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Xi Jinping Spoke for Over 3 Hours. Here's What He Said

China's leader wraps up 1st term, lays out goals for future
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2017 6:14 PM CDT
Xi Jinping Spoke for Over 3 Hours. Here's What He Said
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during the opening session of China's 19th Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017.   (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

(Newser) – Xi Jinping marked the end of his first five-year term as China's leader by giving a speech that seemed nearly as long, the New York Times reports. In a nearly 3.5-hour speech to open the Communist Party Congress, Xi spoke of his accomplishments and goals, addressing the economy, foreign policy, homeland security, the futures of Taiwan and Hong Kong, and more. In terms of China's economy, Xi laid out a general plan of supporting innovation, cracking down on monopolies, goosing consumer spending, stepping up banking regulations, and boosting state-owned businesses. Here's everything else you need to know about Xi's "marathon" speech:

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  • The speech "certainly accentuates the growing expectation that Xi has no plans to retire any time soon," one expert tells the Wall Street Journal. The 65-year-old Xi laid out goals of "socialist modernization" by 2035 and putting China at the top of world powers by 2049.
  • After just five years, Xi—"an economic and political conservative but also a skilled populist"—is already one of the most powerful leaders in modern Chinese history, CNN reports. It's that power that may convince Xi to stay on past his second term, something recent Chinese leaders haven't done.
  • The New Yorker compares Xi to the emperors of China's past. He's extending his power to every facet of Chinese life at the expense of the rights of citizens. "He is positioning himself as a savior with a cause noble enough to justify his autocratic turn."
  • But Xi's power doesn't appear to extend to Shanghaiist, which criticizes his 3 hour and 23 minute speech as "extremely boring," "monotone," and evidence of "just how little can be said with so many words."

  • The BBC reports Xi showed extreme confidence in the Communist Party during his speech, saying he wouldn't alter China's government to be similar to those of western democracies, which he said were floundering in comparison to a strong and united China.
  • Xi wants even stronger Communist Party control in China, and the situation outside Wednesday's speech shows what that might look like: protesters removed from the area, public gatherings (even gym classes) canceled to prevent dissent, and increased online censorship. “Every one of us in the party must be prepared to work even harder toward this goal," the Washington Post quotes Xi as saying.
  • Finally, HuffPost reports some of Xi's comments could be seen as criticisms of President Trump in service of setting Xi up as a major world leader, especially when he touched on climate change. “No country alone can address the many challenges facing mankind. No country can afford to retreat into self-isolation,” Xi said.
(Read more Xi Jinping stories.)

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