I promised in my post “The Conundrum of Jiang Zemin Justifying Pursuit of Capitalism with Marxism” on March 30 that I will describe how Chinese president Xi Jinping put an end to the fierce struggle between conservatives and reformists.
In that post I describe how Jiang Zemin applied the fundamental Marxist theory to justify China’s reform and opening up capitalist in nature with his Three Presents. However, Jiang “cannot say that they conform to Mao Zedong Thought that advocate public ownership and planned economy, which was CCP’s dogma before the reform. Jiang should have negated Mao Zedong Thought but could not as Mao was too popular to negate among lots of Chinese people.
“Marxist theory is quite abstruse to learn even for secondary school graduates. The fundamental Marxist economic theory is not taught even in most tertiary schools as it is useless in modern economic environment. As a result, lots of Chinese, even CCP members, know nothing about such theory. They still hold Mao in high esteem as they regard Mao as the symbol of the great Chinese nation perhaps due to Mao’s victory over the strongest nation the US in Korean War though Mao’s doctrines of monolithic public ownership and planned economy were refuted by Jiang’s Three Represents.
Fierce Struggle between Reformists and Conservatives
In his 2010 New Year’s message on New Year’s Eve, Hu Jintao, the then Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary, said: “In the upcoming new year, we will unswervingly uphold the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, further implement the Scientific Outlook on Development under the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents,…”
Hu put forth his Scientific Outlook on Development as China had to blaze new trail to replace its old way of pursuing export- and investment-geared growth. China’s export market was shrinking due to world economic recession and quite a few local governments and SOEs might become insolvent as they had borrowed too much for investment-geared growth. Their blind investment had given rise to excessive production capacity in some industries, especially steel and building material industries.
For sustainable economic growth, Hu had to uphold reform and opening up and overcome conservatives’ resistance to further reform and opening up based on Maxism-Leninist theories on public ownership and planned economy, especially Mao Zedong’s extreme leftist thoughts that absolutely ban private business operations of even family private farming or individual hawker’s business.
In CCP’s and China’s constitutions, the guiding ideologies at that time were Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, but Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought were conspicuously missing in Hu’s New Year’s Eve message.
Hu’s above-mentioned words became CCP jargon and were frequently repeated by him and other Chinese leaders and in CCP documents in the last couple of years when Hu was in charge. The then premier Wen Jiabao repeated the exact wording in his speech in celebration of the 61st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 2010.
Hu’s omission was necessary not only for further reform but also for preserving what China had already achieved through reform and opening up. Hu was very clear that opponents to China’s reform may use Mao Zedong’s socialist doctrines of public ownership and collective farming to denounce the reform that not only allows but encourages private enterprises and farming.
Conservatives were much upset by the omission as they still held Mao in high esteem and quite a few of them remained Mao worshipers.
According to a survey in 40 cities including large cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Wuhan in 2008, 11.5% of the total number of families there had Mao’s statutes or portraits for worship. Those who had statues or portraits of Buddha, God of Wealth or local god of the land for worship accounted for much smaller percentages. Worship of Mao remained hot among common Chinese people. It was especially so when corruption was rampant at that time. Even those who did not worship Mao had nostalgia of Mao era when egalitarianism prevailed and there were no rich-poor gap or the uncertainty caused by the reform and opening-up in people’s lives
In 2009, the year of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), there was “Mao Zedong Craze” as Mao was PRC founder. Mao’s homeland Shaoshan became a hot red travel spot with thousands of visitors every day. Such enthusiasm remained hot even in late 2012 three years after the 60th anniversary.
Bo Xilai exploited Hu’s omission to rally around him the conservatives who worshiped Mao or held Mao in high esteem in addition to true conservatives who oppose Jiang’s theory. He launched a nation-wide sing-red campaign to advocate Mao’s values and even sent quotation of Mao’s works to all the mobile phones in Chongqing. He had thus become the head of the large and powerful conservative faction in China and thus launched a fierce power struggle with Hu’s reformists over the evaluation of Mao. Hu and his reformist faction, though in power in China at that time lacked the strength to defeat Bo’s strong conservative faction. They were even unable to punish Bo in spite of the discovery of Bo’s crimes of corruption.
However, if Bo and his faction had remained powerful, Xi Jinping would not have had the power to conduct his anti-corruption campaign or deepen China’s reform. He went to Jiang to request the removal of Bo. Jiang owes Bo’s father Bo Yibo, a deceased powerful CCP elder, for his help in establishing Jiang’s position as the core of CCP leadership when he was alive, but Jiang could not allow Bo to use Maoism to oppose his Three Represents, reform an opening up. He decided to punish Bo severely so as to remove a major obstacle to Xi’s fight against corruption and for further reform.
