Marxist System & Chinese Exceptionalism - Wang wants ASEAN to Push 'Asian Values' - 'Political Microbes' & Self-Revolution

Here are the stories and pieces that I found noteworthy from the June 8, 2021, edition of the People’s Daily.

Page 1: Another long 宣言 declaration today. This one begins with Xi’s 2016 comments, which essentially argue that the Party is the true inheritor of Marx’s ideas in that it had “enabled the 500-year-old socialist proposition to successfully carve out the right path with a high degree of realism and feasibility in the world's most populous country, allowing scientific socialism to glow with new vitality in the 21st century.”

The first part is essentially about how the Party has proven the adaptability of Marxism; and how the Party has been able to use Marxism to address China’s needs. The examples cited are forceful capture of power, tackling the “Three Great Mountains” of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucratic capitalism, the establishment of the socialist economic system, the policy of reform and opening up, and the current effort to “maintain strategic determination” amid the twin situations of global changes and “national rejuvenation.”

Here’s underscoring performance legitimacy and prompting a model:

“...The Party has led the people not only to complete the industrialization process that developed countries have taken for hundreds of years in a few decades, but also to explore and establish a Chinese modernization that harmonizes material and spiritual civilization, common prosperity for all people, harmonious coexistence between human beings and nature, and the path of peaceful development, providing a new choice of modernization for human social development.” 从“四个现代化”目标到“三步走”战略,从建设小康社会到建设现代化强国……党领导人民不但用几十年时间走完了发达国家几百年走过的工业化历程,而且探索开辟了物质文明和精神文明相协调、全体人民共同富裕、人与自然和谐共生、走和平发展道路的中国式现代化,为人类社会发展提供了现代化的全新选择.

And this: 

“China declares with hard facts that history has not ended and will not end, and that socialism is vibrant and has an unlimited future! The road to socialism with Chinese characteristics is not only the right one, but will also lead to a brighter future!” 中国用铁一般的事实宣告:历史没有终结也不会终结,社会主义生机蓬勃、前途无限! 中国特色社会主义道路不但走得对、走得通,而且必将通往更加光明的未来!

The second section is about telling us that the CCP-led system in China is indeed Marxist. So we first have an outline of Marx’s “basic principles,” identified as public ownership of means of production, planning and guidance of production, wages being directly proportional to labour-power of workers, and transformation and utilization of nature in accordance with the laws of nature.

Then we are told that the Party never moved away from the “basic principles” of a scientific socialism system at any point of time. The next paragraph says:

“We adhere to the leadership of the Party; adhere to the state system of people’s democratic dictatorship and the system of people’s congresses; adhere to the socialist distribution principle of honorable labor and distribution according to labor; adhere to the value of people in the first place, and constantly promote the all-round development of people and the all-round progress of society...These all embody the basic principles of scientific socialism under the new historical conditions, and continue the genetic bloodline of socialism.” 我们坚持党的领导;坚持人民民主专政的国体和人民代表大会制度的政体;坚持劳动光荣、按劳分配的社会主义分配原则;坚持把人的价值放在第一位,不断促进人的全面发展和社会全面进步……这些都在新的历史条件下体现了科学社会主义基本原则,赓续了社会主义的基因血脉.

After this, the authors tell us that Marx’s principles are not dogma but a method and the Party has used them effectively through Sinicization. In doing so, the CCP has endowed Marxism or scientific socialism with new “persuasiveness and appeal.”

The third section tells us a bit about what the Party is proud to put out as its achievements. “China's institutional exploration and practice on the road of socialism have achieved the ‘two miracles’ of rapid economic development and long-term social stability,” the author argues. And then we learn more about the approach today.

“In a new era, we are focussing on adhering to and improving the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, promoting the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity, strengthening top-level design and strategic arrangements on the basis of practical exploration, and the ‘construction plan’ of the Party and state system construction is magnificently unfolding.” 进入新时代,我们聚焦坚持和完善中国特色社会主义制度、推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化,在实践探索的基础上加强顶层设计和战略安排,党和国家制度建设“施工图”恢弘展开.

The author then says that the success in controlling the pandemic is an example of the system’s success. 

