The People’s Congress and CPPCC Systems Constitute One of China’s Fundamental Advantages

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The People’s Congress and CPPCC Systems Constitute One of China’s Fundamental Advantages        

Mao Xiaogang

In terms of initial design, the system of people’s congresses is China’s fundamental political system, while the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC is China’s basic political system. The former is a system of state power which lays emphasis on the practice of state governance, while the latter is a political party system which lays emphasis on the consultation of major policies and principles. This is a truly unique design that boasts great foresight. Over 60 years ago, the founders of the People’s Republic of China drew lessons from the successes and failures of both China and other countries at different stages of history. By doing so, they laid down the institutional foundations of China’s political system, accomplishing the mission that had been given to them by history. From deliberation to formulation, neither the people’s congress system nor the CPPCC system copied a traditional or foreign model. Instead, both are completely unique “Chinese designs” that have drawn inclusively from the lessons of various other models. As China’s highest political authorities, the people’s congresses and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) are much more than a ceremonial display of China’s unique political system, but real systems that embody the rules and the characteristics of “Chinese style democracy.” Both systems have been improved on a constant basis over the course of several decades. These improvements conform to the theoretical logic behind the objective evolution of the superstructure, as well as the actual course of China’s economic and social development. People’s congresses and the CPPCC are thus very geared to practice. The standard of deputies and members and the quality of their proposals are constantly improving, while the effects that these two systems exert are also being enhanced. Fact has demonstrated that the people’s congress and CPPCC systems are a fundamental advantage of China.

(Originally appeared in Beijing Daily, March 16, 2012)

Socialist Democracy with Chinese Characteristics Is Growing Stronger                                     

Zhao Qi

The contribution that democracy has made to human civilization is undeniable. Despite this, however, there are very different opinions as to the means of achieving democracy and the form that it should assume. In more than a century of modern Chinese history, some people have advocated that China should imitate the Western multi-party model in which different political parties assume governing power by winning elections. In contrast, Chinese Communists advocated that a Chinese path of democracy should be followed, one which accords to the Marxist outlook on democracy and the actual conditions in China. History has shown us how various attempts to copy Western “democracy” have failed due to a lack of the necessary conditions. However, China’s model of people’s democracy under the leadership of the CPC has survived the course of revolution, construction, and reform, becoming progressively stronger as a result. Moreover, it has kept pace with the times and constantly enriched and renewed itself, thereby becoming the broadest political consensus in contemporary China. In judging whether a democratic model is right and good, the key is to look at whether it is rational and sensible. “Rational” means that the democratic principles and procedures that it implements represent the interests of the overwhelming majority of people. This is the essence of democracy. “Sensible” means that it meets the expectations of the general public and accords to the actual conditions of the country in question. Socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics is the best demonstration of this standard. Socialism has transformed the democracy of the past, which could only be enjoyed by a small exploiting minority, into a people’s democracy that can be enjoyed by the majority of people. The people have genuinely become the masters of the country and society, and enjoy extensive and substantial democratic rights. Staying true to Chinese characteristics ensures that China’s socialist democracy not only abides by the general laws of democratic development, but also conforms to actual conditions in China. This has allowed China to develop a Chinese path that is characterized by the rule of the people, political stability, sustained economic development, and the common pursuit of happiness.

(Originally appeared in Guangming Daily, March 12, 2012)

China Needs to Follow Its Own Path of Political Reform

Zhang Weiwei

The political development of contemporary China represents a unique continuation of China’s historical traditions. It is this continuity that determines the uniqueness of the Chinese path. In a sense, the comparatively successful reform of China’s economic system has provided the valuable experience that China will need for the reform of its political system. There are three basic lessons to be learned from China’s successful economic reform: First, adhering to the principle of seeking truth from facts; second, engaging in constant trials on a step-by-step basis, “feeling out the stones to cross the river,” and promoting transformation gradually; third, drawing from the strong points of foreign countries whilst taking the initiative in our own hands, and using our own judgment to decide which points to accept whilst refraining from imitating others blindly. This successful way of thinking should also be applied for the future reform of China’s political system, which should be promoted gradually as opposed to drastically. Carrying out political reform in a country as massive as China, we must calculate the cost of each of the reforms that we promote. The best way for China to move forward is to promote political reform steadily and seek to make the greatest gains at the lowest cost.

