Archive for December 31st, 2018

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Headlines (2) – Xi’s First Six Years: the Majestic Journey toward the Highest Common Denominator

The following is the gist (as I see it) of an article published by Xinhua online, on December 16. It centers around events and developments from the past six years, future challenges and intentions, and the role of CCP secretary general Xi Jinping in those events and intentions.

Main Link / original title: The Actual Events of the Party’s Central Committee’s Leading Reform and Opening with Xi Jinping at its Core (以习近平同志为核心的党中央引领改革开放纪实 )
Links within blockquotes added during translation

The article, put together by eleven authors, contains about 10,000 characters, which is unusually long even by Chinese online standards, but will certainly have found interested readers. The length of an article doesn’t deter a Chinese audience. Readers who don’t read Chinese but would like to get the big picture are advised to use Google Translate – it does a surprisingly decent job when translating from Chinese into English.

The paragraphs are interspersed with slogans – such as the most solemn memory is to create more glory, the sincerest commitment to the people is indefatigable struggle (对历史最郑重的纪念,是再创辉煌 / (对人民最真挚的承诺,是不懈奋斗), or reform looks like a problem, and must dare to lead all the more, or this is the resounding call to battle (改革难字当头,更需敢字当先 /  这是高亢激扬的出征号令).

Reform is complicated and sensitive, states the resounding call to battle, so how to prepare a good overall plan for a huge essay?

The project is big indeed: this is a thought (or ideological) innovation unprecedented in history (这是史无前例的观念革新). And you better take this literally, if you are a cadre in China, or wish to score well for other reasons. There is no mention of Deng Xiaoping, let alone Jiang Zemin or Hu Jintao. There isn’t even a mention of Mao (which might be understandable, given that reform and opening wasn’t his main theme anyway). As for Deng, there is a mention of some slogans that became part of his doctrines, but usually reaching further back in history, such as seeking truth in facts or liberating thought, as used in the Deng Xiaoping Theory (邓小平理论).

But there is, of course, a defining trip to the South.

Comrade Xi Jinping’s first inspection destination after taking the position of secretary general was Qianhai, Shenzhen. Facing this homeland where the first “cannon” of reform and opening had rung out, Xi Jinping issued judgment that “our country’s reform has entered the time of storming fortifications and has entered the deep-blue sea areas. He emphasized that “reform does not pause, and opening does not halt. The China of the next forty years is set to make the world feel a whole new level of respect for its new successes!”

2012年12月,习近平同志担任总书记后首赴地方考察,第一站来到深圳前海。
面对这片打响改革开放“开山炮”的热土,习近平总书记作出“我国改革已经进入攻坚期和深水区”的判断,强调“改革不停顿、开放不止步”。下一个40年的中国,定当有让世界刮目相看的新成就!”

Praise is carefully hedged by remarks about a more complicated future, for which new approaches are being developed.

At first, the new requirements are billed.

Having passed several decades of rapid development, China has arrived at a new juncture. The degrees of complexity, hardship and sensitivity have hardly ever been comparable to these years.

经过几十年快速发展,中国又走到了一个新的关口。改革开放的复杂程度、艰巨程度、敏感程度,丝毫不亚于当年。

At home, a number of deep-seated contradictions have continuously amassed during the long period of growth, economic development has entered the new normal, and structural adjustment and kinetic energy conversion are imperative; issues of unbalanced and insufficient development stand out more and more obviously, and the people’s yearning for a fine life becomes increasing urgent.

向内看,经济长期高速增长过程中积累的一系列深层次矛盾不断积聚,经济发展进入新常态,结构调整、动能转换势在必行;发展不平衡、不充分问题日益突出,人民群众对美好生活的向往愈发迫切。

Abroad, the haze of the international financial crisis has not dispersed, regional conflicts occur frequently, the threat of extremism is spreading, international competition under the wave of new technologies revolution and industrial transformation require people to work harder, the dregs of opposition against globalization and protectionism is surfacing, and hyping and mourning [China’s development – this seems to point into this direction] lie in ambush.

向外看,国际金融危机阴霾未散,地区冲突频发,极端主义威胁蔓延;新科技革命和产业变革浪潮下的国际竞争形势逼人,逆全球化、贸易保护主义沉渣泛起,捧杀唱衰中国的论调此起彼伏。

Behind the creation of the “China’s rise” world miracle, premature ideological concepts and institutional malpractice are becoming stumbling blocks for the pace of reform and opening, helping the solidification of barriers, which is all the more an alarm siren, continuously shaking stable social development.

在创造了“中国崛起”的世界奇迹后,不合时宜的思想观念和体制机制弊端正在成为阻碍改革开放步伐的“绊脚石”,利益固化藩篱更是频频触动社会稳定发展的“警报器”。

To meet the challenges, a strong hand is needed – a helmsman who dares to speak inconvenient truths.

