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The 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China

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When, in 1972, Nixon pointed out to Mao Zedong that “the Chinese President changed the world”, Mao just answered “no, only something on the outskirts of Beijing.” In the mind of the Chinese President, a Taoist poet, that was the sense of the natural centrality of the “Middle Empire” compared to the First World (the United States and the USSR, namely “the barbarians of the North”), to the Second World (namely the  servants of either power) and to the Third World, the region that was bound to be represented and dominated by China.

 Currently, after the Long March of the “Four Modernizations” launched by Deng Xiaoping, China is the world’s first economy and is becoming one of the first powers – and, in the future, it  will be the hegemonic military power at least in the Asian world.

 In the 1950s, however, an old map of the CPC’s Central Committee considered Japan, the Philippines, all the South Pacific islands, South and North Koreas and Vietnam as areas of Chinese hegemony.

  This project will not be implemented – if ever – with weapons, but with the economy and with strategic and cultural dominance, which will be protected by weapons.

 Hide a knife behind a smile is one of the Thirty-Six Stratagems used in politics and war.

 In China’s traditional culture, war is not “the continuation of politics by other means”, but simply politics tout court.

 The splendid isolation of Mao’s China was fully realistic: the country was poor but, in spite of the failures of the “Big Leap Forward” of the 1950s and of the “Great Cultural and Proletarian Revolution” between 1966 and 1976, the per capita GDP denominated in power purchasing parity (PPP) doubled.

 Not falling  into the Cold War trap that Mao Zedong considered a “paper tiger” – which, in fact, was at the origin of the USSR’s economic and military collapse – is the basis of this slow, but relentless economic and international status growth.

 But without the very strong traditional Chinese nationalism, combined with the Marxist-Leninist ideology, that Mao’s project  – which is currently being achieved with Xi Jinping – could not be implemented.

 From the rejection of the bipolar international order to the construction of a new multipolar order, with China at the core – this is the geopolitical pathway from Mao’s slogan of 1949 “the Chinese people have stood up” to the 19th CPC Congress led by Xi Jinping.

 Furthermore, even under Deng Xiaoping and his successors, China has never accepted a role as “revisionist power”, thus  maintaining the request for a new international order and even strengthening the polemic against the United States and Russia in favor of Third World’s rights.

 Nor should we forget the long coldness vis-à-vis the old post-World War II economic alliances, such as the World Bank and the Monetary Fund, seen as “instruments of American imperialism” and relics of a bipolar era that ended just when China – still following Mao’s cry on Tien An Men Square in 1949 – “stood up”.

 In 2012, however, Xi Jinping did not inherit a “developing” China – just to use the compassionate jargon of international bankers.

 In 2012 Communist China had recorded two decades of double-digit GDP growth and was already the second global economy. It was also the world’s largest exporting country and finally recorded a stable commercial surplus of over 4-5 trillion US dollars.

 Since the beginning of the Four Modernizations, China has been the largest trading partner for the whole Eastern Pacific region and has been pushing upwards – for years – the prices of raw material  it badly needed.

 Also the Chinese Armed Forces are closely following economic development.

 Currently China has already declared its Air Defense  Identification Zone (ADIZ) operational throughout the East China Sea, in view of full control of the Western part of that sea.

 A change of the US strategic equation in the Pacific entailing a  radical transformation of the US geopolitics: either still accepting China’s investment and the much needed purchases of US Treasury bonds or the net decrease in financial trading and Communist China’s greater military and economic presence in the Pacific – with the related loss of hegemony.

 With a view to masking and concealing – in a world still linked to the Cold War – the growing phase of China’s economy and military strategy (which are always two sides of the same coin) and not to alarming its neighbouring countries, Deng Xiaoping coined the “tao wang yang hui” (韬光养晦) policy line, namely hide your light under a bushel or conceal your strengths and bide your time – Taoist terminology relating to the tradition of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” and the Thirty-Six Stratagems.

  The sense is easily understandable.

