The enlightened speech given by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on Oct 18 has offered a “timely reference of a global vision” amid mounting worldwide challenges and difficulties, European observers said.
Impressed by Xi’s points on people-centered development, harmony of nature and human beings, common global peace and prosperity, they closely watched the three-and-a-half-hour address Xi made at the congress in Beijing.
“The world urgently needs a positive vision that can inspire a new generation of global citizens and it is encouraging to hear Xi provide exactly that,” Dennis Pamlin, founder of Sweden-based consultancy 21st Century Frontiers, said during an interview with China Daily.
He said Xi has been asking for collaboration in relation to global challenges, noting that “no country can handle the various challenges facing human beings on their own.”
“From climate change and pandemics to artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, the world needs new bold global initiatives,” said Pamlin.
Pamlin said that perhaps even more important, Xi highlighted the need for a positive vision－which in China is often captured under the concepts of “ecological civilization” and the “Chinese Dream”－as he stressed the need to create a clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, common prosperity, openness and inclusiveness.
Shada Islam, geopolitical research director of Brussels-based think tank Friends of Europe, shared Pamlin’s view on Xi advocating global collaboration at a time of global uncertainties, America’s retreat from international engagement and the rise of anti-globalization sentiments in Europe.
“I am especially heartened and reassured by Xi Jinping’s commitment to an open and interconnected world in his comment that ‘No country can retreat to their own island. We live in a shared world and face a shared destiny’”, said Islam.
Rana Mitter, director of the University of Oxford China Centre, also agrees.
“The most significant part of Xi’s speech is the firm pledge to make China a major actor in the world. At a time of major flux in the world order, it will be increasingly important for China to play a stabilizing, responsible role when it comes to questions of trade, security and international order,” Mitter said.
“As China takes on a greater role in the world, it will also have to shoulder many of the responsibilities of a great power, encouraging freer markets and a more transparent international environment. It will also have to tackle issues such as climate change and provide leadership there. The world will be watching from now on.”
Luigi Gambardella, president of China EU, a nonprofit organization in Brussels that promotes digital and internet cooperation, said Xi appears to be a leader who will make China thrive in the digital age, while the speech touched on strengthening infrastructure networks and developing advanced manufacturing through the integration of the internet, big data and artificial intelligence.
“By restating the role of socialism, he opens the way to a state-led initiative to bring fiber connections to all Chinese households, allowing them to benefit from the competing services provided by China’s thriving digital ecosystem,” Gambardella said.