The Chinese Dream
Revitalizing the Chinese nation has been the greatest dream of the Chinese people since the beginning of modern times. It is called the Chinese Dream. It is a dream of prosperity, of national renewal, and of happiness. Fundamentally, it is a dream of the people, a yearning for a better life and a brighter future. And this is also what the Communist Party of China (CPC) has been striving for.
To make our dream come true, China must continue to follow the Chinese way of development, elevate the Chinese spirit, and boost national cohesion. Our dream is a dream of peace, development, cooperation and prosperity for all, benefiting not only the Chinese people but also the people of the rest of the world. Only by staying focused on achieving real results and making sustained, strenuous efforts can we bring our dream to fruition.
The Four-Pronged Strategy
The Four-Pronged Strategy was first put forth by Xi Jinping during an inspection tour of Jiangsu Province in December 2014. The strategy calls for completing the process of building a moderately well-off society, pursuing an expanded in-depth reform agenda, implementing a comprehensive framework for promoting the rule of law, and launching an all-out effort to enforce strict Party discipline.
These four components of the strategy are mutually reinforcing. The completion of building the process of a moderately well-off society is the overall goal set by the CPC at its 18th National Congress. The pursuit of further reform and the promotion of the rule of law work side by side, like both wings of a bird or the two wheels of a chariot, to propel the country toward smooth realization of the goal. Efforts to strengthen Party discipline serve to ensure progress in all areas. The strategy provides an overall framework for the exercise of governance by China’s new central leadership.
Five concepts for development
At its Fifth Plenary Session held from October 26 to 29, 2015, the 18th CPC Central Committee called for “development that is innovation-driven, coordinated, green, oriented toward global progress, and beneficial to all.” Of these five concepts for development, innovation should be given top priority, while interactions between all the individual fields must be properly managed. The basic state policy of resource conservation and environmental protection should be respected, as should the principle that opening to the world must be to the benefit of all parties involved. Development should be in the interests of the people, rely on their support, and be of direct benefit to them. The thinking behind the five concepts for development embodies the CPC’s in-depth understanding of the laws of economic and social development, while the concepts offer a theoretical guideline for the leadership in building a moderately well-off society in all respects.
An all-out effort to enforce strict Party discipline
Strict discipline has always been part of a great tradition of the CPC. While visiting Jiangsu Province in December 2014, Xi Jinping called for an all-out effort to enforce strict discipline, placing new emphasis on the importance of regulating the Party’s own conduct.
An “all-out” effort is meant to cover the five cornerstones of Party development, namely theoretical development, organizational readjustment, work practices, anti-corruption campaigns, and institutional arrangements, and apply to every CPC organization and every CPC member. “Strict” discipline subjects CPC members to higher standards, i.e. standards more demanding than the general laws and regulations applicable to non-Party citizens. The focus is to provide restraints on Party members who hold official positions, and keep their activities under rigorous scrutiny.
An unwavering attention to strengthening Party discipline represents a defining feature of the current central leadership. As one of the components of the Four-Pronged Strategy, the move to enforce discipline helps ensure progress in the other three areas.
The new normal of China’s economy
The new normal of China’s economy is characterized by: (a) a shift from high growth rates to medium-high growth rates; (b) an on-going process of optimizing and upgrading the economic structure, and narrowing the urban-rural gap, with higher personal income as a share of GDP, and an increasing number of people benefiting from economic development; and (c) a transition from growth driven by input and investment to one driven by innovation.
This new normal would likely lead to, among others, a sizable increase in real output despite slower growth; more stable growth with a more diversified array of growth drivers; an increasingly optimized and upgraded economic structure, and more predictable development prospects; and a further revitalized market as result of the on-going move to streamline government and delegate authorities.
The importance of “supply-side reform” was emphasized by Xi Jinping at the 11th meeting of the CPC Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs on November 10, 2015. Supply-side policies, which focus on supply and production, are often discussed in contrast to a demand-side approach. To improve supply-side performance is to unleash productivity and maintain a competitive edge, with greater innovation, decommissioning of obsolete manufacturing, less overcapacity, and lower tax rates, so as to boost economic growth.
This reform is placing greater emphasis on optimizing the economic structure and enhancing the efficiency of all contributing factors. To this end, measures will be implemented to streamline government and delegate powers, relax macro-regulation, spur innovation, and reform the financial sector, land use rights, and SOEs. The reform plan is designed to accelerate structural change, fuel domestic demand and expand supply. Innovation will be encouraged to generate greater demand, which will in return lead to improvements in supply. Steady growth and structural adjustment should be mutually supportive and proceed in parallel.
Targeted approach to alleviating poverty
At the closure of the Central Economic Work Meeting on December 11, 2014, the central leadership floated the idea of a targeted approach to alleviating poverty. On June 18, 2015, during his visit to Guizhou Province, Xi Jinping once more raised the subject, which he believes will determine the success of the poverty alleviation drive. It has subsequently become a hot topic among the general public. In its Proposal for Formulating the 13th Five-year Plan for National Economic and Social Development, released in November 2015, the 18th CPC Central Committee specified targeted measures to be taken in the coming five years.
Targeted efforts are designed to ensure that average income statistics would not eclipse the true living conditions of many in hardship. Such efforts require attention to detail. Greater emphasis will be laid upon identifying low-income groups in need of assistance, so that they will receive due attention and their basic standard of living will be guaranteed.
The central leadership proposed such a targeted approach at a time when China faces a daunting challenge in its efforts to eliminate the final pockets of poverty across the country. To ensure that poverty reduction efforts are fully effective, Xi Jinping called for policies and programs of assistance to be tailored for the needs of individual families in conjunction with targeted funding and village-specific expert support, and to be pursued with a results-oriented focus.
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.
Community with a shared future
Building a community with a shared future is one of the key ideas proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping. By the end of May 2015, he had spoken about this topic on more than 60 occasions. In an address at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in March 2013, he brought up this idea for the first time. He said, “In today’s world, countries are connected to and dependent on one another to a degree never seen before. We all live in the same global village, in a space where the past and the present meet, and in a community with a shared future in which everyone has a little bit of others in him- or herself.”
In his keynote speech at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference in March 2015, President Xi set forth the principles for building a community with a shared future, namely the need for all countries to respect one another and treat each other as equals, cooperate in search of win-win solutions and common development, achieve common, comprehensive, collaborative, and sustainable security, and maintain mutually enriching and beneficial interactions among civilizations in a spirit of inclusiveness. Earlier in March 2013 during his visit to Tanzania, he said that history shows that China and Africa have always found themselves facing similar odds. Similar historical experience, common development tasks and shared strategic interests have bound us together.
The Belt and Road Initiative
The Belt and Road Initiative refers to the proposal to build a Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. During his visits to Central and Southeast Asia in September and October 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled the plans to implement this initiative in cooperation with related countries. The five pillars of the concept are policy coordination, connectivity of facilities, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and strengthened people-to-people ties.
A steering group has been set up in China to facilitate the implementation of this initiative, and close consultation has been on-going with the countries along the land and sea Silk Roads. A white paper entitled Vision and Actions on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road was published in March 2015.