China’s Xi Jinping Stakes Out Ambitions, With Himself at the Center

HONG KONG—Chinese leader Xi Jinping cast himself as the decisive helmsman his country needs in surmounting great adversity, pledging to build a more secure, powerful and egalitarian nation as he signaled plans to extend his decadelong rule.

In a Sunday speech, opening a Communist Party congress where he is set to defy recent norms and claim a third term as party chief, Mr. Xi issued a robust defense of his record, shaking off concerns over Covid-19, a sluggish economy and troubled ties with the U.S. He recalled his efforts to curb corruption, rally public support for the party and champion China’s political system as a counterweight to Western liberal democracy.

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