China faced “unimaginable” perils and dangers, but Communist Party rule and its chosen path would help to weather them, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday as he tried to shore up confidence in a country at a crossroads after four decades of reforms. He was speaking at a high-profile event in Beijing marking the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening that started with a ceremony to honour 100 “reform pioneers”. Ten foreigners also received a “China Friendship Medal”, including Singapore’s late founding father Lee Kuan Yew.
In a 1½ hour speech, Xi stressed that the party’s leadership was the key to China’s rise over the past 40 years. But he shed little light on future reforms, dashing hopes among market pundits of new policy initiatives to further liberalise the Chinese economy.