On Oct. 18, Chinese President Xi Jinping opened the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China Jinping by presenting an optimistic view of the future not only for China, but for the world, based on China’s recent achievements and on the course that has been charted for the next 30 years. Pointing to the significance of the Belt and Road Initiative, and the role of science and innovation as the motor of real economic development, Xi emphasized that China is striving for “the common destiny for mankind and enduring peace and stability.”
Given the spectacular progress China has made over the past 30 years, one can expect that the ambitious goals he set will actually be met by 2049, for the Centenary celebrations of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
President Xi began with a look back at the last five years of development since he became General Secretary of the Party, pointing to the expansion of the middle-income group in Chinese society, and major advances in the previously backward central and western regions. Poverty elimination has been “formidable”, he said. Indeed, some 60 million people have been lifted out of poverty since the end of 2012, and the immediate target is to ensure that the remaining 43 million are out by 2020. (Over the past 30 years, 700 million Chinese have risen above the poverty line, which is an unprecedented achievement.)
At the same time, Xi continued, the Communist Party has “enforced strict governance” and “created a deterrent against corruption,” two problems that were undermining the party. In addition, China’s influence globally “has risen as never before”.
Looking ahead, Xi dramatically accelerated the pace of development from earlier prognoses. The two Centenary goals that China has set for itself are to a) realize a moderately prosperous society by 2020, with no more absolute poverty, and b) to transform China by 2050 into a “strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious, and modern socialist country.” Between 2020 and 2035, the country is to achieve full modernization, and then, between 2035 and 2050, “be transformed into a great society in which China will reach new heights.” By then, the people will be prosperous and safer, and will have “a strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful nation, and China will have become a fully active member of the community of nations.” Realizing these goals will not be “a walk in the park,” Xi underlined, but it will be done.
The Communist Party, he said, was never interested in adopting a foreign model, but rather “socialism with Chinese characteristics”, suited to its history and culture. On that note, he encouraged the continued revival of the great traditions of Chinese thought throughout its 5,000-year history.
Internationally, China will continue to open up, and promote cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative, to create a “community of nations with a shared future.” Xi also insisted, as he always does, that the “right of all nations to seek their own path” must be respected, and that development would never be pursued “at the cost of others.”
Xi proudly outlined the latest breakthroughs that China has made in scientific discovery and stressed the need to spread the “spirit of science” among the people.