   Deng’s Taoist policy line implied some successive rules: 1) avoid leading or forming faction in any international conflict and stay neutral in all circumstances; 2) do not try to lead an opinion in international politics; do not try to represent any interest group and stay away from any sphere of influence; 3) avoid any trouble, controversy or antagonism in world politics; be humble, but try not be humiliated and even accept minor humiliation if you have to; 4) concentrate on economic development, 5) focus on establishing a friendly relationship with all countries in the world, irrespective of the ideology of the countries you deal with.

 Indeed, Xi Jinping is fully heir to this policy line and, in the early years of his leadership, he focused on carefully hiding his light under a bushel and remaining in the “dark”, namely what does not concern or is not immediately seen by the “Western devils”, as Europeans were called during the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 – a fight that was later mythicized precisely by the Red Guards.

 The rapid development of the economy, from Deng to Xi Jinping, has led to inevitable imbalances in Chinese society: 12 million migrants moving from rural to urban areas every year, with almost all rural migrants heading for the coast from Fujian up to Laoning.

 Other major unavoidable problems are the decrease of the population replacement rate, which leads to severe shortcomings in the search for new workforce; widespread corruption, another predictable phenomenon in a fast-growing command economy and finally the average age increase.

 Currently the average Chinese aging rate is the highest in recent world history.

 In 2050 the cost of pensions could rise up to 44% of the current one.

 As some Western sources say, currently China’s public debt is approximately 60% of GDP, while some other Western observers even maintain that the Chinese debt is equal to 110%.

 China’s official sources maintain it is equal to 46.5% and has been stable for two years.

 Probably the truth lies somewhere in between, although considering the Chinese scarce willingness to resort to the debt lever.

 Hence Xi Jinping wants to face all these new situations in the CPC tradition.

 A “strong and prosperous China”, in the tradition of Sun Yat Sen, the father of nationalism and constant point of reference for Chinese Communists, as well as Xi’s continuity with the reforms which – as maintained by the CPC Third Plenum of 2013 – view the “market as the decisive engine for economic development”.

 Xi Jinping also wants to create a strong and stable internal market to counterbalance the First World’s financial and economic crises.

 Xi Jinping’s main economic challenge lies in doing with the domestic market what has been done so far in China with exports, while maintaining a good level of exports.

  Not to mention pollution, which can block both domestic production – especially in the agricultural sector, by stopping exports – and foreign investment.

 Xi wants to upgrade the exporting companies in order to make them adapt to international quality standards and improve their  price level. The Chinese leader also wants to build an effective and profitable internal market, albeit targeted to social and political stability.

 With specific reference to internal market reforms, one of the Thirty-Six Stratagems is particularly appropriate, namely “cross the sea without the emperor’s knowledge”.

 The room for the market-world within future China’s internal market will be little and well-defined.

 The fight against corruption, which is the natural corollary of this strategy devised by Xi Jinping, was and is still massive and fast.

 It is also based on the old Plenum of 2013.

 It was in the 3rd Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC that the idea of ​shifting from a phase of fast capital accumulation to a phase of gradual internal redistribution emerged.

 Hence Xi Jinping is currently defending the Party from the slow erosion of the Chinese social system.

 Today the block of social and economic innovation lies in the hidden interests of Chinese State-owned enterprises and in their monopoly or monopsony markets.

 Since he rose to power, Xi has entrusted approximately 800,000 State and Party officials only with the task of fighting against corruption.

 A dual structure, namely the CPC leadership and the local units, controls the inspectors’ activity, and in the first half of 2017, over 210,000 State and Party officials have been investigated.

  Last year the total number of officials investigated was 415,000.

  As reported by Chinese internal sources, only in the first half of 2017, 38 national leaders and 1,200 prefecture officials have been judged corrupt by the central authorities.

 In August 2013, in the framework of a careful analysis of the Chinese oil system, Jiang Jiemin, the CEO of China National Petroleum Corporation, was removed from his post, followed by Xu Caiohu, the Vice-President of the Central Military Commission and later, in March 2014, by Liu Yuan, the son of Liu Shaoqi, while the illegal outflow of Chinese capital is approximately 60 billion US dollars a year.

