In October, at 20th National Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), General Secretary Xi Jinping set himself up for another decade as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, replaced his most economically literate Politburo colleagues with a phalanx of loyalists, and enshrined the Stalinist-Maoist concept of “struggle” as a guiding principle in the Party Charter. The effect was to turn the page on “reform and opening,” the term the CCP uses to describe the economic liberalization that began in the late 1970s and led to the explosive growth of the Chinese economy in the past four decades.
The contest between democracies and China will increasingly turn on the balance of dependence; whichever side depends least on the other will have the advantage.
At the party congress, Xi was granted a third term as the CCP’s top leader—an unprecedented development in the contemporary era and a crucial step in his effort to centralize authority. But perhaps even more significant was the way the congress served to codify a worldview that Xi has been developing over the past decade in carefully crafted official party communications: Chinese-language speeches, documentaries, and textbooks, many of which Beijing deliberately mistranslates for foreign audiences, when it translates them at all. These texts dispel much of the ambiguity that camouflages the regime’s aims and methods and offer a window into Xi’s ideology and motivations: a deep fear of subversion, hostility toward the United States, sympathy with Russia, a desire to unify mainland China and Taiwan, and, above all, confidence in the ultimate victory of communism over the capitalist West. The end state he is pursuing requires the remaking of global governance. His explicit objective is to replace the modern nation-state system with a new order featuring Beijing at its pinnacle.
Read the full article from Foreign Affairs.
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