Cultural Innovation: A Self-Conscious Mission of the Communist Party of China

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Cultural Innovation: A Self-Conscious Mission of the Communist Party of China

Nan Zhensheng

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has taken it upon itself to innovate contemporary culture in China. Firstly, this is clearly demonstrated by the focus that the CPC places on guiding ideology and the emphasis that it places on keeping up with the times. As an advanced political party of the proletariat, the CPC boasts a high level of cultural awareness. It attaches great importance to developing theories, innovating theories, arming Party members with theories, and mobilizing the people and guiding social practices with advanced ideology and culture. Secondly, the mission of the CPC to innovate culture is clearly embodied in the cultural awareness of the CPC. The CPC has always stood at the forefront of cultural development. To a certain extent, the CPC’s advantage lies in its cultural awareness. Without exception, the CPC has played a leading role in all cultural innovations in China since the beginning of the 20th century. Thirdly, the CPC’s mission of cultural innovation is demonstrated through the Party’s ever-deepening understanding of the nature and development laws of culture. By adhering to the principle that culture embodies both class attributes and ideological attributes, the CPC has managed to keep cultural development on the right track. In addition to understanding the class attributes and ideological attributes of culture, the CPC has also understood and continued to expand the commodity attributes of culture. This represents a great and unique contribution of the Party.

(Originally appeared in Social Sciences Weekly, November 24, 2011)

The Cultural Foundations of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

Zhu Kexin

The reason why socialism with Chinese characteristics carries the modifier “with Chinese characteristics,” to some extent, is because it has been shaped by Chinese culture. An ideal system is one that takes the essence of traditional culture and combines it with the needs of the contemporary age. This is exactly what socialism with Chinese characteristics does—it not only features socialism, but also Chinese characteristics. We need Marxism. Yet in the process of adapting Marxism to Chinese conditions, we need to consider the realities of the country and the nation while adhering to the basic tenets of Marxism. In order to do so, the development of our system needs to include two inter-related aspects. First, we should continue to adapt Marxism to conditions in China and search for a foundation in traditional Chinese culture. Second, we should foster culture according to contemporary needs, so as to develop a new culture for the Chinese nation. Culture, and especially the evolution of values, has served as a driving force behind the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, playing a key role in its formation, development, and establishment. It was the emancipation of the mind that began the reform and opening up drive, allowing socialism with Chinese characteristics to develop. In this regard, culture is the source of vitality for the system. Only culture that is geared to the contemporary age will be able to preserve the creativity of this system.

(Originally appeared in Scientific Socialism, No.5, 2011)

A Culturally-Strong Country Should Have Cultural Confidence

Zhang Guozuo

Confidence is essential if we are to build a country with a strong socialist culture and promote the vigorous development and prosperity of socialist culture. Where does cultural confidence come from? Firstly, our confidence originates from China’s profound traditional culture, which stretches back more than 5,000 years. This is the “root” of Chinese culture. Traditional Chinese culture is profound, containing a vast range of cultural elements that form the basis of soft power. The philosophical wisdom, rational values, and humanistic spirit of China’s traditional culture are all suited to the trend of social development, maintaining their strong vitality to this day. Many of the moral qualities advocated in traditional culture, such as benevolence, righteousness, loyalty, bravery, filial piety, humanism, honesty, trust, unity, harmony, and seeking common ground, have influenced Chinese people one generation after another. These merits are a cultural lifeline that ensures the continuity and unity of the Chinese nation. Secondly, cultural confidence comes from the guidance of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development. These thoughts are the “soul” of contemporary Chinese socialist culture. It is under the guidance of these scientific theories that the CPC has united people of all ethnic groups in founding the People’s Republic of China, establishing the system of socialism, and paving the road of reform and opening up that has made the people wealthy and the country strong. This has allowed China to become the second largest economy in the world after the U.S., laying down solid material foundations for China to vigorously develop its culture. Thirdly, cultural confidence comes from favorable conditions brought about by the reform and opening up policy, which allow China to study and draw on the cultural strengths of other countries. The CPC, China, and the Chinese people are all renowned for their ability to study. Since the launch of the reform and opening up drive, we have become much more open-minded and far-sighted. We have the courage to tolerate differences and accept diversity, and are adept at absorbing the strengths of other countries and enhancing them through our own innovation. In summary, the confidence of a culturally-strong country comes from its efforts to respect and refine its “roots,” from its efforts to preserve and develop its “soul,” and from its efforts to tolerate and learn from foreign cultures.

