Beijing: China has reached a turning point in history as it is becoming “rich and powerful”, President Xi Jinping has said, terming his five-year tenure ending this year as “extraordinary”.
Xi, bracing for his second term, told officials that “over the five years, the party’s central leadership solved many challenging problems which (the ruling Communist Party of China) wanted to solve for a long time but could not, and achieved many things it wanted to achieve in the past but did not manage to achieve”.
“The Chinese nation has achieved the historic leap of rising to our feet, getting rich and getting powerful,” Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted him as saying.
Xi, also the general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks at a two-day workshop attended by provincial and ministerial officials.
Over a million officials were reported to have been punished in the massive anti-corruption drive launched by him since he took over the leadership in 2013.
Xi said the upcoming 19th National Congress of the CPC, which was expected to confirm a second five year term for him, is a key meeting at a crucial time for the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
The meeting also comes when China’s endeavour to build a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way has entered the decisive stage, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying.
Chen Daoyin, an associate professor at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, said Xi’s remarks were a signal that he had placed himself on par with late leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.
“Mao’s era of founding the modern communist China was when the Chinese nation rose to its feet, and Deng’s reform and opening up policies helped the economy take off, and Xi sees himself as bringing China all the way to becoming powerful. Now it is his era,” Chen said.
Analysts said the meeting was also a call for senior officials to pledge political loyalty to Xi as the congress approached.
Many of the officials at the seminar would attend the 19th party congress as delegates and cast votes, Chen said. “They will have to be politically reliable and choose the right team,” he said.
Wu Qiang, a former politics lecturer at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said the strictly arranged and controlled seminar served as a warning to all officials to toe the line.
“Every official is supposed to declare his or her position and pledge loyalty after the session. The leaders need to make sure the voting result (at the congress) won’t look embarrassing,” he said.