May 28, 2023

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Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening of the Communist Party Congress. “China will oppose Taiwan independence”

China will continue to “oppose the independence of Taiwan”, says President Xi Jinping, in the speech held at the opening of the Communist Party Congress, an event that lasts a week and which would ensure him a third mandate.

Xi Jinping opened the 20th congress of the ruling Communist Party of China, a week-long event in which he is expected to win a third term as leader and consolidate his position as the strongest leader of the country since Mao Zedong.

Xi began his speech promoting the party’s defense of national security, maintaining social stability, protecting people’s lives and taking control of the situation in Hong Kong, driven by anti-government protests in 2019, writes, citing The Guardian.

On Taiwan, Xi said: “We have resolutely waged a major battle against separatism and interference, demonstrating our strong determination and ability to protect the state’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and oppose Taiwan’s independence.”

The delegates present responded with loud applause.

Xi said the party with 96 million members “has won the biggest fight against poverty in human history”.

The gathering of some 2,300 delegates from the country began in the Great Hall of the People, on the west side of Tiananmen Square, amid tight security measures.

During his ten years in power, Xi, aged 69, led China on an increasingly authoritarian path, with security as his priorities, state control over the economy in the name of “common prosperity”, a more assertive diplomacy, a more powerful army strong and growing pressure to take control of democratically-governed Taiwan.

Analysts generally do not expect a significant change in political direction.

Recently, China has repeatedly stressed its commitment to Xi’s zero-Covid strategy, dashing the hopes of countless Chinese citizens and investors that Beijing could soon exit a set of rules that have caused widespread frustration and economic damage.

Xi’s power appears undiminished by the tumult of a year in which China’s economy has slowed dramatically, dragged down by frequent Covid-related lockdowns, a crisis in the property sector and the impact of measures imposed in 2021 on the economy.

China’s relations with the West have deteriorated sharply, worsened by Xi’s support for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The son of a Communist Party revolutionary, Xi reinvigorated a party that had become deeply corrupt and increasingly irrelevant.

Xi waived presidential term limits in 2018, creating the possibility of breaking with recent precedent and ruling for a term of 35 years or longer.

The congress, which takes place once every five years, would reconfirm Xi as general secretary of the party, the most powerful position in China, but also as chairman of the Central Military Commission. Xi’s presidency would be renewed in March at the annual session of the Chinese Parliament.

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