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Outlook Weekly Article: Directions on Fostering a Sense of Urgency and Crisis

On January 21, 2008, Outlook Weekly published an article entitled
“Directions on Fostering a Sense of Crisis.” The article cited words of
Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and other
high-ranking Communist officials, reflecting the Chinese Communist
Party (CCP)’s attitude towards domestic and international situations.
Below is a translation of the entire article. [1]

On January 21, 2008, Outlook Weekly published an article entitled “Directions on Fostering a Sense of Crisis.” The article cited words of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and other high-ranking Communist officials, reflecting the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s attitude towards domestic and international situations. Below is a translation of the entire article. [1]

Directions on Fostering a Sense of Urgency and Crisis

It is the time of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, after 30 years of reform and opening up… The country is inspired, and China has become the focus of world attention.

In discussing the organization of work in 2008 and in the future, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) high-level authorities have frequently expressed that at all times we should maintain a sense of urgency. Before the New Year an the Central Party School, facing almost 200 new Central Committee members and alternate members, General Secretary Hu Jintao said, “The better our situation, the more we should have a sense of urgency and crisis; the more we should be vigilant.”

In the second Plenary Session of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection on January 15, Hu Jintao reaffirmed, “Our party, in the new situation of reform and opening up and developing a socialist market economy, holds a very sober and consistent attitude that we are aware that the inner-party has problems. In particular, risks and crises, may arise.”

Dr. Jiang Yong, Director of the Research Center of Economic Security at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations felt that the central committee’s repeated emphasis on our sense of urgency in recent years has a profound meaning and significance.

Many experts, including Jiang Yong, who are close to the decision-making level and attend the activities of the Central Committee told “Outlook Weekly” that Beijing’s emphasis on a sense of urgency and crisis does not reflect a deliberately held negative attitude. The Central Committee indeed thinks that the challenges we face are many and great and we should not ignore them or be careless about them.

Starting from a new historic point, emphasizing the sense of crisis is strongly directed and instructional. For instance, as stated by Shen Jiru, an investigator from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of World Economics and Politics, some high-ranking officials and local and department cadres may not know well or be sufficiently vigilant about financial risks, the energy crisis, trade protectionism, and other issues.
Ye Ducu, an expert in the Central Party School, also said that our previous sense of crisis was mostly directed at internal problems and deficiencies, but now we have a better understanding of the risks in this time of modern globalization. The sense of risk awareness and of overcoming the challenges has escalated. He said, “In training senior cadres at the Central Party School, there has been an increasing emphasis on having a ‘global vision’ and ‘strategic thinking.’”

The Director of the Institute of Strategic Studies of the National Defense University, Junior General Jin Yinan claimed, “Generally speaking, we have a deep understanding of how ‘Backwardness is beaten,’ but are not sufficiently prepared mentally for ‘They are bound to rein in the rise,’ and for how “new unsafe factors arise with high-speed development.’”

Remain Sober-minded in the Event of a Historic Change

"2008 will be the Year of China," said Newsweek in its 2007 year-end special edition.

A new round of "China fever" in the overseas mainstream media has begun. From the large number of reports being issued, it has reached a new climax. Chinese media have only reported this issue in international reports and in specific columns, while the foreign media often focus on China using the front page, booklets, special editions and editorial reports.

This is different from the “China collapse theory," the "China threat theory," the "Chinese Century" and the "China opportunity theory" from previous years.

Regardless of challenges or praises, in Shen Jiru’s view, their bone of contention is mainly the “China threat theory,” except that it is now expressed as a worry that China will surpass the West.

Central authorities warn that we should never be conceited or overly optimistic when faced with accomplishments, cheers and praises. Shen Jiru said the key is to keep a sober mind and have a clear understanding of the basic domestic situation no matter whether we receive “curses” or “praise.”

“To keep the people in mind and to have long-term strategic thinking determines whether a leader has a sense of crisis and urgency,” Jiang Yong said.

