The Communist party congress in Beijing is all about one man. How he uses the power he has amassed will have an impact far beyond China’s shores

“The capability of any one individual is limited,” Xi Jinping warned five years ago as he assumed China’s leadership. Those words were unnecessarily self-deprecating. As the Communist party regrouped for the next great conclave in Beijing on Wednesday, the man now known as “chairman of everything” laid out a vision for his nation so grand that it took over three and a half hours to delineate; more than twice as long as his predecessor spoke for at the last party congress.

China is entering a “new era”, Mr Xi declared repeatedly; standing “tall and firm in the east”, and ready to move closer to centre stage and become a “mighty force” able to lead the world on political, economic, military and environmental issues. Though his words built on his first address as leader, which laid out his “China Dream” of renewed national wealth and power, they were vastly more confident – and understandably so.

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