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The Government’s Press Spokesperson System

 “The Press Spokesperson System Moves Forward,” by Liao Wang, June 8, 2009 [1]

"By strengthening and improving the spokesperson system, correct, effective and timely implementation of the agenda-setting through the media has become a breakthrough point for strengthening the government’s ability to govern," according to Li Xiguang, a Professor, and head of the Government Spokesperson Research Group at Tsinghua University. In his view, under the traditional propaganda system, when it comes to reporting unexpected incidents, important meetings or other important news events, the government controls what the media does or does not report by giving orders. When the government establishes a press spokesperson, it is to influence the media by providing the media with a lot of planned information. The press spokesperson system provides information to the media using proactive ways to subtly influence and guide the media and public opinion at home and abroad. The effect is more effective and clever than simple control.

An expert who was interviewed expressed the belief that China must keep up the results achieved by the press spokesperson system, and continue to explore the model suited to China’s conditions. Except for the information that should not be publicized according to the law, as much as possible of all other information should be made public.

In the Internet age, e-mail, MSN, QQ (forum), personal blogs and other means of communication have come out one after another. It is very difficult to suppress the dissemination of information. Since it is difficult to change people’s first impression, the government should be the first to publicize its authoritative voice.

In addition, in this increasingly diverse era in China, various domestic and foreign interest groups all hope to use and even take advantage of the media. For example, when certain types of emergency incidents occur, even though some problems could originally have been quickly resolved, under some people’s instigation, they become the "media events" or group events that arouse public indignation.

The interviewed expert believed that appointing a Zhongnanhai spokesperson and authorizing him as the sole authoritative spokesperson for the central government could more comprehensively and accurately transmit the policy and the stance of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. Zhongnanhai must become the first definer of important news, especially for the major emergency events, and should be the first to issue the government’s voice.

Li Xiguang said that the Zhongnanhai spokesperson must, first of all, be the mouthpiece and spokesperson of the Party Central Committee and the State Council. He must clearly express the position and view of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. At the same time, he must possess the ability of sharp observation and concise expression like the journalists, and he must be the starting point of the transmission chain for all the important information and news from the CPC Central Committee and the State Council.

Yin Yungong also indicated that, at present, China has established the press spokesperson system with three levels, but it still lacks the spokesperson at the highest level. Although there is the State Council Information Office, its main service targets are the central ministries and provinces. (China) should learn from the successful practices in other countries, particularly the White House spokesperson in the United States and consider the establishment of a Zhongnanhai spokesperson at a proper time. It will once again push forward the reform of China’s press spokesperson system.

Li Xiguang: Why Do We Need a Zhongnanhai Spokesperson? The International Herald Tribune, June 11, 2009 [2]

From the central government’s perspective, the establishment of a press spokesperson in Zhongnanhai can avoid having the media pursue the other departments and staff for an interview. For the government, too many (news) sources generated internally are troublesome and have "inconsistencies," which will inevitably lead to questions from the media. Appointing a Zhongnanhai spokesperson and authorizing him as the sole authorized spokesperson for the central government can transmit the policy and the stance of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council more comprehensively and accurately, thus avoiding unnecessary controversy.

Zhongnanhai should be the First Definer of the News

The International Herald Tribune: You have raised the point of view of "ruling the news." What is the relationship with the proposal of establishing a Zhongnanhai spokesperson?

Li Xiguang: The main contents of "ruling the news" are: establishing various levels of a government spokesperson system, in particular, and setting up the spokesperson system for the President and the Premier, so as to improve the Party and the government’s agenda-setting ability. The highest decision-making meeting in the U.S. government is the meeting held by the President of the United States at the White House every day. This meeting is not focused on anything else but what today’s news should be. It is through the White House’s highest level press-planning meeting that a single voice and a universal keyword are formed. Thus it ensures that the agendas of the American people, the U.S. media, even the world’s people, other countries’ media and other countries’ government’s concerns all have the same agenda that was planned by the White House. The agenda setting and the right of selecting news are tightly controlled in hand.

The government often can become the first definer of the news, especially in emergency incidents, but the prerequisite is that the government must take the initiative and issue the government’s voice first. The messages from the government all have a natural authority and are what the people most want to know. As long as the initiative is taken, the government is able to take the opportunity to guide public opinion. If it loses the opportunity, the government will have to pay a high price to re-lead or re-shape public opinion. Therefore, Zhongnanhai has to be the first news definer.

[1] Liao Wang, June 8, 2009
[2] International Herald Tribune, June 11, 2009

Li Changchun’s Speech at the Award Ceremony on the 10th China Journalist’s Day

This year is the 60th anniversary of the new China. We have successfully held a series of celebration activities such as a grand celebration gathering, a ceremonial military parade, a public parade, and an evening gala. These fully manifested the great achievements of these 60 years, especially the achievements after the ‘reform and opening up’ policy… It greatly inspired the party, the army, and the people, and greatly enhanced the self-confidence and national pride of the Chinese people at home and abroad… Our news front made meticulous plans and undertook painstaking efforts to launch a diverse and colorful series of news reports on it. They broadcasted the grand ceremonies and the joyful scene of the entire country, ringing in the main theme of ‘the communist party is good, socialism is good, the reform and opening up policy is good, our motherland is good, and people of all ethnic groups are good’ into every household.

In the past 60 years, the news industry has played an important role in our party’s effort to lead people of all ethnic groups in the socialist revolution and to develop and conduct the reform and opening up policy and socialist modernization… Since the 16th National Congress of the CPC, a great number of journalists are upholding a strong sense of mission and responsibility. They have promoted in depth the systematic theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the great achievements of the reform and opening up policy, socialist modernization development, and the role-model stories of our cadres and the people forging ahead in unity. Specifically, journalists have created a good public opinion atmosphere for us to unfold a series of important events, conquer a series of major natural catastrophes, and handle a series of major sudden incidents, making a positive contribution to the stability and development of society. Journalists have demonstrated their firm love for the party and our country with their concrete conduct… It has been proven that our journalists are a professional team with a strong political sense, good professional skills, strict discipline, and a strong-will. It is a team that the party and the people can fully trust.

In the past 60 glorious years, the news front inherited and advanced the party’s good traditions in the media and propaganda work… (You journalists) have well fulfilled the glorious responsibility endowed upon you by the party and the people, developed a new (favorable) work environment, and accumulated many valuable experiences.
“The first is to stick to the fundamental principle of following the party’s spirit, always remaining in line with the Central Committee, firmly establishing the sense of politics, the big picture, responsibility, and the battle field, and continually strengthening political acumen and political discernment, to ensure that news reporting and propaganda work are always on the right track.

The second is to place the correct direction as the foremost priority and focus on encouraging unity and stability and providing positive propaganda… Serve the bigger perspective, sing along the main theme, and actively fight the battle (in the media)… Do well in the reporting of major sudden incidents and in guiding public opinion… Make sure that the media and propaganda work play an active role in strengthening the ideological foundation for the unity and progress of the whole party and the entire nation and in advancing the sound and fast development of the economic society.

The third is to stick to the principle of ‘people foremost,’ getting closer to reality, to daily life, and to the public. Integrate the party’s directives and people’s voices together, integrate the insistence on correctly guiding public opinion and accommodating public feelings together, and integrate the aspect of focusing on positive propaganda and the aspect of strengthening and improving public opinion to monitor the government.

The fourth is to strategically manipulate the two realms – domestic and international, strengthening the coordination and cooperation of propaganda internally and overseas, actively making ourselves a world-class media, constructing an extensive and technologically advanced broadcasting system, making efforts to form an international broadcast capability that is on par with our economic and societal development and our international status. Grab the speaking power (the preemptive position to define major issues) and enhance our international influence, so as to create a good international environment of public opinion for our socialist modernization cause.

The fifth is to stick to reform and renovation… (Our journalists should) be good at making use of modern technology to promulgate mainstream opinion and actively occupy the Internet as a new public opinion battle ground, to make the media and propaganda work better to reflect our current time and trends and to be more creative.

The sixth is to strengthen and improve the party’s leadership in media and propaganda work, and develop cadres and professionals on the news front. Insist on the principles of the party being in charge of the media and the party being in charge of the cadres, making sure that the leadership of the media and propaganda work is firmly gripped in the hands of those who are loyal to the party and to the people. Educate and nurture a large group of excellent media professionals, providing a strong political and organizational guarantee for the healthy development of media and propaganda work.