(Originally appeared in Outlook Weekly, No.43, 2011)

The Inherent Advantages of the Political Party System with Chinese Characteristics

Xue Fenfei

The political party system with Chinese characteristics is a product of Chinese history in modern times. This system boasts inherent advantages that accord to the national conditions in China. Firstly, the Chinese model for political party interaction boasts a dialectical unity of multi-party cooperation under the leadership of the CPC. This allows for the formation of a great cohesive force for China’s modernization and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Multi-party cooperation can only achieve steady and lasting development when there is a strong leading core. Since China’s socialist modernization is being carried out on backwards economic foundations, it is necessary for us to seize the moment and make the best use of opportunities to strengthen our national strength. Under such circumstances, the unified leadership of the CPC is a fundamental guarantee for leapfrog development in the course of China’s modernization. Secondly, the Chinese political party model embodies both a vanguard nature and a representative nature, forming a relationship between society, political parties, and political power that is suited to China’s conditions. The CPC and the democratic parties bring together the most advanced and outstanding people in society. The rational division of Party and government functions and the lawful leadership and participation of political parties in state affairs help to avoid contention between multiple political parties, thereby safeguarding the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation and the overwhelming majority of the people. Such a party system boasts the advantages of uniting the people, integrating resources, and improving the efficiency of China’s political system. Thirdly, the organizational principles of China’s political parties embody a scientific understanding of democracy. The integration of democracy and centralization is an essential characteristic of the democratic system. The four leading forces—Party committees, people’s congresses, the government, and the CPPCC—are a manifestation of democratic centralism. This model creates a balance between wide participation and collective leadership, between social progress and national stability, and between vitality and efficiency. Fourthly, the self-improvement of China’s political parties integrates self-discipline, external supervision, and compliance with laws. China has essentially formulated an integrated system of checks and balances that comprises of interior supervision within parties, supervision between parties, public supervision, supervision by laws and regulations, and media supervision.

(Originally appeared in People’s Political Consultative Daily, February 1, 2012)

The Contribution of Marketization to China’s Economic Growth

Fan Gang, Wang Xiaolu and Ma Guangrong

It has been more than 30 years since China initiated economic reforms in 1978, a process that has transformed China from a planned economy into a market economy. During this period, the Chinese economy has maintained a high annual growth rate of almost 10% on average. During the period from 1997 to 2007, marketization contributed 1.45 percentage points to China’s economic growth per year on average. The progression of market-oriented reforms has significantly improved the efficiency of resource allocation and microeconomic operation. During this period, 39.23% of total factor productivity growth was attributable to market-oriented reforms. The actual contribution of market-oriented reforms might have actually been greater. This is because the acceleration of factor input and technological progress and the improvement of infrastructural conditions are closely tied to market liberalization. Although China has made remarkable achievements in its market-oriented reforms, there is still a long way to go before these reforms will be completed. There are still huge regional disparities in the reform process. While decisive progress has been made in the marketization of some eastern coastal provinces, non-market factors are still playing an important role in the economies of some inland provinces. In regard to the scope of reforms, the product market has developed relatively well, whereas the factor market has developed poorly in comparison. Therefore, future reform efforts should be focused on factor markets, monopoly industries, and public services.

(Originally appeared in Economic Research Journal, No.9, 2011)

