XiJinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivers an important speech at a ceremony marking the CPC's centennial at Tian'anmen Square in Beijing on Thursday. Photo: Xinhua
Addressing a grand ceremony to celebrate the centennial of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at Tian'anmen Square in Beijing on Thursday marked by palpable joy and thundering cheers of a large crowd representing all sectors of Chinese society, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, highlighted remarkable achievements of the past century, drew a promising future for the country's "irreversible" path toward rejuvenation while delivering stern warnings to forces that seek to undercut that path and divide the country.
On a cloudy morning in the capital, the gloomy sky and rain obviously didn't affect the audience of all ages and from all professions, ethnic groups, other political parties and personages without party affiliation, as they gathered on the colorful square singing nostalgic songs of the revolutionary period and marveled at a spectacular airshow that featured some of the country's best fighter jets.
Most notable was their constant and reverberant applause and cheers, as Xi, who is also the president of the country and chairman of the Central Military Commission, declared the completion of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, warned anti-China forces against getting their heads battered at a "great wall of steel" formed by 1.4 billion people and stressed China's resolve to defend its territorial integrity and sovereignty regarding the island of Taiwan.
As the 65-minute speech went on, the cheers and applause got louder, in what analysts say was a show of their excitement of the country's achievements under the CPC's leadership and their strong support and confidence for the higher missions outlined by Xi.
The CPC has united and led the Chinese people over the past 100 years for one ultimate purpose: bring about the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The CPC and the Chinese people, through tenacious struggles, have shown the world that China's rejuvenation has become a historic inevitability, Xi said.
Beyond the crowd at Tian'anmen Square, the address was also aired for a national and international audience. As he issued stern warnings against foreign aggression, Xi also vowed that China has never bullied and will not bully others, and that China will continue to pursue cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and build a community with a shared future for mankind, while thanking international friends who have offered support to China.
Chinese experts said the speech shows CPC's unbreakable affinity to the people; the iron will to defend national interests and sovereignty and smash any aggression; and the confidence to not just realize national rejuvenation for China, but also build a community with a shared future for mankind.
National Flag Guards prepare to raise the Chinese flag at a ceremony marking the CPC's centennial at Tian'anmen Square in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua
Glories and promises
The message that the CPC delivered through Xi's speech started from CPC's promise to its people and the country by reviewing the past glory and highlighting the latest achievements. It then confidently expounded CPC's legitimacy to lead the country and humbly expressed appreciation for the support and trust from the people and friends at home and abroad and also honored the contributions and sacrifice made by former leaders and martyrs.
Xi also solemnly announced on Thursday that China has realized the first centennial goal: building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. "This means that we have brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China, and we are now marching confidently toward the second centennial goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects," Xi said.
A moderately prosperous society is one of the most significant promises that the CPC has made to its people at the beginning of the reform and opening-up in 1978 when Deng Xiaoping was the core of the Party's second generation leadership.
This is proof of the CPC's aspirations: to seek happiness for the Chinese people, said experts, noting that Chinese people are living in a safe and prosperous country that is even better than many developed Western countries that hold bias and hostility toward China's development.
Zhang Weiwei, director of the China Institute of Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times that the CPC can keep delivering what the Chinese people need because, thanks to the first-generation CPC leadership with Mao Zedong at its core, it has effectively integrated Marxism with Chinese realities.
In around 30 years after the People's Republic of China (PRC) was established in 1949, the CPC under Mao's leadership laid a solid foundation in terms of politics, economy and society for the second generation leadership with Deng at its core to eventually find the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics since the late 70s, Zhang said.
In the new era, under the CPC's leadership with Xi at its core, China has realized profound changes again, Zhang said, noting that "especially in the decisive victory in preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, we've made great achievements which most countries want but failed to achieve. This has greatly improved the confidence and pride of the Chinese people."
Apart from honoring the founding fathers of the PRC, including Mao and Zhou Enlai (the first premier of the PRC) and major leaders of the second generation CPC leadership including Deng and Chen Yun (key designer of the PRC's economic system), Xi also expressed great respect to his two predecessors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, as they are chief representatives of Chinese Communists in the past 100 years who made tremendous and historic contributions to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Representatives of the Chinese Communist Youth League and Young Pioneers wave the Chinese national flag and the flag of the Communist Party of China at a ceremony marking the CPC's centennial at Tian'anmen Square in Beijing on Thursday. Photo: Xinhua
In Xi's speech, the word "people" was the most mentioned -- 88 times by the general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.
No matter what and how foreign hostile forces try to stigmatize the CPC and attempt to split the affinity between the Chinese people and the CPC, those forces can't deny the achievements that the CPC has delivered to its people in the past 100 years, and there is no chance for these hostile forces to fool the Chinese people, analysts said.
Cheers and applause pushed the ceremony to its climax when Xi announced that any attempt to split the Party from the Chinese people or to set the people against the Party is bound to fail.
"The more than 95 million Party members and over 1.4 billion Chinese people will never allow such a scenario to come to pass," Xi said.
China welcomes helpful suggestions, but will not accept sanctimonious preaching. "We are eager to learn from the achievements of other cultures, and welcome helpful suggestions and constructive criticism," said Xi.
"We will not, however, accept sanctimonious preaching from those who feel they have the right to lecture us," he said, to the sound of applause.
