Chinese President Xi Jinping has said that the Communist Party must be united to prepare for great struggles and face major risks, ahead of this month’s key Congress of the ruling party where he is expected to get endorsed for a record third five-year term unlike his predecessors. In an article published in the party’s journal Qiushi on Saturday, China’s National Day, 69-year-old Xi said the country has never been closer to achieving its great national rejuvenation, but the last mile would be full of perils and challenges.
Our party must be united to lead the people to face major challenges effectively, defend against major risks, overcome major barriers and resolve major contradictions. We must press on with great struggles under new historical characteristics, Xi wrote, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported on Sunday. He, however, did not elaborate.
His comments exhorting the 96-million-member strong Communist Party of China (CPC) came as it is set to hold the once-in-a-five-year Congress on October 16 here which would discuss the new political and economic policy frameworks for the future and also endorse Xi for a new five-year term in power or perhaps for life. If endorsed, Xi will become the only leader after the party’s founder Mao Zedong to continue in power beyond the stipulated 10-year term. Xi will be completing the 10-year term this year.
His call for the party’s unity came as China under his leadership faced increasing isolation with growing adversity with the US, EU and Japan over Taiwan besides growing domestic pressures owing to economic slowdown exasperated by his zero COVID policy forcing lockdowns of various cities over recurring spikes of the virus. Xi said that the party members must demonstrate tenacity and persistence to complete the journey.
This required the party to stay focused and have conviction in the path it had taken, he added. We will not walk back to the old path of isolation and dogmatism, nor shall we ever take the evil path of changing flags, he said, using a metaphor common in revolutionary language to mean changing the political system.
Ahead of the Congress, a number of high-level security officials who were reportedly part of a political clique against Xi were either indicted or sentenced to death on charges of corruption and misuse of power. Since he came to power in 2012, Xi has carried out an anti-corruption campaign in which over a million officials, including dozens of top military officers, were punished.
Critics of Xi say the anti-graft campaign which is still continuing has enabled him to consolidate his hold on the party and the military. The CPC holds a Congress every five years. But this year’s Congress is regarded as significant, as it is a leadership change year for the century-old party.
On Friday, Premier Li Keqiang, in a speech to the annual National Day gala, urged local governments not to stand by idly but take immediate action to stabilise the economy. Stating that time waits for no man Li, currently, the number two leader after Xi, urged officials to focus all their efforts to improve the economy.
Our economy right now is facing many challenges and difficulties. Time waits for no man. We must focus all efforts on implementing measures to stabilise the economy. We still have the confidence and ability to keep our economic growth within the accepted range, Li, who will step down after the Congress, said.