Xi Jinping Uses Chinese Dream to Unite a Deeply Split China
Soon after Xi Jinping’s reappearance after his mysterious absence in September 2012 (a conundrum to be bared later), Jiang came to Beijing from Shanghai. On September 27, 2012, he presided over an expanded meeting of CCP Politburo and adopted a resolution to punish Bo severely.
However, Jiang only deprived the powerful conservative faction of its leader Bo Xilai but the debate between the conservatives and reformists over evaluation of Mao remained unresolved. The conservative faction remained large and powerful and Maoism remained popular among quite a few people. China remained a deeply split nation over the evaluation of Mao. In Xi Jinping’s further thorough economic reform, He had to overcome not only the resistance from vested interests, especially the powerful group of corrupt officials, but also the fierce opposition from the powerful conservative faction.
For example, not long before the 18th CCP Congress, Li Peng, the arc conservative, published a new book to stress government control of market. Li’s book obviously aims at opposing in theory the reformists’ reform of further economic liberalization. Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao certainly opposed Li’s ideas. However, two weeks after publication on July 12, 2012, CCP’s mouthpiece People’s Daily carried a full-page article to promote Li’s book and denounce mainstream Western economic ideas that advocate free market. That showed conservatives’ strength in CCP’s media. China’s further reform was encountering serious resistance from the conservatives.
The combined strong resistance from vested interests and the conservatives made the reformists unable to move even a step forward in their further reform. That was why Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao had made no significant progress in the further reform they advocated in Hu’s Scientific Outlook on Development.
Xi was fully aware that he and the reformists behind him were not strong enough to surmount the obstacles to reform set by both the vested interests and the conservative faction. He had to adopt the strategy to split his enemies so that he might destroy them one by one as he was stronger than each of the split sections of his enemies.
Moreover, Xi believes that his most important task is to win over those who opposed the reform and make them support the reform as the success of his fight against corruption and for reform depends on popular support. Through analysis, he found that most of the conservatives shared reformists’ dream to make China rich and strong. The conservatives differed from reformists in the ways to realize the dream. They believe the communist way of public ownership and planned economy is the correct way while the reformists advocated a capitalist way to expand private sector and remove state-owned sector’s monopoly of Chinese economy.
Xi was impressed by the success of PLA senior colonel Liu Mingfu’s leftist book “China Dream: Great Power Thinking and Strategic Posture in the Post American Era”, a book that rejects reformists’ idea of China’s peaceful rise and advocates, instead, China’s “military rise”. Liu wants China to intensify its military modernization in order to replace the US as world greatest military power. The book became instant bestseller with 1 million copies sold out as soon as it was published. However, the reformists under Hu Jintao banned reprinting of the book due to its leftist ambition that pursues China’s military instead of economic rise. The success of the book proves that most conservatives are patriots that Xi may win over.
With that in mind Xi Jinping invented a way to exploit conservatives’ patriotism to win their support for his reform. He expands Liu Mingfu’s China dream into a dream for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
Soon after he became CCP general secretary, he brought all the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) members to visit “The Road Toward Renewal” exhibition in Beijing. There, he said that the realization of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation was the greatest Chinese dream for the Chinese nation now and called on people to strive to realize the dream.
At one stroke, Xi Jinping had rallied around him both the reformists who advocate turning China into a great economic power and the conservatives who advocate turning China into a great military power. Moreover, the vested interests that opposed further reform due to their interests may also think that they may be benefited when China becomes powerful. Xi’s Chinese dream had also reduced their opposition.
In order to win over the conservatives, Xi allowed reprinting of Liu Mingfu’s bestseller. In addition, when Xi Jiping visited Chinese navy on April 11, 2013, he talked about the dream for a militarily powerful China to emphasize that his Chinese dream for a powerful China includes that for a militarily powerful China.
Xi Jinping used his Chinese dream to immediately turn China into a united nation from a nation deeply split between reformists and conservatives over the evaluation of Mao. Some people wondered how Xi was able to punish very powerful generals and officials who though retired, still controlled China’s military and armed police. They did not know that Xi’s Chinese dream has enabled him to have the support of lots of powerful conservatives in the Party who helped Xi eliminate corruption as they shared Xi’s dream to make China rich and strong and hated corruption that hinder the realization of the Chinese dream.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
Since Deng Xiaoping began his reform and opening up capitalist in nature, there had been fierce debates between reformists and conservatives about the nature of the reform and opening up. Conservatives denounced the reform for its capitalist nature, but Deng and the reformists under him could not deny. Deng knew well as Maxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought were the dominant ideology at that time, there was no hope for him to defend his pursuit of capitalism against Marxism and Mao Zedong Thought. He resorted to a stalling strategy and told conservatives to wait and see the results of the reform and opening up.
After Tiananmen Protests, conservatism prevailed. Deng had to apply his power as paramount leader (“core of collective leadership” according to Deng’s term of expression) to force officials to carry on the reform. His successor Jiang Zemin had to play every trick to overcome conservatives’ opposition in order to continue Deng’s reform while establishing his power base.