A strong sense of urgency and crisis is a feature of the Chinese Communist Party’s rule. This is closely related to the one-hundred-year history of China. In the Seventh Party’s Congress, with the great victory of the anti-Japanese war in sight, Mao Zedong cited 17 difficulties and risks in one breath, and exhorted all its members to "prepare for disadvantages."
After the reform and opening up, Deng Xiaoping repeatedly emphasized, “We should focus our work on big risks and prepare countermeasures. Thus, the sky will not fall even if there is a big risk.” Jiang Zemin also pointed out, “Only when we stand at a higher point, see farther, and make scientific predictions and correct judgments on economic risks that may appear in our march, can we take precautions and remain undefeated.”

At the New Years tea party of the CPPCC National Committee, General Secretary Hu Jintao said that we will make a systematic review and summary on reform and opening up. According to experts’ judgments, the review and summary will not only illustrate the enormous accomplishments that everyone can see, but will also summarize the risk-defying arduous exploration, including eliminating all kinds of interference from various erroneous ideologies and tendencies. We will not take the old road of being rigidly closed, nor will we change the banner to give up leadership of the Communist Party and the road of socialism.

A clear sign is that the Central Committee has been more and more expressive on issues of risks and challenges, as manifested in the related high-level meeting before the New Year. For instance, when warning about the more predictable and unpredictable risks, and about the possibility and reality of various problems and even quite big risks, a number of examples were given: the wide spread of a severe contagious disease like SARS; some severe natural disasters having an overall impact; severe financial crises like the Asian financial crisis; the worldwide energy crisis; the situation that international anti-China forces band together to put pressure on China; and a major “Taiwan-independence incident,” to name a few.

At end of the report of the Party’s Seventeenth Congress, four “musts” were prominently emphasized. The first one was “we must be vigilant and enhance the sense of crisis.” The experts we have interviewed think about enhancing the sense of crisis from the angle of concern for the Party; we can see the Party is facing many unprecedented new tests. Hence the messages from the top-down emphasize: All party members should firmly keep in mind that if a political party advanced in the past, it does not mean it will advance in the present; advancing now does not mean advancing forever; the party’s core leadership status is not permanent; past possession does not mean possession now; current possession does not mean permanent possession.

In Ye Ducu’s view, the livelihood of the people and the fight against corruption are among the most critical tests for leadership. He said that the livelihood problems have not been satisfactorily resolved, which is related to the insufficient sense of crisis among high-level cadres, and they did not sufficiently attend to the opinions and complaints of the people. The Central Committee has made great efforts on the livelihood issue, but the actual results depend on whether high and middle level cadres can substantially implement the policy.
The issue of anti-corruption is related to the survival of the nation and the party. In an observation of the recently held Second Plenary Session of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, Ye Ducu thinks that our party is very clear on this issue. However, "we should win the confidence of people with facts”.

There Should be a Sense of Urgency on Both Internal and International Issues

During the long holidays of October 1, 2007, some district governments in Chongqing City assigned special “homework” to more than 400 cadres at or above the level of assistant county governor: to read the book “Currency War.”

An important view of the book is that, at present, instigated by a handful of "financial oligarchy forces," the "financial terrorists" are likely to launch a bloodless "currency war" in an attempt to eliminate China’s wealth that Chinese workers have accumulated over the years.

After reading this book, Junior General Qiao Liang, the author of "Unrestricted warfare," said, “China’s financial decision-makers should possess two abilities: one is to be vigilant to others’ conspiracies; the other is to have the ability to play conspiracies on others! "

Jiang Yong, who we have interviewed, does not fully agree with the reasoning process in the book, but highly values the sense of urgency. Jiang Yong himself is a scholar and has appealed for the state’s financial security for years.

Jiang Yong points out, “The recent world economic history is not only a history of the creation of wealth, but also a history of how the West (including Japan) has plundered external wealth. Now the times have changed. The modern West may trade and invest to earn money by taking advantage of the international division of labor; but it may also steal or directly grasp money utilizing the so-called intellectual property rules.”

