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In his second public appearance since the conclusion of the 18th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party last month, Xi Jinping declared that China is on the cusp of re-emerging as a great nation and the party will ensure this historic transition.
If the occasion for the new leader's appearance seemed just right to celebrate Chinese nationalism, Xi made full use of it by setting a new political marker and urging the party cadre to avoid empty talk and focus on the hard work of rejuvenating the nation.
The venue was an exhibition at the National Museum in Beijing titled "Road to Renewal", and depicting China's progress since the First Opium War (1839-42) imposed on it by the British Raj. The exhibits included the first Chinese version of the Communist Manifesto, photos relating to the founding of the CPC in 1921, the first national flag of the People's Republic of China, and pictures on the Third Plenary Session of the December 1978 Central Committee meeting at which Deng Xiaoping launched the reform and opening up of China.
Appearing with all his six colleagues from the powerful standing committee of the Politburo, Xi was reportedly at ease, spoke without notes, and wrapped his words around some memorable words of Mao Zedong and the lines of an ancient Chinese poet, Li Bai. "Everyone is talking about a China dream. I believe the revival of the Chinese nation is the greatest dream of the nation since modern times," Xi said. The speech went viral on Chinese internet sites minutes after Xi spoke.
Xi's avoidance of communist jargon and his focus on reviving the great Chinese nation appears to be resonating with the people, at least for the moment. Xi affirmed his conviction that China will realise (under his leadership) the newly set goal of becoming a "moderately prosperous society" by the time the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC is celebrated in 2021.