 Xi Jinping’s hard line, namely “governing the nation according to law”, follows the tradition of Shang Yang’s legalist school of the 3rd century BC, as well as the ancient Taoist and State policy line followed by Shi Huangdi, the founder of the Qin dynasty and the first Emperor of a unified China and of the famous Terracotta Army.

 Shi Huangdi was one of Mao’s favorite quotes: “Remember I am a thousand times fiercer than Shi Huangdi,” he used to say to his aides.

  Furthermore, in keeping with a policy line set in a secret circular letter of the CPC Central Committee, Xi Jinping is promoting the struggle “against the seven problems”: the promotion of constitutional democracy; the propaganda of universal rights as Western-style “civil rights”; the promotion of citizens’ movements  destroying the Party’s foundations; the dissemination of the neo-liberal ideology; the promotion of press freedom; the support for the traditional nihilism on New China and finally the ban on defining the current Chinese economic system as “State capitalism” or “new bureaucratic capitalism”.

 At strategic security level, as leader not yet in power, Xi Jinping supported Putin for the launch of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and hence proposed a pan-Asian view of military security and economic development to the other Heartland countries.

 A vision that is currently based on the fast implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, which will reach the Mediterranean and the core of Europe.

  Hence this is how Xi Jinping is approaching the 19th CPC Congress since its foundation in Shanghai in 1921 – a Congress that now gathers 2,338 delegates, while there were only fifty in Shanghai.

 The goals are now well-known.

To achieve the “Two Centennial Goal” successfully: firstly, the issue lies in completing the process of building a moderately well-off society and accelerating Socialist modernization so as to turn China into a “great modern Socialist nation”.

 The two dates set are 2020, the centennial (one year before) of the CPC foundation, and 2049, namely the centennial of the People’s Republic of China.

 The terminology often used by Xi, “a moderately well-off society” must not make us think of mediocre and modest goals.

 Conversely, it is a typically Confucian expression, where moderation implies wisdom and hence the balance between human passions and their reflecting on interpersonal relations.

 In Xi Jinping’s policy line, the practical measures envisaged by the leader to achieve these goals will be, first of all, improving the people’s living conditions –  but the masses’ best living conditions assume and imply Socialist democracy – then complying with  laws and finally ensuring security, safety and the protection of the environment.

 Besides modernizing domestic laws, Xi Jinping’s China will avoid the sale or sell-off of State-owned enterprises, which will maintain and increase their value, while their reform is implemented.

 Hence a market-based reform, but also controlled by the Party as to the mix of factors of production in the medium and long term.

 Again following the line of “hiding your light under a bushel”, China will maintain its strategic profile which does not seek hegemony and – again in Xi’s words – will carry out military actions outside its territory.

 Hence, according to Xi Jinping, China will continue its policy of welcoming foreign capital and foreign companies – albeit more carefully. As meant by Xi between the lines, China will continue to pursue its project of becoming the global manufacturing hub.

  Nevertheless, most of the capital generated by the Four Modernizations will lead to such an internal social stability in China, which is  now unthinkable also in Western societies and to a rational rebalancing of China’s productive forces, which will have a strong domestic market while the export market will shrink due to the Western structural crisis.

Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr. Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “International World Group”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France. “

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East Asia

Bushido Spirit Resurrected? Japan publicly bared its swords against China

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Recently, Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso declared that Japan will join forces with the US to “protect Taiwan.” There has been a lot of turmoil, but even though the US directly announced that it will follow the “One China policy,” Japan has not given up its secret intentions. Japan’s new “Defense White Paper,” which was just approved, not only continued to link the US, but also displayed greater animosity toward China.

The Japanese government just finished the 2021 version of the “Defense White Paper,” according to the Global Times, but both the cover and the substance of the white paper are full of “provocative” meaning. The first is the front cover. According to the image released by Japanese media, the cover of Japan’s new “Defense White Paper” is an ink drawing of a warrior on horseback. According to a spokesperson for Japan’s Ministry of Defense, the horse samurai on the cover represents the Japanese Self-Defense Force’s commitment to defend Japan. However, after seeing it, some Japanese netizens said that it was “extremely powerful in fighting spirit.”

