Yesterday marked the start of the weeklong 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, an event which sets the agenda of the second-largest economy in the world for the upcoming five years. Here are five takeaways from the opening speech given by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the clearest indicator yet of his plan for China.
1. China: International leader
China has set a deadline of 2050 to establish itself as an international leader, with “global, leading influence”. It appears to be on its way to the goal, with its aid to developing countries through the One Belt One Road Initiative, as well as increasing its military presence around Asia-Pacific region.
2. Continuing toughness on corruption
One of Xi’s signature issues during his first five years has been his campaign against corruption and graft, which has seen even former members of the Standing Committee fall from grace. Xi is set to continue his anti-graft campaign with the founding of a new “Central Leading Group on Governing the Country through Rule of Law”, which aims to eliminate any who try to put themselves above the law.
3. Stopping property speculation
In recent years, the housing market in China has become a hotbed of investment, with flats in Shenzhen and Guangzhou rivalling Hong Kong prices. Xi asserted that “houses are for living in, not for speculation”, indicating the government’s interest in addressing this problem.
4. Play nice with others
China recently came under fire from Silicon Valley companies in the US for being a closed system that prefers domestic companies over international ones, and has been accused of copyright infringement by some international firms. In his speech, Xi reaffirms China’s commitment to becoming an increasingly open market, and to treat all businesses fairly.
5. One country
China issued a stern warning to hostiles, saying that there will be no tolerance for “any individual, any organisation, any political party, at any time or by any means, to split any single piece of the Chinese territory,” a reminder to Tibet, Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong not to attempt to move further away from China. Despite this, however, Xi pledged to continue upholding Hong Kong’s “One Country, Two Systems”, and said China has managed the crises in the city very well.