Editor’s note: In this column we introduce phrases frequently used in the Chinese media and by the Chinese government, thereby providing a succinct overview of China’s political thinking, its policies, and ongoing reforms and transitions.  










The Three Guidelines for Ethical Behavior and the Three Basic Rules of Conduct


The initiative to implement the three guidelines for ethical behavior and the three basic rules of conduct (the 3+3 Initiative) was proposed by Xi Jinping. It calls upon officials at all levels to be strict with themselves in self-cultivation, in the exercise of power, and in self-discipline, and to act in good faith when performing official duties, taking initiatives, and interacting with others.


Through self-cultivation, officials are expected to enhance their awareness of the ethical standards of the Party, stand firm in support of its ideals and principles, cultivate integrity, pursue lofty goals, distance themselves from vulgar interests, and resist unhealthy practices and evil influences.


Prudence in the exercise of power emphasizes the importance of using power in the interests of the people, and in accordance with rules and regulations. Officials are expected to keep the exercise of power within the confines of institutional checks, and neither seek privileges nor abuse power for personal gain at any time.


Self-discipline promotes respect for the rule of law, diligence in self-examination, and strict adherence to Party discipline and state laws.


Good faith in performing official duties entails due diligence in decision-making to ensure that all ideas, policies, and plans are context-appropriate, in line with actual conditions, and on a well-conceived and rational basis. We should avoid being overly ambitious and divorced from reality.


Good faith in taking initiatives requires down-to-earth wisdom, results orientation, and accountability for our actions. We should be willing to face up to problems, be adept at solving them, and strive to achieve real results that can stand the test of time.


Good faith in interacting with others calls for honesty in our daily life and work. We should always talk the talk, and walk the walk.












Modernizing the National Governance System and Capabilities


One of the policy goals of the expanded in-depth reform program set by the 18th CPC Central Committee at its Third Plenary Session in November 2013 is to modernize the national governance system and capabilities. This is a new political concept that reflects the CPC’s new understanding of the sociopolitical dynamics, and represents an important and innovative addition to the Marxist theory of the state. As a theoretical framework, it also marks an important transition of the CPC from a revolutionary party to a party in power.


As China’s institutional infrastructure under the leadership of the CPC, the national governance system comprises a full array of interlocking and mutually supplementary mechanisms that address economic, political, cultural, social, ecological, and Party-building issues, as well as legal and normative frameworks.


The national governance capabilities refer to the ability to use the national system to manage state affairs, including domestic and foreign affairs, and issues associated with reform, development, stability, and national defense, and to pursue efforts to build an exemplary Party, a prosperous country, and a strong military.


The modernization of the national governance system and capabilities should follow the socialist path with Chinese characteristics. Efforts should be made to foster and promote the core values of Chinese socialism, and accelerate the building of a value system that fully captures what China is, what the Chinese nation stands for, and what our mission today calls for.


Selected from Keywords to Understanding China published by China Academy of Translation and China International Publishing Group.