China sets out to ‘regain its might’ in the world – China’s latest political and current affairs news


A summary of the top news in Chinese politics and current affairs for October 25, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

By 2050, two centuries after the Opium Wars, which plunged the “Middle Kingdom” into a period of hurt and shame, China is set to regain its might and re-ascend to the top of the world.

Central state media outlet Xinhua declared this in an October 24 commentary, following up on similar remarks by President Xi Jinping at the opening of the 19th Party Congress on October 18. Now that the congress has ended, it has become clearer what China’s immediate game plan to “re-ascend to the top of the world” might be:

  • First, upgrade the Belt and Road Initiative to the status of a pursuit mandated by the Communist Party’s constitution. Done.
  • Second, promote the country’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi 杨洁篪, to the Politburo, in doing so preempting any speculation that the Foreign Ministry is being sidelined (according to SCMP). Check.
  • Third, aim to take advantage of America’s unusually weak leader. The Washington Post notes that the term “multipolarity,” a “euphemism for U.S. decline,” was optimistically described as “rapidly accelerating” by Xi in his speech, whereas previously, it had merely been described as “deepening.” Aim, set.
  • Fourth, push for participation in global governance, and build up military capabilities. The Post notes that these have become top priorities for the government.
  • Finally, assert authority over Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the South China Sea. The Post says that “Xi counted ‘South China Sea reef and island construction’ among his top accomplishments,” while Bill Bishop’s Sinocism notes (paywall) a ratcheting up of nationalist rhetoric with regards to Hong Kong and Taiwan in Xi’s speech.

We may have a chance very soon to see some of this plan put into action, as U.S. President Donald Trump is set to visit Beijing on November 8-10. Trump tweeted on October 25, “Spoke to President Xi of China to congratulate him on his extraordinary elevation,” and “also discussed” trade and North Korea; he followed up with a note that he looks forward to “what will hopefully be a historic trip.”