“Currently, domestic and international problems are often inter related," said Shen Jiru. Domestic and international factors affect each other, traditional and non-traditional security threats coexist. We should be more vigilant regarding financial and energy security issues, because we were not previously familiar with them. They are not to be solved behind closed doors. "The prevention of financial crises is a very important project."
Shen Jiru also expressed that energy crisis is another pivotal issue to be prevented during globalization. Because of the uneven geographical distribution of oil reserves, and because the monopoly policy of the western countries, especially of the oil cartels, China, as the third largest petroleum consuming country and the second largest petroleum importing country, is only a passive recipient of the oil price. The so-called national oil "strategic reserve," in his view, can only be described as a "contingency reserve," and far from a guarantee of security.

To view the sense of crisis from the requirement of maintaining social harmony and stability, the interviewed experts candidly said that in our country, because of the unbalanced development and limited productive forces, domestic internal contradictions centering on livelihood are still quite conspicuous. There have been increasing conflicts originating from the gap between rich and poor, the urban-rural gap, and unfair distribution, social security and employment. Meanwhile, the construction of a democratic legal system and expansion of the people’s democracy do not yet fully meet the requirements of economic and social development. Because of pluralistic values, a small number of people have confused ideology, their faith is shaken and they have misplaced values about honor and dishonor. The conventional social managerial approaches are no longer sufficient to adapt to the new management tasks. The management of "social people," the new economic and social organizations and the virtual community are still in the process of exploration.
Therefore, the messages from high-levels emphasize that, on the 30th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up, how to deepen reform draws much internal and external attention. To seize opportunities and overcome challenges should start with resolving current prominent conflicts. There should be an overall plan for reforming the system in the next few years, with timely research and a proposal to reform programs in important areas and with key steps. We should maintain a high degree of vigilance on difficulties and risks to be encountered, and be cautious in order to prevent problems. Meanwhile, a risk evaluation mechanism should be established for various reforms and decision making in order to reduce social contradictions at the source.

To Secure Preparation for the Olympic Games

The external media calls 2008 “the Year of China,” which means, to a large extent, “the Year of the Olympics.” During the Olympics, nearly 100 heads of state, heads of government, thousands of athletes, tens of thousands of foreign journalists, and millions of domestic and foreign spectators and tourists will gather in Beijing. Whether we can host the Olympics is drawing worldwide attention.

According to the Central Committee’s requirements, we would rather have a sufficient evaluation of the risks and difficulties than be at a loss and be passive because of underestimation. Our goal is to ensure a smooth and safe Olympics, and safeguard overall national security and social stability.
Related experts claim that there are signs that the hostile forces are attempting to launch political attacks against our country because it is holding the Olympic Games, and they are conspiring to transform the Olympics into an “arena” to demonize our country, carry out infiltration and sabotage us.

As the 17th Party’s Congress proposed earlier, it is necessary to "improve the national security strategy, to perfect the national security system, to keep a high degree of vigilance, resolutely guard against all kinds of separatist, infiltration and subversive activities, and effectively protect national security." In the year of the Olympics, this test will not be an easy one.

There have been multiple events where international anti-China forces have "kidnapped" the Olympics in order to pressure our country. The external dividing forces and religious organizations are also attempting to disrupt and sabotage activities using the Olympics as an opportunity. Experts have pointed out that Chen Shuibian’s promoting “tying the referendum with the general election” is not without a relationship to the Olympics.

Unexpected events such as natural disasters, accident disasters, public health incidents and social safety incidents require, in themselves, a high level sense of urgency and crisis. According to related experts, it can be expected that in the Olympic year, the high-level and the related departments will be more vigilant, take more stringent precautions, use more sufficient plans, and will certainly provide a safe and harmonious social environment for the Beijing Olympic Games.

Act in response to emergencies took effect on November 1, 2007, facing the approaching test of Olympic Games. Professor Mo Yuchuan from the China People’s University Law School said that now that the law is available, the next step is to simply act in accordance with the law and implement the law. The Olympic Games test is also an opportunity to innovate concrete ways of responding.

According to the requirements from the high-level, in the implementation of the plans for handling emergencies, it is necessary to seriously study the experience and lessons of other countries in hosting the Olympic Games, to comprehensively analyze the factors that security faces, to formulate effective plans for all types of incidents, and to try out necessary combat exercises, thereby improving the ability to cope with emergencies.

 [1] Outlook Weekly, Jan 21, 2008