Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Xi Jinping delivered an informative report at the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Wednesday. Key information including "new era," "Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era," "the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved into one between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life" and a two-stage development plan from 2020 to 2050 to develop China into a "great modern socialist country" immediately spread across Chinese society.
The new statements, ideas and goals were introduced for the first time, but reflect previous practices and experiences, and thus can immediately inspire Chinese with their own dreams. With these visions, Chinese are hopeful about the next five years and have been presented with a blueprint for the next 30 years.
Xi's report suggests that the CPC is an idealistic party, adheres to the principle of wholeheartedly serving the people and takes on the responsibility of leading China to become a great modern socialist country. The past five years have seen major achievements in the anti-corruption campaign and strict Party governance continues to be a focus of Xi's report.
An era with a material basis, developmental capability, clear guiding ideology, explicit strategic aims and firm leadership is definitely a promising era. Certainties of national strategy will be transformed into optimism and initiative in all fields. They are the source of comprehensive progress by society.
It's fortunate that the historic reforms in the past five years have accumulated strength for Chinese society to open a new era and make us confident to face future challenges. China will for sure withstand tough tests under the leadership of the CPC with Xi as the core.
The 19th CPC National Congress on its first day has inspired Chinese society, with the public discussing Xi's report with an unprecedented enthusiasm. The reforms of the past five years have brought the CPC closer to the people, enhancing the authority of the CPC Central Committee with General Secretary Xi regarded as a trusted leader by the CPC and the people. Xi's report communicates with the CPC and the people.
As Chinese people live in a rising country, they have witnessed turbulence and chaos in many other countries through the media. The booming life in China is hard earned. The 19th CPC National Congress paves the way for a stable life for Chinese in the future.
Xi's report offers guidance for the future work of the CPC and the country. It gives a strong impression that key issues concerning the leadership of the CPC, democracy, the rule of law and openness will be emphasized more in the future. As China marches toward becoming a great modern socialist country, every person will also have the chance to realize their life's full potential. China has suffered too much misery since modern times. The CPC has changed the fate of the country with great success. At the door of a new era, we sincerely wish the CPC and China accomplish more successes in the future, which concerns everyone of us.
By Robert Lawrence Kuhn
Foreign analysts and media look to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China for clues about China’s future. It is no secret that President Xi Jinping, during his almost five years as China’s senior-most leader, has strengthened the Party’s role in governing China — and foreigners have questions. I’m asked these questions by foreign media and I think it useful to state and examine them.
What is it about the Party, the CPC, and its governing philosophy, that makes Xi so committed to enhancing the Party’s governing power? What are the Party’s positions and policies, organization and governance, vision and challenges? Why has China opted for perpetual CPC leadership? What innovations has Xi brought to the Party’s leadership role in the economy and society? Why has Xi elevated “strict discipline of the Party” to the highest level of national importance, the fourth of his “Four Comprehensives” for governing China? Why is his anti-corruption campaign so relentless?
Answers to these questions lead to a more basic question: How has the Party led China to its remarkable development and modernization? How has the Party adapted to changing conditions, kept up with the times? What can we learn from the Party’s history, its triumphs and tragedies? What is it about the Party’s recent past that it must now be rejuvenated?
But can a system with a perpetually ruling party discipline itself, itself establish credible checks-and-balances? What challenges does the Party face? What does the Party consider its greatest dangers? And what are its enduring ideals, its visions for the future? Under Xi’s core leadership, how might the Party’s role in governing China develop over the next five or ten years?
China requires strong leadership to maintain stability given China’s unique, complex challenges: domestically (slower growth, industrial overcapacity, endemic pollution, imbalanced development, income disparity, social injustice, social service demands) and internationally (regional conflicts, sluggish economies, volatile markets, trade protectionism, ethnic clashes, terrorism, geopolitical rivalries, territorial disputes).
Xi’s unprecedented anti-corruption campaign has won strong public support. His determination to root-out corruption and cut the wasteful and detested perks of officialdom is altering how officials in government, and executives in state-owned enterprises, work and even think.
But some foreign analysts see Xi’s anti-corruption campaign as a weapon of political power, thus reflecting their superficial and one-dimensional understanding of China. Befitting the size and complexity of the country, for almost every decision of importance, China’s leaders have multiple motivations or reasons.
For the anti-corruption campaign, I can see ten motivations or reasons.
First, to state the obvious, officials who are manifestly corrupt are brought to justice. To manage China’s huge society, there must be respect for law and judicial impartiality.
Second, by combatting corruption the Party increases public trust, building confidence in the Party’s leadership.
Third, by combatting corruption the Party functions more effectively and efficiently, making decisions for the general good, not biased by personal benefits.
Fourth, corruption distorts markets, so that by reducing corruption, resources are allocated more efficiently.
