03/20/2018, 14.05
CHINA
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Xi Jinping to NPC: socialism with Chinese characteristics alone can save the country

by Wang Zhicheng

Closing the National People's Congress, the president's address, full of rhetoric, speaks of a "great struggle, great project, great cause, and great dream" as a way to achieve progress and stability, development and attention to the person. Just one condition: to submit and obey the Party leadership. Li Keqiang asks the US not to act "emotionally" in launching a possible trade war. The promotion of Xia Baolong, the mastermind behind the campaign to destroy crosses and churches in Zhejiang.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Only by adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics will the nation be reborn and salvage the development created thus far. This is what President Xi Jinping repeated in his closing speech to the National People's Congress (NPC), held in the capital.

Xi’s words, full of rhetoric, cite "great struggle, great projects, great causes, great dreams" as a way to achieve progress and stability, development and attention to the person. This great fresco has only one condition, to which he himself submits: "Following the guide of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents [of Jiang Zemin], and the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era [of Xi himself] ".

And again: the leadership of the Communist Party of China must extend over all areas of endeavor in every part of the country. According to Xinhua dispatches, Xi " called on all political parties, people's organizations, ethnic groups and people of all sectors to rally closely around the CPC Central Committee and march forward with one heart and one mind".

In a clear reference to the fears of the United States, Xi reiterated that " China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion”. "Only those who are accustomed to threatening others see everyone as a threat ".

For Xi, China will continue to march on the path of peaceful development and will continue to pursue a strategy of openness and mutual benefit. "China - he added - will not impose its will on others", and will work for an "open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity".

"Let the sunshine of a community with a shared future for humanity illuminate the world!"!".

Li Keqiang's press conference

After Xi's speech, there was a traditional press conference by Premier Li Keqiang, which lasted nearly two hours.

With great concreteness, Li asked the US not to act “emotionally” when asked about the prospect of a trade war. In these days, there are rumours that the White House is preparing a package of duties for 100 Chinese products, worth 60 billion US dollars. These should punish Beijing not only for the overproduction of aluminium and steel, but also for using trade secrets, which the Chinese have stolen from US companies, or forcing them to pass them in exchange for market access in China.

On Taiwan, Li reiterated - as did Xi in his speech - Beijing will not tolerate the independence of the island, and he pushed for the territories of Hong Kong and Macao to work in a more integrated economy with the motherland, while enjoying a "high degree of autonomy".

He then assured the soundness of the Chinese economy and promised to improve the trade environment by facilitating and reducing the time for opening trades in China.

He also promised every effort to guarantee retirement for 241 million people aged 60 and over (17.3% of the population) and the creation this year of at least 11 million new jobs in cities.

Both  Xi's speech and in Li's press conference tended to overwhelm the substantial change that occurred in this NPC: the cancellation of the limit of the two terms for the president and the vice-president, which leave the possibility of a lengthy period of leadership open for Xi (and Wang Qishan).

According to experts, rather than a "coup" by Xi, the choice is an attempt to stabilize the leadership of the entire CPC. Even the office of vice-premier given to Hu Chunhua, former Party Secretary in Guangdong, and sometimes designated as Xi's successor, shows that work is afoot to reconcile and strengthen Party unity.

Some Chinese Catholics point out that Xia Baolong, former secretary of the CPC in Zhejiang, has been appointed secretary general of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Xia, considered a friend of Xi Jinping, was the mastermind of the campaign to destroy churches and crosses in Zhejiang in 2014-2015. According to one Chinese Catholic, it is clear that "the persecution of Christians" pays off in career terms, taking into account that Xia is already 65 and should retire.

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