Published: Tue, December 18, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Xi Jinping says no one can 'dictate' China's economic path

Xi Jinping says no one can 'dictate' China's economic path

"The practices of reform and opening up in the past 40 years have shown us that the Chinese Communist Party leadership is the fundamental character of socialism with Chinese characteristics ... east, west, south, north, and the middle, the party leads everything", he said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed his nation Tuesday morning in Beijing to commemorate the 40th anniversary of China's "reform and opening up", striking a relatively defiant tone to worldwide calls for major changes in his country's economy.

The commemoration of the reforms enacted under late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping on December 18, 1978, came as China is locked in diplomatic spats and a bruising trade war with the United States.

But rather than take the opportunity to unleash concrete new economic policies, Mr Xi touted the party line by stressing that Communist Party strategies thus far were "absolutely correct".

"We must, unswervingly, reinforce the development of the state economy while, unswervingly, encouraging, supporting and guiding the development of the non-state economy", Xi said during a speech at Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

"To push forward reform and opening up in a country with 5,000 years of civilisation and a population of 1.3 billion, there are no textbooks containing golden rules or teachers who can be arrogant to the Chinese people", he said.

Xi's speech espoused "above all else", said Julian Gewirtz, an global affairs scholar at Harvard, "the distinctiveness and absolute correctness of China's path under the party's leadership".

People who received awards for contributing to China's development hold their certificates during a celebration meeting marking the 40th anniversary of China's

"We will resolutely uphold the authoritative and centralised leadership of the CPC Central Committee, and ensure that party leadership is implemented and reflected in reform, development, stability, domestic and foreign affairs, national defence, party, state, military and other fields", he said.

Kristin Shi-Kupfer, a researcher at the Merics Institute in Berlin, wrote in a report that "Xi is now moving away from Deng's legacy of reform and opening up".

Xi said China was walking closer to the world's centre stage and was now "an internationally recognised" builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a keeper of worldwide order.

The reforms pulled hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and turned China into the world's second biggest economy.

China's heavy support of its sprawling state sector has been a point of contention with the United States.

This new "revolution" started in the countryside, where authorities began to de-collectivise land and dismantle communes, but it quickly spread to cities.

Southern cities including Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong and was still a fishing village, were designated China's first Special Economic Zones that became powerhouses and models for the rest of the country.

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