Xi Jinping warns against foreign aggression in Communist Party centenary speech
Chinese President and Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping delivers a speech at a ceremony marking the centenary of the CPC, Thursday, July 1, 2021. | Li Xueren / Xinhua via AP

Chinese President Xi Jinping insisted that the country would not bend to foreign interference yesterday in a defiant speech to mark the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

“Any attempt to divide the party from the Chinese people or to set the people against the party is bound to fail,” he said during the ceremony in the capital, Beijing. Xi, who is also CPC general secretary, said that the Chinese nation is not an aggressor, in a message aimed at those trying to whip up hostilities and provoke a new Cold War.

“We have never bullied, oppressed, or subjugated the people of any other country and we never will,” Xi claimed. “We will never allow any foreign force to bully, oppress, or subjugate us. Anyone who would attempt to do so will find themselves on a collision course, breaking their heads and spilling their blood on a great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.”

Xi’s live address lasted for about an hour, with the celebrations also including military jets performing fly-bys and crowds cheering and singing patriotic songs. The foundation of the CPC in 1921 has been described as “epoch-making,” with the party coming to power and establishing the People’s Republic of China following the 1949 revolution led by Mao Zedong. It has since lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty as China was transformed from a backward, feudal society to the second-largest economy on the planet.

The 1979 decision under Deng Xiaoping’s leadership to embark on economic reform and opening up to the outside world was highlighted by the Chinese president as the “crucial move in making China what it is today.” The reform program saw China move away from the highly centralized planned economy inherited from the Soviet experience and transition toward a “socialist market economy” that combines planning and market forces as well as diverse forms of ownership.

People attend celebrations in Tiananmen Square to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, July 1, 2021. | Ng Han Guan / AP

Xi said “the strengths of socialism with Chinese characteristics are attributable to the fact that Marxism works” and that the country’s national rejuvenation was “a historical inevitability.” Saying that Marxism remained “the guiding ideology upon which our party and country are founded,” Xi pledged the CPC would continue developing it in line with changing conditions in both China and the world.

He reiterated the government’s commitment to the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, under which some regions of China, particularly Hong Kong and Macao, are administered with a high degree of autonomy. He also reaffirmed China’s “unshakeable commitment” to reunification with Taiwan, which has been ruled separately as the “Republic of China” since Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek fled there in 1949.

“No one should underestimate the resolve, the will and ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Xi said. There was no mention in his remarks of the Xinjiang region, the subject of frequent attacks by Western governments.

China is “marching in confident strides towards the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects,” Xi declared. “A century ago, at the time of its founding, the Communist Party of China had just over 50 members. Today, with more than 95 million members in a country of more than 1.4 billion people, it is the largest governing party in the world and enjoys tremendous international influence,” he said.

“Today, the image China presents to the world is one of a thriving nation that is advancing with unstoppable momentum toward rejuvenation,” he said.

This story from Morning Star has been supplemented with additional information.

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Steve Sweeney
Steve Sweeney

Steve Sweeney writes for Morning Star, the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain. He is also a People's Assembly National Committee member, patron of the Peace in Kurdistan campaign, and a proud trade unionist. Steve Sweeney escribe para Morning Star, el diario socialista publicado en Gran Bretaña. También es miembro del Comité Nacional de la Asamblea Popular, patrocinador de la campaña Paz en Kurdistán y un orgulloso sindicalista.