These experiences have represented the important principles and recipes for success in our party’s leading media and propaganda work over the past 60 years. They have manifested the fundamental character and the inherent requirements for socialist media work… They are precious spiritual assets for our future work. We must stick to these experiences, greatly promote them, and continuously enrich and develop them in practice as well.

The entire party and Chinese people of all ethnic groups are closely united around the Central Committee with comrade Hu Jintao as the secretary general, fully implementing the guiding policies from the 17th National Congress of the CPC, and the Third and Fourth Plenary Sessions of the 17th National Congress… We continuously open up a new page in socialism with Chinese characteristics. In the face of new circumstances and the new tasks, the news front is shouldering an important responsibility and a glorious mission. We must consciously… follow the requirements of upholding the (communist) flag, concentrating on the bigger perspective, serving the people, and sticking to reforming and innovating, … to effectively carry out of the propaganda of the party’s ideas. … We should guide the direction of society’s hot topics, soothe public sentiment, and control the public voice and public opinion. We must put efforts into unifying thoughts, pulling different resources together, and boosting morale, to provide a strong spiritual momentum and public opinion support for the next stage of our socialism with Chinese characteristics. Presently, we must do well in the following aspects:

1. Persevere in arming the entire party and educating the people with the “socialism with Chinese characteristics” theory to continuously strengthen the ideological foundation for the unity and advancement of the entire party and Chinese people of all ethnic groups. It is an important mission for media and propaganda work to promulgate in-depth the party’s theories and guiding policies and to help the public to master and use them. We must make it the top priority to arm the entire party and educate the people with the “socialism with Chinese characteristics” theory. We must extensively carry out promotional and promulgation activities and make an immense effort to promote the importance, the historical background, the profound meaning, the practical basis, and the historical position of the “socialism with Chinese characteristics” theory. Guide people to uphold the great banner of “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” to stay firm on the path of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and to stay firm in our belief in “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

2. Intimately focus on the central point of economic development as we conduct media and propaganda work, to provide a powerful support in public opinion for the fast and sound development of the economy and society. Do well the propaganda work for the economic situation and economic development and explain in detail the major policies from the central government, to provide strong public opinion support for advancing the fast and sound development of the economy and society.

3. Strengthen the propaganda of the socialist core value system and continuously strengthen mainstream public opinion. We should implement the requirements of the socialist core value system in all aspects of media and propaganda work; reflect the effective methods in different regions and in different organizations in the development of the socialist core value system; and create a good public opinion atmosphere favorable for the development of the socialist core value system.

4. Strengthen the guiding power on issues such as the people’s livelihood and other hot topics. We must create a favorable public opinion environment to maintain social stability and improve social harmony. Reflecting community sentiments and people’s voices as well as guiding public opinion on hot topics are the keys for media and propaganda work to be the bridge connecting the party and the people… Give clear expositions and explanations of the party’s and the government’s policies and decisions… Guide people to correctly handle the relationship between present-day interests and long-term interests… Do well in reporting sudden incidents while guiding public opinion in the correct direction and be the first one to publish authoritative information. Seize opportunities and gain the initiative to provide public opinion support for the appropriate handling of major sudden events. Strengthen and improve the control of public opinion… We must further enhance people’s trust in the party and the government.

5. Strategically handle domestic and international situations, strengthen and improve foreign propaganda work, and make an effort to create an objective, friendly, and favorable environment in international society. Creating this favorable international environment is an important and urgent task required from our media and propaganda work as our economy and society advance rapidly, we continue to open up more widely, and our international status keeps improving… We must improve our cooperation and sharing with foreign media in news broadcasting, human resources, information technology, and business. We must learn to take advantage of foreign resources for our purpose, and to use their platform to broadcast our news… We must increase the international impact of our media and propaganda, by reporting from China’s angle and making the voice of China heard.

The multitude of journalists must improve their own political ideological levels and professional skills. I would like to take this opportunity to list a few wishes for you.

First, continuously improve our ability to change our subjective world and become a new era journalist that our party will be rest assured with and our people will be satisfied with… Journalists must pay high attention to changing the subjective world. We must always improve our realm of mind amidst the great practice of changing the objective world. We must stay firm in our belief and our goals. We must be loyal to the cause of our party and the people. We must stay firm in executing the party’s basic policy and lines, continuously strengthen our consciousness and firmness in walking on the socialist path with Chinese characteristics, and be a firm believer and loyal advocate of the great goal of communism and socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Second, we must continuously improve our ability to guide public opinion and contribute to creating a positive mainstream public opinion. All journalists must remember that ‘the correct guidance/direction of public opinion is a blessing for the party and the people; a wrong guidance/direction of public opinion is a disaster for the party and the people.’ ‘A correct guidance of public opinion benefits the party, the country, and the people; a wrong guidance of public opinion harms the party, the country, and the people.’ In media and propaganda work, we must always stay in the same line with the Central Committee with comrade Hu Jintao as the general secretary. We should stay with the principle of focusing on the central point, serving the big perspective, and always making it a top priority to insist on the right direction for public opinion. 

Third, continue to increase our ability to reform and innovate and make an effort to open up a new page in media and propaganda work. All journalists must accurately grasp the new changes domestically and internationally and accurately grasp the new trend in media and propaganda work… Make sure our authoritative reports guide public opinion in the right direction and timely and accurately meet the people’s information requirements.

Fourth, we must continue to improve our skill to use the new type of media, and become a skillful professional in media and propaganda work in the information age. Journalists should learn the rules and the art of news propagation in today’s information age, and be skillful at new types of media, such as the Internet and cell phone. We must actively guide public opinion over the Internet and pay close attention to public sentiment and opinion on the Internet, timely detect problem trends on the Internet, frequently publish commentary articles on the Internet addressing issues that most concern Internet users, and participate in online discussions and forums to form a positive public opinion on the Internet.

Fifth, we must continuously improve our learning ability to improve our ideological qualities and professional qualities. Journalists must earnestly study the main theme of the Fourth Plenary Sessions of the 17th National Congress of the CPC and make it an important and urgent task to improve our learning ability. We must go deep in our study of Marxism, Leninism, Mao Zedong Thoughts, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the ‘Three Represents’ ideology, and the scientific outlook on development, work hard to grasp the socialism with Chinese characteristics theory, and continue to improve our theoretical knowledge and ideological and political qualities. We must study earnestly to understand the party’s guiding policies and our state laws and rules, and consciously implement them in our news reporting.”

[1] People’s Daily Website, November 9, 2009

Awareness of Potential Adversity Promotes Development, Reform, and Innovation in the Party

The Fourth Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) requested the party to prepare for danger in times of safety, enhance awareness of potential adversity, bear in mind concern for the party, take full responsibility for the party’s prosperity, dare to transform, dare to innovate, never stop, and never stagnate. The awareness of potential adversity and the reform of innovative ideology ran through “The Central Committee of the CPC’s Decision on Several Major Issues about How to Strengthen and Improve the Party’s Development under the New Environment” that the plenary session enacted.  [1]

It can be said that the party’s development as a whole has adapted to the new situation and the requirements of its new duties. Otherwise it would be impossible for the party to lead the reform and opening up policy towards success. This is the most basic conclusion. However, there are also indeed many problems. To put it in a simple way, contradictions exist between the reform and innovation of the party’s self development and the requirements of changes in the social environment. These contradictions exhibit in the following ways. [1]

The first contradiction is that between the changes in the mass base and the insufficient transformation of the leading and administrative style of the party. During the 60 years that the communist party has been in power, the mass base has gone through several generations of change. It is completely different from the initial ruling period and the period prior to the reform and opening up. Under this situation, the party’s style of leadership over the non-party populace, which by tradition was compulsory and through the use of administrative authority, has had difficulty obtaining social acknowledgement. Some events are triggered by improper leadership. Facing the new issues under the new situation, the party organizations at all levels need to undergo a relatively big change, going from the idea, to policy-making, to the way of implementing the work. It requires truly administering in a scientific way, in a democratic way, and in a legal way. It requires learning how to use democracy, the legal system, and the “putting people first” way of dealing with the public. [1]

The Second contradiction is that the contradictions at deep social levels interweave mutually with the contradictions at the deep levels of the party. Right now, Chinese society is in a period of social transformation. Society’s contradictions have increased sharply. On one hand, because the social differentiation issue is more prominent, the mutual trust among different social stratum is insufficient. On the other hand, some problems in the public power operations, especially the corruption in the party, have caused insufficient positive interactions between the public and the officials. In fact, there were some departments in authority that became stakeholders among multi-dimensional interest groups. This has led some local people not trust the public power operations. Conflict between public security officers and the public has happened in some places. When the problems of these two aspects interweave together, some ordinary event can cause a mass event. For example, the Weng’an and Menglian events are of this kind. [2] The reform and innovation of the party’s development directly relate to the operation of public’s civil rights and relate to the pattern of change in social interests.