From a content standpoint, the white paper keeps the substance of advocating “China menace,” talking about China’s military might, aircraft carriers, Diaoyu Islands, and so on, and also includes the significance of “Taiwan stability” for the first time. A new chapter on Sino-US ties is also included in the white paper. According to the Associated Press, the United States is expanding its assistance for the Taiwan region, while China is increasing its military actions in the region. This necessitates Japan paying attention to it with a “crisis mindset.”

Japan has recently grown more daring and rampant, thanks to a warlike cover and material that provokes China and is linked to the US. Japan has recently bared its swords against China on several occasions.

Not only did Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga take the lead in referring to the Taiwan region as a “country,” but after meeting US President Biden, he issued a joint statement referring to the Taiwan region, and tried his best to exaggerate maritime issues such as the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, Deputy Defense Mizuho, and Deputy Defense Mizuho. It has all made inappropriate statements on Taiwan and publicly attacked the “One China Principle.”

After China clearly voiced its disapproval, Japan not only refused to be constrained, but actively increased its antagonism toward China. Do they truly believe China is simple to provoke? The tensions between China and Japan will undoubtedly worsen as a result of Japan’s publishing of this white paper. Although Japan has the bravery to provoke, it lacks the guts to initiate an armed war with China. After all, even the United States, on which they have traditionally counted, would not dare.

It is simple to employ force against China, and if the Japanese Self-Defense Force want to fight the People’s Liberation Army, it is preferable for them to be prepared for any catastrophic outcomes. Furthermore, China has long been Japan’s most important commercial partner. Even with Japan’s sluggish economy, they should be wary of challenging China. If they refuse to examine this, China may let them face the consequences of economics and trade.

Furthermore, the US has declared unequivocally that it will pursue the “One China Policy” and has intimated that it will not “protect Taiwan” with Japan. The stance of the United States demonstrates that, despite Japan’s determination to constrain China on the Taiwan problem and invitation to the United States to join in “safeguarding Taiwan and defending Japan,” the United States is hesitant to offer such refuge to Japan. As a result, Japan should be clear about its own place in the heart of the United States and attach itself to the United States, although it may be beaten by the United States again in the end.

In reaction to this event, the Hong Kong media stated that Japan should focus on making friends and generating money rather than intervening in Taiwan’s affairs, saying that “provoking Beijing is a fool’s errand.” As a result, if Japan continues to challenge China, they will be exposed as a total fool. And how good will a fool do in a game between countries?

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East Asia

Hong Kong Issues & the Impact on China’s Domestic Politics

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Hong Kong after years under British colony was handed over to China after the leash period was over and China being the governing state swore that it will protect the uniqueness of Hong Kong and let it function under its established capitalist system under “one state, two system” policy for the period of 50 years. These 50 years ensure Hong Kong to enjoy the freedom under the China security Umbrella. In contrast to China, the Hong Kong political system consist of multiple parties. Some of these political parties fall under the Pro-democratic camp as they supports the positive reforms in democracy. The other camp is of Pro-establishment, they are known for their support for the mainland China as they consist of basically people from the business sector. In the Hong Kong the Pro-Business supporter or pro establishment are known to be more of the dominant group because of their relation with the China but they have less support of the voter in contrast to the Pro-democratic camp.

Though in the wake of the recent Issues and the conflict with the mainland China it seems that the promises that were made at the time of handover are just fading away. Recently China decided to take some bold steps as it decided to intrude and intervene in the political system practiced In the Hong Kong which seems to a crackdown by Mainland China against its opposition. These audacious step of China triggered the massive protest in the Hong Kong driving international attention and Condemnation. What prompted and highlighted the situation more was when China in 2020 passed a national security bill and implemented an extremely comprehensive definitions for crimes such as terrorism, subversion, secession, and collusion with external powers. This bill was said to be controversial as it was a strain for the Hong Kong to establish itself as a full democracy. China also further accelerated the situation by arresting many pro-democracy activist and lawmakers which were protesting against the bill. What factors lead China take such steps was when the political groups in Hong Kong became more radical and formed Anti-Beijing parties threating the China Position and its control over the Hong Kong?  Student and youngster took the street to protest for the establishment of the political system that is more democratic in nature, starting to call themselves Hong Kong Nationals rather than identifying themselves as Chinese National.  Several of these groups separated in 2020, as Beijing cracked down on political opposition. This all threaten the Chinese position and control over the Hong Kong and its political setup. These steps by Mainland China have hushed many Hong Kong citizens who was fighting for democracy and encouraged others to abandon their lifestyle and escape the city.

