The National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), held every five years to draw the road map for national development, is the most important political meeting for China. And the upcoming 19th CPC National Congress will be a milestone in China’s peaceful development.
The Party National Congress is important for the following reasons.
Since the 18th Party Congress in 2012, dramatic changes have taken place in the Chinese economy, foreign relations and political ecosphere under Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. His philosophy and practice of national governance have resulted in remarkable achievements. His grand goals and outstanding leadership have earned Xi the trust, respect and admiration of the Party and the people.
The People’s Republic of China has witnessed substantial twists and turns since 1949. Between 1949 and 1976, under Chairman Mao Zedong, China established its socialist political and economic foundation. From 1978 to 1989, under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, the country formulated socialism with Chinese characteristics through reform and opening-up. And thanks to Xi’s leadership beginning with the 18th Party Congress in 2012, China is set to become an intermediately developed country.
At the first news conference after assuming the Party leadership, Xi put forward the concept of the Chinese Dream, emphasizing that the wish of the people to lead a better life will be the primary foundation of the Party’s goals.
Extraordinary progress has been made toward those goals in the past five years: Corrupt officials have received due punishment, people’s livelihoods have improved and China’s military prowess has grown and global standing risen. And future achievements will likely be based on innovative, coordinated, eco-friendly, open and shared development.
China has benefited tremendously from Xi’s mission to build a relatively well-off society, deepen reforms, enforce the rule of law and implement strict self-discipline within the Party “in an all-round manner”.
The Party’s grand ideals derive from the leadership’s confidence in the path it has taken, and its theories, systems and culture. To this end, the report of the 19th Party Congress is expected to be comprehensive.
First, the Party is likely to address how to fundamentally eradicate poverty while maintaining steady and healthy economic development. Thanks to the four decades of reform and opening-up, the number of people living below the poverty line has drastically decreased, but about 50 million people still struggle to make ends meet. According to the country’s poverty alleviation plan, the Party will not only end the predicament of the poor people and regions by 2020, but also lay a strong foundation for a sustainable relief mechanism.
Second, the 19th Party Congress is expected to discuss how to institutionalize the fight against corruption while maintaining a democratic system, as the people are expecting that Xi’s promise to “put power in the cage of law” will be honored at the upcoming Party Congress.
Third, in all likelihood the Party Congress will examine how to strengthen the military, so as to safeguard national security, facilitate national reunification, and protect regional and global peace.
And fourth, the leadership is bound to seize the occasion to demonstrate China’s sense of responsibility as a global power.
Xi has proposed to build a human community of shared destiny. True to the objective of building such a community, peace, development and “win-win” cooperation have been the consistent principles of China’s diplomacy. Of course, preserving peace is not the same as outright appeasement, and so there is no room for compromise when it comes to national sovereignty. Similarly, promoting development does not mean giving indiscriminately and promoting cooperation does not mean supplicating anyone. Seeking win-win outcomes must be based on sincerity.
China is promoting globalization with the Belt and Road Initiative to revitalize ancient trade routes, and is actively participating in global governance, particularly with its leadership in the fight against climate change. The 19th Party Congress will usher China into a new period of history that will be marked by prosperity and peace.
The author is a professor at the China Center for Contemporary World Studies.