China's rise is "irreversible." And it is thanks to the command of his Communist Party, the only one that has shown itself capable of transforming this once impoverished nation into the second largest economy in the world, and that in the coming decades will continue to make possible its progress to transform it into a great power. This has been the message that Chinese President Xi Jinping insisted on again and again this Thursday in his speech at the solemn official ceremony of the centenary of the founding of the CCP in Tiananmen Square, the physical and spiritual center of the CCP. Chinese government system.
The ceremony in a Tiananmen full of red flags, flowers and motifs alluding to the centenary, and before an audience of some 70,000 people – officials, students, employees of state companies, chosen militants – wanted to clinch what have been the central themes of a week full of celebrations, and a year of educational campaign among its 91 million members: the indispensable role of the Party in the giant advances that China has made since a handful of intellectuals inaugurated the first congress of that formation in Shanghai, and the emphasis that the CCP is to serve the people and is not guided by other interests.
The stage was loaded with symbolism, and history. The Tiananmen Gate, from where Xi addressed the public and the nation, is the same place where, on October 1, 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the People's Republic of China and announced from the rooftops that “the Chinese people have gotten up". The head of state and secretary general of the Party, the man who has accumulated the most power in China since the time of the Great Helmsman, appeared – as he did on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic two years ago – in a simple suit. mao Gray. His companions, the senior staff of the past and present Chinese communist hierarchy, came instead in Western-style jacket suits. A resource that underlined a direct connection between the founder of contemporary China and the current leader, who next year at the 20th Party Congress clearly aspires to renew at least five more years a mandate that by then will reach a decade .
On the same Tiananmen door, before a lectern with the communist hammer and sickle, and with the large portrait of Mao at his feet, the Chinese president wanted to evoke those words by declaring —among one of the great ovations of the event— that “ the time when the Chinese people could be trampled on, suffered and were oppressed is forever over. "
The speech, which lasted more than an hour, had a marked nationalist tone. The centenary arrived as tensions with the United States, already become a systemic rival, increase, and mutual distrust between Western countries and China grows, a trend that goes back a long way but has increased with the coronavirus pandemic. “The Chinese people will never allow any foreign force to harass, oppress or enslave us. Whoever tries will find themselves in a bloodbath in front of the Great Wall of Steel built by 1.4 billion Chinese! ”Xi warned rival countries, before a new round of ovations from the square.
The head of state also reiterated against any threat to the sovereignty of the country in what he considers sensitive areas of his territory – Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Taiwan. He insisted on Beijing's determination to achieve unification with Taiwan in the future, although it did not specify deadlines, and to "resolutely crush any plan for independence" on the island. And he stressed the need to "accelerate" the modernization of the national Armed Forces.
But most of the speech focused on the legitimacy of the CCP, "the backbone of the country." "We must maintain the leadership of the Party," he insisted, "China's success depends on the Party."
The ceremony represented the main course, and the final point of the centennial commemorations. It had started at eight o'clock in the morning, a time selected to avoid the clouds and possible rain predicted by meteorologists. For three hours before, the invited public had already been gathering, which had been required to be vaccinated. The intense security measures, and protection against the covid, made that the journalists accredited to cover the event had to spend a day of quarantine in a hotel and undergo two PCR tests before being transferred to the square at three in the morning.
Eighty military aircraft of six types, including the most modern fighter in the Chinese war fleet —the J-20—, inaugurated the event with formation flights showing the number 100, for the centenary, and 7-1. , by the date of this Thursday. A salvo of one hundred cannon shots, the raising of the flag and a historical representation by children of the League of Young Communists and Young Pioneers preceded the words of the Chinese president. The chords of La Internacional and a release of hundreds of white doves and colored balloons followed.
But July 1 not only marked the Party's centenary. Also, the 24th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty, an event in which in previous years tens of thousands of people took to the streets in the enclave for a day of protest, directed in recent years especially against the local authorities and Beijing. As in the previous year, the fight against the covid has been the argument used by the Hong Kong Police to prohibit this march.
This Thursday also marked the first anniversary of the entry into force in the enclave of the National Security Law, which according to its critics has had a devastating effect on the regime of existing freedoms in the city. The autonomous police had deployed about 7,000 troops in the territory to try to prevent possible protests. It had also closed Victoria Park, the largest in the center of the city and where the protest march traditionally began.