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  • Home > News > Details
    China enters 'new era'

    He points out that in the report, the president said the "dream of the Chinese people is closely connected with the dreams of the peoples of other countries".

    "I believe it is the first time a leader in his report has talked about a common destiny of mankind. In the past, the main focus has been on the Party itself," he said.

    "It clearly demonstrates the global vision the president has with concerns relating to the environment and the Paris accord and across a whole range of issues."

    Rana Mitter, director of the Oxford University China Centre and one of the leading China historians in the West, says Xi was putting China front and center in world affairs.

    "The major shift for me in the report is the statement of China being at the center of world affairs," he says.

    "With this more central role will come a lot more responsibilities in areas of international trade, the need to open up markets, and leadership positions on climate change and questions of local and global security." On the economy, a number of commentators have noted that Xi has moved away from setting specific targets for GDP or any other measure for either 2035 or 2050, leaving greater room for other priorities to be achieved.

    Zhu Ning, Oceanwide professor of finance at Tsinghua University, says this was the right way forward for economic policy management.

    "The targets are less specific and less numbers-driven, which is also a good thing as well. They set out a new vision for development, which will probably mean the goals will be more sustainable," he says.

    Zhu, also author of China's Guaranteed Bubble, which examines how the government plays a strong role in supporting the financial system, says what was striking from the speech was the long-term vision setting a course for China to 2050.

    "It was probably the most forward-looking speech of its kind in recent memory. It was far-sighted not only in economic-related areas but in many others as well. It takes us up to the middle of the century and introduces this new target of 2035 also, " he says.

    Louis Kuijs, Hong Kong-based head of Asia for Oxford Economics, says that while Western politicians are constrained by electoral cycles and other factors, being able to set out a long-term plan has many advantages.

    "It puts policymaking on a longer-term track. It helps persuade people to accept shorter-term pain for longer-term gains, and I personally think it is good to have a longer-term horizon," he says.

    "China is unique in this. Politicians in other systems find it hard to take this approach because there are always changes of leadership and changes of parties."

    Yukon Huang, senior fellow of the Asia program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the global think tank, says the scale of reforms that Xi is contemplating cannot be done overnight.

    "He is trying to set out a much more long-term vision as to where China is going, and he makes clear that vision cannot be achieved in a couple of years," he says.

    "His reform agenda is not just about economic policy but much broader, covering politics, society as a whole, legal reform and China's role in the world."

    Stephen Roach, senior fellow of the Jackson Institute at Yale University, believes Xi is right to place emphasis on tackling corruption.

    "Now the Chinese government is making a determined effort to address this issue; I think it is reasonable to say that this is a step in the direction we have been asking for for a long time."

    Frankopan, also author of the bestselling The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, says one aspect of Xi that impresses him is that he never underestimates the challenges ahead.

    The president emphasized this again in his report by saying that his aims for the country would not be a "walk in the park".

    "What is striking about Xi is that when he gives speeches, he doesn't make it sound like it is all easy. He is quite candid in explaining what the issues and the problems are. This is what you want to hear rather than the dress rehearsal where everything is all perfect."

    Wang Huiyao of the Center for China and Globalization, who is also a counselor to the State Council, says Xi is now perhaps the only world leader who is prepared to stake out a global leadership position.

    "We saw it with his Davos speech in January defending globalization, and we see it again with his speech to the congress," he says.

    "His vision means this is no longer just a congress for the CPC, but one that has global ramifications and that is now backed by initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and other major China-led initiatives."


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