The third contradiction is that between the bottom up (from the masses to the authorities) democracy appeal and the insufficient innovation in the party’s democratic system. Since the reform and opening up policy, village autonomy has appeared as a result of the disintegration of people’s communes. Later, it evolved into the direct election of local party officials. This further stimulated party member’s consciousness of their democratic rights. In the base unit, democratic decision-making emerged as new procedure. However, in general, from the macroscopic perspective, the existing policy-making system has not been able to meet society’s increasing needs. In more than one place, the public’s opinions were different from the decisions of certain local party committees and of the government, but communication channels and platforms were lacking. Eventually, the public had to “take a walk collectively” or set up special web pages to publish different opinions to express their intense attention to the public affairs that related to their interests. In recent years, regarding this kind of demand, the decision-making processes at the National People’s Congress and the government have changed. For example, enacting the "Property Rights law" and the "Labor law" has shown the true public opinion. Internal party decision-making should lead the way in building up the democratic decision-making mechanism. [1]

The fourth contradiction is the contradiction between the change in the base society and the insufficient shift in the base party’s organizational function. In the last 30 years, the base society has undergone profound changes. The massive populace transformed from the traditional unit person into the social person. The party members also walk randomly among the different ownership systems of economic organization and other social organizations. Many non-government organizations have also emerged. Since the beginning of the reform and opening up policy, the base party organization has unceasingly improved its working method and form of activities. In the places where they could not use administrative authority, they have used services to bond people together. They worked in a democratic and legal way. The base organization could only gain a social foundation for their power by emphasizing the promotion of scientific progress. The party can only obtain its ruling power by putting its emphasis on service. Of course, the base organization developments of different regions are not balanced. Some have already made outstanding achievements while some are far behind the requirement of this era. [1]

The fifth contradiction is that of the maladjustment between the change of information flow and the change in the party’s internal communications. In the high tech time, the appearance of the new media, including the Internet and cell phones, has brought dramatic changes in the way that information flows. Information may spread over the whole world in a second. However, the party’s internal communications still remain old fashioned, one rank after another, one level after another, and top to bottom. Feedback is still transmitted bottom up through the same channel. In this process, a problem in one link will cause the system channel to have “an intestinal obstruction.” At the same time, certain emergency events can spread instantly to the whole society. However, our organizational channel reacts very slowly. If it fully took advantage of the high tech means, the party’s internal communication among all levels could be quick. Communication and information sharing between party member and leaders is good for the party’s internal communication. It is good for the party members to participate in the decision-making and monitoring process, and also good for the process of emergency events. [1]

The sixth contradiction is the conflict of imbalances in the complexity of the party’s internal relationships and the innovations in the party’s development system. The party’s internal relationships refers to mutual interactions among all factors of the party organization. Between the party members and the organization, among various parts of the organization, and among the organization system and the work routines, the issue is how to be connected so as to be run efficiently and in order. Among all the party’s internal relationships, the most complicated one is human. The party members’ social statuses are complicated. Though they are close to each other in the basic political idea, their individual interest requirements and individual value orientations may not be totally identical. How should the party be organized internally in order to respect the individual’s requirements while keeping the same common goal? The party organization is not a villager’s autonomous committee. Nor is it a state institution. How should the party organize the power within the party in order to have the power in balance and also have cooperation with each other? To what extent should democracy be developed within the party? And so on. All these are the innovation problems of the party’s development that need to be solved from the macro level.  [1]

Having an awareness of potential adversity requires reform and innovation. The direction of reform and innovation is to enhance the scientific level of the party’s development. … We must ensure that the party is the vanguard of the Chinese working class, and also the vanguard of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. The so-called science, … when applied to the party’s development, means that the party’s development needs to conform to the laws of the ruling party’s development and the laws of society’s development. [1]

First, use reform and innovation to ensure the scientific nature of the party’s ideological theories. Without reform and innovation, there will be no development of the party’s ideological theories. Here, the reforming and innovative spirit is unified with the spirit of science. Being open-minded, practical and realistic, and keeping up with the times are the ways of the party’s ideology. It is also the unification of the above two kinds of spirits. The Fourth Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee stressed to develop a Marxist learning-oriented political party. Eventually, this requires the party to update its knowledge, enhance its quality and ability by continuing its learning. Through study, the party can persist and develop the Marxist guiding principles to archive the goal of adapting to changes in the social environment. The ideas and theories’ innovation and scientific nature are unified in the process of studying and practicing. [1]

Second, use reform and innovation to ensure the scientific nature of the party development system. The system’s scientific nature is the guarantee that the party organization will remain healthy and in good operating order. It is the guarantee that the general party policy in the primary stage of socialism and the reform and opening up policy will not be changed by the fluctuation of personalities or by a shift in people’s attention. It is also the guarantee that the party’s internal political life will be democratic, in order, and lively. The party organization always has its system. However, the system’s scientific level should be continuously enhanced and developed in the process of practicing.  [1]

Third, use reform and innovation to ensure the scientific nature of the methods of work and activities. The party’s methods of work and activities never stay the same but rather are flexible. One of the traditional advantages of the Chinese Communist Party is that it takes the initiative in bringing up the issue of transforming the party’s methods of work at different historical stages. It can be said that the party has always been paying great attention to the most workable methods of work and activities. In recent year, the methods of work and activities at some local base party organizations indeed changed tremendously. The sense of scientific governance, democratic governance, and governance by the law have gradually deepened. The party interacts with the populace openly, transparently, and following the law, to serve the public. Especially among the community party organizations, non-state enterprises, and the new social organizations, the party organization’s activities have already become quite different from those of the party’s internal organizations. Its basic way of working is primarily democratic consulting, with the focus on strengthening the organization’s service functions, using flexible, amateur, and diverse methods to work. However, the innovation of the party’s methods of work is not balanced, especially when dealing with the populace. Some organizations abuse administrative authority when it should not be applied and do not use new methods of work when they should be used. Therefore, further reform and innovation are needed to adapt to the needs of the populace and the society. [1]

In the article "Grasp the Essential Features of a Learning-Oriented Party," the author pointed out that “the development of a learning-oriented political party is a major strategic choice that the CPC made after absorbing new ideas from the world with an open mind and a view of the current era.” “[Only when realizing] that the learning-oriented party is a special study organization and its prominent political nature distinguishes itself from other learning-oriented organizations, can (one) fully understand the series of duties for developing a learning-oriented party proposed at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 17th Central Committee. ‘(We should) promote the sinicization, contemporization, and popularization of Marxism. Persisting in keeping Marxism as the basic guiding principle to establish the party and the nation, closely integrating it with our national condition and historical characteristics, promoting theoretical innovation, verifying and developing the truth, and using enhanced Marxism to guide the new practice is the primary task of developing a Marxist learning-oriented political party.’ The document also requested the use of the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics to equip the party and to treat it as the most critical part of the primary task. After proposing the primary task, it also proposed ‘the study and practice of the core value system of socialism for party members and the cadres is a major task for developing a Marxist learning-oriented political party.’ Developing a learning-oriented party organization needs to have this series of political tasks completed.” [3]

“In the process of developing a learning-oriented political party, we must explore the study management model that suits the nation’s and party’s situation. This is also a requirement for making the party’s development scientific.” “Constructing a learning-oriented political party is also a process of developing intra-party democracy politics. It should be closely coupled with strengthening intra-party democracy at the grassroots level for mutual improvement.” [3]

[1] Study Times, November 9, 2009
[2] In the Weng’an incident, rioters torched a police building and vehicles in southwest China in unrest triggered by allegations of a cover-up over a girl’s death. See
In Menglian, rubber farmers attacked police who had been sent to arrest alleged instigators in a conflict with rubber plant managers in Menglian, Yunnan. Forty officers were injured, eight police vehicles were burned, and riot police shot and killed two farmers,
[3] Study Times, November 9, 2009

Sixty Years of Political Construction and Development in the New China

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

An Innovative Seminar was Held to Promote Grass-roots Party Organizations

Zhou Yizhi, chief editor of the Masses magazine [2]

The value of “Open Nominations & Direct Elections” in Nanjing can be summed up in many ways. However, from the perspective of the practice of democratic political development, there are a number of prominent aspects.

