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.
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.
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.
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]?
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.
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.