What Xi wants, for himself and for China?

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Kolkata: During his three-and-half-hour long speech at the just concluded 19th party Congress meeting in Beijing, the President of People’s Republic of China (PRC) Xi Jinping has dropped hints that after his second term, he can stay there for third consecutive times! It seems a reality, as there was no heir apparent of President Xi when the week long session concluded.

But, it is not just Presidentship that the President of the most populous nation on earth wants. In his speech, Xi made it clear to fellow partymen that he wants his country to be the world’s leader by 2050. The key highlight of his speech was, “It’s time for our nation to transform itself into a mighty force that could lead the entire world on political, economic, military and environmental issues”.

Xi, during the meet urged his party men not only to safeguard China’s sovereignty but also to revitalise Chinese culture, oppose “erroneous” ideology and promote religion that is “Chinese in orientation”.

The second sentence is important to China and Chinese citizen and has no global significance. However, it’s the first sentence that we need to understand, as it will have a global impact.

Xi has put a roadmap before the Chinese Communist Party, according to which, China will be replacing United States by 2050 and emerge as a ‘Super Power’. He also termed his second term as the beginning of ‘New Era’ for China and Chinese people.  As the session started, the first term of Xi as President of China completed and it began his second and important term, which he termed as ‘New Era.’

Addressing a huge gathering, and said, “The Chinese nation … has stood up, grown rich, and become strong — and it now embraces the brilliant prospects of rejuvenation … It will be an era that sees China moving closer to centre stage and making greater contributions to mankind.”

Let’s begin with environment

Xi wants China to become a beautiful country and less polluted. However, some of its megacities like Beijing and Shanghai are highly polluted.

According to a 2007 World Health Organization (WHO) it was estimated that diseases triggered by indoor and outdoor air pollutants kill 656,000 Chinese citizens each year, while consuming unsafe drinking water kills another 95,600. In 2007, the air quality of China had been termed as the deadliest in the world, and India stood second to China.

However, according to 2017 Lancet report, India is on first position and China come down to second.

Hi-speed trains help combat pollution

The expansion of high-speed train and metro rail network as public transportation system has helped significantly in reducing pollution. In China, now, there is no bike which runs on fossil fuels like petrol. Most are electric bikes.

Despite, being the world’s most populous country, China is astonishing clean. The government has shown strong will to deal with pollution by shutting down factories that don’t meet the environmental norms.

For almost two decades, China had the level of being world’s manufacturing hub, but in the year 2015, Xi’s government understanding that it had reached a saturation point made them shift focus to service industry.

Major Shift

While shifting gears from manufacturing to service industry, China ended its much talked about single child policy. In doing so, it not only took care of providing an alternative to its aging population but also hopes of augmenting its military force with addition of young blood.

Xi’s roadmap includes building a world class military, and thus it made complete sense for China moving on to two-child policy. But, building military or preparing a standing army cost hugely to country’s exchequer and for that, Xi’s government will need a flourishing economy.

By allowing two children, government had also made a major change in their belief, of creating a market inside China itself, where a Chinese will be a consumer of its goods.

Message to Trump

Xi knows that all these dreams can be shaped into reality only when there is a stable government. During three and half hour speech, he sent a strong message to US President Donald Trump that unlike his unstable situation, if he (Xi) wishes, he can get a third term as well.

In fact, in last two years, Xi took several steps including abolishing single child policy, holding major strength show off on the 70th anniversary of China-Japan war, and shifting the economy towards service industry from manufacturing, acting tough against the corrupt officials from top to bottom, all helped China bringing closer to being a superpower.

Recently, Bloomberg, a media outlet which cover financial news, carried an opinion that, as far as economy is concerned, China is already at the same place as US and is only behind in terms of military power, which they can achieve in near future.

Xi, however, is aware about the challenges, so he told the party men, “The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is no walk in the park or mere drum-beating and gong-clanging. The whole party must be prepared to make ever more difficult and harder efforts.”

“To achieve great dreams there must be a great struggle,” the president of China had concluded.

Challenges before China

China has its own share of challenges that it needs to overcome in order to become a superpower.  Some of the most pressing issues that Xi needs to tackle is the slowing growth and its economy. China has been able keep its GDP above 6.5 so far, but it may slow down, sometime soon. How Beijing deals with Hong Kong and Taiwan issues, to keep them together. And how China’s Belt and Road initiative turns out in the future,  is definitely going to redefine China’s relation with many neighbouring countries.

 

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