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President Xi Jinping hailed China’s “irreversible” journey from humiliated colony to great power during the Chinese Communist Party’s centenary celebrations on Thursday, in a speech deeply rooted in history to remind the country’s patriots and rivals abroad that of his country – and his. — get up.
Speaking above the giant portrait of Mao Zedong, which dominates Tiananmen Square, from the podium where the famous president proclaimed the People’s Republic of China in 1949, M. restore national pride.
In a speech that drew a line between the humiliation of the opium wars and the struggle to establish socialist revolution in China, Xi said the party has brought “national rejuvenation” out of tens of millions of people. people out of poverty and “changed the landscape of global development.” “
The era of “slaughtered and intimidated China is gone forever,” Xi said, wearing the “Mao-style” jacket, adding that “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has entered an irreversible historical course.”
In the summer of 1921, Mao and a handful of Marxist-Leninist thinkers in Shanghai founded the party which has since grown into one of the most powerful political organizations in the world.
Today it has around 95 million members, accumulated over a century of war, famine and unrest, and more recently a rise to superpower status clashing with its Western rivals, led by the states. United.
In a ceremony of pomp and patriotism, thousands of singers, supported by a marching band, sang moving choirs including “We are the heirs of Communism” and “Without the Communist Party there would be no news. China “as maskless guests applauded and waved flags in a crowded Tiananmen Square.
A flight of helicopters in formation spelled “100” – a giant hammer-and-sickle flag dragging – and a 100-gun salute followed, as young Communists in unison pledged allegiance to the party.
Xi’s speech braided China’s economic miracle with the party’s longevity.
He cemented his eight-year reign through a cult of personality, ending terms and refusing to anoint a successor. He purged his rivals and crushed dissent – from Uyghur Muslims and online critics to pro-democracy protests on the streets of Hong Kong.
Under him, the party pivoted to new challenges; using technology to renew its appeal to the younger generations – 12.55 million members are now 30 or younger – while giving a communist finish to a consumer economy decorated by billionaire entrepreneurs.
“Under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, we have come into the society we have today and have developed rapidly (…) we have to thank the party and the homeland,” said Li Luhao, 19, student at Beihang University celebrating.
At the same time, Xi presented a defiant face to foreign rivals led by the United States, rekindling nationalist sentiment and presenting himself as the champion of a new Chinese pride.
– Party time? –
In its 100th year, the party has delivered a selective version of history through films, “red” tourism campaigns and books, which dance to the mass violence of the Cultural Revolution, famines and student repression of Tiananmen Square.
Instead, he drew attention to China’s rebound from Covid-19, which started in the central city of Wuhan, but has all but died out inside the country.
But the reminders linger on the risks to stability.
Thursday also marks the 24th anniversary of the handover of the former British colony Hong Kong to China, a date once marked by mass protests against Beijing.
A year ago, China imposed a draconian national security law on the city in response to huge, often violent protests.
The measure has seen more than 64 activists indicted, anti-China slogans criminalized and even the closure of a critical newspaper as the law plunges the once free city into what Amnesty International calls a “human rights emergency.”
Police have rejected demands for protests in the city, although several pro-democracy groups have pledged to challenge a 10,000-strong police presence in the streets.
“The CCP can go to hell,” a Hong Kong man who only gave his name as Ken told AFP.
“Anything worth it, they destroy it.”
strawberries-apj / rox / rbu
© 2021 AFP