China will never renounce right to use force over Taiwan, says Xi Jinping

Published - October 16, 2022 09:13 pm IST

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening ceremony of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on October 16, 2022.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during the opening ceremony of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, on October 16, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

China’s President Xi Jinping on Sunday kicked-off the 20th congress of China’s ruling Communist Party, a week-long event where he is widely expected to win a third leadership term and cement his place as the country’s most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong.

The gathering of roughly 2,300 delegates from around the country began in the vast Great Hall of the People on the west side of Tiananmen Square amid tight security and under blue skies after several smoggy days in the Chinese capital.

During his opening comments, Xi vowed China would "never commit to abandoning the use of force" when it comes to the issue of Taiwan.

"Resolving the Taiwan issue is a matter for Chinese people themselves, and must be resolved by Chinese people alone. We will adhere to striving for the prospect of a peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and greatest efforts, but will never commit to abandoning the use of force, and reserve the option to take all necessary measures," Xi said.

China sees self-ruled, democratic Taiwan as part of its territory, to be reclaimed one day by military intervention if necessary.

"The historical wheels of national reunification and national rejuvenation are rolling forward," Xi added. "Reunification of the motherland must be achieved and will be achieved." He also condemned "separatism and interference" on the matter.

Further, he also hailed Hong Kong's transition from "chaos to governance", after the imposition of a national security law in 2020 that has quashed dissent in the once outspoken city. He added that China will accelerate the building of a world-class military and strengthen its ability to build a strategic deterrent capability.

Protecting the environment and promoting green consumption, production and lifestyles, integrating Hong Kong with the mainland also found mentions in his speech.

Reacting to the remarks, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s office, in a statement, said, “Taiwan’s position is firm: no backing down on national sovereignty, no compromise on democracy and freedom, and meeting on the battlefield is absolutely not an option for the two sides of the Taiwan Strait”.

Health Ministry not to procure fresh COVID-19 vaccines; surrenders ₹4,237 crore from vaccination budget

The government’s COVID-19 vaccination programme is in its final leg with the Health Ministry deciding against procuring more vaccines as of now and surrendering ₹4,237 crore, or nearly 85% of the 2022-23 budget allocation for inoculation purposes, to the Finance Ministry.

More than 1.8 crore doses are still available with the governments at the Centre and in States and the stock is sufficient to continue the vaccination drive for around six months, given the low uptake of vaccines among people due to declining COVID-19 case burden, according to official sources.

Even if the government‘s stock gets exhausted, COVID-19 vaccines will be available in the market.

The cumulative COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 219.32 crore, according to provisional reports till 7 a.m. on Sunday.

Official sources said 98% of India’s adult population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while 92% have been fully vaccinated. Besides, 83.7% of adolescents aged 15 to 18 years have been vaccinated with the first dose since the vaccination for this age group began on January 3, while 72% have got both the first and second doses.

In the age-group of 12-14 years, 87.3% have been administered the first dose while 68.1% are fully vaccinated. Of the total eligible target population of 18 years and above, a little over 27% have been administered precaution doses so far.

CBI summons Manish Sisodia in Delhi excise policy case

The Central Bureau of Investigation has summoned Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia for questioning on Monday in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. File.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. File. | Photo Credit: PTI

Sisodia is one of the 15 accused named by the agency in its FIR registered on August 17, alleging multiple irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the now-withdrawn excise policy.

Responding to the developments, he tweeted: "CBI raid was conducted at my house for 14 hours, nothing came out..searched my bank locker, nothing came out in it. They did not find anything in my village. Now they have called me to CBI Headquarters at 11 am tomorrow. I will go and give my full cooperation. Satyameva Jayate"

The CBI had earlier conducted searches at several locations in Delhi, including the official residence of Sisodia, Gurugram, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Bengaluru.

On the basis of the CBI case, the Enforcement Directorate is also conducting a money laundering probe and has searched about 130 locations in different States so far.

