With no protest from any of the 2300 delegates present at the closing session of the twice-decade party congress on October 22, Hu Jintao’s forced retreat from the Great Hall of People was a ruthless demonstration of power by the middle kingdom’s main leader. It appeared as though the party thugs were leading Hu to his political death.
The occasion was planned intentionally in front of the foreign media and with a signal to all 96 million members of the Communist Party of China, despite the fact that Chinese propaganda media depicted former leader Hu’s unceremonious departure due to his health.
The message from President Xi to his rivals is up for interpretation because no words were spoken during the show of power, and even the top leaders present at the congress refused to acknowledge Hu’s existence that day. Premier Li Keqiang received a pat on the back from Hu as he left, as if to indicate that even he had run out of time. The message was that all of President Xi’s rivals will recognise him as China’s legitimate leader.
With President Xi being re-elected for a third term and his key friends joining the all-powerful Politburo standing committee, there is now more worry in the world as Xi approaches Chairman Mao’s levels of political power consolidation in China. In essence, President Xi is the single owner of China or the absolute dictator, and this has major short- and long-term implications for India and the rest of the globe.
While Japan and Australia are allies of the US on security matters, China under core leader Xi may cause problems for India along the 3488 km Line of Actual Control (LAC), as India is the only QUAD member that exercises strategic autonomy and is not a part of any alliance that Washington sponsors.
With the bilateral trade deficit substantially biassed in Beijing’s favour, the development of wolf warrior diplomats under President Xi will prevent any border compromise with India while also fostering economic connections. It is important to keep in mind that China under Chairman Mao wanted to enforce the 1959 cartography line on the East Ladakh LAC, which sparked the 1962 conflict.
In order to achieve President Xi’s goal of making China militarily and economically equal to the US by the end of this decade, Beijing will also sharpen its resolve to annex Taiwan and strategically use Pakistan to ensure that India is kept in check through internal unrest, religious radicalization, and terrorism.