(Originally appeared in People’s Tribune, Issue 2, March 2012)

China’s Economy Has the Potential for Long-Term Growth

Fan Gang

An analysis of various factors suggests that China’s economy definitely has the capacity to maintain strong growth for another 20 to 30 years. First, there is still great potential for reform. Reforms in various sectors are processes for the unleashing of development potential. Second, China will continue to enjoy new gains from opening up. Although the growth of foreign investment and the proportion that foreign investment accounts for in overall investment are on the decline, the contribution that it makes to China’s economic growth remains positive. The spillover effect of foreign investment has brought knowledge, experience, managerial expertise, and technology, and has had an especially positive influence on finance. Third, Chinese enterprises are stepping up their efforts to “go global.” Chinese companies stand to learn a great deal from “going global,” and will be able to improve their production and R&D capacities through mergers and reorganization. At the same time, “going global” will have positive implications for the growth of the GNP (gross national product) and the enhancement of citizens’ knowledge. “Going global” also bears strong implications for scientific and technological innovation. Fourth, the factors contributing to China’s labor advantages will remain in place over the long term. China’s development has benefited from the country’s comparative advantages in terms of labor resources over more than three decades. The cost of labor is an important factor contributing to this advantage. At the present, China’s coastal regions are witnessing rising labor costs and shortages of labor resources. However, the emergence of a new generation of rural migrant workers will allow us to gradually resolve this issue. Moreover, the advantage of China’s central regions in terms of labor resources is becoming increasingly evident as central regions gradually accommodate the relocation of industries from China’s coastal regions. In the future, inland regions will play a more important role in underpinning China’s economic growth.

(Originally appeared in China Comment, No.3, 2012)

Five Areas of Potential for China’s Economic Growth

Zheng Xinli

There is still great potential for China’s economic growth. This potential can mainly be found in the following five areas. The first major area is demand potential, which involves two separate aspects. The first aspect pertains to the huge demand created by urbanization. The greatest potential for China’s economic development over the next 20 years lies in continuation of urbanization. As the level of urbanization increases, new potential demand will be released. The second aspect pertains to the huge potential for consumer demand, which is yet to be released. By transforming the pattern of economic development, we will be able to boost domestic demand, adjust the structure of income distribution, and strengthen the role of consumer spending in stimulating economic growth. The potential for investment and consumption will be sufficient to underpin the steady and rapid growth of China’s economy for the next 20 years. The second major area is capital potential. At the end of 2011, the total sum of financial assets in Chinese banks exceeded 110 trillion yuan. Making good use of this capital will provide a strong driving force for China’s future development. The third major area is labor potential. At present, China has 280 million agricultural workers and 660 million rural residents. With rising levels of modernization and mechanization in agriculture, some farmers will be able to leave their land and take up employment in the secondary and tertiary industries, thereby providing the labor needed for China’s future development. The fourth major area is technology potential. By continuing to introduce and assimilate existing scientific and technological resources, we will be able to achieve increases in our productivity. Since proposing the goal of promoting industrial upgrading through independent innovation, the government and enterprises have significantly increased investment in R&D, and technological achievements have begun to emerge in quick succession. This indicates that we can also underpin industrial upgrading through technological advances. The fifth major area is land potential. In addition to uncultivated beach land and hillside land, land for construction in villages also accounts for a large proportion of land resources that can be utilized. Given its huge potential for development and numerous institutional advantages, China will definitely be able to set an even longer record for rapid economic growth.