However, when Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji had achieved obvious successes in conducting reform and opening up, the facts of successes silenced opposition. However, Jiang and the reformist theorists knew that ideology was very important in China. Feudal dynasties could each survive for two to three centuries due to the ideological dominance of Confucianism. Jiang had to justify the reform and opening up with Marxism, the dominant ideology in China now, so as to ensure the continuance of reform and CCP’s rule in China. To do so, he used the most fundamental Marxist doctrine that production relations shall suit the requirements of the development of advanced production force.
According to Marx, at first capitalist production relation the private ownership of means of production (enterprises) suited the requirements of the development of advanced productive force so that it replaced the feudal one and brought about prosperity. However, there is the basic contradiction of capitalism that the production is for the society but the means of production (the enterprises) are owned privately by capitalist entrepreneurs, who often make decisions on production for their own profits in disregard of the needs of the society, resulting in overproduction and overcapacity that gave rise to cyclical economic crisis. Marx believed that by that time, the capitalist production relation no longer suited the requirements of the development of advanced production force and should be replaced by communist production relation of public ownership and planned economy.
Marx instructed communists that they should represent the requirements of the development of the advanced productive force and carry out a revolution necessary to put all means of production (enterprises) under public ownership as required by the development of the advanced productive force so that the state can plan the production in accordance with the needs of the society. A planned economy would be the most efficient, Marx believed. Then as the production relations suit the requirements of the development of the advanced productive force, the economy will take off. There will be abundance of all kinds of products to meet the needs of all the people. Everyone including former capitalists whose assets have been confiscated will be benefited. So, Marx said that the proletariat (the working class) would emancipate the entire human race.
However, Marx was not able to foresee that public ownership and planned economy were good in theory, but have been proved inefficient by practice everywhere in the world.
The first of Jiang’s Three Represents goes deeper in Marxist theory for the communists to represent the requirements of the development of advanced productive force. It sums up the lessons of the failures of public ownership and planned economy and the successful experience of China’s capitalist reform and opening up to prove that capitalism instead of communist public ownership and planned economy suits the requirements of the development of advanced productive force in China now. That was why China remained poor and backward for more than two decades when it had monolithic public ownership and planned economy, but has become rich and prosperous in three decades since it began to carry out its reform and opening up capitalist in nature.
Since Jiang’s Three Represents were written into CCP’s constitution, there have no longer been any debates whether the reform and opening up are socialist or capitalist in nature. It is generally accepted that China’s reform and opening up are commensurate with Marxism. However, according to the constitution, CCP has not only Marxism but also Mao Zedong Thought as its guiding ideology. When Hu Jintao wanted to conduct further reform to encourage private enterprises and remove state-owned sector’s monopoly, conservatives represented by Bo Xilai began to use Mao to oppose Hu’s reform.
A fierce power struggle between conservatives and reformists broke out. For several years Hu was unable to conduct his further reform due to the opposition from vested interests, especially the group of corrupt officials, and from conservatives.
How Xi Jinping put an end to the fierce power struggle will be described in my article “The Conundrum of Xi Jinping’s Chinese Dream” later.
SCMP says in its report “Strike Two: Communist Youth League ‘aristocracy’ under fire again” that cadres with youth league (CYL) backgrounds are warmed that “they would face ‘tough weather’after several scandals compounded the leadership’s resentment over their ‘self-serving’ attitude”.
CYL, is former Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary Hu Jintao’s powerbase. When Hu was in power, he promoted lots of his CYL protégés to high official positions. As a result a powerful CYL faction emerged and is second only to Jiang Zemin’s Shanghai faction.
SCMP’s report is based on a microblog posted on Capitalnews, a WeChat account operated by Beijing Daily, the official newspaper of the party’s Beijing municipal committee.
Such a microblog on the Internet seems insignificant, but we should recall that it was the article by Deng Yuwen on Hu Jintao’s legacy of ten problems on August 30, 2012 that brought about tremendous consequence on the eve of the 18th CCP National Congress.
At that time Deng Yuwen was the deputy chief editor of Study Times, a magazine of CCP Party School controlled by Hu Jintao’s designated successor Xi Jinping. Soon after the article was published, Xi Jinping mysteriously disappeared for almost half a month in early September.
Before Xi’s mystic disappearance, the CCP could not determine the date of its 18th Congress as there is no consensus on the formation of its Politburo, especially the PSC.
Deng’s article on the Internet seemed insignificant when Chinese official media was filled with articles and reports on Hu Jintao’s achievements, but it gave Xi the ammunition when he visited the powerful elders during his mystic disappearance to win over their support for his fight against corruption and other malpractices.
As a result, soon after Xi reemerged from his mystic disappearance, Jiang Zemin came to Beijing to preside over a Politburo meeting to determine the date of the 18th Congress and severe punishment of Bo Xilai that Hu Jintao lacked power to determine.