“Under the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, the Chinese people enjoy unprecedented democracy, freedom and human rights, and feel an unprecedented sense of gain, happiness and security. The Chinese system and governance system are great achievements made by the Party and the people through untold hardships and at great cost, and stand as a monument in the history of human institutional civilization and political civilization.” 在中国特色社会主义制度下,中国人民享受着前所未有的民主、自由和人权,感受着前所未有的获得感、幸福感、安全感. 中国制度和治理体系是党和人民历尽千辛万苦、付出巨大代价取得的伟大成就,矗立起人类制度文明和政治文明发展史上的一座丰碑!

The final section discusses cultural self-confidence. This tells us something about Chinese exceptionalism that the Party has promoted. It’s fascinating how the same article can pitch the Chinese system as a “new choice of modernization for human social development” but also emphasise the particularistic nature of the system and Chinese exceptionalism. 

“The 5,000-year-old civilization has been passed down from generation to generation, giving our party indomitable tenacity and tenacity; The unique temperament and endowment of Chinese culture has given our party a precious character of simplicity, strength and hard work; Chinese ancestors’ pursuit of harmony in the world has given our party a broad mind of caring for the people and serving the public.” 五千年文明的薪火相传、生生不息,赋予了我们党百折不挠的顽强与坚韧;中华文化特有的气质和禀赋,赋予了我们党质朴刚健、艰苦奋斗的宝贵品格;华夏先人对天下大同的追求向往,赋予了我们党心系苍生、天下为公的博大胸襟.

“Marxism, which condenses the essence of human thought, has activated the ancient Chinese civilization; the only great civilization in history that has never been interrupted has injected rich nutrients and profound impetus for the development of Marxism in China.” 凝结着人类思想精华的马克思主义,激活了古老的华夏文明;历史上唯一一个从未中断的伟大文明,又为马克思主义在中国的发展注入丰富的养分和深厚的动力. 

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Next, there’s a long report summarising rural grassroots party building work since the 18th Party Congress. The first part of the piece basically expresses confidence in the work that has been done. There are five broad points under this, with the first two being about political orientation and being closely integrated to the central leadership’s objectives and priorities. The next bit talks about specific focus areas. The first point here is about “arming rural party members and cadres with Xi Jinping Thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.” Others related to organisation structure, local leader selection, education and supervision of local party members, rectification, economic development and governance improvement.

Third, we have a document from the Central Committee’s General Office and State Council about reforming the tasks of state-owned art troupes. Xinhua English tells us that “noting that state-owned art troupes are the backbone forces in developing socialist literature and art, the guideline called for creating more plays themed on realism, patriotism, significant revolution and historical events, young people, and the military.” 

Finally, a report about the NPCSC starting its 29th session on Monday in Beijing. Xinhua English says that “lawmakers reviewed draft laws on data security, the Hainan free trade port, and the protection of status, rights, and interests of military personnel. They also reviewed a draft revision to the Law on Military Facilities Protection, a draft amendment to the Law on Workplace Safety, and draft laws on stamp tax and opposing foreign sanctions. In reports submitted to the session, the NPC Constitution and Law Committee said that the seven drafts are mature enough and suggested they pass at the session.”

Page 2: On the page, we have the full speech by Li Keqiang last week at the national teleconference on “deepening reforms to streamline administrative approval, delegate power to lower levels, and improve regulations and services.” Here was my coverage of this when it happened.

Page 3: Two reports to note. The first one is about the special meeting of China-ASEAN foreign ministers. The theme was the 30th anniversary of the China-ASEAN relationship. Xinhua English has a lot more detail.

“Wang stressed that over the past 30 years, the two sides have become the largest trading partner, the most connotative cooperation partner and the most dynamic strategic partner through joint efforts. Noting that China and ASEAN should focus on the next 30 years, Wang put forward suggestions for the two sides to jointly realize, maintain, and develop a road of regional cooperation with East Asian characteristics, build a higher level of China-ASEAN strategic partnership, and build a closer community with a shared future.”

The six suggestions that he put forward are to focus on

  • deepen anti-epidemic cooperation; 

  • promote economic recovery; 

  • improve the level of relations; 

  • reach the South China Sea Code of Conduct as soon as possible; 

  • insist on upholding multilateralism; and 

  • jointly promote Asian values

Next, we have Zhao Kezhi’s chats with Sheikh Saif bin Zayed al Nathan, deputy prime minister and minister of interior of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and with Yerlan Turgumbayev, Kazakh minister of internal affairs. Xinhua says that with Sheikh Saif, Zhao spoke about “closer relations in law-enforcement cooperation, deepen practical cooperation in fighting terrorism and extremism, ensuring security for major events and for the joint construction of the Belt and Road, as well as combating such crimes as cross-border gambling and telecom fraud.”

