China celebrated the annual opening of the National People’s Congress, the highest power in the Asian giant. The event took place in two sessions where the challenges of the communist regime for the next 15 years were presented.
The Asian superpower presented a plan that would place its economy only a quarter below the American economy by 2025. The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) strategy is to bring GDP per capita to the level of a “moderately developed” economy by 2035.
In its race to overtake the United States, China also set clear goals in the diplomatic and technological fields. The Chinese Foreign Ministry judged the United States by accusing Washington of “creating problems in other countries in the name of democracy and human rights.”
Due to the American strengthening in the Indo-Pacific region, where since 2020, Washington has intensified its military and diplomatic presence and succeeded in strengthening its allies, particularly Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, at the same conference, Wang Yi threatened that if the United States continues to disregard the CCP’s mandates, “the world will remain far from tranquility”.
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The CCP has established the one-China policy, creating strategies and laws aimed at recovering what for the communist regime are Chinese territories.
China claims as part of its territory Taiwan and its coastal islands, the Senkaku Islands in Japan and its surrounding exclusive economic zone, as well as the South China Sea, whose territories are disputed by the Philippines and Vietnam.
China’s National Security Law
With the National People’s Congress in session, and the National Security Law in effect, Xi Jinping sets in motion his plans to control Hong Kong and Xinjiang.
Hong Kongers could contest for the majority of seats in the legislature. However, for the CCP “apparent leaks and flaws in the existing electoral system had provided a platform for an anti-Chinese group to ruin Hong Kong, challenging Beijing’s authority and sovereignty.” Thus they have decided to completely eliminate the sovereignty of that region.
On Xinjiang at the press conference given by Wang Yi, the senior official said that “the claim that there is genocide in Xinjiang could not be more absurd, they are rumors made with ulterior motives and a lie from beginning to end” referring to the sanctions imposed by Washington.
The State Department denounced, early this year, the genocide and violation of other crimes against humanity committed by the CCP in Xinjiang as “the arbitrary imprisonment of more than one million civilians, forced sterilization, torture, forced labor, and the imposition of draconian restrictions on freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression” in addition to “forced birth control and the separation of children from their families.”
Unified China and Communist Hegemony in the Indo-Pacific
In addition to threats to the United States over Taiwan, in the context of the reunification of territories that China says it claims as its own, Wang Yi said he hopes Japanese society will “adopt a more objective and rational conception of China.”
Over the past month, Chinese military ships have made incursions into Japanese territory, forcing Tokyo to take measures to protect its territory. The United States has shown its support for Japanese sovereignty of that territory, which China considers “problematic.”
“The United States and other Western countries frequently stir up trouble in the region, trying to drive a wedge using the South China Sea issue. They have only one purpose: to sabotage peace and disrupt regional stability,” Wang added.
However, it is China that really seeks to disrupt freedom and stability in the region. Threats to Taiwan and Japan and coercion of South Korea are evidence of China’s desire for territorial dominance, which has raised concerns among North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member countries such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
The armed forces of France, Germany and the United Kingdom will conduct military exercises in the Indo-Pacific region during 2021 at the invitation of Japan.
Technology as China’s economic arm
China’s technological competence is crucial to achieving the economic goals proposed in the opening of the Assembly.
Despite evidence that China has engaged in espionage and technology theft, CCP members say the U.S. accusation against China of technology theft is “completely unfounded by the fact that the West has used intellectual property rights protection to protect its trade.”
In the wake of the U.S. sanctions, the CCP has put forward an increase in Beijing’s budget allocation by 10.6% “to support the construction of national laboratories” according to Li Keqiang, Chinese Premier.
Li told Assembly members that the government will ensure that the country’s semiconductor and technology component supply and industrial chains become “more self-sufficient.”
One of the CCP’s main bets is to nationalize Chinese companies to inject capital into them to improve infrastructure and competitiveness globally.
“The development of 5G networks and 1000M fiber optic networks will be intensified and their application will be extended to more environments” Li added in his speech on March 5th.
Camilo Bello is a consultant focused on Asia Pacific studies and has experience in strategic management. He has studied law in Colombia and is currently pursuing studies in language and history at National Taiwan Normal University. He has collaborated with Students for Freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan // Camilo es consultor enfocado en estudios de Asia Pacífico y experiencia en gestión estratégica. Cuenta con estudios en Derecho en Colombia y actualmente se encuentra realizando estudios en lenguaje e historia en National Taiwan Normal University. Colaborador de Estudiantes por la Libertad en Hong Kong y Taiwán