In a speech commemorating the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) 100th anniversary in Beijing on Thursday, July 1, Xi, the most powerful Chinese leader in generations, delivered a defiant message—anyone who tries to bully China “will face broken heads and bloodshed.”
Mr. Xi spoke to a large crowd at Tiananmen Square to commemorate the Communist Party’s centennial.
“The Chinese people will absolutely not allow any foreign force to bully, oppress or enslave us and anyone who attempts to do so will face broken heads and bloodshed in front of the iron Great Wall of the 1.4 billion Chinese people,” said Xi.
Xi also stated that the Communist Party would maintain complete control over the military, which currently has the world’s second-largest yearly budget, behind the United States.
“We will turn the people’s military into a world-class military, with even stronger capabilities and even more reliable means to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty, security and development interests,” he said.
He also stressed in an hour-long speech that the country must maintain its one-party rule, underlining the communists’ role in propelling China to global prominence.
China also claimed Japan’s uninhabited islands and nearly the entire South China Sea, and it threatens to invade Taiwan, with which the United States has improved relations and weapons sales.
“The people of China are not only good at destroying the old world, they have also created a new world,” said Xi.
Xi also said he would not allow sanctimonious preaching from other powers, in remarks generally interpreted as directed at the United States, as China faces criticism over the pro-democracy crackdown in Hong Kong and the internment of millions of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.
According to Robert Sutter of George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, Xi looked to be preparing China for a long fight with the United States, reported Ap News.
“China is pursuing “its own self-centered policy ambitions at the expense of others and the prevailing world order,” he said.
China is entangled in a growing struggle with the United States for global supremacy and has also battled with India along their disputed border.
In a statement commemorating the occasion, Taiwan accused China of attempting to upend the international order to become a regional or possibly global hegemony.
“Democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of the law are Taiwan society’s core values, and the gap with the other side’s authoritarian political system is considerable,” a government statement said.
Police cordoned off Victoria Park, which had been the scene of Hong Kong’s yearly pro-democracy gatherings commemorating the 1997 handover until recently, and posted signs warning people that entering or remaining in the confined area could result in prosecution.
Critics claim Beijing has broken a commitment to retain Hong Kong’s distinctive rights for another 50 years, including the autonomy of its courts and judicial system, civil liberties such as a free press, freedom of speech, and the ability to protest on the streets.
Although the party has no major challenges to its power, it’s challenging to evaluate public support because few people would dare to oppose it for fear of being arrested.
For months, the party has saturated the country’s airwaves with anniversary propaganda and plastered its newspapers with it.
It has increased security around the country, imprisoning dissidents and stationing police personnel and community volunteers across the capital for weeks keeping watch.
Beijing’s meticulous preparations for the anniversary underscored how important it is for China’s leaders to maintain control over public memory.
The CCP’s 100-year history has been soaked in blood and violence as it fought to gain, and then hold control of, what has now become one of the world’s great superpowers, since its establishment in July 1921.
Today’s CCP has over 95 million members, which it accumulated over a century of war, starvation, and turbulence, as well as a recent ascent to superpower status.
However, in its 100th year, the party has offered a sanitized version of history through films, ‘Red’ tourism marketing, and publications that gloss over the Cultural Revolution’s mass bloodshed, Chinese Land Reform, famines, and the student crackdown at Tiananmen Square.
Hundreds of millions of people are thought to have died in China in the 100 years after the formation of the Chinese Communist Party, with Mao Zedong, the party’s founding leader, accountable for most of them as he fought for control of the country until his death in 1976.