Columnists Features

Understanding the governance of China

IT IS certainly true that China is grawing attention worldwide, with the world eager to know what changes are in progress and what impact they will have on the rest of the globe.
To respond to rising interest and enhance the rest of the world’s understanding of the Chinese government’s philosophy and its domestic and foreign policies, the State Council Information Office, the Party Literature Research Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the China International Publishing Group have worked together to produce the book The Governance of China.
The book is a compilation of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s major works from November 2012 to June 2014, including speeches, talks, interviews and correspondence.
As general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President, Mr Xi has delivered many speeches on a broad range of issues, offering his thoughts, views and judgments, and answering a series of important theoretical and practical questions about the party and the country in these changing times.
According to the publisher’s note, his speeches embody the philosophy of the new central leadership in China.
And what is the philosophy of the new central leadership in China?
You have to go to the 18th CPC National Congress, which called on the whole party to explore and master the laws of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
In fact, adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics was the theme of the political report to the 18th National Congress.
In Mr Xi’s own words: “We must always stick to this theme; continue to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, and work hard to reach the goal… Why have I emphasised this? Because only socialism can save China, and only Chinese socialism can lead our economy to development – a fact that has been fully proved through the long-term practice of the party and the State.”
The Chinese President believes that only by upholding socialism with Chinese characteristics can his country realise a moderately prosperous society by the centenary of the CPC in 2021, and in turning China into a prosperous, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious modern socialist country by the centenary of the People’s Republic of China in 2049, so as to ensure the people’s greater happiness and the nation a brighter future.
“…We must understand that socialism with Chinese characteristics is a fundamental accomplishment made by the party and the people during long-term practice. China’s socialist system was pioneered in the new era of reform and opening up, and it is an outcome of the party’s painstaking efforts,” Mr Xi says.
But China is also committed to reform and opening up to the outside world.
In a speech to the second group study session of the Political Bureau of the 18th CPC Central Committee presided over by him, Mr Xi said stability is a prerequisite for reform and development.
“We must make sure that reform, development and stability proceed in tandem. Social stability makes it possible for us to carry out reform and development, which in turn provide a solid foundation for social stability,” he said.
“Reform and opening up are always an ongoing task and will never end. Without reform and opening up, China would not be what it is today, nor would it have the prospects for a brighter future. Problems occurring in reform and opening up can only be solved through reform and opening up.
“China will never close its door to the outside world. Over the past 10 years, it has fulfilled its promises to the WTO [World Trade Organisation] by creating a more open and standardised business environment. Our economy will remain open to foreign investors, and we hope that other countries will extend the same access to Chinese investors.”
But the Chinese leader is aware of the problems that exist after 20 years of practising a socialist market economy, that has basically been established in China.
“The market lacks order, and many people seek economic benefits through unjustified means; the market for factors of production lags behind in development, unable to allocate the factors of production to meet the effective demand; the lack of unified market rules has resulted in rampant protectionism initiated by departments or local governments.
“Market competition is not good enough to select the superior and eliminate the inferior, and thus slows down economic restructuring. If left unsolved, these problems will hinder the development of a sound socialist market economy,” Mr Xi said in his remarks to the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the CPC.
President Xi is clearly confident in the prospects of China’s development. He believes that after long-term exploration, they have found a correct development path, suited to China’s actual conditions.
“As long as we rely closely on the 1.3 billion Chinese people and firmly stay on our own path, we will overcome all difficulties and obstacles, make new achievements, and finally reach our goal,” he said in an interview with Sergei Brilyov, a host of Russian Television.
On the education front, the CPC Central Committee has decided to build world-class colleges and universities – a strategic policy that they would follow religiously. And to make them world-class, they will feature Chinese characteristics, no copying from others because they believe “the more national, the more international.”
“In this world, there is only one Harvard University, University of Oxford, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Cambridge; likewise there is only one Peking University, Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University, Fudan University and Nanjing University in China.
“We should draw on the world’s best experience in running institutions of higher learning, follow the rules of education, and establish more excellent colleges and universities on Chinese soil,” President Xi says.
How about the policy towards Hong Kong? Is his central leadership about to change its policy?
In talks with Leung Chun-ying, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administration Region, and Fernando Chui Sai On, chief executive of the Macao Special Administration Region in 2012, Mr Xi made the position clear.
“I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that the central government will continue to implement the policy of ‘one country, two systems’ and handle things in strict conformity with the basic law.
“There will be no change in our resolve to support the chief executive and the HKSAR [Hong Kong Special Administration Region] government in their administration in accordance with the law and performance of their duties; nor will there be any change in our policy of supporting the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions in developing their economies, improving their people’s well-being and promoting democracy and harmony,” Mr Xi said.
Overall, the book, a collection of 79 articles, speeches, lectures and letters of Mr Xi, gives a clear picture of where China is headed to, at least under the new leadership. Or put it differently, there will not be any fundamental changes in China. – KK.

Title: Xi Jinping: The Governance of China
Author: Xi Jinping
Publishers: Foreign Languages Press Co. Ltd, Beijing, China
Pages: 515

 

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