If we see the motivation of the China Communist Party after consolidating power was to ensure and invest on the stability, CCP does everything and take every measure they have to in order to preserve the Stability of the Country so for this purpose most of the spending by the party was for the stability that is on the police system, training centers and national defense system that ensure the preservance of stability internally. If we study the CCP history, the power tenure of Xi Jinxing was clearly marked with the same preservance of stability as well as consolidation of power. He did it by benefitting those who were loyal to his leadership for example the pro-business man group in Hong Kong or Pro establishment camp. He sidelined those who were in the opposition as he did with the Pro-democratic wing that were protesting in the Hong Kong. China while introducing the National Security bill right after the massive protest did fuel the situation but it is also clear that China was somehow successful in inflaming the nationalism among people and pitting it against those who ever criticizing in and out of the country. China used the coincidental and the inflamed nationalism for its own benefit. Xi Jinxing handling of situation by doing massive arrest and crack downs on the opposition clearly reflects that regardless CCP and the XI jinxing knowing that such move will prove to be disastrous either seen from the diplomatic, geopolitical of economic lenses still go for it. It shows that the leaders only cared about the political requirements and reinforce inner control ignoring the damages it can have on the geopolitical or the economic situation of the country. All over in the history it had been debated that one day Chinese leadership might implement an aggressive foreign policy or even go for a war just for the sake to distract the public and international attention from their domestic issues. Hong Kong offered that very opportunity that could benefit the Chinese leadership, but without the risks and costs of a war. So I must say the situation handled by the Xi Jinxing was merely motivation but the thirst for consolidating power over Hong Kong rather than benefitting either of the mainland China or Hong Kong.

This situation had also impacted the internal politics of the China both diplomatically as well as economically. Diplomatic in a sense that the world had witnessed the massive protest in Hong Kong and a little later China decided to implement the National security Bill just gathered the Attention of the supranational actors and countries. Due to the Pandemic and its origination from China, it was exposed to the world and all the things happening in China was keenly observed. In such a scenario taking such rigid steps brought the world Attention not in the favor of the Country. Admits the Pandemic as well as the crackdown many countries including USA start to reinvent their policies for China. It was a great chance for the Rivals of China to hit it where it hurts. As Hong Kong served as a great technological hub for the China, deteriorating situation and implementation of such broad definition of terrorism compel many business to close down or relocate themselves thus negatively impacting the already crumbling economy due to pandemic. For example the head office of New York Times announced its relocation to Seoul amidst the deteriorating situation in the Hong Kong. Other than that many technological firms relocated themselves as there were facing restriction and censorship in their activities from China.  This happened due to the constant threat of arrest if they did not comply with the demands and the instruction given by the authorities. So Hong Kong issue and the handling of it by the Chinese Government did have many repercussion for the domestic politics of the China. If China keep following on this step and keep seeing Hong through thorough the Nationalist perspective it will Sabotage China Fight for freedom at the larger scale and Hong Kong will time to time rise up again to mold the domestic narrative build by the China and to break its monopoly, which will be a constant threat to China.

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100 Years of the Communist Party of China: A Glorious Journey

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As the Communist Party of China (CPC) marks its centenary, it gives a very strong message to the whole world. The message is: an alternative system is not only possible; it exists, it is working and it is thriving.

