Socialism with Chinese Characteristics: What Lies Ahead?

Delegates of the 19th congress of the Communist Party of China have approved amendments to the party constitution, which include political thoughts of the Chinese President Xi Jinping. According to experts, this elevates him to the rank of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. The difference is that the name of the current leader is included in the constitution during his lifetime. 

Do the results of the CPC 19th congress confirm the growth of China’s state power and its future leadership in creating a new world order?

It is the first time for the National Party Congress to discuss in the second part of the report the historical mission of the Communist Party of China that is to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. It is also the first time to deliberate in the fourth part that the goal for the year of 2050 is to build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful, a world's super power. This great historical mission determines that the Communist Party of China must be a strong ruling party in order to make China a powerful country in the world, thus realizing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. In other words, China cannot be a strong country if the Communist Party of China were not powerful. This not only marks China's entry into the world’s super power era, but also a strong party (ruling party) era. This means that the governance capacity of the Chinese Communist Party will exceed that of the US Republican Party or the ruling party. In this sense, it is a competition not only about the national innovation, but also the ruling party's innovation.

Obviously, this will have a significant positive impact on the world, as reflected in the twelfth part of the report. For the first time the Communist Party of China takes the goal of making greater contribution to mankind as its mission! It is also clearly indicated that the Chinese Communist Party is willing to jointly work with the people of the world to build a community with a shared future for mankind. This is illustrated in four aspects: First is lasting peace, resolutely opposing to the Cold War mentality and power politics; the second is universal security, including global non-traditional security; the third is openness and inclusiveness, that is to promote new economic globalization which is more open, inclusive, universal, balanced, and benefits for all; and the fourth is a clean and beautiful environment, opening the era of ecological civilization, protecting the earth, and cooperate actions to address global climate change.

Xi Jinping urged all members of the CPC and all fellow citizens to advance socialism with Chinese characteristics of the new era. What does this mean?

The so-called new era includes the following four aspects:

First, there is a transition from the era of world’s big power into the era of world’s super power. The report refers to building China’s strength in manufacturing, science and technology, product quality, aerospace, cyberspace, transportation, talent, marine, trade, culture, sports, education, and army, a total of 13 aspects, and each needs a long-term program, specific goals and a road map for implementation.

Second, transition from the era of "Priority Prosperity" to the era of “Common Prosperity” progressively. This process is divided into two steps. The first step is the following: by 2035, we should achieve remarkable progress in bridging regional development gap, urban-rural divide,and the divergence among people’s livelihood, to realize the equalization of basic public service so as to make solid steps towards common prosperity. The second step - by 2050, the common prosperity shall be accomplished. This will solve the long-term problem that Western countries cannot solve - the problem of polarization between rich and poor. China will provide an alternative road to modernisation for human in solving this problem.

The third is entering the era to realise China Dream, the great rejuvenation. This also has 2 phases. Up to 2030, the degree of social civilization shall reach a new high, and the national cultural soft power will significantly enhance, with the Chinese culture’s influence more extensive and intensive, in company with a world's largest cultural industry. To 2050, China will become a socialist cultural power. Its spiritual civilization will be substantially elevated, and its cultural soft power and international influence will be more prominent.

The fourth is the new era when China enters the centre of the world stage and will make greater contributions to mankind. The first is the economic contribution. China shall become the world's largest engine and stabilizer of economic growth, trade growth, employment growth, and investment growth; The second is innovation contribution. China will become the world's largest country in scientific invention and technological innovation, leading the world’s sci-tech advancement. The third is green contribution. China will become the world's largest green energy producer, consumer, and exporter, a world's innovator and leader in green development, green manufacturing, and other aspects; Fourth, the cultural contribution. China will contribute more to the human cultural diversity and civilizations; Fifth, the contribution of development knowledge. China will not only provide for developing countries with successful development experience, but also failed lessons (such as “pollute first, treatment later”). Xi Jinping has made special commitment: to increase the development assistance to developing countries, especially the least developed countries so as to narrowing the development gap between North and South.  

What economic reforms are expected?

The report clearly adheres to comprehensive deepening of reform, with particular reference to continuing to modernise China’s system and capacity for governance. And a clearer goal of the reform is to develop a set of institutions that are well conceived, fully built, procedure based, and efficiently functioning.

We shall accelerate efforts to improve the socialist market economic system, and speed up more than 10 other aspects of reforms, including the reform of the property rights system, the reform of the state-owned assets management system, the reform of state-owned enterprises to develop a mixed ownership economy, introducing a negative list for market access nationwide, deepening the reform of the commercial system, innovating and improving macro-control system, promoting the consumption system, deepening the reform of investment and financing system, establishing modern fiscal system, deepening the reform of the tax system and financial system, improving the financial supervision system and so on. The purpose is to make the market mechanism more effective, so that the micro subjects (more than 9000 million registered market entities) can be more dynamic while macroeconomic regulation and control could be more reasonable and suitable. We will continuously enhance China's economic innovation, competitiveness, and turn Chinese enterprises into world-class, globally competitive firms. They shall rank the top in the world Fortune 500 the world's top 500 brand enterprises, and the world's top 100 banks.

Did the congress signal further consolidation of Xi Jinping's power?

A strong country needs a strong Communist Party of China, and the later needs a strong central committee. Further, a strong central committee needs a strong collective leadership core (referring the Political Bureau and its Standing Committee of the Central Committee of Communist Party of China); lastly, a strong collective leadership core needs a strong leader (i.e. the core). Therefore, Xi Jinping, the core of the Central Committee of Communist Party, is also the core of the collective leadership. And this arrangement formed a rectangular multiplier effect. The two experiences, knowledge, theory, thought, wisdom will complement each other. This is the theory of resultant force proposed by general secretary Xi Jinping. On the basis of the principle of democratic centralism and collective leadership system, a strong core enables a strong leading team. A well-functioned collective leadership system will have a stronger collective leadership.

Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.