To make him speak again, the article revisits an interview Xi gave to Russian television, in February 2014

All the pleasant reforms are completed. The delicious meat has been eaten, and what is still on the dishes are rather tough bones.

The answer to these challenges? There are as many answers as questions, and all from the new great helmsman himself.

For one, there is the Central Comprehensively Deepening Reforms Commission (中央全面深化改革委员会), preceded by a leading small group of a similar name () or Leading Small Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reform (LSGCDR) in December 2013:

Secretary general Xi Jinping held the position of group leader, thus strengthening the central committee’s centralized and integrated leadership in comprehensively deepening reform.

习近平总书记担任组长,加强党中央对全面深化改革的集中统一领导。

There is also the courage to offend thousands, rather than turning your back on the 1.3 billion [得罪千百人、不负十三亿 – thousands of cadres, 1.3 bn Chinese people]: strictly running the party, deepening reform of party discipline and state supervision organization.

Understanding the need to vacate the cage and to replace the old birds with new ones, thus making Phoenix rise from the ashes (腾笼换鸟、凤凰涅槃), to change the way of development, to implement new concepts of development, to deepen supply-side structural reform, an economy that strives into the direction of high quality will be promoted. Also,

bearing future generations in mind, reforming ecological civilization, reforming cadre evaluation, unfolding central environmental protection, we will make the concept of Lucid waters and lush mountains enter deep into peoples’ hearts.

以“为千秋万代计”的视野,深化生态文明领域改革,改革干部考核制度、开展中央环保督察,让绿水青山就是金山银山的理念深入人心;

For whatever reason, the enumeration ends there with ellipses, and turns to another topic – the CCP’s ninteenth national congress.

The article also addresses the “one country two systems” concept (limited to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge), Zhejiang’s one-stop service practice (最多跑一次), multiple-plans integration practice (多规合一) from Hainan and Ningxia, reform of medical care, medical insurance and pharmaceutical industry (三医联动) in Fujian province, and an internet court in Hangzhou, all referred to as innovation from the grassroots.

Reform of State-owned enterprises – a hard bone (硬骨头) – is described as the job of the top dog, and the C919 airliner, the Beidou Navigation system and the Fuxing Train group are presented are presented as state-enterprise achievements in a process of transforming “made in China” (中国制造) into “intelligently made in China” (中国智造).

Countryside development, deliberations on household registration reform (户籍制度改革的意见), and spiritual nourishment are also mentioned. As for the latter,

to let the people have rich spiritual nourishment, social efficiency must come first, unification of social and economic efficiency culture must be institutionalized day by day, modern public cultural services construction be accelerated, and the cultural project for the people [or benefitting the people – 文化惠民工程] be realized;

为让人民拥有丰富的精神食粮,把社会效益放在首位、社会效益和经济效益相统一的文化体制机制日臻完善,现代公共文化服务体系加快构建,文化惠民工程深入实施;

Here, too, an enumeration ends with ellipses (after the following paragraph).

When the people’s yearning for a good life becomes the common goal of the struggle, when everyone’s participation, everyone’s greatest efforts, and everyone sharing in the fruits of these become the highest common denominator, then reform will converge into a profound and majestic power, and continue the composition of a magnificent chapter on a new era.

当人民对美好生活的向往成为共同的奋斗目标,当“人人参与、人人尽力、人人共享”成为社会的最大公约数,改革正汇聚起深沉而磅礴的力量,续写新时代的壮丽篇章。

Now for the conclusions.

Looking at the world, there is no such governing party that can such a long-term plan as the CCP’s, there is no such country that can operate a steady process, step by step, the unremitting move toward reform’s objectives, and certainly not this nation ability to push open this great gate of opportunity, continuously turning the experience of reform into the reality of development.

放眼世界,没有哪个政党能像中国共产党这样作出如此长远的规划,没有哪个国家能像中国这样一步一个脚印,持之以恒地朝向既定改革目标迈进,更没有哪个民族能够一次次推开机遇的大门,把改革的经验不断变成发展的现实。

Confucius Institute says: if the people work 364 days, let them have one day of joy, and quench their spiritual thirst with articles like this one. However, these are solemn, but also sober times. The armed forces’ modernization gets only two paragraphs (and it’s all about what Xi has done to make it happen), and only when the world is doing fine, China can also do fine (and only if China is doing fine, the world can do fine) – 世界好,中国才能好;中国好,世界才更好.

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Related

Xiong’an, Wikipedia, most recent edit Nov 7, 2018
“四梁八柱”论, Baidu, most recent edit Nov 22, 2018

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