Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged Thursday to adopt a hardline approach to foreign powers meddling in the Asian nation's domestic affairs, while touting the achievements of the ruling Communist Party on the 100th anniversary of its founding.
Xi made a one-hour keynote speech at a high-security celebratory event in Tiananmen Square in the capital Beijing, as many democratic countries cast a stern eye on the Communist-led government's belligerent political behavior on the regional and global stages.
"The Chinese people will never permit any foreign forces to bully, oppress or enslave us," said Xi, clad in a grey Mao suit, adding if they do so, they will face "broken heads and bloodshed in front of the iron Great Wall of the 1.4 billion Chinese people."
One year has also passed since mainland China on June 30, 2020, formally promulgated the controversial national security law for Hong Kong to crack down on what it views as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, amid a wave of international criticism.
On the internal front, Xi declared the ruling party has reached its long-held goal of building a "moderately prosperous society."
"A moderately prosperous society has been built in all aspects" and "the absolute poverty problem has been solved historically," Xi told 70,000 participants, stressing that all citizens now can enjoy a comfortable life at home.
Xi's leadership had vowed to build a moderately prosperous society, defined by Beijing as doubling its 2010 gross domestic product and per capita income by 2020. The goal was originally set by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1979.
Showing his confidence that mainland China has followed the path of "socialism with Chinese characteristics," Xi said the Communist Party will attain "the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation."
The participants in the event did not wear protective face masks as requested by the authorities, with Xi underscoring the party's commitment to curbing the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
In 2018, China removed from its Constitution the two-term limit for the president and vice president, enabling Xi, who became the head of the ruling party in 2012, to hold on to power for life.
Xi is believed to be aiming for re-election as leader of the Communist Party at its twice-a-decade congress in autumn next year. He has apparently regarded the success of the 100th-anniversary celebration as a key step in paving the way for a third term.
As China is certain to continue to grow on the back of its huge population, cutting-edge technology and ample natural resources, the country's economy is likely to overtake the U.S. economy and become the world's biggest before 2030, some analysts say.
As for Hong Kong, Xi emphasized that the Communist Party will bolster efforts to "maintain long-term prosperity and stability" in the special administrative region.
Hong Kong authorities, meanwhile, have banned demonstrations staged every year on the occasion of the July 1 anniversary of the former British colony's return to Chinese rule.
Under China's "one country, two systems" policy, Hong Kong was promised it would enjoy the rights and freedoms of a semiautonomous region for 50 years following its return to the mainland in 1997.
Beijing, however, has been recently taking strict actions against Hong Kong since large-scale protests sparked by a now-withdrawn bill allowing extraditions to the mainland morphed into a pro-democracy movement in 2019.
China has also been lambasted by democratic nations, including the United States and Japan, for its alleged human rights abuses against the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang and security challenges posed to self-governed Taiwan and its vicinity.
"Solving the Taiwan question and realizing the complete reunification of the motherland are the unswerving historical tasks of the Chinese Communist Party and the common aspiration of all Chinese people," Xi said.
The mainland will "advance the process of peaceful reunification," while smashing any "Taiwan independence" plots, he added.
China and democratic Taiwan have been separately governed since they split in 1949 as a result of a civil war. Their relationship has deteriorated since independence-leaning Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan's president in 2016.
There is concern that Beijing, which considers Taiwan as a renegade province, will try to achieve its cherished goal of reuniting the island with the mainland, by force if necessary.
The Communist Party was established in 1921 in Shanghai. In 1949, its then leader Mao Zedong declared the founding of the People's Republic of China after defeating Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist army and ridding the nation of foreign forces.
From 1958 through the early 1960s, the catastrophic Great Leap Forward, seen as a misguided economic policy initiated by Mao, caused tens of millions of citizens to starve to death. The 10-year Cultural Revolution launched by Mao in 1966 also resulted in massive suffering.
To prevent a return to the chaos, Deng promoted a policy of reform and opening-up from 1978 to facilitate economic activities with capitalist countries like the United States and Japan.
China's economy was hit hard by international sanctions in the wake of the military crackdown on pro-democracy protests in the Tiananmen Square in 1989.
But by becoming the "world's factory," China, with its population of more than 1 billion, overtook Japan as the world's second-largest economy by nominal GDP in 2010.
As of early June, the Communist Party has over 95 million members, about 20 times more than the figure in 1949, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Wednesday.
The following is a chronology of major events related to the Chinese Communist Party that have occurred since its founding in 1921.
July 1921 -- Mao Zedong and others founded the Chinese Communist Party in Shanghai.
October 1949 -- Mao declares the founding of the People's Republic of China, with the party defeating Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist Party in a civil war.
1958-1960 -- An attempt to achieve rapid development under the Great Leap Forward campaign fails, leading to mass starvation.
1966-1976 -- The Cultural Revolution, a political movement launched by Mao, causes social chaos.
1978 -- China moves to "reform and opening-up" policy under Deng Xiaoping.
June 1989 -- China cracks down on democracy protests in Tiananmen Square, drawing economic sanctions from the United States and other Western countries.
January, February 1992 -- In speeches during his southern tour that included Shenzhen and Shanghai, Deng directs that the pace of reform and opening-up to be sped up.
December 2001 -- China becomes a member of the World Trade Organization.
2010 -- China becomes the world's second-largest economy in terms of gross domestic product.
September 2013 -- China establishes a pilot free-trade zone in Shanghai.
December 2019 -- First case of coronavirus infection confirmed in Wuhan, Hubei Province.
December 2020 -- President Xi Jinping declares a major victory in poverty alleviation.
July 2021 -- The party marks the 100th anniversary of its founding.