For Chinese people, however, this congress is presenting Xi's China as huge success. The message is being carefully managed. People find it difficult to access alternative information, and for the most part they're not interested in doing so. The social contract in which material wellbeing and national pride is provided by the party-state in exchange for a withdrawal from politics still holds.
Where Mao Zedong was the creator of the New China, and Deng Xiaoping was the reformer, Xi Jinping sees himself as the great rejuvenator. And in his vision, it is only by strengthening the party that China itself can be strong, overcome what it sees as the "Century of Humiliation" it has suffered at the hands of foreign powers, and resume its rightful place in the world.
For Australia, an ever-stronger, more determinedly CCP-led China has enormous implications for our wellbeing. Australians believe our economic fate is tied to a country many of whose values and politics we do not share. We need to remember that rhetoric targeted at a domestic audience does not necessarily equate to foreign policy or ability. We need to ensure we protect our commitment to values like rule of law, human rights, and freedom of speech and association in practice as well as rhetorically. We need to build our public diplomacy with China. And ultimately we need to always keep in mind the long game of what we want to achieve with China, and not adopt knee-jerk policy reactions that further alienate the Chinese and entrench their sense of exceptionalism.
Dr Merriden Varrall is the Director of the East Asia Program at the Lowy Institute. Each fortnight, AFR Weekend carries global insight from Lowy Institute experts.
Source : http://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/china-and-the-party-are-one-20171020-gz4v8q