(Originally appeared in Economic Daily, February 10, 2012)

The Common Development and Prosperity of the Public and Private Sectors Is a Fundamental Characteristic of China’s Economy                                  

Hu An’gang

The public sector and the private sector are both important components of China’s socialist market economy. They are not mutually exclusive; the growth of one does not indicate the decline of the other. Rather, they are mutually reinforcing, developing in coordination with each other. The huge size of China’s economy and the huge scale of its markets have provided public and private sectors with a broad scope for development and cooperation. Companies that grasp opportunities and engage in bold innovation are certain to be rewarded with success. Fact has demonstrated that the common development and prosperity of the public and private sectors is a fundamental characteristic of China’s economy, and that it is the combined development of the two that has guaranteed the rapid, steady, and sound growth of China’s economy. As a result, China has been able to deliver a stronger performance than economies that rely solely on state-owned enterprises or private enterprises to fuel their development. Following the outbreak of the international financial crisis, it was the rapid adjustment of both private enterprises and state-owned enterprises that enabled China to become the first country to mount a recovery.

(Originally appeared in Journal of the Chinese Academy of Governance, No.1, 2012)

Science and Technology Are the Fundamental Means of Developing Agriculture                     

Dong Zhong

Science and technology constitute the primary productive force and the fundamental means for the development of agriculture in China. First, science and technology have contributed greatly to the bumper harvests that China has recorded for consecutive years. The period since the holding of the Sixteenth National Party Congress has been a golden one for China’s agricultural and rural development, with grain output increasing and rural incomes growing rapidly for eight consecutive years. Such achievements have rarely been seen before. A crucial factor contributing to these achievements has been the supporting role of science and technology. In 2011, science and technology were responsible for 53.5% of the growth in agricultural output. Second, the development of agriculture in the future will be increasingly reliant on the guiding and supporting role of science and technology. At present, China’s agriculture is undergoing extensive and profound changes. In addition to growing overall demand for agricultural products, the demand for organic, safe, and high quality agricultural products is also increasing. Agricultural workers are continuing to seek employment in urban areas, production costs are rising rapidly, land resources are decreasing, and resource and environmental constraints are becoming more prominent. In addition, climate change is continuing to worsen, and the difficulty of sustaining agricultural development is set to increase. Under these new circumstances, we are no longer able to depend on the consumption of more water and soil resources or the use of more chemical fertilizer and pesticide to increase agricultural output. Only by relying more on agricultural science and technology will we be able to overcome the constraints posed by resources, the environment, and natural disasters; resolve problems such as decreasing comparative efficiency and a diminishing young and middle-aged agricultural workforce; and meet the demand for large amounts of high quality agricultural products.

(Originally appeared in China Development Observation, No.2, 2012)

The State of China’s New-Media Industry

Ju Lixin and Zhang Jianhua

The current state of China’s new-media industry can be described as follows: the overall scale of the market is expanding rapidly; new-media enterprises are developing steadily and their operations are becoming increasingly standardized; cross-platform integrated development is becoming more common between various new-media services, benefiting all participating parties; mobile Internet has become a focal point of new-media development; and the policy environment for the new-media industry has become more relaxed, with market-based operations becoming the mainstream practice. According to figures from the Report on the Development of China’s Media Industry (2010), the total output value of China’s media industry in 2009 was 490.796 billion yuan, up 16.3% over the year 2008. Mobile media and the Internet have become the main trends and driving forces for the development of the media industry. According to a survey conducted by a market analysis company, as of the end of July 2011, the total number of Internet users in China reached 485 million, with 301 million of them being video subscribers, and a total of 90% of Chinese people were involved in activities related to the Internet. According to figures from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the number of mobile Internet users in China reached 280 million in the fourth quarter of 2010, up 41.48% over the same period of 2009. It has been estimated that the number of mobile Internet users could surpass 600 million in 2012, exceeding the number of wired Internet users. With the development of the new-media industry, a number of user favorite service providers have emerged, with enterprises such as Focus Media, Alibaba, Tencent, Shanda, and Tudou becoming major industry players. However, the large number of small and medium-sized enterprises in China’s new-media industry has led to a low degree of industrial concentration and fragmentation in terms of operation modes. As a result, the market in its present state is unable to meet demands for funds, technology, and personnel in the development of the new-media industry.

