Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was re-elected for second five-year term with prospects of continuing as leader for life asserted, today said that Beijing will not concede “a single inch of land” and guard its sovereignty.
“The Chinese people and the Chinese nation have a shared conviction which is not a single inch of our land will be and can be ceded from China,” Xi said in a 30 minute-long speech at the end of the 18-day long parliament session.
Besides the border dispute with India, China claims rights over the disputed islands in East China Sea under the control of Japan and vast stretches of the South China Sea, (SCS) where it is firmly asserting its control. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims over the South China Sea.
During its session, China’s National People’s Congress has ratified the constitutional amendment removing decades old two-term limit for President and Vice President paving the way for Xi to continue in power for life. He also was re-elected by the 2970 deputies for second five-year term as President and head of the military. In October, last year he was elected as General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of China, (CPC) for the second five-year term.
By heading the party, the military and presidency with no limit on tenure, Xi is regarded as the most powerful leader after party founder Mao Zedong.
In a departure from the past, Xi today addressed the closing session with rabble-rousing speech televised live all over the country.
“We should safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country and achieve full unification of the motherland. This is the aspiration of all Chinese people. This is also in line with fundamental of the Chinese nation,” he said in an apparent reference to Taiwan which China claims as part of it.
He also delivered a stern message to the separatists. “Faced with this important question of our nation and history any action that separates the country is doomed to fail. These separatist actions will be met with the condemnation of the people and punishment of the history,” he said. “Chinese people have strong determination, full confidence and every capability to triumph over all the separatist actions,” he said.
Xi said any actions and tricks to split China are certain to meet with the people’s condemnation and the punishment.
Besides Taiwan, China brands the Dalai Lama as “splitist”. China is also carrying out extensive crackdown in the Muslim Uygur majority Xinjiang against the separatist group East Turkistan Islamic Movement, (ETIM).
Seeking to allay fears about absolute powers enjoyed by him controlling all levers of power, Xi vowed to continue to serve as a servant of the people. He also sought to allay the concerns of the world over the rise of China, saying that China’s development does not pose a threat to any other country.
“China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion. Only those who are accustomed to threatening others see everyone as a threat,” he said, taking a dig at the US.
Xi said China will stay on the path of peaceful development, and continue to pursue a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up. “The Chinese people’s sincere wish and practical action to contribute to the peace and development of humanity should not be misinterpreted, nor should they be distorted,” Xi said, adding that “justice will prevail!”
He said China endeavours to uphold international fairness and justice. China advocates that all issues in the world should be settled through consultation with people around the world. China will not impose its will on others, Xi added.
He said China will contribute more Chinese wisdom, Chinese solutions and Chinese strength to the world, to push for building an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.
Expressing his heartfelt gratitude to the trust placed on him by all deputies and Chinese people of all ethnic groups, he said, “It is a glorious mission and weighty responsibility to take on this great position of the President of the People’s Republic of China. I will, as always, faithfully fulfil my responsibilities empowered by the Constitution, be loyal to the motherland and the people, perform my duty scrupulously, do all my best, be diligent at work, and stay devoted and dedicated,” he said.
He also said all officials should subject themselves to people’s supervision. “No matter how high a position one holds, all personnel of state organs should keep firmly in mind that our republic is the People’s Republic of China,” Xi noted.
He asked all personnel of state organs to always put the people in the most prominent place in their hearts, always serve the people wholeheartedly, and always work hard for the people’s interests and happiness.
Praising Chinese people’s history, he said people are the creators of history and the real heroes. “Today, the creativity of the Chinese people is being unleashed to an extent like never before, which has been enabling our country to develop rapidly and stride forward at the forefront of the world,” he said. “Our pursuit of progress has never paused,” he said.
The Chinese people have been aware since ancient times that “we cannot sit idle and enjoy the fruits of others’ work and happiness can only be achieved through great endeavour,” he said.
With PTI Inputs