China’s president Xi Jinping gave a landmark speech at the 19th party congress -- China’s most powerful political meeting on Wednesday, setting out his achievements and missions. Offering the Chinese system of authoritarian capitalism as an alternative to Western democracy, particularly at a time when the West is seen as vulnerable and fragile, Mr. Xi intends to make China a country that, by building strength at home, takes an increasingly prominent role on the world stage. Given China’s economic power, military strength and the huge population, Xi’s speech and the Congress have got the whole world watching, as it could set agenda not for Beijing but also for much of the world.
After five years as China’s leader, Xi has outshined his immediate processors to become one of the most powerful people in China’s modern history, and arguably the most influential man on earth. Xi has asserted a strongman leadership style. From quashing of political dissent to tightening control on internet, he demanded absolute loyalty and obedience from the state and the army. Starting a self-serving propaganda operations that include cracking down on free speech and building Red Army schools, Xi has tried to revive a communist ideology enforced during China’s Cultural Revolution – the most horrific movement in modern Chinese history.
However, many people in China have been resistant to the ideological exuberance. While state media has been in overdrive in its praise of Xi and his speech, less enthusiastic was anyone who has tried to stand up for political freedom and fight for civil liberty. A national survey has found that the incessant ideology propaganda turns out counterproductive. About 75 per cent of Chinese support the spread of Western values and the trust towards Xi and the party fade among those with high level of education.
China’s distinct path to the most powerful nation in the world has also raises skepticism. “Some Western economic theories, no matter how much Xi hates them, represent the most scientific approach,” says Mo Yushi, one of China’s best known liberal economists. “Creating a ‘China style’ to me, is nearly impossible”.
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