Due to the problems listed in Deng’s article, Hu’s CYL faction lost in the fight for control of the PSC. Jiang’s Shanghai faction had all the new PSC members. However, as a compromise, all Jiang’s members were old and had to retire in the 19th Congress and Hu’s faction had 8 Politburo members who were quite talented and might well be chosen as PSC member in the 19th Congress.
However, the arrangement of having 5 PSC members to retire at the next Congress also meant that Jiang wanted Xi to succeed him as the core of CCP leadership and choose the new PSC members to succeed those chosen by him.
It seems that Xi does not want to choose members of CYL faction as PSC members and like Deng’s article on the Internet in 2012, the current microblog by Beijing Daily will play a role similar to Deng’s article.
As for what happened during and after Xi’s mysterious disappearance, it is a very long story described in full in the expanded 2nd edition of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on SCMP’s report.
Full text of SCMP’s report can be viewed at http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/1911332/strike-two-communist-youth-league-aristocracy-under
Recent repeated appearance of the term “core” has given rise to people’s speculation that Chinese leader Xi Jinping wants to assume the title of “core”.
In my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements, I mentioned that Xi Jinping’s predecessor Hu Jintao opposed the use of the phrase “the Party’s Central authority with Hu Jintao as the core” when he came to power as Jiang Zemin remained the core though retired. Hu preferred the phrase “the Party Central authority with Hu Jintao as the general secretary”. Xi has continued the use of that kind of phrase, i.e. “The Party Central authority with Xi Jinping as the general secretary”.
The term “core of the collective leadership” was invented by China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping when he remained the dominant leader though retired from all official posts.
Deng granted his chosen successor Jiang Zemin the title of the “core of the collective leadership” and knew well that his granting of the title could not make Jiang the real “core”; therefore, he told Jiang that he would not rest at ease until Jiang became the core.
The greatest help Deng rendered Jiang was the removal of Yang brothers (Yang Shangkun and Yang Baibing) from the military to enable Jiang to control the PLA as Deng knew well that his promotion of Jiang to the post of the Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) did not enable Jiang to take over control the PLA from the Yangs.
Deng knew China much better than those China watchers outside China who have been making hue and cry about Xi’s desire to assume the title of “core” so as to have the dominant power.
The person who has the dominant power as an emperor is the core, but the person who has the title of emperor or core does not necessarily have the dominant power. That is why I said in my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements:
One thing quite interesting in Chinese politics is that there are no definition, codes or rules whatever about the power of an emperor in the past and the core of CCP (the Chinese Communist Party) now. In fact, even if there are some codes or rules, there is no institution or mechanism to enforce them.
An emperor could have absolute power like Emperor Shihuangdi of Qin (259-221 BC), but might have almost no power like Shihuangdi’s successor Huhai, whose power was usurped by Zhao Gao, a eunuch. Zhao Gao even dared to give Huhai a stag as a gift and told Huhai that the stag was a wonderful horse. Huhai protested, “It is a stag not a horse”, but most of the officials in the court echoed Zhao Gao’s view as Zhao Gao had already usurped almost all the power and would punish those who dared to challenge him. Huhai was later killed by Zhao Gao.
Seeing that the sovereign power in quite a few states was usurped by powerful courtiers at the end of the Period of Warring States (476-221 BC), Han Fei Tzu, a Legalist master, wrote a book entitled Han Fei Tzu to teach sovereigns of state the art for being an emperor… Emperor Shihuangdi praised the book highly and adopted Han Fei Tzu’s ways to rule the country.
You see that Huhai had the title of emperor but did not have the power as the emperor. That was also the case in 1997 after Deng’s death. Jiang had the title of core but was challenged by Li Peng and Qiao Shi before the 15th CCP National Congress. Jiang had to ask Bo Yibo, a powerful elder king maker, for help. Bo forced Qiao to retire to enable Li to take over Qiao’s position. Bo had thus ensured that Jiang’s position as the core was not challenged.
It was quite impressive that when the congress was over and most of the delegates had left, Bo remained in the hall to give a speech that stressed that Jiang was the core of the Party’s collective leadership. It was obvious that without Bo’s support, Jiang could not even maintain his position as the general secretary, let alone the core.
I gave detailed description how through hard efforts, Jiang became the real core in Chapters 6 and 7 of my book.
If one really understood Chinese politics, one would not have believed that Xi was so stupid as to want the title of core for the power of core. If Xi has the power of the core, he does not need the title of core, but if he does not have the power, the title of “core” cannot help him.
The local officials who said that they would safeguard the core General Secretary Xi Jinping, showed their fear that they might be deprived of their official positions during the reshuffle in the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.
What they said does not mean that Xi wants the title of core. Xi’s protégé Li Zhanshu mentioned the awareness of the core. He means the Party instead of Xi Jinping as the core. So does the document of the January Politburo meeting.
