President Xi Jinping of China

Written by Asra Zahid 11:50 am

President Xi Jinping of China: The Pandemic, Growing Military Power & the Chinese Dream

With the removal of the limit on the term of the Chinese presidency in 2018, President Xi Jinping has consolidated more power. The reform has allowed him to remain in power for as long as he likes unlike the old traditions of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). President Xi Jinping of China is highly praised by the CCP for his visionary economic, social, and foreign policy. The CCP has given him a status equivalent to that of revolutionary personalities like Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. Asra Zahid notes that from effectively countering the COVID-19 pandemic, and strengthening China’s economic and military power to reviving the “Chinese Dream,” China has come a long way under the visionary leadership of President Xi Jinping.
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About the Author(s)

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Asra Zahid is pursuing her bachelor's in peace and conflict studies at National Defence University. She is currently in her 4th semester. Her areas of interest include ethnic conflicts, ideological conflicts, international politics, and current affairs.

Chinese President Xi Jinping: A Visionary

The year 2022 is of crucial importance for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and for President Xi Jinping of China, as the 20th Party Congress will prioritize China’s policies for the next 5 years and beyond. Its importance has also significantly increased since recently on the occasion of the completion of the Chinese Communist Party’s 100 years, CCP endorsed a pronouncement and declared President Xi Jinping as the party’s revolutionary leader.

It elevated Chinese President Xi Jinping to a status equivalent to that of Mao Zedong – the perpetrator of the communist revolution in China – and Deng Xiaoping – a prominent personality responsible for economic transformation and social reforms in China. In 2018, the limit on the term of the presidency was removed, hence paving way for President Xi Jinping of China to rule for another third term or even fourth or fifth, consolidating his power.

The new reform indicates Mr. Xi’s will to stay in power and will not require him to step down unlike the old traditions of the CCP. Members of the communist party of China appreciated Mr. Xi Jinping for his visionary economic, social, and foreign policy and thus gave him a status equivalent to the revolutionary personalities of the CCP.

President Xi Jinping is one of the most influential political leaders of the world and has ruled longer than any United States president, except Roosevelt, and is on his way to even cross Roosevelt’s era of presidency. Mr. Xi Jinping has secured enough support to serve for a third term and another five years as the party’s general secretary. The Chinese model of governance has made it so that there is no competitor or adversary leader against him in the party.

Achievements under President Xi Jinping of China

After a decade of consolidating power, Mr. Xi Jinping has reached big milestones for China. The state has undergone an economic transformation now challenging the current world order and China’s soft power has reached every part of the world. From effectively countering the COVID-19 pandemic, formulating a confrontational foreign policy towards the USA, a strong functioning economy, and eradicating corruption from Chinese society to the “Chinese Dream,” China has come a long way under the visionary leadership of Mr. Xi Jinping. The People’s Republic of China has been prosperous like no other state and is continuously undergoing more progress.

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 Chinese Dream

Like his predecessors such as Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao, Xi talked about the past glory of the Chinese nation and the concept of rejuvenation, otherwise known as the Chinese Dream. For Xi Jinping, the Chinese Dream pertains to:

  1. Doubling China’s per capita GDP from 2010 to 2020.
  2. Increasing naval and military capabilities to an extent to pose a threat and perform an efficient defense.
  3. Fulfilling the social and basic needs of Chinese people.

Mr. Xi Jinping was also concerned about China’s ideological framework and future. He asserted, “The selection of path is a life-or-death issue for the future of the CPC. We should unswervingly uphold socialism with Chinese characteristics…the superiority of our system will be fully demonstrated through a brighter future.” 

He also emphasized the importance of collective values rather than the West-sponsored notion of individualistic values, stating that the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation “is a dream of the whole nation, as well as of every individual,” and that “only when the country does well, and the nation does well, can every person do well.”