Analysts said this proves that the Chinese people have been tired of lectures from arrogant Western politicians and media outlets, especially after they saw the poor performance of the West in handling the pandemic and the petty political tricks they have played against China, so they share the same sentiment with the CPC, and this is also proof of the Party's affinity to the people.
Three police helicopters of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau fly a Party flag over the Huangpu River to celebrate the CPC's centennial in Shanghai on Thursday. Photo: cnsphoto
Great wall of steel
In order to ensure the hard-won happiness for the Chinese people, the CPC must have the strength and wisdom to protect its people and the sovereignty of China, and due to the rising pressure and hostility from the West at the moment, especially from the US, the top leader of the CPC has voiced out the courage and determination to deal with foreign provocations and unsolved problems, especially national reunification with Taiwan.
Xi's remarks were acclaimed by seas of cheers and applause from Tian'anmen Square. A climax appeared when Xi announced that the Chinese people will never allow any outside forces to bully, oppress or subjugate China. "Anyone who would attempt to do so will find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people," Xi said.
A series of hostile actions from the US and its allies have infuriated Chinese people again and again. From the South China Sea issue hyped by the Obama administration, to the trade war and interference in China's Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang affairs in recent years, the Chinese people have clearly understood the hostility from the US government and almost no one in China held any illusions and wishful thinking toward the West.
Experts said when the West complains about so-called "rising nationalism" in China, they should admit that it was Western provocations that sparked the anger of the Chinese people first, and the CPC's countermeasures are reflecting the reasonable demand from the Chinese people to defend China's national interests and their right to development.
"We must take resolute action to utterly defeat any attempt at 'Taiwan independence,' and work together to create a bright future for national rejuvenation," Xi said, stressing that no one should underestimate the great resolve, the strong will, and the extraordinary ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
When Xi delivered the stern warning to secessionist forces trying to separate Taiwan from its motherland, cheers and applause almost interrupted the speech several times, in an apparent show of support for safeguarding national territorial integrity and sovereignty and pushing the occasion to another climax.
At the time, many people shouted 'Yeah!' And they are mostly energetic young people with passion, including many officers and soldiers in PLA uniforms, the Global Times reporters saw at the square.
This proves that to realize national reunification is a mission that must be accomplished, as the people desperately want to see reunification especially after the US and Taiwan secessionists have ganged up together in recent years, said Li Fei, a professor with the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University.
National reunification is essential for national rejuvenation, and the reason why the CPC has also showcased its military might by showing 15 J-20s of the PLA Air Force, one of the most advanced stealth fighter jets in the world, is that it shows to the hostile forces that China, under the leadership of the CPC, is capable of smashing all attempts that try to interrupt China's national reunification, experts said.
Li said under the leadership of the CPC, the strength of the mainland to solve the Taiwan question has become increasingly mature in recent years, and in 2027, the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the PLA, the CPC will realize its centenary task of strengthening the military might of China, and at that time, the condition for the mainland to reunify with Taiwan would be more mature because the PLA's advantage in the region against foreign intervention, especially from the US, would be much more overwhelming.
In the past 100 years, the CPC has made great efforts in strengthening China's capability to fight against foreign invasions whether in World War II against Japanese aggression or in wars with other countries after 1949. The CPC proves that the Chinese military can defeat even the most powerful military hegemony in the world in the Korean Peninsula in 1950s, and today, with much stronger military might, the CPC would become more fearless in a struggle with any powerful enemy.
Seventy-one top Chinese military aircraft join the celebration by delivering an aerial performance in Tian'anmen Square. Graphic: China Central Television
Faith and confidence
China has powerful strength to protect itself but it won't use it to bully the weak as some Western countries have done in the past 100 years, because the CPC's ideas and the culture of the Chinese nation are totally different from those Western capitalist powers who are aggressive, expansionists, and colonialists in nature, experts said, adding that China's strength will be significant in balancing and deterring Western hegemony which should be held accountable for numerous wars and bloodshed worldwide in the past 100 years.
Xi said "Peace, concord and harmony are the ideas the Chinese nation has pursued and carried forward for more than 5,000 years. The Chinese nation does not carry aggressive or hegemonic traits in its genes."
The Party cares about the future of humanity, and wishes to move forward in tandem with all progressive forces around the world, Xi noted, adding that China has always worked to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development, and preserve international order.
"We must continue working to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind," and "We will oppose hegemony and power politics, and strive to keep the wheels of history rolling toward bright horizons," Xi remarked.
According to reports from some Russian media outlets on the CPC's ceremony on Thursday, Russians see this as a symbolic milestone of the second biggest economy in the world, and the biggest political power of the world showing allegiance to the ideology of communism, which showed the idea of building "a community with a shared future for mankind," and this might replace the liberalist world order dominated by the West.
At present, the CPC is initiating or proposing great ideas with global influence. Whether for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation or a community with a shared future for mankind, the CPC's confidence originates from the faith in its socialism with Chinese characteristics.
"Why is the Communist Party of China capable？Why is socialism with Chinese characteristics so good? The ultimate reason is that Marxism works,"Xi said.
At the end of the ceremony, the Internationale, the classic anthem of all communists around the globe written in 1871, was played by the military band, and from the top leaders of the country to the ordinary attendees at the square all stood up to sing the song and hundreds of thousands of doves, were released and flew to the sky.