Xi seems to have the power of core in reorganizing Chinese military, but we do not know what roles powerful elders have played in such reorganization. I mentioned in my book, there are two powerful black boxes in China, the powerful elders and the secret police. Jiang Zemin wants Xi to succeed him as he chose all the five new Politburo Standing Committee members at the 18th Party Congress that were old and had to retire at the 19th Congress to leave Xi to choose their successors, but whether Xi will have established his powerbase strong enough to have all his protégés elected at the congress remains a question. If through the reshuffle at the next congress, he has enough protégés to control the central committee, he will be the core whether he has that title or not.
Note: Xi would have been an incompetent core if the central committee is filled with new people of his choice. If a leader lacks the charisma to win over powerful officials appointed by other factions, he cannot be the core as he will encounter strong opposition.
Let me conclude with another quote from my book:
For the Party, the best way to have a successor to the core is to appoint the successor the posts of general secretary and concurrently the CMC chairman, but as mentioned in Chapter 1, that general secretary and CMC chairman may only be a “daughter-in-law”. He has to obey the instructions of the core who will be the “mother-in-law”, or to a number of powerful elders, i.e. several “mothers-in-law” if there is no core.
From this, we can see how serious China’s problems are. Even in a developing country such as India, Indonesia or the Philippines, when a person is elected the prime minister or president, he naturally has the power of his office as soon as he has been elected in the parliament or inaugurated. In China, however, a Party leader elected by the Party central committee may be powerless and the country may remain dominated by the elders who hold no official posts at all. In order to really have power and be firmly established, the leader has to gradually establish his powerbase and become the core. Even if he is lucky enough to really succeed in establishing his powerbase, it will take at least several years. Anyway, it is a very difficult process because he should be skilled in applying the art for being an emperor.
Article by Chan Kai Yee as comments on various media reports and articles.
You should be less worried about whether China will overtake us than what we’re going to do [in the United States]. Because if we do the things we need to do to get our house in order and fix our economic problems and restore our economy, we’re going to be the preeminent power for a long time. And if we don’t, we won’t.
Former US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson
The above is US media Foreign Policy’s quote of Paulson’s advice on US maintaining its no. 1 position.
The media carried a report titled “Xi Jinping’s Problems Are ‘Monumental’” on Paulson’s new book, especially his views on China and its leaders. Due to his experience in doing lots of work along with Chinese leaders when he was first an international banker and then US treasury secretary, Paulson has profound insight in understanding China.
He sees Chinese President Xi Jinping’s charisma as a leader in describing Xi as “a big presence who lit up a room.”
The report quotes Paulson as saying, “I can’t think of a leader in history that is attempting to change so much for so many people on such a massive scale as Xi. He’s got the economy to reboot, he’s got an urbanization model to reboot or change, in addition to the environment to clean up, the corruption problem…. You’re talking about really [deep] reforms.”
Paulson reminded the reporter in the report: While Xi “doesn’t want our values or our form of government,” it’s also true that the problems Xi is “dealing with are very significant; they’re monumental.”
Paulson described how China learnt from the US, which enabled China to rise so drastically.
He believes that the US has to help Xi Jinping’s reform which will benefit the US.
For example, the controversial U.S.-China Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT). He regards it as a possible agreement to liberalize mutual investment and further open China’s economy to Western competition. The report quotes him as saying, “I’m very positive about the progress so far.” “I think that the Chinese side has crossed a big threshold with their willingness to provide a negative list which essentially says, rather than having to go seek approval for every investment, these are the parts of our economy that are open and these are the parts that aren’t. Now this won’t be easy to get done. And it sure won’t be easy to get done this year. But if this is done properly and it’s a high standard BIT, it can be transformational and help open up more of the Chinese economy to competition and create more opportunities for U.S. businesses and U.S. workers.”
According to Paulson, the US shall support Xi in his reform because the problems Xi is “dealing with are very significant; they’re monumental…” “(I)f he doesn’t (succeed), it’s going to hurt us all.”
Source: Foreign Policy “Xi Jinping’s Problems Are ‘Monumental’”
Full text of the report can be found at https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/04/16/xi-jinpings-problems-are-monumental-henry-paulson-interview/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=%2AEditors%20Picks&utm_campaign=Russia_Direct_April_Promo_PowerInboxRS4%2F16
Jiang Zemin put forth his Three Represents and Hu Jintao put forth his Scientific Outlook on Development. Both are regarded as the legacy guidelines they left for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to follow. Now it is Xi Jinping’s turn. He put forth his “Four Comprehensives” in his speech last December. Just like Jiang Zemin’s first mention of his Three Represents in a speech in 2000, Xi’s mentioning of his Four Comprehensives did not attract much attention until now. CCP mouthpiece the People’s Daily has published and will publish one commentary after another to publicize it as “a strategic blueprint for China’s future”.
