The week-long 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), from Sunday October 16 to Saturday October 22, drew the best efforts by the Western media to pour cold water over the event that would confirm China’s future course in pursuit of a socialist state China-style, through adoption of a national system of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics by 2049, the Centenary of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The CPC celebrated its own centenary in 2021 and the world’s largest and oldest party of its type opened its congress with 2,300 delegates representing over 96 million members.
But through it all, the international mainstream media’s emphasis was on only one man: CPC General Secretary and PRC President Xi Jinping, depicting him as a totalitarian leader who appointed himself to decide everything for everyone in China, forever…
The congress was described as “highly-choreographed” and Xi as having moved, in his first two terms, “from a relative unknown, to Chairman of Everything…”
They claimed Xi had become the most popular CPC and PRC leader since the CPC’s Founding Chairman Mao Tse Tung, who was also the PRC’s first president – and that Xi’s popularity was “because he gave life to everyone’s China Dream”, he’d “fought corruption” and “reformed the military”.
So, by their measure, President Xi had now “arranged to give himself an unprecedented third term” and “making himself unchallengeable” as he starts “his ultimate journey” as “President and General Secretary, For Life.”
The Congress delivered on all it promised – including Xi’s third term – but nothing on the hyped-up predictions and expectations that China would have changed course on its ‘Zero COVID’ policy.
Same with the Taiwan issue: The critics spun and weaved new arguments to support old cases for Taiwan island’s total estrangement from the mainland.
Xi said China wishes for a peaceful reunification process but won’t rule out use of force – and his quiet but firm repetition of the 73-year-old CPC position, adopted in 1949 after the defeated Kuomintang (KMT) retreated to and occupied the island after the mainland civil war, again deflated their overblown expectations.
BBC and CNN correspondents in Beijing, Hong Kong and Taipei also claimed, “no successor was identified”, so “Xi will now remain in office for the rest of his life…”
When the congress finally ended, the speculation moved into higher gear, this time into predictions, including: China soon calling Washington’s bluff on its claimed adherence to the One China Policy; more investment in the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) in countries neighboring China and in the developing world; and that China and Russia will eventually have to face “problems over Ukraine” while “cooperating on de-dollarization”.
The Western media warriors also fought tooth-and-nail to convince viewers and listeners, readers and browsers that Xi simply want to “rule forever” through “accumulation of excessive power” — completely ignoring that Xi Jinping’s Thoughts were adopted by the CPC as it main guiding philosophy, all of four years ago.
They also ignored (but cannot deny) that Beijing is a leading member of the BRICS group of larger developing nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), which already jointly represents the majority of humanity — and has more nations knocking on its doors, including Argentina and Saudi Arabia.
And they conveniently overlooked the fact that China’s role on the world stage today — in economics and finance, politics and diplomacy, war and peace, Climate Change and global trade — is such that, like President Xi remarked in his closing remarks, “The world needs China.”The heat was cooled down around Taiwan ahead of the congress and mid-term elections in both the US and Taiwan.
In the tense period since the politically costly visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on August 3, the US military and the State Department have been at pains to distance themselves from Biden’s upscaled pre-election war rhetoric over Taiwan.
The US having lost so many Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan and President Joe Biden withdrawing-hastily from Kabul last year after 20 years, the US military top brass doesn’t have any appetite for a war with China, preferring instead to join Japan and South Korea in offensive military drills in North Korean territory, “to send a message to China.”
All that leaves Taiwan in a tight situation…
None of the above is good news for Taipei, which continues to pursue the politically impossible by embracing promises of military support in any confrontation with China, at a time when there’s growing evidence the world doesn’t want to see a 20th Century nuclear war.
Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen on October 10 softened the earlier bellicose stand in the post-Pelosi period, saying in an address televised worldwide that Taiwan does not have military plans to pursue its separatist political goals.
But China and the US — and the rest of the world — have changed much since 2016 when Taiwan’s ruling Democratic People’s Party (DPP) first took office.
COVID-19, Climate Change, Supply Chain Shortages, the ongoing fighting in Ukraine and related sanctions on Moscow have combined with domestic situations to force governments everywhere to revisit old policies and embrace new ones.
Will outgoing President Tsai’s, in the middle of her second and last term, seek to change her place in history by noting the global trend against conflicts and revisit the advisability of continuing to put the rest of the world at risk by still pursuing an objective that China will simply not allow to happen without a fight, come what may?
Will Taiwanese remember the comparative peace and stability, safety and security the island enjoyed between 2008 and 2016 when the administrations in Beijing and Taipei showed the two sides of the dividing Strait can definitely agree to disagree — and dance too, once one doesn’t step on the other’s toes?
A lot will depend on the results of the mid-term elections in Taiwan and the US, but even then, no matter what the results, Western attitudes to China won’t change – and Taiwan will be no closer to realizing the DPP’s elusive independence dream.
That’s just the way it is…