guiding role of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important Theory of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development, and Xi’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era in the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Hoda Elmasry, journalist of Rose Alyoussef magazine, Egypt
*This article is from Rose Alyoussef magazine