First, it is an important attempt to develop inner-party democracy. The accumulated experiences can be applied in two ways: the first is that “Open Nominations & Direct Elections” originated from grass-roots organizations and can be extended to higher-level cadre selection and appointments; the second is that “Open Nominations & Direct Elections” in the grass-roots party organizations started from key leadership positions in the grass-roots organizations and can be extended in the direction of Representatives of the party congress.

Second, this provides good political safeguards for grass-roots social-democratic autonomy and community development. Leaders of grass-roots party organizations from “Open Nominations & Direct Elections” not only have a solid support base within the party, but also have broad social acceptance.

Third, cadres in the party will gradually be trained to become the ruling party politicians. The process of “Open Nominations & Direct Elections” introduces competition in political affairs. This could pave the road for training our own politicians in the party, who grew up from the grass-roots society, to adapt to new situations in political life.

Fourth, this could be a demo for grass-roots social-democratic autonomy. Inner-party democracy will lead to the people’s democracy. The “Open Nominations & Direct Elections” of grass-roots level key leaders is a model for democratic autonomy in grass-roots societies.

Some thoughts from different aspects regarding Nanjing’s Direct Election

First, we need to scientifically handle the relationship between the appointment system and the electoral system and define the boundaries of democratic elections. In Nanjing, the benefit of grass-roots direct elections is the choice of which positions should be filled through election. At the same time, the rules for the election procedures should be clearly defined and the real situation needs to be considered.

Second, the substance of the party’s leadership and the party’s management of cadres should be constantly updated. With the emerging circumstances of social autonomy, the meaning of the party’s management of party cadres should include establishing qualifications and conditions in the process of the election, making reasonable rules, and monitoring the implementation of the election process, including the daily education and supervision of cadres.

Third the electoral process should be improved. The election is a process. If there is only the one step of voting, without a corresponding overall design, a lot of “hidden rules” will very easily interfere.

Fourth, is the choice in the initial nomination. During the process of the cadre election, at the 17the party’s National Congress, in its Fourth Plenary Session, the party organization proposed two methods to be used during the process of the cadre elections: recommendation by the party organization and a joint recommendation by party members. In Nanjing’s direct election, there was a third method: self recommendation. The coexistence of three methods can broaden the visual field in the selection of cadres.

Gao Xinmin, a professor at the Party School of the Chinese Communist Party [3]

Under China’s historical conditions, the inner-party election directly faces several issues.

First is the background of socialist democratic politics. Even though the grass-roots inner-party direct elections are theoretically only the party’s internal elections … objectively speaking, they have facilitated people’s acceptance of the community’s party organization. They contribute to rather than undermine the party’s leadership.

Second is the formation of a self renewal mechanism within the party. … The grass-roots direct election system is an important step in the self-renewal mechanism and can improve vitality from the grass-roots.

Third is to make up for the institutional weaknesses. … Under the current unchanged system, the election is an effective way to restrict power using legal rights.

Fourth, is the party members’ fundamental rights. In practice, there are not enough institutional channels to assure party members’ basic rights.

Fifth is to supply a new experience in the development of inner-party democracy. Election is the core issue of democracy. However, due to lots of interests and conflicts, an election is difficult to implement.

Xie Chuntao, Deputy Director of the Department of Party History, the Party School of the Chinese Communist Party [4]

Nanjing’s success has at least eight benefits.

First, it is able to select relatively better cadres. Second, it is able to arouse the main party member’s awareness. Third, it is to be able to strengthen supervision over cadres who are in leadership positions. Fourth, it is able to rally the masses from all aspects. In the community, the CCP organization’s duty is to serve the masses and select cadres accepted by most party members through democratic elections. In this way, it will inevitably improve the work of the community party organizations, and unite the people in the communities around the party. Fifth, it is helpful to maintain the party’s unity and integrity. Sixth, it is able to train young cadres. Seventh it promotes the people’s democratic process. The party collects many social elite, among whom there is an election. With democratic elections, those people are more qualified and have fewer potential problems. It will help to promote the people’s democracy and provide a good model. Eighth, it improves the image of the Chinese Communist Party. Democracy has great moral force. During the period of democratic revolution, the Chinese Communist Party that ruled in part of the country implemented a truly democratic election. Today, step by step, improving the party and the country’s democratic process will certainly improve the image of the Chinese Communist Party.

Professor Liu Changjiang of the Party History Department of the Jiangsu Provincial Party School [5]

The major problem that the grass-roots party organizations are currently facing is how to unite party members and play the role of party members. The experiment of having a local community CCP secretary chosen by way of direct elections helps party members to be a major part of the CCP’s action. It can strengthen the awareness of members’ rights as well as responsibilities. It can also strengthen the grass-roots organization’s cohesion and party members having full access to their political role. Due to the complexity of problems encountered today regarding the party cadres, there are even more problems encountered with the rules of the appointment system, which once played an important role. The problem is that if the appointment system is continued, more serious problems will occur. They include the fact that cadres can only be promoted instead of being demoted, and that the system cannot catch up with changes occurring in people nowadays. … For Nanjing, the most striking part of the experiment is the electoral process. Election is the first link of democracy. A democracy without election is incomplete. … In the community, we can fully combine election democracy with everyday democracy, and explore it in theory. In this way, the Nanjing experiment may not only have nationwide significance but global significance as well.

Li Chengyan, Party secretary, the School of Management, Peking University [6]

"Open Nominations" and "Direct Elections" are two facets of one body of the innovative experiments in grassroots democracy. For both sides, whether it is "Open Nominations" or "Direct Elections," it is a good reflection of the requirement of inner-party democracy development which is featured by effective participation and equal voting rights. The novel form of "Open Nominations" and the decisive meaning of the Open Nominations conference strengthen the party members’ control over the nomination agenda. The whole process is done in an open and transparent environment, which ensures the members are fully informed as voters.

This grass-roots democracy implemented the key policy of the CCP’s 17th Congress. It greatly consolidated the party’s grass-roots organizations and infused fresh blood and power at the fundamental level of the CCP organizations. It effectively connected the party and the masses. The setting with party member’s right at the core has awakened the consciousness of the broad masses of party members and cadres in the main body. This grass-roots democracy and direct elections of candidates has strengthened the sense of responsibility. This grass-roots direct democracy setting can effectively improve the grass-roots party organization in decision-making. The kind of democracy in urban settings further extends the model of self-governance of villagers in rural areas, cultivating a unified foundation of civilization for both urban and rural residents. It prepares an important prerequisite and condition for the future advancement of inner-party democracy in the people’s democratic development

Zhuo Zeyuan, Dean of the Graduate School at the Party School of the Chinese Communist Party [7]

 “Open Nominations & Direct Elections” is the direction for inner-party democracy. Advancing inner-party democracy is a realistic need for our party to adapt to social development, lead social democratic progress, and develop internal democracy. With the accomplishment of the direct election of the Villagers Committee in all rural areas and of the Residents Committee in urban communities in most of the regions, it is a realistic issue of great urgency to speed up developing inner-party democracy. More importantly, our party, as the ruling party, also bears the responsibility for spurring social democracy by means of inner-party democracy, the key to which is the democratic election of cadres. “Open Nominations & Direct Elections” is the fundamental path to reform the cadre system. With the progress of socialist democratic politics, the existing merit-based system has lost its basis, and the candidate selection system has also shown its limitations. As both systems cannot meet the requirements for the development of socialist democratic politics, popular elections thus become inevitable as history evolves in the modern age. “Open Nominations & Direct Elections” is the fundamental path for our party to reform the cadre system, keeping pace with the times. “Open Nominations & Direct Elections” is an effective way to improve the governance capability. Candidates are chosen through recommendations; votes of confidence are cast by non party members and electoral votes by ordinary party members. The democratic selection will undoubtedly become the effective method for the best to stand out. This will produce cadres who arise amidst competition and selection, with more capability to govern than those generated by any other selection method. “Open Nominations & Direct Elections” is a realistic measure to win public support. As it is a method for the public, as the main body, to choose cadres and decide the results, leaders and cadres out of “Open Nominations & Direct Elections” can undoubtedly gain more trust and support from the public. Finally, “Open Nominations & Direct Elections” is a special way to develop political civilization. Through open nominations and direct elections in strict accordance with procedures, the back-door political manipulations from the past will surely be greatly reduced or even fundamentally eliminated. Even if there are illegalities, because of the openness of “Open Nominations & Direct Elections,” they can easily be found and amended, allowing our political civilization to elevate to a higher level.

