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US experts call speech 'positive', 'balanced'

By CHEN WEIHUA in Washington | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-20 04:33

US-based China watchers spoke favorably of the speech by General Secretary Xi Jinping at Wednesday's opening ceremony of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Cheng Li, director of the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution, said his key takeaway from the report is the redefinition of the new era and new challenge.

Xi, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee as well as the nation's president, spoke about the principal contradiction facing Chinese society as being between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life. Previously, the contradiction had been described as being "between the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and backward social production".

"China is no longer backward in the mode of production. China, even in innovation, is catching up, in some areas even ahead of the rest of the world," said Li, adding that it's a brilliant way to describe China's position and challenge today.

Li said he thinks the redefinition is not only appropriate but also very wise because it uses the terms "unbalanced and inadequate", terms that could refer to many things.

Li, an expert on Chinese leadership, called Xi's speech "very comprehensive, very thoughtful and very balanced".

Li said foreign observers, especially foreign companies, will note that market access, financial liberalization, fairness and openness in the service sector, trade and investment are all in the report.

Jon Taylor, professor of political science at the University of St Thomas in Houston, Texas, said Xi's speech took in China's society and economy and its place in the world.

"It had positive energy, emphasizing the role of the Party in fostering China's future development, while also touching on themes of culture, ideology and patriotism," he said.

"Xi's speech marked what I would term a new era in Chinese politics. The speech clearly distinguished Xi's leadership and influence on the CPC. More importantly, Xi made it very clear that the Party will maintain a central role in China's development over coming decades."

Taylor, an expert on Chinese politics, said Xi's speech sent a signal that "China will continue to pursue a deepening reform agenda and realistically address its problems" and "China has taken the driver's seat in leading the debate on climate change."

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