Below you will find a link to the full text of President Xi Jinping’s New Year message for 2020, which we circulate for your information.
Those of us who have studied China for many decades appreciate that if one is to really understand the country one must pay attention to its official pronouncements, especially those by the most senior leaders.
This year’s message is a fascinating example of where Xi sees his core priorities. It is clearly directed overwhelmingly at a domestic rather than an international audience – and all the more significant for that.
International affairs are discussed only in the most general terms with the only specific examples given being China’s own diplomatic highlights. Of the US-China trade war, we find not a word, although some may see it contextualised in the President’s reflections on the long and changing river of human history. It is a world away from a late night Twitter feed.
Naturally, Xi talks about China’s big achievements and big anniversaries. But perhaps equal importance is given to the exploits of ordinary people and to Xi’s interaction with them. The phrase, “ordinary people living extraordinary lives” is a striking one. As is his singling out of the fact that, “garbage sorting is leading the new trend of a low-carbon lifestyle”.
Those who follow Bill Bishop’s always interesting and sometimes provocative Sinocism blog will probably recognise the discussion he’s been running around the concept of “the people’s leader”.
But whatever your take, there’s no substitute for reading the address. It doesn’t take long.
Happy New Year to all!
Deputy Chairman 48 Group – the Icebreakers