China in the center

By Augusto Soto
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Today, March 13, 2018
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The fourth plenary meeting of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) is held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 13, 2018. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

Once again, China is at the center of global attention in the context of the celebration of "two sessions" (Lianghui), the annual sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which together this year takes place between March 3 and 20. 

This time, however, is a more special occasion than in previous years. A particular unity of the Chinese people and Beijing's global outlook contrast with the West, where there is a recovery of material progress after the economic crisis of 2008, although framed by a relative institutional stagnation and somewhat undefined national expectations. 

The above does not mean that due to the circumstantial shortcomings, particularly of the European Union, these strategic meetings in Beijing these days are not relatable to us. On the contrary, in the West we perceive that our destinies are increasingly intertwined as never before with the destinies of China. It is also a widely shared appreciation in the space of the Spanish-speaking world, and beyond. President Xi Jinping, as he mentioned a year ago, again reaffirms that humanity is on the verge of a "community of shared future."

With so many topics to cover during the "two sessions," we must ask ourselves where we should focus our attention. The best advice would be everywhere. For example, the conception of the Chinese party system, which President Xi understands as a great contribution to political civilization. It is a declaration of principles that will most likely influence the international community; particularly to the extent that different regimes on different continents confirm that the achievement of results enhances and defines the public function supported by a formed technocracy, as has been in vogue in China these past decades. The most extraordinary example is the well-known breakthrough that has led the Communist Party of China to lift more than 700 million people out of poverty in the space of a little more than a generation and which is now being completed with the step of removing more than 10 million people from poverty this year. 

Also of interest is the orientation of economic growth, whose goal has been set at around 6.5 percent for 2018, and which is linked to similar figures in the most recent years. This robustness reinforces a very varied economic exchange. In the case of Spain, it includes the explosive increase of Chinese tourists, a five times growth over five years, and a generation of opportunities for new Chinese entrepreneurs to settle in Spain and their Spanish counterparts in China. 

It is of the utmost importance to carefully read the Chinese media between March 3 and 20 to try to see potential synergies, in a year that, at the same time, marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of relations between China and Spain, and the same one in which the official visit to Madrid of President Xi is expected. Xi will have the opportunity to explain in person Beijing's goal to move towards the achievement of "a great modern socialist country."

The first half of March is marked by the appreciation that "the world has never had so much interest in China or needed it as much," as the People's Daily recently pointed out, in the context of what in Spain and Europe is valued and understood as a reciprocal dynamic. 

Augusto Soto is director of Dialogue with the China Project and professor at ESADE, Barcelona. 

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of

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