Zhu Lingjun, former Vice President of the Party School of the Chinese Communist Party [8]

Based on the current status of the party’s leadership system, it’s necessary to look at inner-party democracy from a higher position. There are two actual pillars for the inner-party leadership system: one is the authorization mechanism, the other is the reporting mechanism. The drawbacks of the authorization mechanism is that power comes from above, resulting in an instability in power and a lack of approval from the public. As the superior’s preferences are changing, close contact with the public becomes close contact with the superior. The second pillar is the inner-party reporting system. Due to a lack of stability in power, the first drawback of the reporting system is that as the responsibilities are handed over to every level up, no one is taking final responsibility for any matter. The second drawback is that, in the reporting process, the information is filtered, intercepted, and distorted. From the perspective of the characteristics of the new stage of social transition, it is necessary to use inner-party democracy to drive and lead the People’s Democracy.

[1] Study Times, November 23, 2009
[2] Study Times, November 23, 2009
[3] Study Times, November 23, 2009
[4] Study Times, November 23, 2009
[5] Study Times, November 23, 2009
[6] Study Times, November 23, 2009
[7] Study Times, November 23, 2009
[8] Study Times, November 23, 2009

Analysis and Prediction on China’s Social Situations in 2010

The Social Blue Book points out that, based on the economic recovery, job market recovery, consumption growth, the stability of commodity prices and other key indicators of economic and social development, China will be the first out of the shadow of the international financial crisis and entering a new growth period. From the perspective of the industrialization, urbanization, and consumer spending trend, China is entering a new growth phase of the post international financial crisis. The so-called new growth phase, on one hand means that China is entering a new growth cycle with an above 8% economic growth rate; on the other hand it means that the new driving force of the upcoming growth cycle will encounter significant changes compared to the past. It will be more dependent on industrial structural upgrades, economic and social restructuring, and the domestic consumption growth. 

The 2010 social blue book, The 2010 China Social Situation Analysis and Forecast, pointed out that in 2010, China will enter the new growth phase of the post-international financial crisis; industrialization and urbanization will enter a new accelerating interim growth stage; changes in social structure will break the existing urban-rural structure in the new growth stage; the general public will enter the mass consumption of the new growth stage; higher education will be available for the mass public; there will also be nationwide coverage of social security, and primarily economic reform that later transitions to a comprehensive reform. The level of purchasing power of the urban and rural population improved significantly improved 2009. In 2009, the overall level of satisfaction of urban and rural residents was "relatively satisfied" with the overall satisfaction of rural residents being higher than urban residents in regard to their living. In 2009, the employment situation was basically stable, while the pay rate of new college graduates was significantly lower. In 2009, the overall public safety and order were stable with criminal cases still staying at a high level. In 2009, the tension in labor relations in some of the enterprises and social security became the main focus of migrant workers’ rights issues. The Internet became a source of independent news media, and mobile phones became the most powerful carrier of public opinion. [1]

The People’s Net [the website for People’s Daily] reported the following on the same day, “On December 21, the Academy of Social Sciences published the 2010 Social Blue Book. It points out that the rate of mass incidents remains high this year. This is because some areas that are in the process of accelerating local development and restructuring have accumulated many historic conflicts and problems. These problems have not been solved in time, which has caused deep resentment among the people.” [2]

The report quoted Li Peilin, director of the Institute of Sociology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in his speech, “Now, the more prominent issue is the occurrence of mass incidents. This year’s rate of mass incidents remains high.”[2]

“In particular, what’s worth noting are the repetitions of the same type of incidents, such as the Hubei ShiShou incident, which was almost a repeat of the WongAn incident that occurred in 2008. In other words, the WongAn incident was about a secondary school female student drowning to death. The Hubei incident was about a young chef (Tu Yuangao), who jumped off a building and died. Just like what happened in WongAn, while people were talking about the death, the government announced that it was an unnatural death. However, the general public, through the Internet, began to question whether the incident was murder, suicide, or homicide. Later, the government concluded, after an autopsy, that he had committed suicide. His family did not believe it, and didn’t allow the corpse to be taken away for up to 30 hours. The autopsy conducted by the local agency wasn’t convincing. It went to the provincial level, and eventually led to a mass incident involving thousands of people, resulting in the burning of cars and buildings, and a serious clash between the police and the people. Of course, this time, the extent of violence wasn’t as serious as it was in WongAn, but its process and the logic behind it was the same as in the WongAn incident.” [2]

“We categorize such conflicts as non-class and non-direct interest group conflicts because the participating people are from all aspects of society, and the participating parties have no direct conflict of interest related to the event itself. This shows that some areas, because of financial weakness, especially in the past 30 years of reform and opening up, and in the process of accelerating development and restructuring, have accumulated a lot of historical conflicts and problems, such as enterprise reform, housing demolition, land acquisition, and fund collection, etc.  In handling of these things, much is owed to the masses. These problems are not solved promptly, and they result in deep resentment. Therefore, when the unexpected incidents occur, they tend to develop into the so-called non-class, non-direct interest group conflicts.” [2]

As to the reasons why there is such a high frequency of this type of incident, People’s Net made this analysis: “According to incomplete statistics, in 1993, our country had 8,700 mass incidents, by 2005, it increased to 87,000 cases, and in 2006, more than 90,000. The number of mass incidents in 2008 and their intensity surpassed any from the past.” [3]

"All incidents usually involved casualties. This consequently intensified the confrontation between government officials and the public. This is clearly not something that people want to see. Meanwhile, there is no doubt, China is in its golden age of development, but it is also in a period of high conflicts. It is easy to breed mass events, so in dealing with mass incidents, there should not be any fear, much less politicization. Of course, they cannot be neglected either.

What is the reason for the outbreak of mass incidents? Some scholars believe that it is due to deep resentment from (the public toward the government). That does make sense. So, why is there resentment? What is the discontent? To put it plainly, people’s interests and rights have been violated, such as in enterprise restructuring, housing demolition, land acquisition, fund collection, etc. Some government agencies have owed much to the public. Indebtedness can raise the public’s grievances. What is worth mentioning in particular is that grievances if not abreacted for too long a time, will explode in the end.

Unfortunately, when grievances arise, certain government departments do not take them seriously and act in a timely manner, not to mention handling them proactively. … Worse still, some people have been wronged and unfairly treated, and their appeals only met with obstruction. Some officials even demonize petitioners, and petitioners are labeled as “trouble-making people.” As reported, the petitioners are therefore often carefully “watched.” When they show up at government office premises, various approaches are used to suppress them. Violence, pressure, and threats are most commonly used, because of the government’s fear of losing face and its image being damaged. In such situations, all it takes is a triggering event to cause a mass incident.

Days ago (on December 1, 2009), the Qiushi magazine published a long article by the Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu, titled “Strengthening the Development of the Five Abilities and Fully Improving the Proficiency for Maintaining Stability.” The article said, “At present, China’s economic and social development have shown a series of characteristics in the new phase.  In the area of social stability, it has shown a basic trend of prominent contradictions among the people, a high incidence of criminal offenses, and complicated struggles against the enemy. The Internet has become an important means for the anti-China forces to infiltrate, sabotage, and amplify the energy for destruction. This brings new challenges to the public security organs to maintain national security and social stability. The relevance, complexity, and sensitivity of various social contradictions have significantly increased, which brings new tests to the public security organs in their handling of complicated situations. The public security organ’s new tasks of social control include all kinds of crimes and a significant increase in social security issues. People’s awareness of their legal rights has significantly increased. The extent of media and public monitoring has increased to an unprecedented level. All these factors put forward new requirements for the public security organs’ law enforcement activities. Given the new situations and new tasks, public security still has many outstanding issues and weaknesses that need urgent solutions. From the present to a certain period into the future, we must unswervingly carry out development of the Three Basic Skills. Meanwhile, we must further public security’s information technology development, law enforcement standardization development, and the development of harmonious community relations (the Three Constructions). This will enable us to focus on efforts to strengthen the Five Abilities, to raise to full-scale the ability and level for maintaining national security and social stability, and to constantly enhance the people’s sense of security and satisfaction.

