In China, Xi Jinping is poised to claim a historic third term as president, after the Communist Party kicked off its weeklong congress on Sunday. Xi, who has been in power for a decade, could remain China’s leader indefinitely, after lawmakers abolished presidential term limits in 2018. During his opening address, Xi lauded his government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and addressed the economy, China’s military and foreign policy. He also praised Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong, claiming Hong Kong shifted from “chaos to governance.” President Xi also addressed the issue of Taiwan, which has become a flashpoint between China and the U.S.
President Xi Jinping: “The resolution of the Taiwan issue is a matter for the Chinese ourselves to decide. We insist on striving for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and with the greatest effort. However, we are not committed to abandoning the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures.”
Ahead of the Communist Party congress, a rare anti-government protest took place on a busy overpass in Beijing, where a banner was unfurled calling for Xi’s removal. Another banner read in part, “We want a vote, not a leader. We want to be citizens, not slaves.” Social media users inside China said images of the protest online were quickly removed and accounts disabled.