BEIJING – China will never allow any foreign force to bully, oppress, or subjugate the Chinese people, and any attempt to divide the nation is bound to fail, said President Xi Jinping on Thursday (July 1) as the country marks the centenary of its ruling party.
In what can be considered one of his most defiant speeches since taking power in 2012, Mr Xi fanned the flames of nationalism by targeting countries that he viewed as having ill intentions towards China.
China opposes hegemony, he said.
“We have never bullied, oppressed, or subjugated the people of any other country, and we never will,” said the Chinese leader as he stood atop Tiananmen overlooking the square and thousands who had gathered to mark the centenary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
China will never permit anyone to bully or oppress it, Mr Xi said.
“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,” said President Xi, in a raised tone, to thunderous applause and cheers from the crowd.
Speaking for more than an hour, Mr Xi, who wore a grey Mao suit, declared that China has reached middle-class status by doubling its per capita GDP from a decade ago, and is moving towards achieving its second goal of building a strong and modern socialist country by 2049.
The twin targets are the CCP’s two “centennial goals” – the first to be reached by the centenary of the founding of the party, and the second on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Mr Xi paid tribute to the founding fathers and revolutionary leaders of the party such as Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, and acknowledged the contributions of his predecessors Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.
He also urged the country to continue to follow the leadership of the party to achieve “national rejuvenation”, and stay true to the party’s spirit of self-reliance and innovation.
Political pundits were watching President Xi’s speech for a reference to Taiwan. On Thursday, he addressed the “Taiwan question” by reiterating that reunification was the “unshakable commitment” of the CCP, and warned that any attempts to declare the self-ruled island independent will be met with “resolute action”.
“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,” he said.
Beijing will also protect national security and ensure social stability in Hong Kong and Macau as the central government exercises overall jurisdiction over the two special administrative regions, said President Xi.
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