Working with the masses is a fundamental job of the public security authorities; the ability to work with the masses is the most basic and central capability of the public security authorities. Under new historic conditions, we must unswervingly emphasize the work with the masses as a basic task, and improve the capability to work with the masses as a basic skill, so as to solidify the grass roots support base for public security work.

Grass roots police, especially the community police in local stations, should take “three understandings and four abilities” as basic skills: understanding public psychology, understanding the language used by the public, and understanding communication skills; the ability to solve conflicts, the ability to mediate disputes, the ability to actively provide service, and the ability to mobilize. … We need to further improve the approaches of evaluating the performance of grass roots police. … We must maximally alleviate the burdens of grass roots personnel, and make sure that that grass-roots public security authorities will focus their energy and manpower primarily on work with the masses and infrastructure work.

Under the current complex law enforcement environment, public security’s law enforcement activities must focus on the overall requirement of “maximally increasing the harmonious factors, maximally reducing the disharmonious factors,” and putting the domestic and international situations, the Internet, and real world factors into perspective.

Put together all systemic resources, and the efforts to break the "compartmentalization" barriers, and strive to build a resource sharing public security information platform of vertical and horizontal integration as soon as possible. Strengthen basic source information gathering and recording. Make it not only a grass roots important responsibility and daily job of the police, but also a link toward basic tasks such as population management and preventive control. Thus the information can be grasped anytime and anywhere, and gathered and recorded anytime and anywhere. Tightly grasp the detailed information and be able to control and manage it. Informationalize the fundamental jobs, regularize the information work, and provide strong support for a unified information platform and information sharing. Speed up the in-depth application of the information, further strengthen the comprehensive analysis of intelligence, constantly improve the abilities of predicting, warning, and prevention, and firmly hold the upper-hand in the public security work.

The key to building an information network is real time application. We must fully rely on the information network, vigorously implement new anti-crime mechanisms such as web-based synchronized investigation and evidence collection, investigating cases and on-line pursuit of criminals, make efforts to reduce the cost of operations, enhance effectiveness, and improve attacking skills. We should actively adapt to a dynamic environment of social management, give full play to the advantages of the information network, improve the integrated operation mechanism of strike-prevention-management-control, strive to spot key areas in prevention and control, discover vulnerabilities in strikes and management, and continuously improve the comprehensive management and control capacity of the dynamic society. We must comprehensively strengthen the buildup of “Six networks” including the street-level prevention and control network, the community prevention and control network, the work place prevention and control network, the video surveillance network, the regional police cooperation network, and the "virtual society" prevention and control network. We must also actively build social security networks combining points, lines and planes, combine prevention through humans, equipment, and technology, combine striking, prevention, management, and control, and combine online and real world controls, so as to achieve an all-position, all-time, seamless, and three-dimensional coverage of the dynamic society.

Actively prevent and properly handle major social unrest. … Social unrest is usually related to conflicts of interest. Therefore the key to preventing social unrest is to resolve conflicts and disputes. Many years of practice have shown that the cost is minimal if the conflicts are handled the first time (they come up) and at the initial stage. We must always adhere to focusing on prevention and mediation as the first choice. … Focus the work more on the grass roots and the daily matters, gain accurate knowledge of social conditions and public opinion, timely grasp the social dynamics, and further resolve conflicts and disputes. On issues that matter to the people’s personal interests and signs of instability that might trigger major social unrest, promptly report them to the Party committee and the government. Relying on the Party committee and the government, try all means to solve the problems, alleviate the conflicts, resolve the disputes, maximally kill the conflicts and disputes at the lowest level, solve the problems locally, and eliminate hidden dangers in the bud, so as to prevent the occurrence of massive unrest at the root.

When handling mass unrest, we must be early in discovering the problem, swift in resolving it, and proper in handling it. We should prevent the incident from spreading and expanding, so as to reduce its impact and harm to society to the minimum. On the occurrence of a major social unrest, we should insist on early detection, early reporting, and early control to ensure that the situation does not expand, does not escalate, and does not intensify. Timely report them to the Party committees and governments for proper handling. When dealing with the incident, do more propaganda, explanation, and persuasion, in an effort to alleviate their emotions and guide the masses to express their interest through rational and legal channels to resolve conflicts of interest and to safeguard their own interests.

Comrades at all levels of the public security authorities ought to continuously learn from the experiences of handling major social unrest, strengthen the study of the features of major mass unrest, and improve the capability of on-site command and handling the incident by law. We need to build an emergent command mechanism with unified command, swift response, orderly coordination, and efficient operation. Clearly specify the responsibilities of all departments and all police forces and improve the effectiveness of command to form an integrated force that will handle the major emergent incidents. We should vigorously strengthen the special forces and equipment for handling emergent situations, constantly improve the plans, intensify the exercises, and improve emergent response capabilities.

With the rise of the Internet and other new media, the environment of social discussion has undergone a major and profound change. It’s becoming an important task to strengthen the capabilities of the public security authorities to actively research and make judgments, to respond to Internet public opinion, and to improve the capabilities of communication with the public. We must actively use the platform of the Internet. … A higher priority should be put on correctly guiding Internet public opinion, and striving to find new ways to strengthen and improve public security’s guidance of public opinion in the information age.

Tackling a major incident has two components: on-site handling and guiding public opinion. We must pay high attention to the work on public opinion and promptly release authoritative information at the same time as on-site handling of the incident.

We must establish and improve the speedy response and coordination mechanism for major incidents. Once a major emergent incident occurs, immediately launch the emergency response mechanism with each relevant authority taking its own responsibility. We must establish and improve the consultation and decision-making mechanism and adhere to early detection, early reporting, and early guidance, so as to timely clarify the truth and eliminate in the bud the unstable signs that could trigger a major crisis. … We must further improve the public security authority’s spokesperson system to make sure that once a major incident takes place, we can objectively release the authoritative information the first time, publicize the truth, guide public opinion, and gain the initiative.

We should fully utilize news media as the bridge between the public security authorities and the public, strengthen communications with the media, and proactively share the work of public security and the media. … Maximally gain understanding and support from the media for the public security work. … We should improve the contents and format of the propaganda work of public security, … and constantly strengthen the influence and appeal of the work of public security, so as to build a good public opinion atmosphere for public security work.

[1] Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, December 21, 2009
[2] People’s Daily, December 21, 2009
[3] People’s Daily, December 22, 2009
[4] People’s Daily, December 1, 2009

Establishing and Building up Party Organizations within State-Owned and Private Enterprises

"The notice called for a full understanding of the importance of further promotion of the establishment of party subsidiary organizations in non-publicly-owned economic organizations. The non-publicly-owned economic organizations are a crucial component of the party’s grass-roots organizational work. In recent years, the work of party buildup in non-publicly-owned economic organizations has been vigorously advanced, but generally speaking there is still weakness, such as limited coverage of the party organizations and widely existent ‘difficulties in launching activities and playing effective roles.’” [1]

"(The noticed required that) in non-publicly-owned economic organizations with three or more party members, a grass roots party organization is to established; those with less than three party members can either partner with organizations in the same region or industry to set up a joint party organization or rely on industry and business federations, self-employment associations, private enterprise associations, trade associations, and industrial leaders to institute a party branch. Those that qualify for the conditions to have party organizations should do it actively and timely. For those non-publicly-owned economic organizations that for the time being do not meet the conditions to establish a party branch on their own, a higher level party organization can dispatch a political instructor to create the conditions for the establishment of a party branch in the future." [1]

"Additionally, the notice stressed to pick the right person to be in charge of the party organization in non-publicly-owned economic organizations, especially the secretaries. It emphasized to appoint to the leading positions those who have a strong party character, understand business operations, are capable of management, and are good at working with people. For the economic organizations that do not have a suitable candidate, after consultation with the company, the higher party branches may recommend or appoint someone for the job. … A timely adjustment is needed where those persons in charge of party branches are not competent to hold their position." [1]

"The notice also called for playing effective roles in the grass roots party organizations in non-publicly-owned economic organizations. … (It required) improving the education, management, supervision, and services for the party members in the non-publicly-owned economic organizations. (The notice asked to) do a good job in actively and steadily recruiting party members in non-publicly-owned economic organizations, to pay close attention to enrolling party members among people who work on the frontline of production as well as among the outstanding youth, to discover, train, and recommend talented people, and to strengthen the education and training of those who are active in joining the party to ensure the quality of new party members. … (It expected to) further improve the leadership and guidance of the party organizations in non-publicly-owned economic organizations, and effectively resolve issues such as the lack of operating funds and lack of activity venues." [1]