The FIR alleges that irregularities were committed while modifying the previous excise policy; undue favours were extended to licence holders; licence fee was waived or reduced; and L-1 licence was extended without the competent authority’s approval.

The private beneficiaries diverted the “illegal” gains to the accused public servants and made false entries in their books of accounts to evade detection.

Following the summons, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal compared Sisodia, and jailed minister Satyendar Jain, to Bhagat Singh and termed his government's fight with the Centre the "second freedom struggle".

"Jail bars and hanging noose could not deter Bhagat Singh's resolute intentions. This is the second fight for freedom. Manish and Satyendar are today's Bhagat Singh. After 75 years, the country got an education minister who gave good education to the poor and gave hope for a bright future. Prayers of crores of poor are with you," Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi.

Amit Shah launches Hindi medical books in Madhya Pradesh

Union Home Minister Amit Shah launched the MBBS course books in Hindi – making Madhya Pradesh the first State to offer medical education in the language. He called the initiative a moment of “renaissance and reconstruction” for the education sector in India.

“I am delighted that [MP CM] Shivraj Singh Chouhan has embraced the three-language formula wholeheartedly and is taking it forward. Today, under the leadership of [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi ji, we have started giving importance to our languages ​​through the New Education Policy,” said Shah, while launching the first-year medical books at the Lal Parade Ground.

Engineering and technical education would also be imparted in Hindi following medicine, he said. Arrangements have also been made for students to write the JEE and NEET [the entrance examinations for engineering and medical entrances, respectively] and UGC exams in 12 languages ​​of the country, and the Common University Admission Test in 13 languages, he added.

Crediting Modi for reversing India’s “brain drain” to brain gain, Shah said that people did not need to nurse a sense of inferiority complex because of a lack of knowledge of English.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that those who were educated in Hindi-medium before reaching medical college but struggled with English, had left medical studies or died by suicide. He said that it was Modi who changed this mindset.

Congress president polls | Stage set for non-Gandhi president after 24 years

Senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Shashi Tharoor will face-off in an electoral contest on October 17 for the post of AICC chief, as the party gets set to have a non-Gandhi president in over 24 years.

Over 9,000 Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) delegates form the electoral college to pick the party chief in a secret ballot.

Voting would also take place at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi and at over 65 polling booths across the country in an electoral contest which is taking place for the sixth time in the party's 137-year history.

While party chief Sonia Gandhi and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are expected to vote at the AICC headquarters, Rahul Gandhi will be voting at the Bharat Jodo Yatra campsite in Karnataka's Sanganakallu in Ballari along with around 40 other Bharat Yatris who are PCC delegates.

Kharge is considered the firm favourite for his perceived proximity to the Gandhis and backing by senior leaders even as Tharoor has pitched himself as the candidate of change.

During the campaign, even though Tharoor has raised issues of uneven playing field, both candidates and the party have maintained that the Gandhis are neutral and that there is no "official candidate".

Asked about the significance of the polls, Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said that he has always believed in the Congress model of evolving a consensus for such positions.

Congress' central election authority chairman Madhusudan Mistry said that the Congress presidential polls will be held by a secret ballot and no one will get to know who voted for whom. He had asserted that a level-playing field had been ensured for both candidates.

In Brief:

Jan Frylinck smashed 44 runs and took two wickets as Namibia hammered Asia Cup champions Sri Lanka by 55 runs to cause a major upset in the opening match of the Twenty20 World Cup. Sri Lanka were then bowled out for 108 in 19 overs with David Wiese, Frylinck, Bernard Scholtz and Ben Shikongo taking two wickets each in the team’s first of three opening-round matches. “It’s been a historic day for us. The opening day has been quite special but we want to kick on from here and qualify for the Super 12 stage. We understand the bigger picture as well,” skipper Gerhard Erasmus said.

Evening Wrap will return tomorrow

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