On September 11, 2015, Huanqiu, published an article titled, “A major breakthrough! Wang Qishan Commented on the ‘Legitimacy’ of the CCP for the First Time.” The article was first published on a public WeChat messaging app account xxdaguo, which People’s Daily manages. According to the article, it was the first time that one of China’s top leaders expounded on the legitimacy of the ruling party, an important breakthrough in the Chinese Communist Party’s discourse. Legitimacy in this context is a political concept, referring to the validity of the source of the Party’s power. “The basis of legitimacy is people’s approval. With the erosion of legitimacy, the political authority of the ruling government will be in crisis.”
On September 9, 2015, China’s anti-graft chief Wang Qishan, head of the CCP Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), gave a speech at the Party and the World Dialogue 2015 conference which more than 60 overseas politicians and scholars attended, including former South African president Thabo Mbeki and former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Wang stated that the ruling party’s mission is to fulfill its promise to the people and the way to realize it lies in strict discipline. "The legitimacy of the ruling party is derived from history and is the choice of the people," said Wang. “Whether the government has performed good deeds or not is determined by the people’s attitudes – whether they are happy with, satisfied with, and are willing to approve the deeds.” “The ruling party functions on behalf of the people and serves the people. It should establish correct core values and insist on such actions.”
China’s top leaders previously avoided using the word legitimacy as it has not been an issue – the legitimacy of the Party should not be questioned or denied. However, if the CCP always indulges in the outdated concept that “those who have conquered the nation should rule the nation, then it is not impossible that the CCP will repeat the mistake of the former Soviet Union (the collapse of the Soviet Union).” “From this point of view, speaking about the legitimacy of the ruling party implies a deep sense of crisis and urgency.”
Sources: Huanqiu, WeChat messaging app account xxdaguo, www.ifeng.com, BBC Chinese, September 10 – 11, 2015