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Sixty Years of Political Construction and Development in the New China

Study Times reported on November 9, 2009, that the Annual Conference of the Chinese Association of Political Science and the Academic Forum on 60 Years of Political Construction and Development in the New China took place in Chengdu in October 2009. Southeast Jiaotong University hosted the event and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu University of Technology, The CCP Party School of the Sichuan Provincial Committee, and other organizations co-sponsored it. The main topics of the conference were to emphasize upholding the Communist Party’s leadership, developing socialist democracy, maintaining and improving CCP-led multi-party cooperation and the political consultation system, developing internal democracy within the Party, and strengthening the establishment of the CCP’s ruling status. The following is a translation of the major points of the article. [1]

The central theme of the conference was systematically summarizing the experience of 60 years of political development in the new China and comprehensively envisioning the direction of China’s political future. The participants agreed that the achievements of China’s political construction and political development have been enormous since the founding of the new China 60 years ago. Although there have been significant setbacks and mistakes in the exploration, the road of political construction and political development that has been adapted to China’s national conditions is basically clear. Some experts have summed up the basic experience of  60 years of political development and political construction in the new China as six unities: The dialectical unity of adherence to the basic principles of Marxism and innovation; adherence to the unity of socialism with Chinese characteristics for the state system and the government system; adherence to the unity of the Party’s basic unwavering line and the flexibility of policy; the unity of the party’s leadership, and the rule of law, with the people being the masters of the nation; adherence to the unity of working for the people, trust in the people and reliance on the people; and adherence to the unity of strengthening and improving the Party’s leadership, maintaining the Party’s advanced nature, and strengthening the Party’s ability to govern. Other experts have summarized the successful experience of China’s political development after the founding of the new China, particularly after the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, as the path of progressive political development with Chinese characteristics. … China’s future political development must stick to the path of socialist political development with Chinese characteristics.

The development of socialist democracy was the main content of the new China’s political construction and political development, which was also the important topic of this conference. Since the founding of the new China, the Chinese Communists have been constantly exploring the development of socialist democratic politics and have gone through a tortuous process. This entered a period of steady progress after the Party’s Sixteen National Congress. Some experts believe that, from the founding of the new China until 1989, democratic developments were the continuation of all democratic movements following the May Fourth Movement. These were mobilization-style democracy, the objective being to change the existing political order in the manner of mass movement by means of empowering the masses with master status. After 1989, with the development of the market economy and with civil society taking shape, China’s political life gradually began to show "normal politics" and "democratic actions." That is, inner-party democracy and grassroots democracy have been gradually promoting the democratic process in China. Experts have pointed out that movement democracy and action democracy cannot be completely separated. The orderly development of participatory democracy is critical to China’s future democratic development.

The adherence to, and improvement of, the CPC-led multi-party cooperation and political consultation system is an important part of, as well as a means to, the development of socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics. In this connection, the participants had a lively and in-depth discussion. The participants believe that new China has achieved rapid economic development over the past sixty years. Politically it has also achieved relatively stable development. One of the secrets is the multi-party cooperation system under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. China’s non-symmetrical political party system maintains the stable ruling status of the ruling party as well as ensuring a certain degree of influence by other political parties. The multi-party cooperation system has created a new system and space for activities of the political parties and has established a new relationship between the political parties.

Another topic discussed at the conference was that the political system reform and government management reform is the form of socialist political development with Chinese characteristics. … On the historical course and direction of the new China’s government, some experts have suggested that in 60 years of the new China the government has gone through three forms of government: totalitarian governance, regulation-based governance, and joint governance. The future direction of government is the development of a form of service-oriented governance. …

Research into the ruling party’s development was also an important topic of this conference. The participants agreed that the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party’s ruling status was not accidental. It was the product of the development of the political parties in modern China. It was the result of the historical development path’s selection over sixty years of the new China. Only by strengthening self-development and promptly resolving issues of the restriction of the Party’s power and corruption can the Chinese Communist Party ensure its ruling status. Some experts pointed out that, in order for the Chinese Communist Party to ensure its ruling position, it must also improve the effectiveness of inner-Party supervision and meet the needs of the middle class to participate in politics.

[1] Study Times, November 9, 2009