Style of Work: [edited] – a political issue, in essence

The CCP “revised and (re)adopted” its “constitution” on November 14 this year, at its 18th national congress. The “constitution’s” General Program, its Chapter VI (on party cadres), and its Chapter VIII (article 44) contain references to the CCP’s or the cadres’ “style of work”.

It’s a practical issue, as aloft or quixotic it may sound. This document from the ministry of railways about strengthening supervision on bid invitation and submission, project quality supervision, investment control and fund supervision may give us an idea.

Like most things in the CCP’s slogan threadmill, the issue (or the term, anyway) isn’t exactly new. When the Party School opened in 1942, Mao Zedong told those in attendance that there must be a revolutionary party because the world contains enemies who oppress the people and the people want to throw off enemy oppression. It was a fact that there is something in the minds of a number of our comrades which strikes one as not quite right, not quite proper. In short, the malady of subjectivism. And the style of study and the style of writing are also the Party’s style of work.

What was opposed to Marxism-Leninism and is incompatible with the Communist Party then isn’t exactly what is “opposed” to it today. In fact, Mao would probably order summary execution – or a pristine collective brainwash – for the 18th Central Committee today, if he rose from his preserving jar on Tian An Men Square. But as concepts of power, and as concepts of “closely connecting to the people”, many of the slogans (and, to some extent, the methodology) are still with us. And who could say that the theories had become aimless?

People’s Daily (人民日报) published an article on the new politbureau and on the “style of work” on Wednesday.

Main Link: Rectifying the party’s style by means of style of work; winning the people’s hearts by the party’s style (以作风正党风 以党风赢民心)

Links within blockquote added during translation.

The realistic and pragmatic image of an emerging new central leadership collecive has been followed with attention by society, and praised from many walks of life. On December 4, the politburo held a meeting and agreed to “improve the style of work”, and to the eight specific measures of “connecting closely to the people”, to travel with light luggage and few attendants and to arrive without pomp, to cut down the number of meetings to make them shorter, to make specifications for visits, to improve the style, etc., to continue to strengthen the new measures of style building. The central leading comrades should serve as examples, take the lead in setting examples, carry forward the party’s fine traditional work style, display the characters and morals of seeking truth in facts, conform to the masses’ expectations, and, by practical action display a new transformative style to the party, and to improve the party style’s call.

新一届中央领导集体展现的求真务实的形象,引起社会关注,备受各界赞扬。12月4日中央政治局召开会议,议定“改进工作作风、密切联系群众”八项具体举措,明确提出轻车简从、精简会议、规范出访、改进文风等进一步加强作风建设的新举措。中央领导同志以身作则、率先垂范,发扬党的优良传统作风,展现实事求是的思想品格,顺应人民群众的期待,以实际行动向全党发出了转变作风、改进党风的召唤。

The leading cadres’ words and deeds, related to the party’s image and decided the party’s weight in the hearts of the people. From the “three important work styles”1) to the “two musts”2), from the “eight do’s” 3) to the four da-xing 4), for a long time, our party has always made the building of work style its lifeline, an important component in its construction. The masses have – exactly from the party’s fine styles of work, from the leading cadres’ unity of talk and action – felt the party’s goal of whole-heartedly serving the people, and derived the strength of united struggle, invincibly binding together the party’s and the people’s hearts.

领导干部的言行,关乎党的形象,决定党在群众心中的分量。从“三大作风”到“两个务必”,从“八个坚持”到“四个大兴”,长期以来,我们党始终把作风建设作为党的生命线,作为党的建设的重要组成部分。人民群众正是从党的优良作风中,从领导干部一言一行中,感受全心全意为人民服务的宗旨,汲取团结奋斗的力量,凝聚起无坚不摧的党心和民心。在世情国情党情发生深刻变化的今天,我们更应看到作风建设的极端重要性,以作风正党风、以党风赢民心。

Since the 16th CCP National Congress, our party has been unremittingly maintained efforts and achieved remarkable results in the building of work style. But the party’s style-building is a long-term task, and to answer the demands of the masses and to meet the requirements of the times, we still need to do a lot of work, to solve some outstanding issues. For example, meetings should attach more importance to quality, and speech should be clearer and more concise, work in public affairs should be more simple and practical, extravagance should be avoided in reception [of guests], and bureaucratism and formalism should be resolutely opposed. Leading cadres should keep asking themselves how to act on seeking truth in the facts, how to impart and inherit qualities of plainness in life and work, and how connecting closely to the people can be reflected [by the leading cadres]?

党的十六大以来,我们党在作风建设方面作出了坚持不懈的努力,取得了显著成绩。但党的作风建设是一个长期的任务,回应人民群众的要求、适应时代发展的需要,我们还要做大量的工作,解决好一些突出问题。比如,开会应更加注重质量,讲话应更加简洁明了,公务活动应更加朴素务实,接待工作应力戒铺张,坚决反对官僚主义和形式主义。领导干部应经常想一想,实事求是的思想路线如何践行,艰苦朴素的优良品质如何传承,密切联系群众的作风怎样体现?

Leading cadres’ unity of talk and action are seen by the masses, and kept in mind. The issue of work style, in essence, is a political issue, embodying the common aspiration of the people. The eight measures (八项举措) issued by the central leading comrades to improve the style of work has set an example for us. All regions and departments, and especially all levels of leading cadres must deeply analyze the importance of improving style, start with themselves, take action from here, set examples by personal involvement, to unite strengths for the implementation of the spirit of the 18th National Congress, to use thoughts to solve important problems of reform and development, and to put energy on the safeguarding of the masses’ interests, to overcome difficulties in the people’s livelihood, to attain the people’s trust, consensus of opinion, to unitedly lead the entire country’s nationalities to unremitting efforts for the building of a moderately prosperous society.

领导干部的一言一行,群众都看在眼里、记在心里。作风问题,本质上是一个政治问题,体现了民心所向。中央领导同志提出的改进作风的八项举措,为我们树立了榜样。各地区、各部门特别是各级领导干部,要深刻领会改进作风的重要意义,从我做起,从现在做起,拿出行动,身体力行,把力量凝聚到贯彻十八大精神上来,把心思用到解决改革和发展的重要问题上来,把精力投入到维护群众利益、克服民生困难上来,取信于民、凝聚共识,团结带领全国各族人民为全面建成小康社会不懈奋斗。

Notes

1) In its political report, “On Coalition Government” (“Lun lianhe zhengfu”), delivered on 24 April 1945 at the 7th National Congress of the CCP, Mao said that his Party, armed with the ideological weapon of Marxism-Leninism, had formed three important styles of work – integrating theory with practice, forging close links with the masses, and practising self-criticism. (“Dictionary of the Political Thought of the People’s Republic of China”, Henry Yuhuai He, Armonk, New York, 2001).

2) The Two Musts were “to preserve modesty and prudence and to preserve the style of plain living and hard struggle”. They formed a key part of Mao’s professed, though unpractised, passion for peasant life. (Daily Telegraph, November 28, 2003

3) this (“eight do’s”?) may refer to the “eight honors”, but I’m not sure.

4) the si ge daxing were the style of close relations with the masses, realism and pragmatism, criticism and self-criticism and an embodiment of three styles – either first brought up or re-iterated at the 17th Central Committee’s Fourth Plenary Session.

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Related

» Role of (unobtrusive) Teachers, January 7, 2012
» Xi Jinping’s History Lesson, July 20, 2011

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