China’s ruling Communist Party celebrated its centenary on Thursday with a massive show at the historic Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed over 70,000 party workers and schoolchildren who took part in the event cheered the leader’s over an hour-long speech. In his speech, Xi asserted that the Chinese people will not allow any “foreign force" to “bully, oppress or subjugate" China and spoke of its military might to defend its sovereignty.
Founded by Mao on July 1, 1921, the CPC formally completed 100 years of existence on Thursday. Designated as the core leader of the CPC, Xi, who is regarded as the most powerful leader after Mao with life long tenure at the helm appeared in a grey Mao suit synonymous with the attire sported by the party founder 100 years ago. On the 100th anniversary, the party faced challenges within the country and at the global level, especially isolation over the COVID-19 pandemic, and faced pushback from the US, EU and a host of western countries over its attempt to set a new global order.
In his address, Xi also said that integrating Taiwan with the Chinese mainland is a historic mission of the party. Xi warned that any foreign force will be allowed to bully China, an apparent reference to the US. Here are the highlights of his address:
- “The Chinese people will never allow any foreign force to bully, oppress, or subjugate us," state-run Xinhua news agency quoted 68-year-old Xi as saying. Anyone who would attempt to do so will find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people," Xi said. “We have never bullied, oppressed, or subjugated the people of any other country, and we never will," said Xi.
- Naming all his predecessors for contributing to the development of the party, Xi paid tribute to party elders Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De, Deng Xiaoping, Chen Yun and Liu Shaoqi. “We express our highest respect to them," he said.
- Xi also stressed on the fact that the central government exercises overall jurisdiction over Hong Kong and Macao. He highlighted the implementation of the legal systems and enforcement mechanisms for the two special administrative regions “to safeguard national security".
- Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China’s complete reunification is a historic mission and an unshakable commitment of the CPC, Xi said, adding that no one should underestimate the great resolve, the strong will, and the extraordinary ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
- Xi called for the hastening of modernisation of China’s military, which has been his pet project since he took over power in 2012. “We must accelerate the modernisation of national defence and the armed forces," he said. China will elevate its armed forces to world-class standards so that “we are equipped with greater capacity and more reliable means for safeguarding our national sovereignty, security, and development interests," he added.
- On dissent within the party, he said, “The more than 95 million party members and the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people will never allow such a scenario to come to pass." Speaking strongly against dissent he said, “Any viruses that would erode CPC’s health should be rooted out."
- “The CPC must remain committed to improving its conduct, upholding integrity, and combating corruption," he said.
- “We must uphold firm leadership of the party. China’s success hinges on the party. History provides ample evidence that without the CPC, there will be no new China and no national rejuvenation," he said.
- On allegations of genocide committed against minority Uygur Muslims of Xinjiang, as well as, the imposition of the national security law in Hong Kong, Xi said “we are eager to learn what lessons we can from the achievements of other cultures, and welcome helpful suggestions and constructive criticism". “We will not, however, accept sanctimonious preaching from those who feel they have the right to lecture us," he said.
- At the fundamental level, the capability of the party and the strengths of socialism with Chinese characteristics are attributable to the fact that Marxism works, Xi said. “We will use Marxism to observe, understand, and steer the trends of our times, and continue to develop the Marxism of contemporary China and in the 21st century," Xi said.
(With PTI inputs)