Set sights on second century Xi tells Communist Party members ahead of party’s centenary celebrations

By K J M Varma
(Eds: Updating with more details)
    Beijing, Jun 29 (PTI) Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday asked the Communist Party cadres to set their sights on the ruling party to remain in power for the next century as it geared up to celebrate its centenary on July 1, amid mounting challenges including global pushback over COVID-19 origins and human rights violations.
    Ahead of the celebratory events, details of which have been shrouded in secrecy, official media on Tuesday announced that Xi will deliver an important speech at the event which will be broadcast live.
    There is speculation about a military parade on July 1 at the historic Tiananmen square, demonstrating China’s new military hardware. Some of the latest helicopters and fighter jets conducted rehearsals a few days ago.
    On Tuesday, Xi presented medals to 29 CPC members who have made “outstanding contributions to the Party and the people”.
    This is the first time the medal has been awarded as the CPC is set to celebrate its centenary, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
    The recipients of the medals included “a battalion commander who sacrificed his life defending the Chinese border”, Xinhua reported, without referring to the last year clash at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.
    State-run Global Times identified him as Chen Hongjun, who was killed in June 2020 Galwan Valley clash in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
    After eight months’ delay China admitted that four of its military personnel were killed and one officer injured in the Galwan Valley clash.
    Other recipients of the medals included a veteran of the Red Army and those who fought in the War of Liberation and the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea and a Uygur village official who “resolutely fighting ethnic separatist activities” in Xinjiang, the Xinhua report said.
    Xi draped the medals around the necks of the recipients in the ornate Great Hall of the People and shook their hands and congratulated them.
    “All party comrades should take their faith in Marxism and socialism with Chinese characteristics as their life’s purposes,” said Xi, 68, who has emerged as the most powerful leader of the CPC after its founder ‘Chairman’ Mao Zedong.
    Unlike his predecessors who retired after two five-year terms, Xi, who will be completing his second five-year term next year, was expected to continue in power for life following a constitutional amendment doing away with the two-year term for the President.
    He also exhorted the party men to work for the CPC rule to continue in the next century of its existence.
    “On the new march to a fully established modern socialist nation, keep moving toward the goals of the second century,” Xi said.
    He said generations of Chinese Communists have fought tenaciously for national independence and liberation, for prosperity and strength of the country, and for the happiness of the people.
    The recipients of the medal embody the fighting and dedication spirit of Chinese Communists, who have offered themselves to the Party and the country and fulfilled their duties, a lifelong pursuit, Xi said.
    The event comes at a time when China is facing global criticism over several issues, including Beijing’s aggressive military moves in the disputed South China Sea, human rights violations in Hong Kong and Xinjiang region, and COVID-19 origins.
    The origins of the COVID-19 remain a widely debated topic, with some scientists and politicians maintaining that the possibility of a lab leak of the deadly virus exists. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is near the outbreak’s known epicentre of Huanan Seafood Market in central China’s Wuhan city, where the virus first emerged in late 2019 and became a pandemic. PTI KJV ZH AKJ ZH


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