I am going to give below the full texts of People’s Daily commentary and Reuters report on the Four Comprehensives:
However, it is interesting to point out that Jiang put forth his Three Represents for the first time in 2000, 11 years after he was appointed CCP general secretary. It indicated the difficulties in establishing his powerbase. Hu put forth his Scientific Outlook on Development within one year after being appointed. It indicated the strong support he got from Jiang the core of the third generation of CCP leadership.
Xi has obtained strong support from not only Jiang, the core, but also other elders so that he was able to put forth his Chinese Dream as soon as he was appointed. Now he has substantiated his Chinese Dream with the Four Comprehensives. It indicates his success in establishing his position as CCP leader.
However, judging by the serious pollution, corruption, overcapacity, excessive local government debts, etc. left behind by Hu Jintao, Hu has not had much success in realizing his Scientific Outlook in developing Chinese economy.
Will Xi be able to realize his Four Comprehensives to “comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society, comprehensively deepen reform, comprehensively implement the rule of law, and comprehensively strengthen Party discipline”?
That is the question.
Deepen reform? Can he surmount the resistance from conservatives and vested interests?
Rule of law? Can China’s judiciary be independent?
Strengthen Party discipline? Can he overcome rampant corruption?
PEOPLE’S DAILY COMMENTARY
Xi’s ‘Four Comprehensives’ a strategic blueprint for China’s future
(Xinhua) 08:20, February 26, 2015
BEIJING – A moderately prosperous society, reform, rule of law, Party discipline — these “Four Comprehensives” are Xi Jinping’s blueprint for China’s future.
The “Four Comprehensives” are tasks raised at Communist Party of China (CPC) meetings over the last two years, since President Xi Jinping took office.
The concept was first mentioned by Xi in December, “..comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society, comprehensively deepen reform, comprehensively implement the rule of law, and comprehensively strengthen Party discipline.”
Shortly after Xi took helm of the CPC in November 2012, he put forward the concept of “the Chinese Dream,” or “the great renewal of the Chinese nation”.
“A moderately prosperous society” is not only the primary objective identified at the 18th Party Congress, but also “a crucial step towards the Chinese dream of great rejuvenation.”
Xi’s first trip as China’s leader was to Shenzhen, symbolic hub of Deng Xiaoping’s reforms, and promised “no stop to reform and opening up”.
“Deepening reform” identifies the route to prosperity and social progress.
The “Four Comprehensives” come as China pays greater attention to improving governance following the economic miracle. Social justice has become an important goal.
“The rule of law” came to prominence at the fourth session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, and guarantees modernization of the system of government while championing social justice.
The leadership has taken great pains to address corruption, which they believe may threaten the very survival of the Party and the state: “Strengthening Party discipline” is a must for the CPC to survive.
The “Four Comprehensives” will ensure China continues steadily on its path of development.
After the ‘Three Represents,’ China pushes ‘Four Comprehensives’
BEIJING Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:13am EST
(Reuters) – Following in the footsteps of Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the “Three Represents,” China is promoting President Xi Jinping’s “Four Comprehensives,” calling for rule of law and enforcement of Communist Party discipline.
State media has ratcheted up promotion of the doctrine in the run-up to the country’s annual parliamentary session in March.
The People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s most important mouthpiece, praised the slogan in a front-page commentary on Wednesday. The commentary also appeared on state television and other party-owned news outlets.
The “Four Comprehensives” refer to China working “comprehensively” to build a moderately prosperous society and strengthen reforms, rule of law and party discipline.
Party discipline is Communist Party jargon for efforts to fight corruption. A campaign against graft has formed the centerpiece of Xi’s administration and the leadership has vowed to target both high- and low-level offenders.
Xi has referred to the “Four Comprehensives” in past months but the People’s Daily editorial signals a wide endorsement.
Xi’s best-known slogan so far has been his call for the “Chinese dream”, an ambiguous catchphrase leaders have said refers to national rejuvenation in everything from ties with Taiwan to China’s space program.
Critics say pursuing rule of law is futile without granting independence to courts, which are controlled by the Communist Party. China’s top court on Thursday said it rejected the notion of Western-style judicial independence and separation of powers.
Former President Jiang Zemin was famed for his “Three Represents,” which embraced private entrepreneurs and were written into the party’s constitution.
Hu Jintao, Xi’s immediate predecessor, was primarily known for the economic doctrine of “scientific development”.
I believe that Reuters’ report today on China’s rule of law is also interesting; therefore, I give its full text below:
China’s top court unveils deadlines for legal reform
BEIJING Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:53am EST
(Reuters) – China’s top court set a five-year deadline on Thursday for legal reforms to protect the rights of individuals, prevent miscarriages of justice and make its judiciary more professional as the ruling Communist Party seeks to quell public discontent.
A statement on the Supreme Court’s website promised specific deadlines for each goal, including support for a “social atmosphere of justice” by 2018.
