China will not tolerate bullying and anyone who tries to do so will be confronted with “broken heads” and bloodshed before the iron Great Wall of the 1.4 Billion Chinese people, President Xi Jinping stated at a gathering to celebrate the centenary celebrations of the Communist Party.
Xi wore a grey button-up suit similar to Mao Zedong’s, and spoke from Tiananmen Gate. He emphasized the party’s role as bringing China to global prominence, and said it would never be separated from its people.
Xi, the head of the party as well as the leader of the largest armed forces in the world, said that China had restored order to Hong Kong after antigovernment protests in this semi-autonomous area in 2019. He also reiterated Beijing’s determination to control Taiwan.
The most applause he received was when he called the party the force that restored China’s dignity, and made it the second-largest economy in the world, since its 1949 rise to power during civil war.
Xi stated that the Chinese people have a strong sense pride and self-confidence. “We have never oppressed, bullied or enslaved another nation’s people, in the past, present, or future.”
“At the exact same time, we will absolutely not permit any foreign force bully, oppress, or enslave our people and anyone who attempts so will face broken heads in front of iron Great Wall of the 1.4 million Chinese people,” Xi stated.
Xi’s remarks come at a time when China is embroiled in a growing rivalry with the United States over global power status. India has also clashed along their disputed border. China claims the uninhabited islands that Japan holds and nearly the whole of the South China Sea. It threatens to invade Taiwan with whom the U.S. has increased relations and military sales.
Beijing is also being criticized for its abuse of power, such as detaining over 1 million Uyghurs, and other Muslim minorities, for political reeducation within the northwestern region, Xinjiang, as well as for intimidating or imprisoning those it considers potential opponents from Tibet to Hong Kong.
Thursday’s events mark the culmination of weeks of celebrations and displays that praise the Communist Party’s role in bringing about significant improvements in the quality of life in China and restoring China’s economic, political, and military influence abroad. These improvements, combined with the harsh suppression of opponents, have helped the Communist Party to hold power despite having 92 million members who account for less than 6% of China’s population.
The economic reforms initiated by Deng Xiaoping over 40 years ago are the main reason for the success. However, the celebrations highlight the importance of Xi as China’s most powerful leader after Mao. Xi spoke of the contributions of previous leaders, but his claims that he has achieved breakthroughs in poverty alleviation as well as economic progress, while simultaneously raising China’s profile globally and standing up against the West were front-and-center.
Xi, 68 years old, has removed all limits to his time in office. He is expected to start a third five year term as party leader next January.
Robert Sutter of George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs said that Xi wants to make more gains for the party by setting up China for a prolonged struggle with the U.S.