China is gearing up for the centenary of the ruling Communist Party (CCP). President Xi Jinping will deliver a speech at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Thursday. State media have revealed little about the program, but an air parade with military aircraft is expected.
It seems the party of Xi (68) is still going strong in the anniversary year. It added 2.43 million new members in 2020, the highest number since he took office in 2013. In total, 95 million of the nearly 1.4 billion Chinese are members of the Communist Party.
After taking office, Xi took an uncompromising approach to corruption within the party. As a result, he became the most potent CCP leader since Mao Zedong. The parliament gave the green light in 2018 to abolish the maximum number of terms of office for the president. That means he may stay on until his death.
In recent decades, China has also been able to grow into an economic superpower. The country took an increasingly self-confident course, which is causing concern internationally. Beijing regularly clashes with Western powers and neighbouring countries on a variety of topics.
In recent years, there has been international criticism of China’s actions in the South China Sea, the pressure Beijing is exerting on Taiwan and the alleged lack of transparency surrounding the corona outbreak in Wuhan. China is also accused of oppressing the Uyghurs minority. The House of Representatives in the Netherlands spoke about genocide.
It is also sensitive that the pro-democracy opposition in semi-autonomous Hong Kong has actually been neutralized. Driver John Lee will attend a flag ceremony in that metropolis on Thursday. Then it is celebrated that it is 24 years ago that the United Kingdom handed over the prosperous area to China. His political boss Carrie Lam is going to Beijing for the anniversary of the CCP.
Xi may be more concerned about domestic developments than international criticism. No country has more inhabitants than China, but population growth has continued to stagnate in recent years. The country is also struggling with an ageing population, which has economic consequences.
The authorities are trying to turn the tide and, in 2016, scrapped the one-child policy from the 1970s, which was intended to slow down population growth. Instead, families are now allowed to have a maximum of three children. Still, experts anticipate a population decline in the near future.