It gave more details of a decision reached at a four-day meeting last year, when the party pledged to speed up legislation to fight corruption and make it tougher for officials to exert control over the judiciary.
Despite the legal reforms, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s administration has shown no interest in political change and has detained dozens of dissidents, including lawyers.
China’s top court stressed that one of the five basic principles of legal reform was adhering to the party’s leadership and “ensuring the correct political orientation”.
He Xiaorong, the director of the Supreme People’s Court’s reform division, said the court “would make officials bear responsibility for dereliction of duty” for cases that have a wide impact.
“Only through the establishment of such a system can we ensure that we can guarantee social fairness and justice in every case,” He told a news conference, according to a transcript on the court’s website.
The measures reflect worries about rising social unrest. Anger over land grabs, corruption and pollution – issues often left unresolved by courts – have resulted in violence between police and residents in recent years, threatening social order.
The court said it would prohibit criminal defendants from wearing vests and jumpsuits to trials, effectively removing the presumption of guilt that is common in China. It pledged to strengthen the prevention of torture to gain evidence and “effectively prevent miscarriages of justice”.
It would also establish a performance evaluation system for judges, “perfect the mechanism for protecting lawyers’ rights” and establish media galleries in courts for certain trials.
It also promised to boost transparency, saying it would make more information available, and reduce local protectionism by changing the jurisdiction of courts.
How much impact the reforms would have was uncertain. Laws are often not enforced and can be abused by the police.
On Wednesday, the court urged party officials to shun Western-style judicial independence and reject “erroneous Western thought”, state media said on Thursday, as controls over the media, dissent and the Internet are tightened.
Source: Reuters “After the ‘Three Represents,’ China pushes ‘Four Comprehensives’” and “China’s top court unveils deadlines for legal reform”
Source: People’s daily “Xi’s ‘Four Comprehensives’ a strategic blueprint for China’s future”
Few reforms succeeded in China’s thousands years of history mainly due to the agony caused by the reform. Shang Yang’s reform was the greatest. It made the State of Qin strong both economically and militarily and finally able to unify China.
However, due the agony caused by the reform, Shang Yang was cruelly killed by conservatives. Fortunately, in spite of strong conservative opposition, the sovereigns of Qin wisely carried on the reform. Pressure from other powerful states was one of the major factors that forced the sovereigns of Qin to gain the strength through the reform to counter the threat from them, especially its powerful neighbor, the State of Wei to which the State of Qin had lost quite a large part of its territory.
In a sense, Qin should be grateful to those states for the pressure placed on it by them.
The situation is being repeated in China’s current reforms.
Due to the agony caused by the reforms, major reform leaders Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang fell into disgrace.
Due to the agony caused by the reforms, there was mass protest in 1989 that almost overthrew the communist regime.
Jiang Zemin led the new generation of talented intellectuals with moral integrity to exploit the panic caused by the mass protest and carry out a silent peaceful coup d’etat to substitute intellectuals’ dominance of Party and state for uneducated workers’ and peasants dominance. (See my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition). He was thus able to carry on Deng Xiaoping’s reform.
However, the reform seemed to be at a dead end. It seemed that no one knew how to conduct the trickiest reform of China’s state owned enterprises. There were the popular predictions that China will soon collapse so that American Chinese writer Gordon Chang’s book The Coming Collapse of China became a best seller in early 2010s.
I said in my book that Gordon Chang knew China well and his prediction was well founded. He saw the problems China faced at that time, especially the trickiest problem in China’s state-owned sector. No one in the world has ever resolved the problem satisfactorily. The Soviet Union tried to solve the problem by privatization but collapsed as a result.
However, Jiang’s talented assistant Premier Zhu Rongji smoothly carried out the reform of China’s state-owned sector and turned it from a source of huge losses into a lucrative sector.
I said in my book that Gordon Chang failed in his prediction because he underestimated Chinese talents.
While carrying on Jiang’s reforms and economic development, Hu Jintao saw the problem of corruption, pollution and over-reliance on export and investment and put forth the Scientific outlook on development as a remedy. He had to conduct another round of economic reform for thorough economic liberalization, but he was unable to overcome the resistance from vested interests and conservatives.
Hu left Xi Jinping a legacy of rampant corruption, a stagnant economy with overinvestment and excessive local government debts and fierce power struggle between conservatives and reformists.
I have described in my book how Xi launched his anti-corruption storm, put an end to the power struggle and was happy that economic slowdown facilitated his thorough economic reform.
Now, seeing the economic slowdown, quite a few China watchers have predicted the coming collapse of China again. A typical article is Linette Lopez’s “ANALYST: China’s ‘Long-Awaited Day Of Reckoning’ Is Almost Here” at Business Insider (it can be viewed at http://www.businessinsider.com/credit-drying-for-chinas-soes-2015-1).