During past 100 years of its existence as a political force, CPC has achieved marvels on all the fronts that it had to deal with. The journey started, in my view, by giving Chinese people a confidence that ‘we can do it; we can deal with internal and external challenges successfully.’ That is how the CPC got itself established in the minds and hearts of Chinese people in its foundational decades – 1920s. Through 1930s and 1940s, the party – though young and fragile at that time – registered a phenomenal role against the Japanese aggression.

The proclamation of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on October 1, 1949 indeed was the most important feat in the history of the CPC and Chinese people at large. Yet, as is globally realized, the tough task starts after the establishment of the state – its preservation, its development and making it a nation known globally for its mettle. CPC performed exceptionally well on all these counts.

Through initial decades of founding of PRC, the Party worked very hard to ensure well-being of Chinese people – the world’s most populous nation – and meet their needs of livelihoods, food, education, health and other amenities. The journey was slow, but steady. Through this pre-reform and opening up period, dealing with calamities like famine as well as negative fallouts of the ‘Cultural Revolution’ was not easy; yet, CPC showed that the Party and its leadership can steer the country through these difficult times.

Obtaining the rightful place for PRC at global fora such as the United Nations, strengthening the country’s defence including making it a nuclear power, and establishing a leadership role for the country among the developing world were momentous achievements of that time.

The post-reform and opening up period started a whole new chapter in the history of CPC and China – one that the world knows today as miracle. Today, the People’s Republic is one of the strongest and most important nations on the face of the earth. Be it economic growth and development; poverty reduction and social uplift; scientific advances and innovation, as well as a potent role for global development, China is visible as a force to be reckoned with.

This has been possible with sincere, well-thought-out, responsive and forward looking strategies and policies of CPC’s central leadership, implemented through its provincial and lower local cadres, across the country.

Lifting more than 800 million people out of absolute poverty and now being a country free of absolute poverty, having achieved a level of modest prosperity – and that too within given timeframe despite the challenges posed by globally-threatening pandemic – is a feat that humanity, not only China, should write with golden words in its history. CPC has made it clear that with dedication to people, engaging them constructively in the process of national development, and giving them confidence, everything is possible.

The advent and successful moving forward of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) now becomes the most promising feather in the cap for CPC, today led by visionary Xi Jinping and his able comrades.

My study of China in general and the Communist Party of China (CPC) in particular, over past about two decades, makes me say with conviction that the whole edifice of the Party and its work are truly people centric. Its selection of the cadres, from bottom to the top, is based on qualification, dedication, integrity and capacity to deliver. You get what you deserve. You have to deliver, or else, pave the way for others to do the same better than you. This is a system that brings the cream of the society to the top.

A distinctive feature of CPC’s strategic planning, functioning and deliverance is adaption to changing ground realities and trends. Thus, the Party – as I have observed – beautifully blends change and continuity it its system and structure of the governance of the country.

As an international observer, the way CPC has ensured equitable distribution of the benefits of growth and development, amongst it regions as well as ethnic groups, is profoundly impressive, for me. It is inclusive. The beauty of it is that no one feels left behind. Even in case of selection and promotion of its cadres, CPC ensures inclusiveness and representation. Not only all the regions of the country but its various ethnic groups are duly represented and become part of the decision-making for the nation.

CPC, the world needs to know, also follows a constructive consultative mechanisms with eight other political parties of the country – it is not a one way traffic or a one party show. Input and feedback from other parties is incorporated, where so needed and feasible. The Party is now fostering linkages and collaboration with political parties across the globe, sharing experiences mutually.

The notion that western democracy is the only workable political model for the world holds no ground. 100 successful years of CPC become one of the strongest reminders for the world that alternatives not only exist but have proven feasible; much more successful than disruptive, destabilizing, distorted ‘democracy’ that the west continues to experiment with and wishes to impose upon the rest of the world.

With close to 91 million members, CPC becomes that largest political party on the planet. Yet, my exposure of China gives me reasons to say that every single citizen of China has immense confidence in CPC – believing that the Party is taking their nation in the right direction, in a glorious manner.

It is time for the CPC experience to be showcased to the world, prominently. In coming years and decades, CPC is all set to take China towards unprecedented heights – domestically and internationally.

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