China tipped to overtake US as military power

Taiwan MP warns Xi Jinping likely pursue invasion

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Xi Jinping is now even more powerful than Mao Zedong, founder of the People’s Republic of China, influential Tory MP Tobias Ellwood has said. And the chairman of Parliament’s defence committee has warned the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will consolidate President Xi’s stranglehold on power still further – and pave the way for China to replace the US as the world’s pre-eminent superpower.

Xi is poised to win a third five-year term as General Secretary, the most powerful job in the country, at the CCP’s Congress, which gets underway today in Beijing.

The conclave of roughly 2,300 party leaders held every five years takes place at the vast Great Hall of the People on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, with much of the proceedings behind closed doors and lasting about a week.

Xi’s other titles are chairman of the central military commission, which is widely expected to be renewed during the congress, and president, which is up for renewal at the annual parliamentary meeting in March.

Asked to compare Xi’s role with that of the man sometimes dubbed Chairman Mao, who was his country’s ruler from 1943 until his death in 1976, Mr Ellwood, a member of Parliament’s China Research Group, told “He’s more powerful now I think.

“Simply because he’s not only had domestic power he has international power as well, and the largest fighting force in the world, untested but certainly the largest.

“Their approach to leadership is very different to our state. Xi Jinping has basically taken a country that was basically seen as emerging to now a very grand superpower, and which is on course to overtake the United States militarily, economically and technologically. 

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“And for that they have President Xi to thank. The cost of that, the price of that, is an absence of basic fundamental freedoms, democratic, religious, and societal freedoms.

“It is a surveillance state and they operate increasingly through fear.”

In the years to come China would face significant challenges, Mr Ellwood suggested.

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He explained: “There are huge water shortages in some of the areas so they’re having to build enormous canals and pipelines.

“Millions of people have been taken from poverty are now moved up a class as such, but that’s now difficult to sustain.

“So it’s going to be testing for President Xi, but I think he’ll certainly succeed and there’s nobody else.

“H’es managed to over the last 10 years, flush out any potential opposition that might challenge him.”

Beijing authorities removed rare banners of political protest from an overpass in the Chinese capital, according to images shared on social media on Thursday.

The banners bore several slogans, including a call for President Xi Jinping’s to be ousted, and an end to strict COVID-19 policies, according to multiple images and videos circulated on Twitter, which is blocked in China.

Smoke could be seen emanating from the roadway above where the banners were hung in Beijing’s northwestern Haidian district, according to the images. Haidian is home to several prestigious universities.

One of the slogans read: “Let us strike from schools and from work and remove the dictatorial traitor Xi Jinping.”

It is highly unusual for Xi to be named in protests in China, where residents use euphemisms and oblique phrasing and images in a bid to evade censorship.

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