Photo: Opening of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China. Credit: Xinhua/Yue Yuewei
The Communist Party of China just concluded its 20th Party Congress — the top decision-making gathering that takes place once every five years. Throughout the Congress and especially at its conclusion, the corporate media in the United States thoroughly demonized China and presented it as the main threat in the world. But ordinary people in the United States have nothing to fear about China or the leadership of its government.
The Communist Party’s Congress is composed of over 2,000 delegates elected among the organization’s 97 million members. The period leading up to the Congress was one of extensive meetings and deliberations involving tens of millions of people that took up the most pressing issues in Chinese society. The Congress elects the leadership of the party, who in turn lead key governmental and economic institutions.
Political and media elites portray this gathering as a menacing summit where China’s leadership plots about how to take over the world. They have especially focused on the personality of Xi Jinping, president of China and leader of the Communist Party, and the fact that he was elected for a third term even though the last several Chinese leaders have limited themselves to two terms. This is not some unheard-of dictatorial move — when countries are going through periods of major internal changes and difficult outside pressures, it is not uncommon to rally around leaders for an extended length of time. Franklin Roosevelt, for instance, was elected to four terms as the United States dealt with the Great Depression and World War II.
In reality, what the delegates took up at the Congress reflected a governing party that was deeply concerned with the well-being of the Chinese people and committed to making improvements in a wide range of areas. This work was taken up with a level of seriousness and sincerity that would be hard to find in the halls of the U.S. Senate or at meetings of the Democratic or Republican national committees.
The Communist Party Congress discussed how to make the distribution of income more even and expand social welfare programs to achieve “common prosperity.” The delegates wrestled with the question of how to overcome the unevenness in economic development between wealthier coastal areas and poorer rural areas. Xi Jinping identified action on climate change as a key priority in his opening speech to the Congress, arguing that, “Respecting, adapting to, and protecting nature is essential for building China into a modern socialist country in all respects … We will prioritize ecological protection, conserve resources and use them efficiently, and pursue green and low-carbon development.”
Combating corruption among public officials was another key theme taken up over the course of the Congress, with the party pledging to swiftly crack down on anyone who sells influence and uses their office for financial gain. Quite a contrast with the United States, where corruption is a legally recognized industry called lobbying! And when it comes to foreign affairs, Xi pledged in his key speech that, “China stands firmly against all forms of hegemonism and power politics, the Cold War mentality, interference in other countries’ internal affairs, and double standards … No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony or engage in expansionism.”
But Washington and Wall Street do seek hegemony, and the ruling elite of the United States has come to a consensus that China is their main obstacle as they attempt to dominate the whole planet.
As the U.S. government pursues its new Cold War strategy, workers in this country suffer. The deep economic turmoil in the world is being made even worse by efforts to separate China from the rest of the global economy, such as recent measures to devastate the hugely important microchip trade between China and the United States. And a greater and greater share of the national budget is eaten up by the trillion-dollar appetite of the Pentagon while poverty deepens and social services and basic infrastructure near collapse. We should not be fooled by the forces that spend an enormous amount of time and money trying to convince people that China is our enemy.