He also spoke about a “need to build a long-term mechanism for cooperation in combating transnational crimes and tracking down corrupt officials who flee overseas and their illicit gains.” With Turgumbayev, Zhao spoke about the need to “deepen practical cooperation in combating terrorism and extremism, ensuring security for major events and joint projects, as well as law enforcement in border areas...”

Page 13: A long piece by Tian Peiyan, deputy director of the Central Policy Research Office, on the Party’s history and practice of “self-revolution.” He writes that

“The leadership of the party is the fundamental guarantee for the triumphant advancement of the party’s cause. The party’s leadership position is not self-proclaimed, but has been formed through history and the people’s choice in a long and arduous struggle. It has been continuously consolidated in a resolute struggle against the wrong tendencies that weaken the party’s leadership in all forms. Practice shows that building a strong leadership core is the fundamental goal of self-revolution, and self-revolution is the fundamental way to build a strong leadership core.” 党的领导是党的事业胜利前进的根本保证. 党的领导地位不是自封的,而是在长期艰苦斗争中经过历史和人民的选择形成的,是在同形形色色削弱党的领导的错误倾向作坚决斗争中不断巩固的. 实践表明,建设坚强领导核心是自我革命的根本目标,自我革命是建设坚强领导核心的根本途径.

He talks about how since the 18th Party Congress much work has been done to “safeguard General Secretary Xi Jinping's core position of the CPC Central Committee and the core position of the whole party, and ensure the authority of the CPC Central Committee.” He then talks about how since the 18th Party Congress, “we have established the party’s organizational line for the new era, established and improved a rigorous organizational system including the party’s central organization, local organizations, and grassroots organizations, improved the party’s overall leadership and specific work systems, and governed in accordance with scientific and democratic governance.” He then talks about self-revolution, governance capacity and political criteria for officials, to argue that a “solid foundation” has been established “for strengthening the party’s political leadership, ideological leadership, mass organization power, and social appeal.”

Tian then discusses the Party’s history of self-discipline, and highlights the Xi administration’s “zero tolerance” attitude towards corruption. Tian warns that this effort along with rectification must continue.

He argues that with the changing situation domestically and externally, along with changes in the size and structure of Party membership, “the party’s body will inevitably be contaminated with various political dust and political microbes, and to a certain extent, it needs centralized and thorough cleaning.” 随着一定时期形势任务、外部环境特别是党员队伍规模和结构的发展变化,党的肌体不可避免地会沾染各种政治灰尘和政治微生物, 积累到一定程度,就需要进行集中的彻底的清理.

“This kind of clean-up takes pure thought, pure organization and pure style as the main contents, and improves ideological understanding and consciousness through theoretical study…” He recommends the use of a “coaching and ‘consultation’ approach to find the crux of the problem,” and calls to “use the weapons of criticism and self-criticism” to reveal shortcomings and “touch the soul,” “so that each person undergoes a baptism.” He adds: “Follow the policy of treating diseases and saving lives and the formula of ‘unity-criticism-unity. to achieve the purpose of distinguishing right from wrong and uniting comrades...” 这种清理,以纯洁思想、纯洁组织、纯洁作风为主要内容,通过理论学习,提高思想认识和觉悟;采取开门纳谏、多方“会诊”的办法,找准问题的症结;运用批评和自我批评的武器,揭短亮丑、触及灵魂,让每个人经受洗礼;遵循惩前毖后、治病救人方针和“团结—批评—团结”的公式,达到既分清是非又团结同志的目的;着力整改,对发现的问题动真碰硬、立行立改,在整改中升华境界、改进工作.

The final bit of the piece then emphasises the need to focus on leading cadres and the key minority as part of this effort.

Page 17: On the international page, do note the report about Bangladesh giving emergency use authorization for the CoronaVac vaccine manufactured by Sinovac Life Sciences Co. Ltd. This is the second Chinese-made vaccine to be given emergency use authorization in the country. The World Health Organization has also issued Emergency Use Listing status to the CoronaVac vaccine.

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