BEIJING, China — Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned that anyone who tries to bully China “will face broken heads and bloodshed."
That message came Thursday in a defiant speech hailing the country’s rise that elicited loud cheers from a carefully chosen crowd at a celebration of the centenary of the founding of the ruling Communist Party.
Xi appeared to be hitting back at the U.S. and others that have criticized the rising power’s trade and technology polices, military expansion and human rights record. The unusually forceful language also seemed aimed at revving up and playing to a domestic audience.
Thousands of invited people gathered in Beijing's Tiananmen Square to celebrate the centenary, which NBC News says featured a 3,000-person chorus that performed socialist songs. The 100-year celebration began with a fly-by from helicopter and fighter jet pilots.
The rally in some ways recalled the mass events held by Mao Zedong, communist China’s founding leader.
In an hour-long speech, Xi vowed to strengthen the military, defend China's sovereignty, and commit to Taiwan reunification.
Critics of the Chinese Communist Party point to alleged human rights abuses and crackdowns on dissent in Hong Kong.
While people around the world may disagree with the party's authoritarian ruling system, NBC reported that a May 2020 survey by the University of California's China Data Lab found 83 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they preferred to live under China's political system when compared to other systems.
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