(Originally appeared in News and Writing, No.12, 2011)

Unique Advantages of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

Xin Xiangyang

The socialist system with Chinese characteristics is suited to China’s conditions and conforms to the trends of the times. For this reason, it demonstrates both bright prospects and unique advantages. The capacity of this system is mainly embodied in the following four aspects. The first aspect is a strong capacity to create suitable systems. The socialist system with Chinese characteristics includes the fundamental political system, the basic political system, the basic economic system, and various specific systems, all of which are suited to the needs of China’s economic and social development, and able to meet the institutional requirements of economic and social development. The second aspect is a strong capacity to seize opportunities. Since the institution of the reform and opening up policy over 30 years ago, the CPC Central Committee has always been able to astutely recognize and seize precious opportunities for China’s development, which it has done by relying on the wisdom of the whole Party and all people throughout the country. China is currently undergoing an important period of strategic opportunity. The third aspect is a strong capacity to discover and defuse risks. Confronted with risks that were unforeseeable or difficult to foresee, such as the SARS outbreak, the Asian financial crisis, the international financial crisis, and the Wenchuan earthquake, China has been able to mount effective responses by fully exerting its capacity to concentrate resources behind major undertakings, which is a political advantage of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. The fourth aspect is a strong capacity to carry out inclusive development. Being broadly representative and highly inclusive, the fundamental political system and basic political system of socialism with Chinese characteristics are able to unite all forces possible and mobilize all positive factors possible, thereby providing a strong driving force for the development of China.

(Originally appeared in Theoretical Investigation, No.2, 2012)

The Outstanding Achievements of China’s Political Reform

Zheng Yan

China’s reform is a systematic project that should be advanced comprehensively. Since the institution of the reform and opening up policy, China’s political reform has been carried out in a steady and orderly fashion. Much like economic reforms, these efforts have led to outstanding achievements and the accumulation of a wealth of experience. First, democratic systems and mechanisms have been constantly improved, not only giving deeper meaning to the role that the people play as the masters of the country, but also enhancing the means by which this role is achieved. Since the institution of the reform and opening up policy, the fundamental purpose of China’s political reform has always been to ensure and realize the people’s democratic rights. The CPC and the Chinese government have persisted in carrying out reforms in line with the ever-changing political and economic situation in order to maintain the vitality of these systems and mechanisms. Second, the CPC has constantly strengthened its Party building efforts and remarkably improved its capacity for governance. On the basis of strengthening its ability to learn and engage in theoretical innovation, the CPC has improved its capacity to conduct scientific, democratic, and law-based governance. As a result, the CPC has gained a more solid class base and more widespread public support. Third, we have made a major breakthrough in administrative reform, putting in place an administrative system that is geared towards the development of the socialist market economy. For example, we have broken away from a vicious circle in reform whereby government agencies would swell despite attempts to streamline them. In addition, the government has gradually withdrawn from a number of competitive fields, and the functions of economic administration departments have become more oriented towards macroeconomic regulation. Fourth, the division of governmental authority has become more rational. At present, with a view to optimizing the allocation of governmental authority, we have ensured that state organs and other organizations fulfill their respective duties under the leadership of the CPC, given full play to the enthusiasm of various parties, and improved their efficiency. Fifth, various political relations have been balanced, making for a harmonious and stable society. By addressing problems such as the lack of distinction between Party and government and the functions of the government being assumed by the Party, we have balanced the relationship between the Party and the government, and made the scope of their respective powers and responsibilities clearer and more standardized. In addition, we have made adjustments to the relationship between the central government and local governments, with the focus being the reform of the fiscal system. These efforts have ensured that both the central government and local governments are motivated to carry out their duties. We have also consolidated the relationship between different political parties under the leadership of the CPC, which is characterized by cooperation instead of competition. At the same time, we have taken steps to keep the conflicts that may emerge in an increasingly diversified and complex society within a controllable range. In doing so, we have been able to maintain a harmonious and stable social situation overall.

(Originally appeared in Academic Frontier, First Issue, March 2012)

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