Communist dictator Xi Jinping delivered a violent hour-long speech on Thursday to celebrate the 100th anniversary of China’s Communist Party, vowing that anyone seeking to liberate the Chinese people would have their “heads bashed bloody” and threatening sovereign Taiwan with “reunification.”
Under Xi’s rule, Chinese officials have organized hundreds of events nationwide to celebrate the anniversary and published attempts at pop culture homages to the Party, like a 15-minute hip-hop song featuring 100 communist rappers. Officials do not appear to be implementing any social distancing protocol or requiring masks for attendees despite the tight quarters in stadiums and other public venues that people appear to be filling. China is the origin nation of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, has struggled to convince citizens to receive coronavirus vaccine doses, and continues to endure waves of case surges in its major cities that have resulted in significant disturbances to public life.
Xi – who has made no public attempts to convince the Chinese public to get vaccinated and has not disclosed his personal vaccination status – did not mention the Chinese coronavirus pandemic in his speech, delivered to a packed Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The square is most famous outside of China for being the site of a 1989 communist massacre resulting in at least 10,000 deaths of peaceful, pro-democracy protesters, many of them young students. While Xi’s Party has more vocally defended the massacre, calling it a “political vaccine” against democracy, than past Chinese leaders, he also abstained from reflecting on the history of the plaza.
Officials estimated the crowd in Tiananmen Square numbered as high as 70,000 people.
Xi spent much of his speech, according to the official text published in government media, insisting that communism is the only legitimate political path for all Chinese people – addressing Chinese people living abroad specifically – and crediting the Communist Party for allegedly eliminating poverty in the country. Xi made the bizarre declaration that not a single Chinese person can be defined as living in extreme poverty in February, prompting international observers to note that China had managed to make the claim by redefining the poverty line to a lower standard than the one used by global financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank.
“We must uphold the firm leadership of the Party. China’s success hinges on the Party,” Xi asserted. “Through tenacious struggle, the Party and the Chinese people showed the world that … that only socialism could save China, and that only socialism with Chinese characteristics could develop China.”
“Without the Communist Party of China, there would be no new China and no national rejuvenation,” he later repeated.
The part of the speech not dedicated to the argument that the Communist Party is indispensable to the development of the Chinese people largely consisted of threats. As translated by Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), Xi threatened would be subjugators and “bullies” of the Chinese people with certain death, without mentioning any nation in particular.
“Anyone who dares try to do that will have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people,” Xi asserted.
Chinese government media notably tempered its translation of Xi’s threat to “have their heads bashed bloody” into less gory rhetoric.
“We have never bullied, oppressed, or subjugated the people of any other country, and we never will. By the same token, we will never allow any foreign force to bully, oppress, or subjugate us,” the official translation read. “Anyone who would attempt to do so will find themselves on a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people.”
Xi also decried “sanctimonious preaching from those who feel they have the right to lecture us,” without elaborating. The statement is likely a reference to the many countries of the free world that have declared China’s genocide of Muslim-majority ethnic groups in the nation’s west a “genocide” and urging the United Nations to act. China is home to what is believed to be the world’s most expansive concentration camp system, used to eliminate ethnic Uyghurs and eradicate their culture. China claims the camps are “vocational training centers” for undereducated minorities.
Xi also once again threatened Taiwan, which has been a sovereign nation for decades and never ruled by any government in Beijing, with “reunification.”
“Resolving the Taiwan question and realizing China’s complete reunification is a historic mission and an unshakable commitment of the Communist Party of China,” Xi said. “We must take resolute action to utterly defeat any attempt toward ‘Taiwan independence,’ and work together to create a bright future for national rejuvenation.”
“No one should underestimate the resolve, the will, and the ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Xi added.
Xi’s tone regarding Hong Kong, which he repressed entirely through the illegal passage of a “national security law” silencing dissidents last year, was far more measured, a possible reflection of the success of that law in imprisoning or forcing dissidents into exiles. Xi promised the city a “high degree of autonomy” and “social stability,” a euphemism for silencing political opposition.
While triumphant, Xi’s tone differed significantly from what has become his most historic speech, delivered to debut his philosophy, “Xi Jinping Thought,” in 2017. On that occasion, the opening of the Communist Party Congress, Xi spoke for three hours, not addressing the United States or other rival powers and instead proclaiming, “it is time for us to take center stage in the world and to make a greater contribution to humankind.” Two years later, China became the epicenter of the worst pandemic to hit the planet since before the founding of the Communist Party in 1921, a disaster China has repeatedly attempted, and failed, to blame America for.