Chinese leader Xi Jinping delivered two New Year’s speeches on Dec. 31. One speech was delivered to the nation, and the other was addressed to the members of China’s top political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Xi’s outlook for 2021 didn’t sound reassuring as China is currently facing domestic and international pressures. It seems as if Xi and the top leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) don’t know how to guide the country into the new year.
One Year Ago
On Dec. 31, 2019, Xi said in a New Year’s speech that “2020 is a milestone year.”
At the time, who would have expected that 2020 would be such an eventful year? Perhaps Xi may have anticipated that something big would happen. Did he know beforehand that COVID-19 would first break out in China and become a global pandemic? Did the CCP anticipate that tensions with the United States would lead to a trade war? Did the CCP plan on taking away Hong Kong’s autonomy by implementing a national security law? Did the regime plan on dominating the South China Sea?
Xi’s capability is limited after all. In 2019, he said, “Human history, like a river, runs forever, witnessing both peaceful moments and great disturbances. We are not afraid of storms and dangers and barriers.” He continued to say, “Build together the Belt and Road Initiative, and push forward the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.”
He did not expect the level of “great disturbances” and the overwhelming pressure that the CCP would face in 2020. It became “a milestone year,” but not in a positive sense for the regime. The year 2020 marked the rapid decline of the CCP dictatorship.
Then a year later, on Dec. 31, Xi delivered his New Year’s speech. He used new slogans such as “stay true to our original aspiration” and “realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” But Xi also acknowledges the challenges when he said that China has “broken through brambles and thorns” and “the road ahead is long.”
Compared with a year ago, Xi didn’t say much about his outlook for the new year and seemed to lack confidence and hope.
Xi’s address at the CPPCC’s New Year’s gathering also had very limited prospects for 2021. He expects CCP authorities to “formulate and implement the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for national economic and social development.” Xi tried to instill enthusiasm among the officials when he mentioned the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CCP, which will be observed this year.
After the chaos of 2020, the CCP regime has fallen into an unprecedented predicament and the senior officials’ powers are in serious jeopardy. The leadership can’t even agree on their evaluation of 2020, let alone offer any insightful outlook for the new year.
2020 Has Become the CCP’s Burden
Xi’s New Year’s greetings to the public follows the same old pattern—they sum up the past year, followed by a simple outlook for the new year. This year’s address is more concise but lacks enthusiasm, compared to previous years.
Xi asserted his authority through his New Year’s address to the CPPCC when he boasted about Beijing’s handling of the pandemic, which he described as “an answer sheet worth of being recorded in the annals and that satisfied the people and attracted the attention of the world.”
If Xi fails to solidify his power within the Party, then it would be impossible to implement any policies or to get anything done in 2021.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc, affecting the global economy and impacting people’s livelihoods, 2021 is unlikely to be a smooth year. I think many people are wondering what will happen to the world and to China in the new year.
Amid the tense relations between China and the United States, the CCP is hoping that Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden will be the next U.S. president. Allegations of election fraud and Chinese interference have surfaced. However, the American people have become more aware of the nature of the CCP.
The CCP is also under international scrutiny over its mishandling and coverup of the initial virus outbreak.
The CCP was forced to make concessions to the European Union and was eager to secure a China-EU investment deal, which reflects the desperation of the CCP’s top leaders to save China’s economy, form alliances, and prevent the regime from being isolated in the international community.
Overall, the CCP continues to seek hegemony and engage in wolf warrior diplomacy. It is unwilling to loosen its grip over Hong Kong or to stop intimidating Taiwan. The CCP continues to assert its sovereignty and expand its territorial claims in the South China Sea.
The CCP faces major obstacles at home. China’s economy could collapse at any time. The housing market bubble has burst. The pandemic has made the economic situation worse as many businesses were forced to shut down due to the lockdowns. Unemployment continues to grow, which directly impacts consumer spending. Food shortage concerns and natural disasters fuel the crises.
Xi’s low-key New Year’s address confirms that the CCP is about to fall and will eventually meet its demise. How long will the Party last?
Yang Wei has been closely following China affairs for many years. He has been contributing political commentary on China for the Chinese language Epoch Times since 2019.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.