Xi’s vision for China’s future
“History tells us that everybody has one’s future and destiny closely connected to those of the country and the nation.” — President Xi Jinping of China
The rest of the world rubs its eyes in astonishment. In just under three decades, China has transformed itself from being a bitter-poor developing country into a global economic power. Beijing now has set its eyes on becoming a world superpower. For now, at least, fears about China’s rising power and influence are mixed with admiration for the rapid pace of its growth and development. The Chinese people, on the other hand, especially the political class in Beijing, see the strengthening of their country as the correction of a historical anomaly. This view is promoted by Beijing’s propaganda departments and President Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Dream” is meant to address it.
In 2012, when visiting an exhibition featuring China’s Road to Rejuvenation, President Xi Jinping first put forward the idea of the China Dream: “We are confident that the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the time of the CPC’s 100th anniversary … and China’s Dream of the ‘grand national rejuvenation’ will surely come true.” Moreover, in his first public address before the 18th National Congress, President Xi declared that the party’s main duty was “to achieve the great renewal of the Chinese nation.” Its Chinese version is “zhonghua minzu weida fuxing,” and in it the most important part is “zhonghua minzu” – which has been translated as “the Chinese nation,” “the Chinese people” and even “the Chinese race.” Since then, China’s state and party leaders have promised the Chinese people the return to the grandeur of past dynasties.
Since the commencement of the China Dream, we have experienced a transitional Chinese policy in the domestic and international arenas. Chinese people see themselves as the heirs of a millennium-old civilization that was the world leader in culture, science, technology and administration right up to the 16th century. In this ideal conception, China — the “Middle Kingdom,” as it is still called in Chinese today — was at the centre of the world, surrounded by barbarians, who were willing to pay tribute to the luminosity of Chinese civilization.
‘Century of Humiliation’
The so-called “Century of Humiliation” stands out all the more against this background. It began with China’s defeat in the First Opium War (1839-1842) by the Great Britain. In the first of the so-called “unequal treaties,” China was forced to cede control of Hong Kong to the British. The century has a formal end that suits official propaganda: The founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 by the Communist Party.
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