Friday, November 16, 2012

Xi Jinping's first press conference as leader of China

Immediately after being elected general secretary of China Communist Party's Central Committee, Xi Jinping spoke at a brief press conference. Video record of his entire address including bilingual English translation can be seen here.

Xi made virtually no reference to foreign policy in his speech. Only his concluding paragraph touched near the subject: Just as China needs to learn more about the world, so does the world need to learn more about China. I hope that you [referring to the media] will continue your efforts to deepen mutual understanding between China and the world. 

There was no mention of external threats and adversaries and reference of global instability. Instead, Xi made it very clear where the priority and responsibilities lie and best summarized by his remarks in the body of his speech:

Our people have an ardent love for life. They wish to have better education, more stable jobs, more income, greater social security, better medical and health care, improved housing conditions, and a better environment.
They want their children to have sound growth, have good jobs and lead a more enjoyable life. To meet their desire for a happy life is our mission. It is only hard work that creates all happiness in the world.

Let the world, especially the U.S., take note. Xi is not rolling up his sleeves to duke it out with the West. He is going to have his hands full on China's many domestic issues. Not least, he said,

Under the new conditions, our Party faces many severe challenges, and there are also many pressing problems within the Party that need to be resolved, particularly corruption, being divorced from the people, going through formalities and bureaucratism caused by some Party officials.

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