China passes the screen | Opinion

Ten years ago, the Chinese government launched an order: it promised that by 2020 they would be a “moderately prosperous” society. Didn’t coin that term (xiao kang) for the occasion, but rescued it from the classical poetry of 2,500 years ago. Brought to today it becomes to expand the middle class even if there is some inequality. With nuances, China is achieving it, and that has been sold by Xi Jinping in the Congress of the Communist Party: that they have passed the screen. For this reason, from now on they will no longer deal so much with development, but with their national security. Xi said that they must protect themselves from “strong winds” and “high waves” (there is no Chinese speech without evocative images). And also from abroad. For the rest of the world, that is the most important thing about the event that ends this Saturday.

This is not new: the Chinese have been wanting to do things their way for years. Only now their leader is armored and the pandemic has fueled the feeling of isolation and patriotic pride. For example, the Statistics Office was supposed to publish the country’s economic growth data this week, but it was postponed without explanation. Beijing knows that this deflates the confidence of companies and investors, but, as the figures are not expected to be good, it is silent. You don’t want anything to tarnish your covid zero policy. In fact, the official propaganda presumes that, while Western governments are acting on isolated objectives (for example, health, economic growth or social improvements), they are balancing all the variables at once and in “harmony”. What they do not say is that when harmony is not maintained, it prevails.

Chinese politics does not give shocks. But the Party Congresses serve to detect small variations, tendencies. The CCP does not give up on “seeking a better life” for the Chinese, but it has changed the basis of its legitimacy from economic growth to security. He wants to show that innovation and scientific and technological development can be directed from politics. And he still does not explain how he is going to manage the fronts that concern him: the crisis in his real estate market, the 20% youth unemployment rate, the overly assertive Chinese diplomats who are ruining part of his political capital or the problems of the New Route de la Seda, its star foreign action plan, among others.

In the coming years, a feeling that is already noticeable will be consolidated: Beijing is relating to the world in a more vehement, confrontational and unapologetic way. That Chinese society that finally enjoys being “moderately prosperous” is also more nationalistic and suspicious of foreigners. @anafuentesf

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