On October 24th, 2017, the Chinese government unanimously voted to install “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” as the new guiding perspective for the governing party. At first glance, this may not seem as much, however, with this move the Chinese government elevated their leader, Xi Jinping, to a status similar to that of Mao Zedong. At the 19th national Congress, a meeting that is held twice a decade, Xi outlined a sweeping resolution in a three-hour speech that laid out specific changes he wanted to implement for China as a whole. In his speech Xi expressed 14 main points of his “Thought on Socialism,” but only four stood out as the most important reforms. The first important point called for “complete and deep reform” and “new developing ideas.”
Since taking power in 2012, Xi has been slowly tightening his control over Chinese politics as well as initiating large crackdowns on corruption within the government. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) within the government stated in 2016 that they had already investigated one million corrupt officials, but the general body of Chinese citizens still are not fully convinced that the government has been successful in fully punishing officials who have participated in shady practices. With his new resolution Xi Jinping will most likely continue his crackdown on corruption within the government due to his language regarding “deep reform.” The second point within his speech covered environmental concerns with Xi calling for a “harmonious living between man and nature” which experts assume is China’s renewed goal to cutting back on pollution through investing in renewable energy.
In 2015 Berkeley Earth researchers calculated that the amount of pollution within China accounts for 17% of all deaths in the country. These statistics indicate that change is needed within China in order for the country to fully thrive. The third point called for “absolute authority of the party over the people’s army” which made sense considering the tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, as well as China’s skirmishes over the South China Sea Islands. An increase in power over the military also signals the largest turnover of senior military officials in modern Chinese history. With absolute control over the largest army in the world Xi could pose a threat or be an important ally to the U.S. over their rising tensions with North Korea.
The fourth point is a controversial one as the term “’one country two systems” was used while describing Xi’s vision of a one unified motherland. The term itself indicates Xi’s plan to crackdown on Hong Kong and Taiwan, an issue that has been up in the air for several decades now, especially after the recent Hong Kong incidents that have incited several protests and activism from the populace against full unification with mainland China, it’s no surprise that the Chinese government is starting to crackdown on the two entities that have repeatedly fought off mainland Chinese rule. The next few weeks will be interesting to say the least, with the governing body electing new members as well as deciding their next steps for the next few years. Regardless of what happens, it is clear that China is going to be taking a bigger role as a global superpower, something that will be worth witnessing.