He also integrated other factors for the social welfare society of China such as opportunities for quality education, better income, pollution-free and cleaner environment. From all of the above-mentioned initiatives, he aimed to achieve the dream of a glorified China

COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 started in China, a state constituting a 1.4 billion population. Under the zero-COVID policy of Xi Jinping, China decided to fully curb the pandemic rather than just live with it like most states. President Xi Jinping emphasized the central role of “people’s warfare” against the pandemic. He said China must “strive to achieve the maximum prevention and control at the least cost, and minimize the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development,” 

Strict restrictions were imposed on people ranging from a major lockdown, and shutdown of businesses, industries, and technology to travel and movement. Using coercive and authoritative means, China quickly mobilized institutions and resources to fully eradicate the pandemic and recover economical losses. It reached medical, diplomatic, and economic success and was the first major economy to counter the pandemic.

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Growing Military Power

China has the world’s second-largest defense expenditure and has become involved in a hypersonic arms race with Russia and US. President Xi Jinping played a vital role in the modernization of the Chinese military and the acquisition of submarines, anti-ship ballistic missiles, anti-ship cruise missiles, aircraft carriers, unmanned aircrafts, etc.

China went from having two submarines in 1995 to 60 in 2021– out of which 10 are nuclear-powered submarines. The Chinese government had advanced from metaphorically proclaiming the South China Sea as its maritime territory to the use of coercive means to realize them. This was realized under sheer determination and will to protect the Chinese sovereignty of Xi Jinping.

Implications

One-person Rule

The resolution to elevate President Xi Jinping to the level of China’s historical revolutionary personalities will leave an impression on international states that only Xi Jinping, as a political leader, can make China an emerging superpower and pull out the Chinese from uncertain crises. China countered COVID-19 efficiently, but it is facing economic threats from debt-strapped businesses and local level governments, and developing mistrust from the United States of America and other Western nations.

China’s zero-COVID strategy constituted of strict lockdowns and closed borders. Unlike other countries, China followed this approach for a longer period of time. It led China to a major energy crisis and hence declining Industrial activity. The economy only grew 4.9% in the third quarter, missing expectations for a 5.2% expansion and dropping from a 7.9% expansion in the second quarter.

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has no apparent political rivals in the Chinese Communist Party but a proposal to stay in authority will most probably estrange competent party members who might visualize this as their dismissal from the chance of power and leadership. Also, analysts refer to the case studies of other nations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and notify that longer periods of the one-man rule may lead the country towards weak decisions and poor economic performance.

Economic Concerns

According to the report presented at the annual session of the National People’s Congress, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, widespread corruption and challenges in employing financial reforms are the two important economic issues being faced by China in 2022. It was asserted in the session that “financial corruption, political supervision, and financial sector reform as issues should be tackled in an integrated way.”

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Assertion on “Six Stabilities” and the “Six Guarantees” in the session restates Chinese leadership concerns over the economy. The stabilities and guarantees refer to “stable employment, finance, foreign trade, foreign investment, investment and expectations, and guarantees for employment, basic livelihoods, economic entities, grain and energy security, industry supply chains and operations at the grassroots.’’

China’s financial growth objective was to market at 5.5%, and to ‘’prioritize stability while seeking progress.” The party leadership comprehends that a number of important issues remain in their place despite the financial achievements. Several problems are general and must be addressed efficiently and quickly. Although It did not categorize the issues, it pointed toward the “need to strengthen the centralized and unified leadership of the Party Central Committee over financial work and unswervingly follow the path of financial development with Chinese characteristics”

Conclusion

Although President Xi Jinping of China has reached big milestones for China from effectively countering the COVID-19 pandemic, formulating a confrontational foreign policy towards the USA, a strong functioning economy, eradicating corruption from Chinese society, a strong military, and realizing the Chinese Dream but Mr. Xi Jinping consolidating power for the third time in a row will have implications for China at the national and international levels. It may lead China towards fragile political decisions and challenges in economic reforms.


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