10/18/2017, 14.06
CHINA
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As the Communist Party Congress gets underway, Xi Jinping announces “a new era”

Xi’s opening speech lasted more than three hours. China will be a "modern socialist power" under the leadership of the Communist Party. The fight against corruption and the opening up of the economy will continue. Xi Jinping pursues his rise.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – As he opened the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that China will be a “modern socialist country” for a “new era”, proudly Chinese, steadfastly ruled by the party, but open to the world.

Mr Xi, who is expected to be confirmed to a second term as party chief, spoke before about 2,300 delegates in the Great Hall of the People, Tiananmen Square.

In his long opening address, which lasted more than three hours and was met by repeated ovations, Xi said that the party must "resolutely oppose" any actions that undermine its leadership at a time when "The situation both domestic and abroad is undergoing profound and complex changes".

Xi spoke several times of the "Chinese Dream", promised an open economy, the victory against poverty and announced that it will continue the campaign of "zero tolerance" against corruption.

By 2050, he explained, China will be a modern socialist “strong power” with leading influence on the world stage. However, he ruled out political reforms.

Xi also attacked Taiwan. In a stern warning to self-ruled island, which Beijing considers a rebel province, he said China has the "ability to defeat separatist attempts for Taiwan independence in any form".

The highlight of the week-long congress will be the election of the new Central Politburo Committee, which will govern China’s 1.4 billion people over the next five years. For Xi, the gathering itself is an opportunity to consolidate his power.

Analysts note that, unlike his predecessors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao who sat by his side, Xi wants to remain party general secretary beyond the usual ten years.

His anti-corruption campaign has allowed him to remove various potential rivals. Over the past five years, 1.3 million party officials, including some senior ones, have been kicked out.

Last weekend, former Justice Minister Wu Aiying was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party at the end of a meeting of the Party's Central Committee.

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