Ms. Lopez does not know China so well as Gordon Chang. She failed to see the huge assets Chinese central and local governments have for resolution of the debt problems. However, if Xi’s thorough economic reform fails, economic slowdown will be a prolonged reality.
Xi and his assistant Premier Li Keqiang repeatedly said that China’s reform is now in deep water due to the strong resistance of vested interests. The State of Qin successfully carried out Shang Yang’s reform as its sovereigns were able to overcome the resistance from powerful aristocrats. Now, China’s problem is whether Xi and Li are able to overcome the resistance of powerful vested interests. (As described in my book Xi has overcome powerful conservatives’ even greater resistance.)
Xi and Li are now carrying out their thorough reforms step by step smoothly. When Jiang Zemin met Henry Kissinger, he told Kissinger that China needed a strongman and Xi was strong enough. He was happy Xi was the right choice as China’s leader.
Xi has proved himself as a sufficiently strong leader by his mass line campaign and anti-corruption storm. However, according to Chinese history, a leader has to master the art for being the emperor, in which discovery, wise use and creation of bondage with talented assistants is the key for a Chinese emperor’s success. (I have described in my book that China’s current political system is the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Dynasty with a core like an emperor.)
Only when Xi has found and appointed to high posts his loyal protégés can we be sure he is able to carry out his reforms successfully to make China the richest and strongest nation in the world.
The following is the full text of Reuters report today on China’s economic slowdown:
China’s imports slump, capping dismal January trade performance
China’s trade performance slumped in January, with exports falling 3.3 percent from year-ago levels while imports tumbled 19.9 percent, far worse than analysts had expected and highlighting deepening weakness in the Chinese economy.
Largely as a result of the sharply lower imports – particularly of coal, oil and commodities – China posted a record monthly trade surplus of $60 billion.
The data contrasted sharply with a Reuters poll which showed analysts expected exports to gain 6.3 percent and the slowdown in imports to slow to 3 percent, following a better-than-expected showing in December. The poll had also forecast a trade surplus of $48.9 billion.
The slide in imports is the sharpest since May 2009, when Chinese factories were still slashing inventories in reaction to the global financial crisis. Exports have not produced a negative annual reading since March 2014.
The dismal trade performance will increase concerns that an economic slowdown in China – originally considered a desirable adjustment away from an investment-intensive export model toward one based on domestic consumption – is at risk of derailing.
The government is expected to lower its GDP target to around 7 percent this year, after posting 7.4 percent in 2014 – the slowest pace in 24 years.
Chinese economic indicators in January and February are typically viewed with caution given the distortions caused by the shifting week-long Lunar New Year holiday, and while the analyst median estimate was for a rise, the range of estimates was extremely wide.
However the data – in particular the import data – is worrisome even after accounting for cyclical factors; last year the new year holiday idled factories and financial markets for a week in January, but this year the holiday comes in late February and January was a full month of business as usual.
“It’s a very strange data print,” said Andrew Polk, economist at the Conference Board in Beijing, noting that exports tended to be less effected by the holiday than other indicators, but added he was more concerned by the implications of the startlingly negative import figure.
“The import data suggests a substantial slowdown in the industrial sector. The first quarter looks to be pretty horrible.”
Investors had hoped that the announcement of domestic stimulus spending plans, combined with moves to ease monetary policy, including a reduction in banks’ reserve requirement ratios on Wednesday, would restore confidence and boost demand in China’s struggling manufacturing sector.
However, many analysts believe measures taken so far to boost yuan liquidity are insufficient to do much more than offset surging capital outflows. Advocates of more aggressive action will seize on the weak January trade data to support their case.
Chinese imports have fallen every month since October, seen as reflecting weak domestic demand, and the scale of January’s drop was mostly due to an across-the-board fall in import volumes of major commodities.
For example, coal imports dropped nearly 40 percent to 16.78 million tonnes, down from December’s 27.22 million tonnes, and China also appeared to cut back on its strategic stocking of crude oil imports, which slid by 7.9 percent in volume terms.
Imports from Australia and the Russian Federation, both major fuel and commodity suppliers, slid by 35.3 percent and 28.7 percent, respectively.
Chinese officials had predicted that monetary easing measures in Europe would boost demand for Chinese goods, and analysts polled by Reuters had also been optimistic that signs of economic strengthening in the United States would support exports.
However, the data showed that while exports to the United States rose by 4.8 percent year-on-year to $35 billion, exports to the European Union slid 4.6 percent to $33 billion in the same period.
Exports to Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan were also down, with exports to Japan slumping over 20 percent.
During 2014, China’s total trade value increased by 3.4 percent from a year earlier, short of the official target of 7.5 percent, and some analysts have raised questions about whether export data was inflated by fake invoicing as firms speculated in the currency and commodities markets.
Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition
Source: Reuters “China’s imports slump, capping dismal January trade performance”