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China under Xi Jin Ping’s Rule

China under Xi Jin Ping’s Rule

By: Gazala Anbreen

In 2012 Xi Jin Ping became China’s president for the first time. In 2018 the China’s National People’s Congress scrapped the two term limit on its President. However, some people have been terming this as Xi’s attempt to become lifelong president. The reason they offer is that there must be robust young leadership who have the ability to handle the contemporary problems.

One year ago he was given a historic third term in March, 2023. He is a man of loyalty having an unending patience. Although he may not be as visible on social media as he should be, his steadfast resolve and enduring courage to take bold decisions for the weal and welfare of his nation has earned him the title of hero of Chinese people.

His popularity seems out of question. Since Mao Zedong no one has been so popular in actual. He has reshaped the communist party, the military and the government. The people of China have an unflinching trust in his leadership.

During his early days of life, he returned to the poor country side to integrate the poor Chinese workers and peasants. In Liangiahe he made dams and new roads and learned complicated power dynamics in China.

He started out with the vision of the Chinese dream. The projects he envisioned revitalized the whole China and established him as a top leader. He reorganized the military too. Owing to his congenial temperament and a balanced personality, he made a few enemies.

He also speaks about preserving traditions of the past. His political ideology known as Xi thought has been introduced in school curriculum and is taught to the students of age six years in order to make them more patriotic as this age is generally very impressionable and would enable them to think in line with the political values upheld by Xi Jin Ping. This is important for instilling in the young students the nationalist values in order to promote a cohesion and maintain their identity as Chinese people.

  The doctrine of Xi thought encompasses the elimination of poverty and an uncompromising approach to national security and the belief in the Chinese Communist party as the only force for securing their ideology. His is the story of perseverance. Building the strong China which leads at the international arena is the spirit of the Xi thought.

He gives paramount importance to loving his country as a supreme virtue. Two years ago in 2022 the Chinese government banned the use of foreign text books in the schools making students more confident. A crackdown on the private tuition was also launched and since 2021 private tutors have been banned from giving online classes or in unregistered venues. Xi thought was first enshrined in the Chinese constitution in 2018 to infuse loyalty in the students.

Since Mao he is the first leader to have been taught while in power. The term of Chinese nationalism was made popular in 2013. Tending Chinese nationalism is the part of his agenda which is also known as Chinese dream.

On Oct 18, 2017 Xi said:

“The Chinese dream is a dream about history, the present and the future. It is a dream of our generation, but even more so a dream”. That means becoming a global leader in areas as for instance, sciences, diplomacy and culture.

Under leadership of Xi Jin Ping, with the stature of a true leader, China’s influence is gradually growing. He has a unifying philosophy. In Jan 17, 2017 he said “We Chinese know only too well what it takes to achieve prosperity. We will open our arms to the people of other countries and welcome them aboard the express train of China’s development”

One of the signatures of his Presidency has been a massive anti-corruption drive. Corruption hunt has been praised for its effectiveness. He positioned himself as an anti-corruption leader whom the Communist party could always count on. His anti-corruption crackdown serves as an example for the whole world and people take him as a hero. He initiated a massive anti-corruption drive that punished 300,000 officials including politicians in 2015 alone. In another clampdown on corruption and misconduct in 2021, more than 600,000 officials were punished.

 The people of China take him as a stabilizing force. Stable societies foster a culture of book reading and cherish a love for it so did XI. In his own words:

“Wherever I went, I always took a book with me. What had I brought with me, several reference works. The dictionary of idioms, the Xinmin dictionary, a concise dictionary of philosophy. I would memorize an entry and then its meaning before going out to hoe the fields and memorize another during a break”.

 Several years after even in 2015 (February 13 at Liangjiahe) he used to recall time when he read books while herding the sheep “As a shepherd, I’d pen the sheep in on the hilltop and then I’d sit there, reading, reading and thinking”.

During a speech at Peking University in 2014 he said “I would go everywhere, looking for books. One should be deeply ashamed of any gap in one’s knowledge”.

Some experts talk about slowing down of Chinese economy. There is no doubt that COVID wreaked havoc in terms of loss of lives and inability to acquire the set economic targets. China’s economy is in the grip of challenges. It can be seen in the growth rate projections of past years. In 2019 the growth rate was 5.95%. In 2020 it slumped to a mere 2.24%. In 2021 the Chinese economy resurfaced with a growth rate of 8.45%.  In 2022 the growth rate was lowered to 2.99%. In 2023 it was 5.2 % and in 2024 as of now the growth rate stands at 4.6%. This timeline shows the resurgence of Chinese economy and its ability to navigate through challenges with an undaunted determination and a stout resolve.

But the hard reality remains that COVID outbreak caused a major blow to many sectors as property sector and construction works have suffered from many setbacks owing to this pandemic. Not only there was a loss of lives but the economy also sputtered. It has made cities like Shenzhen and Tianjin suffer in respect of many industries. As a result there was a reduced spending on tourism and retail services. The policymakers are trying to deal with the property market down turn. There is a slump in real estate sector. Yuan also saw a decline against the American dollar but now it is steadying up. In 2019 1 USD was equal to 6.90 CNY. In 2020 1 USD was equal to 6.92 CNY. In 2021 1 USD was equal to 6.76 CNY. In 2022 1 USD was equal to 6.73 CNY. In 2023 1 USD was equal to 7.07 CNY and as of now the current exchange rate is 1USD = 7.23 CNY. Among other factors are trade tensions of China with other economies and the decline in global demand for exports of China.

China’s ambitious integrated OBOR project is facing problems and challenges on many counts. Let us explore these in detail.

OBOR is Chinese growth plan through a collaborative way. It involves six corridors. First passage will connect China Mongolia and Russia. Second passage is new Eurasian land Bridge which will pass through Jiangsu province and enter in Netherlands. Third is China-Central Asia-West Asian Economic corridor. It will link Xinjiang to oil rich countries like Turkiye and others. Fourth is Indian China peninsula economic corridor connecting India and China. CPEC, its flagship project will enable China have an access till Arabian Sea. CPEC for Pakistan is very important both for China and Pakistan. Through this the region will be developed and employment avenues will be increased. Sixth is Bangladesh China Myanmar economic corridor. The Maritime silk route will enhance connectivity by establishing sea routes linking Asia, Europe and Africa.

 Investment is from 8 to 10 trillion dollars. Tracks, bridges and roads will be made under this project and it will connect nearly 70 countries of the world. It includes projects pertaining to power, thermal, solar, wind energy, residential, schools and many others are being introduced. Land and sea are its core components. These projects will be sustainable and cooperative.

China needs a working environment to be created to have a political collaboration on this project. The alliances like B3W, AUCUS and QUAD the examples of block politics were initiated and may be termed an attempt to counter balance BRI.  

Why resistance is being posed to this level is easy to construe. This project will enable China gain economic dominance by having a decisive say in many regional issues. The debt it will be giving to developing countries for the materialization of these projects are also interpreted as traps by the critics. OBOR will enable China gain economic dominance having access to the three continents.

 To have geopolitical realignment is another strategic vision of China. Instead of Strait of Malacca China will have an alternate option for the supply routes. Different options will be provided by this project for energy supply route benefiting many countries.

OBOR will ensure a vital route for the countries along South China Sea. Since World War II South China Sea is an important trade route through which the countries bordering it like Malaysia, Philippine, Singapore, Indonesia use it for trade through sea route. From 50 to 70 years America has many air bases and has a significant presence with its naval bases in countries like Philippine and air bases in Indonesia and bases in Brunei. Hence American dominance will be challenged with every passing day as OBOR progresses.

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