The Direction and Path of China’s Industrial Upgrading

Li Gang, Liao Jianhui and Xiang Yini

There are two things that can be judged from the direction and path of China’s industrial upgrading. The first is that there is still great potential for industrialization in China. Re-calculating China’s industrial structure according to purchasing power parity theory reveals that China’s secondary industry accounts for 32.53% of its GDP, which is not a very high proportion. Hence, there is still a great deal of room for the development of secondary industry, and this is something that China should actively promote. Researchers at the Institute of Industrial Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences recently used a CGE model to forecast the development of China’s industrial structure. The results showed that the proportion of the tertiary industry in 2050 will stand at only 46% when measured in constant prices (2005). However, when price factors are taken into account, this total will increase to 62%. In other words, the increase in the proportion of tertiary industry is largely attributable to price factors, and not accelerated growth. We may therefore assume that China’s economic growth will continue to rely mainly on secondary industry. The second judgment we can make is that China’s labor-intensive industries are still its most competitive industries. After 30 years of rapid economic development, China’s per capita capital stock has increased significantly, and the factor endowment of the Chinese economy is continuing to undergo constant quantitative changes. The comparative competitiveness of labor-intensive industries is in decline, while that of capital-intensive industries is rising. Despite this, however, China’s factor endowment has yet to undergo qualitative changes, and China’s per capita capital will continue to remain below the world average for a significant period of time to come. We may therefore conclude that labor-intensive industries will continue to possess the largest comparative advantage during the period of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2011-2015). Since the introduction of the reform and opening up policy, China’s economic development has not always followed the principle of comparative advantage. However, we have noticed that it began to do so in 2005. Using research data and a Markov transition matrix to project the development of China’s industrial structure, the results show that before the year 2025, China’s economic development will conform to the principle of comparative advantage, with labor-intensive industries enjoying faster growth.

(Originally appeared in China Industrial Economics, No.10, 2011)

Energy Development and Addressing Climate Change in China

He Jiankun

On the eve of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, China made a commitment to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per unit of GDP by 40 to 45% by 2020 compared to the 2005 level. This goal represents the focal point of China’s efforts to tackle climate change and achieve low-carbon development. China is aiming to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16% over the next five years. Although this target is lower than the 19.1% decrease that China achieved during the Eleventh Five-Year Plan (2006-2010), the difficulty involved in attaining it will be significantly greater. To realize this goal, China needs to stress the following in its long-term energy strategy. First, it should stress the priority of energy conservation, channel consumption demand, and regulate the total amount of energy that is consumed. Second, China should promote the development of a low-carbon energy structure and gradually establish a sustainable energy system in which new and renewable energy resources are the mainstay. Third, China should specify a CO2 maximum emission target and further intensify CO2 emission cuts. Fourth, China should strengthen the research, development, and industrialization of advanced energy technologies in order to assume a leading technological position and boost its low-carbon competitiveness. During the period of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), China should take the following measures to achieve low-carbon development. First, China should transform its investment-dependent and export-oriented economic growth pattern and promote the strategic adjustment of its industrial structure. Second, it must regulate overall energy consumption and curb excessive growth in energy consumption and CO2 emissions. Third, China needs to develop a system to measure and evaluate carbon emissions in order to strengthen its ability to cope with climate change. Fourth, China should exert the role of market mechanisms and promote the establishment of the carbon-trading market.

(Originally appeared in China Population, Resources and Environment, No.10, 2011)

New Opportunities and Challenges for Small and Medium Enterprises

Research Group of the Development Research Center of the State Council

China’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have achieved rapid development since the launch of the reform and opening up drive, and particularly over the last several years. The number of SMEs is increasing on a yearly basis, and their level of development has continued to push new heights. According to the Second National Economic Census, there were roughly 37 million SMEs in China in 2008, including licensed self-employed people. In 2010, small and medium industrial enterprises above designated size (enterprises with annual sales of over 5 million yuan) reached 449,000 in number and registered a total output value of 49.8 trillion yuan, representing increases of 50.1% and 240% respectively compared to 2005 levels, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. SMEs have made tremendous contributions to China’s economic and social development. They generate 60% of the nation’s GDP, more than half of its tax revenue, and are responsible for 80% of urban employment. Moreover, they are responsible for 65% of patents, over 75% of corporate technological innovation, and more than 80% of new product development across the country. Both China’s economy and the global economy are experiencing a critical period of deepening reform and accelerated structural adjustment at the present, and will continue to do so for a period of time to come. Faced with complex, changing domestic and international environments that are teeming with new opportunities and new challenges, China’s SMEs must transform and upgrade themselves at a faster pace, and strive to achieve the following three transitions: (1) from a resource-dependent, environment-dependent, and cost-dependent extensive mode to an intensive mode that stresses innovation, environmental protection, and efficiency; (2) from focusing on processing and manufacturing to focusing on the service industry and emerging industries; and (3) from primarily exporting low-end products and focusing on trade alone to exporting mid-to-high-end products and focusing on both trade and investment.

(Originally appeared in China Development Observation, 2011)

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