Fifth, corrupt officials impede economic reform because change threatens their private interests. The removal of corrupt officials facilitates reform.
Sixth, corrupt officials thwart rule of law for personal interests and prosecuting them strengthens rule of law for the national interest. Rule of law is exceedingly important, the third of Xi’s “Four Comprehensives.”
Seventh, some corrupt officials, in addition to enriching themselves, have non-standard political ambitions that could destabilize the system; their removal helps maintain national unity and political stability, which is essential for China.
Eighth, for China to become a world business center, China must have world-class business ethics and standards.
Ninth, combatting corruption benefits China’s entire society, elevating morality and restoring Chinese civilization as a paragon of ethics and integrity.
Tenth, for China to become a global role model, China must exemplify morality and rectitude.
The CPC is a work in process. For the world to understand the China, it must understand why the Party asserts that its continuing political leadership is optimum for China’s development. One key is the Party’s adaptability, stressing experimentation and testing of new policies.
The benefits of a system with a single leading party include implementing critical policies rapidly and assuring that strategies which require long-term commitment, have long-term commitment - for example, China's “Belt and Road Initiative”.
The Party’s leadership is deemed essential for China to continue its current development. Yet to continue to earn its leadership, the Party has a higher obligation to enhance rectitude of governance, standards of living and personal well-being — which includes rule of law, transparency in government, public oversight, institutionalized checks and balances, increasing democracy, various freedoms, and human rights.
Going forward in the ‘new era’, the Party faces challenges - furthering economic reform and transformation, and guiding social development and transition - while at the same time, improving transparency and building institutions that are self-regulating. The Party claims a historic mission. The Party will continue to be judged by the results.
Pakistan is betting that a pair of nine-foot chicken wire fences topped with barbed wire will stop incursions by Islamist militants from Afghanistan, which opposes Islamabad's plans for a barrier along the disputed frontier.
Pakistan plans to fence up most of the 2,500 km (1,500 mile) frontier despite Kabul's protests that the barrier would divide families and friends along the Pashtun tribal belt straddling the colonial-era Durand line drawn up by the British in 1893.
Pakistan's military estimates that it will need about 56 billion rupees ($532 million) for the project, while there are also plans to build 750 border forts and employ high-tech surveillance systems to prevent militants crossing.
In the rolling hills of the Angoor Adda village in South Waziristan, part of Pakistan's restive Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), three rolls of barbed wire are sandwiched in the six-foot gap between the chicken wire fences.
"(The fence) is a paradigm change. It is an epoch shift in the border control management," said a Pakistani army officer in command of South Waziristan during a presentation to foreign media on Wednesday.
"There will not be an inch of international border (in South Waziristan) which shall not remain under our observation."
Pakistan's military has so far fenced off about 43 km of the frontier, starting with the most violence-prone areas in FATA, and is expected to recruit tens of thousands of new troops to man the border. It is not clear how long it will take to fence the entire boundary.
But Pakistan's plans have also drawn criticism from across the border.
Gulab Mangal, governor of the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, told Reuters the wall will create "more hatred and resentment" between two neighbors and will do neither country any good.
"The fence will definitely create a lot of trouble for the people along the border on both sides but no wall or fence can separate these tribes," he said.
"I urge the tribes to stand against this action."
Pakistan has blamed Pakistani Taliban militants it says are based on Afghan soil for a spate of attacks at home over the past year, urging Kabul to eradicate "sanctuaries" for militants.
Afghanistan, in turn, accuses Islamabad of sheltering the leadership of the Afghan Taliban militants who are battling the Western-backed government in Kabul.
Both countries deny aiding militants, but relations between the two have soured in recent years. In May, the tension rose when 10 people were killed in two border villages in Baluchistan region.
The clashes occurred in so-called "divided villages", where the Durand Line goes through the heart of the community, and where residents are now bracing for the fence to split their villages in two. [nL8N1MK146]
Pakistan's previous attempts to build a fence failed about a decade ago and many doubt whether its possible to secure such a lengthy border.
But Pakistani army officials are undeterred by the scepticism and insist they will finish the job as the country's security rests on this fence.
"By the time we are done, inshallah, we will be very sure of one thing: that nobody can cross this place," said the Pakistani officer in charge of South Waziristan.
The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on Wednesday confirmed that militant commander Umar Mansoor, the mastermind of the Army Public School attack, had been killed.
Usman Mansoor Hafizullah will replace Umar Mansoor as the faction's commander in Darra Adam Khel and Peshawar, TTP Spokesperson Muhammad Khorasani said in an email sent to journalists.
