China’s rise on the global stage | Daily News
100 years of the CPC:

China’s rise on the global stage

China’s political policy changed in 2018 whereby the National People’s Congress approved the removal of the two-term limit on the presidency, effectively allowing President Xi Jinping to remain in power for life. China is now the world’s second-largest economy and Xi Jinping is considered the country’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.

An extravagant celebration of national pride was in full display at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Thursday, July 1, 2021, where China showed off its great achievements; may that be in the realms of economy, military, technology, diplomacy and soft power influence.

China’s growing confidence was highlighted with a robust speech by President Xi Jinping at the event to mark the Communist Party’s centenary, at which he promised the country would no longer be oppressed by foreign powers who humiliated China, in the past. Especially the “Eight-Nation Alliance” which refers to the invading of troops sent by Britain, the US, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, Italy and Austria-Hungary to China between 1899 and 1901. This was towards the end of the Qing dynasty, to suppress the popular Chinese anti-imperialist Yihetuan Movement. They looted and pillaged Beijing and other cities helping themselves to antiquities, porcelain, silks and ancient books or simply destroying what they found.

Known as Yuanmingyuan, the Old Summer Palace was built in the 1700s and has been described as the country’s most beautiful palace which housed the most magnificent collection of architecture, antiquities and art in the country. The massive palace grounds and its buildings were looted of their treasures and Lord Elgin ordered the British and French troops in 1860 to burn down the entire Summer Palace complex.

At the Forbidden City, the palace was so large, covering more than 3.5 square kilometres, so much so that it took 4,000 men three days of burning to destroy it. No reparations have been paid to date on the calamity which was caused by foreign powers.

“Officers and men seemed to have been seized with temporary insanity,” said one witness. “In body and soul, they were absorbed in one pursuit which was plunder, plunder.” But loot was an established part of British army pay, and Lord Elgin helped organise an auction of the many thousands of works of art and other objects that had been taken. The army tradition was to share out the spoils, with officers and other ranks taking their cut, and some of the cash used to compensate the families of dead or wounded soldiers.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was very adamant that it will never fall under the yoke of any foreign power and this message was graphically explained. From abject poverty to being an emerging superpower - that is where China is today.

It came at Thursday’s event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) where Xi Jinping made an unreserved address stating that “no one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “we will never allow anyone to bully, oppress, or subjugate China,” adding that anyone who tries to do so would “have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of Steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.” He also praised the accomplishment of a “moderately prosperous society,” reflecting on China’s rapid economic development over the last few decades.

In highlighting this, he was making clear that China will build up its military capability and technology advances, a country seeking to hold its own and will not tolerate foreign aggression.

President Xi Jinping continued: “The victory of the new-democratic revolution put an end to China’s history as a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society, to the state of total disunity that existed in old China, and to all the unequal treaties imposed on our country by foreign powers and all the privileges that imperialist powers enjoyed in China. It created the fundamental social conditions for realising national rejuvenation.”

The message was clear: what the CCP has delivered is both credible and substantial.

In China, there has been a lot of challenges in the Long March to success not limited to the integration of Tibet in 1949, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, inflicted on the country by Mao Zedong’s power struggles, ideological adventurism and recently the Hong Kong national security law.

Despite adversities, at the moment China’s Communist Party has proven an extraordinary ability to change. Unlike for instance America, you can change political parties but you can’t change policies. In China, you cannot change the party but you can change policies. China is being ruled by one single party, though there are eight other parties that work in harmony with the CCP. Yet the political and economic changes that have taken place in China in the past 66 years have been breathtaking, broader and greater than probably in any other major country in modern memory. China is a vibrant market economy but it is not a capitalist country like America. This model is being copied by many other countries with socialist economies like Vietnam.

To showcase vividly of its political might of the Chinese Communist Party vs capitalists’ billionaires, we have to look at one recent episode. It became very evident with the recent episode with Alibaba founder Jack Ma, the richest man in China. He criticised the Chinese financial system, was then detained under house arrest, and got reprimanded. It has been said that in China there is no way a group of billionaires can control the Chinese politburo.

It is believed that billionaires and corporations can buy influence with a fistful of dollars and control American policymakers. It has been revealed very recently according to a number of media sources that, ExxonMobil, the major oil company in America has been using lobbyist, underhand tactics to undermine Climate Change legislation and frustrate the process, a bit like the tobacco companies “falsely marketed plus promoted low-tar and light cigarettes as less harmful” than regular cigarettes to keep people smoking to sustain revenues. Research has proven that there is indeed no safe cigarette as all cigarettes have the ability to cause cancer, lung disease, heart attacks and or premature death.

In China, you have a vibrant market economy but capital does not rise above political authority. Capital does not have enshrined rights. In America, capital itself has risen above the very interests of the American nation. To demonstrate an example of this, in America, the gun lobby including the National Rifle Association (NRA) is so powerful even the President cannot do anything about it because of the strength of gun lobbyists. It is an easy argument and assumption to make, that the gun lobby has apparently and essentially ‘bought’ Washington. This is an agenda that appears out of step with the sentiments of the general population, which, according to recent polling, is in favour of stricter gun laws.

American politics is all about money with less or no principles and one who makes the loudest noise gets the most attention to the detriment of American society. The political authority cannot check the power of capital and that’s why America is a capitalist country but China is not. Dubbed “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” and mixing socialist theory with a methodological pragmatism, China has been hugely successful. It is very hard to dispute this, which is what makes it so ideologically threatening to the contemporary status quo of the world order currently dominated by the Western Hemisphere.

It arguably sets the stage for the great power struggle of the 21st century, and we should be in no doubt that the US is determined to block and frustrate it at all costs. But will it succeed? Only time will tell.

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