Xi Jinping calls for more military might at Communist Party meeting

China opened a much-anticipated Communist Party meeting on Sunday with a call to accelerate military development and no major changes to policies that have caused tensions with the United States and other nations.

China’s official measures were closely watched by governments and businesses around the world keen to know how Beijing would deal with a dramatic collapse in its economy, the world’s second-largest, and thorny issues over its security, trade and commerce. and its technology.

“The next five years will be crucial,” Chinese leader Xi Jinping said in a speech to the Party Congress that lasted nearly two hours at the huge Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

He repeatedly spoke of the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”, a reference to the revival of the party’s economic and social power as it wielded it after taking power in 1949.

He said his military must “safeguard China’s dignity and fundamental interests”, citing territorial claims and other issues that Beijing says it is ready to fight for. The country seeks to expand its influence with ballistic missiles, aircraft carriers and overseas outposts.

“We will work faster to modernize military theory, personnel and weapons,” Xi said in his speech. “We will strengthen the strategic capabilities of the army.”

Under Xi’s leadership, China has pursued an assertive foreign policy, angering the governments of Japan, India and Southeast Asia over claims in the South China Sea, China Sea east and in part of the Himalayas. The United States, Japan, Australia and India formed a strategic group in response.

The party meeting, held twice a decade, will install leaders for the next five years. Xi, 69, is expected to break with tradition and give himself a third five-year term as general secretary and also promote like-minded allies.

Amnesty International has warned that an extension of Xi’s term would be a “human rights disaster”.

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Along with conditions in China, the watchdog group pointed to China’s efforts to “redefine the very meaning of human rights” at the United Nations.

Chinese President Xi Jinping walks to the podium to deliver a speech during the opening ceremony of the 20th National Congress of China's ruling Communist Party, held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on Sunday October 16, 2022.

Xi said nothing about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which China declined to criticize.

With Xi at its helm, the Chinese Communist Party has thrown its weight behind state industry, investing in renewable energy, electric cars, computer chips and other technologies.

Complaining that Beijing was unduly protecting and subsidizing these industries, former President Donald Trump raised tariffs on Chinese imports and started a global trade war.

President Biden has kept those tariffs in place and recently added restrictions on Chinese access to American chip technology.

The party has also strengthened public surveillance and censorship of the media and the internet. He has tightened control over citizens’ lives with a “social credit” initiative that tracks people and punishes them for violations like littering.

With dispatch services

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