Prior to this, on July 2, 2009, published another article by Zhong Youping, a member of the party branch of the State Administration of Industry & Commerce (SAIC). Zhong Youping “asked the party branches at all levels below SAIC as well as party branches of all the associations of private firms, to adapt to local conditions and times, and actively advance the party buildup in private firms." "Zhong Youping requested that the party branches of all the industrial and commercial authorities and private firm associations focus especially on larger enterprises, and take effective approaches to expand the coverage of party organizations. The enterprises that do not yet meet the conditions to establish a party branch on their own may adopt formats such as ‘joint formation with other enterprises,’ ‘joint formation with local communities,’ and ‘relying on trade associations, under the guidance of the organization department." "Zhong Youping emphasized that the party branches of the industrial and commercial authorities should establish party organizations, conditional on consent from the organization department of the local party committees and relying on private enterprise associations at each level. They should timely enroll the mobile party members from private enterprises in grass roots party organizations, so as to reduce the ‘blind spots’ and ‘blank spots’ of party coverage.” [2]

Last year, there were special instructions from the higher authorities at the CCCCP, calling for strengthening the ideological and political work of people from the non-publicly-owned enterprises. Owners of some private enterprises seemed to show positive responses to “political trainings to enhance ideological and political enlightenment” by saying “This makes the corporate direction more clear; we will just follow the party.” [3] Some said that this policy can “develop and strengthen a team in private enterprises that will firmly support the party’s leadership and unswervingly take the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics.” [3]. On November 8, 2009, Global Times under People’s Daily reported that, driven by Weng Jieming, Chongqing City’s Municipal CCP Committee member and chief of Chongqing’s United Front Department, the Chairman of Chongqing’s Creative Business Association, Zhou Jin, on behalf of Chongqing’s Association of Industry and Commerce, signed the ‘Cooperative Agreement for an Advanced Training Course for Representatives of Non-Public Enterprises in Chongqing, with the Central Party School, sending a group of 59 representatives from private firms to the Central Party School for a week long training.” “In the organizer’s view, this ‘Advanced Training Course for Representatives of Private Enterprises’ was to be very significant for the enterprises to be in sync with the government on ideology.” The report quoted the class leader of the training, the chairman of Chongqing Construction Materials Business Association, and CEO of the Ao’yun Group, Sun Renyuan, who said, “This was not only a power charge, but an opportunity for us to upgrade our political consciousness and accurately steer the direction of private enterprise development.” The report said at the end, “In fact, as early as 2001, there was a ‘fever’ for owners of private enterprises across the country to go and study at the Central Party School. The ‘External Training Center’ under the Central Party School, responsible for giving short trainings and ad hoc classes, was also established that year. According to their data, since then, nearly ten thousand private enterprises owners have attended these training courses." [3]

Compared to building party organizations in the private enterprises, the CCP’s policy in state-owned enterprises is to ensure that these businesses are always under the party’s leadership. [4] As for how to maintain the core position of the party in the state-owned enterprises, on August 27, 2009, People’s Daily published a commentator’s article, stressing “firmly establishing the party branch as the political core in the governing structure of state-owned enterprises is a valuable experience learned from 30 years of reform and practice, as well as an important principle that must be strictly followed while strengthening and improving party development work in state-owned enterprises. It reflects the distinctive character and requirements of the modern Chinese state-owned enterprise system." [5]

"The basic channel for the party branches to play a core political role is to actively participate in the decision making process on the enterprises’ major issues. Party branches in enterprises should focus on major issues, the big picture, and a clear direction. For major decisions and important personnel appointments and removals that matter for the overall reform and development of the enterprise, as well as critical issues that involve personal interests of the employees, the party branches should give serious study and discussion, and put forward opinions and suggestions. In order to participate in the decision-making process on major issues, it is necessary to strengthen the buildup of the system, make the issues transparent, standardize the procedures, and improve the mechanisms. On one hand, this will assure the board’s unified decision making power on major issues. On the other hand, the opinions of the party branches are respected and reflected in the decisions, (representing) a real combination of the party organization’s participation with the board’s decision making on major issues." [5]

"The key for the party branches to play a core political role is to perform a leading role in the selection and appointment of personnel. The leading role is reflected in the party branches’ determination of standards of hiring, and also in recommending candidates, improving the evaluation system, strengthening supervision and management, training reserve personnel, and so on. Adhere to the principles of the party’s managing cadres, combined with the board’s selection of managerial talent and managers deploying personnel; also adhere to the principles of the party recommending hires, combined with market oriented hiring of managerial personnel. Vigorously advance the reform of the human resource system to make enterprise personnel selection and appointments institutionalized and standardized with proper procedures, so as to both adapt to the requirement of the corporate governance structure and ensure the party’s leading role in the selection and appointment of hires inside the enterprise.” [5]

“The fundamental requirement for the party branches to play a core political role is to assure and supervise the implementation of the nation’s principles and policies inside the enterprise. The party organizations in the enterprises should not only pay attention to supervision of human resources, finance, and materials, and of key personnel in the enterprises, but also strengthen the supervision of how well the enterprises are carrying out the Concept of Scientific Development and national policies. The party should push the enterprises to play their leading role in national economic growth and carry out their political and social responsibilities.” [5]

"Truly carrying out the party branches’ core political role in the corporate structure of state-owned enterprises cannot be done without the support of necessary policies and mechanisms. … It is necessary to build an operational mechanism to ensure that the party organizations will give full play to their central political role. … The party has superiority on political ideology, leadership, and experience working with people. Only if adjustment is first made on the operation mechanism, can these advantages of the party (enhance) the core competitiveness of the state-owned enterprises. In turn, the party branches’ core political position will be consolidated, the party’s development work will become a crucial part of the values of the enterprise, and the party branches will truly become an integral part of the modern state-owned enterprise system with Chinese characteristics." [5]

The published an article on October 12, 2009, detailing the measures to maintain the core political position of the party branches. “To ensure that the enterprises are always under their party’s leadership, we must create an organizational establishment, and strongly push for the model that ‘every subsidiary and division of an enterprise has a corresponding party branch.’ Within administrative agencies, institutes, state-owned enterprises, non-publicly-owned enterprises, China-Hong Kong joint ventures, and other ownership entities, we can establish stand-alone, joint, or affiliate party branches. This is to guarantee that wherever a business identity develops, the party organization and organizational work will also go. … Have middle-level leaders and cadres wearing party, administration, and business hats to cover all divisions and subsidiaries of the enterprise, making sure that the party’s leadership is everywhere. … At the same time, pay great attention to choosing good party branch secretaries with strong party character and who are good at ideological and political work, so that the party cadres take care of all of the internal divisions and subsidiaries who will be focusing on party buildup.” “Insist on advancing corporate cultural development through party buildup, and community cultural development through corporate cultural development. Actively deploy media outlets that carry the party buildup, including party journals, party newspapers, propaganda bulletin boards, and websites. Establish party member service centers, party member responsibility zones, party member pioneer posts, and conduct the activities of ‘showing your party nature.’” [4]

[1] Xinhua, November 16, 2009
[2] Xinhua, July 2, 2009
[3] Global Times, November 18, 2009
[4] Study Times, October 12, 2009
[5] Chinese Academy of Social Science, August 27, 2009

The Strategic Choice for China’s Economy during Global Economic Transformation

I. Focus on the global economic transformation behind the financial crisis

From the perspective of the long-term business cycle, the current world financial crisis is, in essence, a crisis of the world business cycle. The world’s economic history shows that a global economic crisis has often been the drive and opportunity for major scientific and technological innovation and new industries. … Now that the period when the IT industry was the engine for economic growth has ended, there is a lack of new industry to be the economic growth engine. Thus the huge amount of capital accumulated during the high-tech period flew to the real estate and financial industries. Financial investors and real estate developers jointly created a deformed engine for U.S. economic growth: a virtual economy. From this perspective, the global financial crisis is essentially a business cycle crisis. As a result, our key strategy dealing with the financial crisis should be not simply to reconstruct the financial order, but to remake an industry in the real economy.

The looming new economy has the following three characteristics.

First, a new energy revolution is solving the problems of human civilization that could not be solved within the framework of the industrial economy. Energy and environment are global difficult problems that constrain sustainable growth of the industrial economy. … The new energy revolution, with renewable energy at its core, marks the birth of a new wealth manufacturing model and production method for human beings.