The statement comes a day after six suspected TTP militants were killed in a US drone strike targeting alleged militant hideouts in the Pak-Afghan border region close to Kurram Agency.Sources told Dawn that Umar Khalid Khorasani aka Abdul Wali, the chief of the outlawed Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), was wounded in the drone strike that took place in Afghanistan’s Paktia province.
Umar Mansoor, who had claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on Bacha Khan University in 2016, was said to be the mastermind of 2014's massacre at the Army Public School in Peshawar which left at least 144 people, mostly children, dead.
Tuesday, October 17, 2017
China has achieved remarkable progress in the last five years under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), with great political courage and strong responsibility overcoming difficulties and engaging in innovation and reform. Through the "Five in One" overall plan and the "Four Comprehensives" strategy for developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the last five years, China's economy, science, technology and defense have improved significantly with progress in comprehensive national power, international influence and people's sense of gain.
Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered into a new stage following great outcomes achieved by the Party since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 and especially since the reform and opening up movement. Those historic achievements and reforms mark a new starting point and are of great and deep significance for the development of the Party and the country.
The Party's leadership is the most essential feature and the greatest advantage of socialism with Chinese characteristics. In the last five years, China has achieved historically significant outcomes in reform and opening up as well as socialist modernization thanks to the leadership of the CPC with Xi Jinping at the core. During this period, the Party has continuously enhanced its development and core role, which could be regarded as the most far-reaching achievement and the foundation of progress.
In particular, General Secretary of CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping's speeches and new ideas, thoughts and strategies for state governance and administration have pushed the Party's recognition on governance, socialism construction and social development to a new level and built an integrated scientific theory system. It is also the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to concrete Chinese conditions, opening up a new frontier of Marxism in contemporary China.
Socialism with Chinese characteristics has allowed China to make a historic leap from being independent to being rich and stronger, expanding modernization for developing countries and offering China's wisdom to the world. At the new historic starting point, the CPC should establish a firmer footing on “matters of confidence” to firmly grasp China's development and Chinese people’s aspirations for a better life.
It is hoped that this congress can handle important strategic issues in China's development with a broader version and longer-term view, and make breakthroughs in theory and practice. This congress is expected to strengthen the unity of all ethnicities in China, with a more active status and posture, to make efforts, build important projects, and implement great careers and realize the Chinese dream, and thus promote socialism with Chinese characteristics.
All great achievements are the result of continuous struggles, and all great careers are promoted by inheriting the past and opening the future. We are closer to the target of the great revival of the Chinese nation than at any other time in history, and have more confidence and capability to realize the dream. China is on the path to realizing the first centennial goal and building a well-off society in an all-round way, and is endeavoring to realize the second centennial goal. Our Party bravely holds its responsibility for the country, and leads the Chinese people to realize the Chinese dream of revival.
We wish the congress great success!
After the Iraqi army took over Kirkuk, Baghdad has said that Kurdish independence is “a thing of the past” and the controversial referendum should be forgotten, as the UN says 61,000 people have fled the northern city of Kirkuk. “In the past 48 hours, the UN Migration Agency says that some 61,000 people have left Kirkuk and surrounding areas, most of them heading north and east toward the Erbil and Suleimania governorates,” Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, told reporters Tuesday. “We call on all parties to ensure that civilians are protected and [that they] can leave affected areas if they choose.”
Both Iraqi and Kurdish leaders have called for a "peaceful solution" to the current crisis. However, while the Baghdad official announced the controversial referendum should be forgotten, the Kurdish leader assured his nation's efforts for independence were not in vain.
The loud voices you raised for the independence of Kurdistan that you sent to all nations and world countries will not be wasted now or ever," Masoud Barzani said in a statement Tuesday, adding that "the Kurdistan nation... sooner or later, will eventually reach its right and sacred objective."
Barzani also decried the apparent split among the Kurdish ruling forces. The recent Peshmerga withdrawals from the disputed areas, such as the city of Kirkuk and other regions now under control of Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shiite forces, "was the result of unilateral decisions of some persons within a certain internal political party of Kurdistan," he claimed, without specifying further.
Saying that he and his supporters "are doing our utmost to preserve our achievements," Barzani called for unity within the Kurdish nation and urged for "peaceful solutions."
On Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who belongs to the Shiite majority, also called for a dialogue with the Kurdish leadership "under the constitution."
This week, Baghdad has deployed the army to "impose security" in the resource-rich province of Kirkuk. Iraqi troops have seized control over several key Kurdish Peshmerga-held positions in the region. The Kurdish Peshmerga forces proclaimed the takeover "a flagrant declaration of war."
Up to 11 people might have been killed in Monday clashes between Iraqi and Kurdish forces, Reuters reported, citing US military personnel present in Iraq as part of Washington-led anti-terrorist operation in the region.
The White House has previously said it would not be "taking sides" in the battle between the two US allies.