The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in Beijing during 18-24 October, 2017. This Congress was a meeting of paramount importance and the entire world was knowingly and eagerly waiting for the outcome. The outcome was overwhelmingly expected. We can call it more than the expected outcome. The National Congress of the CPC affirmed the continuation of Xi’s second term with another strong proposition, i.e. his era has been termed as the era of Xi Jingping Thought. Moreover, his ideals have placed him at par with the founder of the Socialist China, Mao Zedong with amendment into the Chinese constitution. To some extent, Xi’s idea and his second term as the President of the People’s Republic of China, is regarded as the emergence of “the New Xi”. “The New Xi” who is not only more powerful but has also surpassed the position of Deng Xiaoping, the economic architect of the country, whose era was incorporated in the constitution posthumously as Deng Xiaoping Theory.
The ideas that constitute the new era under Xi revolve around some fundamental aspects of rebuilding socialism with Chinese characteristics. The first and foremost is his idea of making China a great modern Socialist country by the middle of this Century with strengthened democratic facets in governance mechanism. The second aspect of his ideas speaks about pursuing “people-centered philosophy of development” and ensuring prosperity for everyone in his country. Third is his commitment towards modernising and strengthening governance system of the country with the objective to establish a system of socialist rule of law. Last but not least, making China more strong militarily and echoing the ideas to protect the shared future of mankind in its international diplomacy.
The above ideas are strongly related with the policies Xi followed during his last tenure and they also put forward, at the outset, Xi will continue with the same. Moreover, Xi, as he emerges more powerful after the National Congress of the CPC, ascertained that he will continue building the routes under the Belt and Road Initiative, which is not only strategically important but will also contribute in establishing new markets for Chinese goods and strengthening of existing markets. The text on the resolution on the CPC Central Committee Report clearly states that “it will actively promote international cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative, and continue to take an active part in reforming and developing the global governance system”. The Belt and Road Initiative is the most important tool of its international diplomacy in which Xi is aiming at creating economic zones exclusively for Chinese products in the global market.
Similarly, Chinese positioning with Xi’s ideas of protecting the shared future of mankind in its international diplomacy advocates Xi’s renewed commitment towards Climate Change. Of course he assumed this task with responsibility which is in no doubt good news for the world after Trump’s position to withdraw from the Climate Change Deal under Paris Agreement. Hence China, under “the New Xi’, aims at the role, traditionally played by the global North particularly by the Developed Countries of the Europe. Xi’s commitments towards Climate Change will attract developing countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa like Brazil, India, etc to aggressively pursue this in their foreign diplomacy.
The apprehension that engulfs the world is China’s possible aggression with regard to handling its traditional conflicts with neighbouring countries, particularly the conflicts zones in Himalayas and in the South China Sea. Xi has emerged more powerful after the current CPC wherein the resolution of the CPC Committee Report during 19th National Congress states e must stay committed to the Chinese path of building strong armed forces, fully implement Xi Jinping’s thinking on strengthening the military, adapt military strategy to new conditions, build a powerful and modernized army, navy, air force, rocket force, and strategic support force, develop strong and efficient joint operations commanding institutions for theater commands, and create a modern combat system with distinctive Chinese characteristics. This was further included in the resolution agreed by the Congress for amending constitution cementing more power to CPC and its leadership i.e. Xi.
This will be interesting to see how Xi is going to balance between the processes of carrying out burden of conflicts in future and also ensuring shared future of mankind. Chinese international diplomacy has always been deprived of ideas like protecting environment, commitment to peace and ensuring democratic process in the world. These ideas are taking roots in Xi’ New Era, however, with socialist emphasis. If Xi is able to make balance between the conflicts and the process of building new world and able to direct his diplomacy in ensuring shared future of mankind , Xi will certainly assume position of the countries advocating such ideas in the past and will replace them as the guard of multilateralism. However, only possible obstacles to such transformation of “the New Xi” are military aggression and dual stand of China on global and regional peace.
About the author
Assistant Professor, M. K. S College, LNM University, Darbhanga
Author is responsible of the views expressed in the article and views are not that of the Institution he is associated with.