Second, new energy will enable a series of new industries and new technologies. … A leading industry should have three major characteristics: it affects the overall economy, its technology is universally adopted, and it constitutes the basic industry for economic development. The emerging new energy revolution has all of the above three characteristics.

Third, the incentive mechanism for the new energy revolution has matured. … Among the economic stimulus plans in response to the financial crisis, energy and environment have suddenly become the investment targets of developed countries. This is definitely not a consequence of the developed countries all of a sudden having raised their moral standard for protecting the environment. Rather it is an indication of the formation of an incentive mechanism for new energy and environmental industries. The reason why the financial crisis became an opportunity for the new energy revolution is that the economic crisis greatly damaged traditional industry and its incentive mechanism, bringing the advantages of a growing new industry to light, and ushering in opportunities for marginal industries, which can now enter  the decision making horizon for government and business investment.

II. Obama’s new policy aims to promote economic transformation and seize the new economic heights

First, the purpose for Obama’s new policy of developing new energy sources as its core strategy is to seize the new economic heights. The way the U.S. is responding to the financial crisis is to treat the financial crisis as a crisis of a hollow real economy, and to use the development of new energy as a way of reviving the U.S. economy and occupying the strategic high ground of the new economy.

Second, Obama’s new policy focuses on the long-term goals of economic development and structural adjustment, rather than immediate economic growth. Since Obama took office, his three-step plans are all about how to advance structural reform and strengthen economic competitiveness. The first step was the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009," passed by Congress, with a 787 billion investment, which established developing new energy as the core of the revival of U.S. economic long-term goals. The second step was to stress test companies in crisis, so as to strengthen the U.S. economy’s microstructure function. The third step was, after six months of deliberation, the announcement of Obama’s Remarks on the 21st Century Financial Regulatory Reform, on June 17, 2009, at the White House. This started the financial system reform from the angle of system innovation, to create a positive financial environment for the new economy.

Third, Obama’s new policy raised the development of the ecological economy that combines high-tech and eco-focused concepts as a strategic priority to rebuild the U.S. image and to enhance its competitiveness. … The U.S., a country with innovative and adventurous spirit, can often make strategic decisions and choices during periods of major change. This is worthy of our research and study.

III. The lesson learned from the failure of the Japanese economic transformation during the 1980s
As early as the 1980s, having achieved huge success in its strategy of catching up with developed countries, Japan also experienced a period of world economic transformation similar to what China is facing today. In the 1980s, when the world economy went through a transformation from the electric economy to the information economy, Japan and the U.S. adopted two different strategies, resulting in two completely different paths of development after the 1990s. The failure of the Japanese economic transformation during the 1980s raised several issues that are worth consideration.

First, Japan did not realize the limitations of the model of "growth by following," but instead mistakenly viewed it as a growth model that creates miracles. The high speed economic growth in Japan after World War II is a typical model of "growth by following." Its advantage came from two aspects: first, after the introduction of Western technology, Japan gained technological advantages through second-round innovation, that is, innovation after its introduction from the West. Second, the cost advantage during the initial economic growth period helped it receive the industries transferred from Europe and the U.S. With these two advantages, Japan achieved high economic growth, catching up with other developed countries, and "squeezing" into the development space of the U. S. and Europe.
The advantage of the model of "growth by following" is to catch up with others while learning, instead of leading the trend through original innovation. … But Japan has not recognized the limitations of the model of "growth by following." In fact, Europe and the U. S. have also been confused by an illusion about such a temporary high growth model. … During the late 1980s, there was a widely recognized view of a “Japan threat” in the U.S., triggering competition between Europe, the U. S., and Japan. Today when we look back, this is clearly a misunderstanding: Japan cannot become a threat to Europe or the U.S. using the model of "growth by following."

Second, when facing global economic transformation, Japan did not respond strategically, but rather continued along the traditional thinking. … Under pressure from the U. S., Japan mistakenly chose the expansion of domestic demand as its strategic plan for new economic growth. They lost sensitivity to the global economic transformation with the satisfaction of economic achievement. To ensure continuous growth, Japan’s strategic focus remained on the existing traditional industries, channeling the huge capital surplus accumulated during decades of economic growth into domestic consumption. A large amount of capital entered into real estate and the stock market, leading to the bursting of the real estate bubble, and the financial crisis, which dragged the Japanese economy into a downturn for more than a decade. At the same time, the U. S. reallocated its social resources to the new high-tech economy as a strategic priority, resulting in the U. S. being the biggest winner in the information economy in the 1990s.

Third, Japan mistakenly attributed its economic recession to the failure of its monetary policy. … Throughout the 1990s when the Japanese economy was in a predicament, Japan did not reflect upon its growth model, but blamed the financial crisis, following the Keynesian theory and monetary theory. Japan failed to fundamentally reform its unique institutions such as the government-led economy, the monopoly of large business, and lifetime employment, which inhibited innovation. Japan’s economy has thus been lingering in a low growth path because of adopting the model of “growth by following.”

IV. Breaking through traditional thinking: some thoughts on promoting China’s strategic transformation
China has three advantages that support its transformation: First, we have begun to realize the limitations of importing growth models. Although we have not yet recognized such a limitation at a model level, people have begun to realize it from the perspective of transition in growth modes. Second, we are very sensitive to the new energy revolution and ongoing global economic transformation. Third, China’s cost advantage will continue to play a role in the new economy. At the same time, we are also facing three major obstacles: First, obstacles from vested interest groups. The 21st century has seen the Chinese economy enter a phase of heavy industry. Two vested interest groups were formed in the process of wealth accumulation, namely monopolistic business groups and local governments at various levels. As the monopolistic business groups are the source of tax income for the local governments, the two groups relied upon each other, forming an obstacle to strategic transformation decisions. Second, the obstacle of success-led habitual thinking. The success of China’s reform has achieved world acknowledgement. In the face of this success, we may be repeating the scenario Japan experienced during 1980s. We may gain strong self-esteem amid the views of the “China threat theory,” making the mistakes Japan made during 1980s, and forgetting the limitations of importing growth models. With the habitual thinking of simply applying our past experiences to the future, China’s economic transformation would be an empty word. Third, the obstacle of lack of motivation for transformation. Major economic transitions often come from opportunities created by major economic crises, as a crisis provides motivation for change. China is one of the least impacted countries in the current financial crisis, and is generally considered the first country to walk out of the crisis. This is obviously a good thing, but it has also formed an obstacle for China to meet the challenges and opportunities of global economic transformation. We may lose motivation to transform in our satisfaction with good growth momentum.

To this end, I hereby propose some thoughts on promoting China’s strategic transformation.

First, we must strengthen our awareness of the limitations of importing growth models. We should reflect upon the limitations of China’s reform model, and the successes and lessons from past transformation during the new China’s 60 year history from the perspective of responding to the world and China’s economic transformation. Without the transformation of China’s economy and society from a politics centered policy to an economy centered policy, starting in 1978, we would not have achieved the economic success we have today. Similarly, if we fail to achieve the transition of the growth model, we will not have a better tomorrow. We should strengthen the sense of crisis among all party members.

Second, policies should change direction from assuring growth to facilitating transition. Macroeconomic data from the first half of the year shows that China’s economic growth began to stabilize and recover. This indicates that the growth oriented policies in response to the economic crisis have achieved their goal. In such a situation, China’s strategy should change from assuring growth that helps recovery from crisis, into promoting transition that recreates the growth engine.

Third, under the guidance of the Concept of Ecological Civilization, we should deepen the reform of government functions, and break through the obstacle of the government’s vested interest groups. The key is to promote reform of government functions, management methods, and management objectives. According to the requirements of the Concept of Ecological Civilization raised at the 17th CCP National Congress, if we want to promote the eco-economy, green GDP, and a low-carbon life style as the goal of transition, the key is to promote transitions in government management and management objectives.

Fourth, I suggest to strengthen strategic planning and theoretical research into the eco-economy under the guidance of the Concept of Ecological Civilization, so as to provide theoretical support for China to enter an era of eco-economy. From the heights of transformation of the economic structure, against the background of transitions in the world economy, we should explore the laws of ecological civilization and eco-economy, new growth models, and new civilization models suitable for China and the world’s harmonious growth. This is a new challenge and opportunity after the establishment of a market economy with Chinese characteristics.

[1] Study Times, November 2, 2009