Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

The year of Chinese Dream

By David Gosset (China Daily) Updated: 2013-12-14 07:58

President Xi Jinping has exercised the greatest influence on the world stage in 2013 with his visionary leadership

In October, the shutdown of the US federal government forced President Barack Obama to cancel a series of trips abroad. In his absence, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bali, Chinese President Xi Jinping was de facto the most powerful man in the room, the US "pivot to Asia" ironically reduced to a mere rhetorical posture.

It is indeed Xi who most influenced the year 2013. On the global chessboard, the constant movement in China contrasted with the lack of leadership in the European Union and political paralysis in the United States. The West lost the advantage of the initiative; it simply reacted to China's new moves and rapid actions.

Within 12 months, China's top leader introduced a powerful narrative to express the Chinese zeitgeist, the Chinese Dream. He managed to reconnect with Deng Xiaoping's spirit of reform and, from Sunnylands to Bali, he occupied, without departing from his natural modesty, the center of the world's political stage.

Xi's Chinese Dream is a dynamic synthesis that can be presented as a triptych of the interrelated visions of "modern China", "global China" and "civilizational China".

"Modern China" summarizes the achievements since the republic of Sun Yat-sen and the quest for even greater socio-economic advancement. The People's Republic of China brought hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, liberated Chinese women and extended life expectancy (41 years in 1950 to 76 now), while Deng's reform and opening-up remain the catalyst for improvement across Chinese society.

At the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in November, in a direct reference to the historic 1978 Third Plenum of 11th CPC Central Committee, Xi reaffirmed Deng's spirit of reform with the notion of "comprehensive deepening of reforms".

As stated in the plenum's declaration, Xi is taking China on a new course: "In the face of new circumstances and new tasks reform must be comprehensively deepened from a new historic starting point." The choice to clearly allow market forces to play a decisive role in resource allocation immediately won the support of enlightened reformists.

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