Nepal: China’s fifth generation leadership and the world

Madan Regmi

Chairman, China Study Center, Nepal

With General Secretary of Communist Party of China, Chairman of the Military Commission and Vice President Xi Jinping elected as President, Standing Committee Political Bureau member Li Keqiang as Premier, Standing Committee PB member Zhang Dejiang as the Chairman of the National People’s Congress and PB member Li Yuanchao as Vice President by the 18th National People’s Congress and Standing Committee PB member Yu Zhengsheng elected its Chairman by CPCC, new appointments have been made in all important portfolios. The power transition in China from Fourth to Fifth Generation is complete. This democratic transition has ushered in a new era in China led by President Xi Jinping, which will be dedicated to build a strong and prosperous China. While Xi Jinping, immediately after being elected General Secretary of the CPC and Chairman of the Military Commission, has already made his mission and priorities clear on China’s internal and external policy, the entire world awaits to see how the Fifth Generation of Chinese leaders will meet the challenges and steer the nation to the zenith of development and strength so that a prosperous and strong China will be able to raise the standard of living of the entire Chinese people, enhance its role in the international arena and contribute more actively to a harmonious world order.

In China, high hopes are pinned on the Fifth Generation of Chinese leadership led by Xi Jinping. Commentators and political analysts have presented the Fifth Generation of leaders as the best among the bests-bound to be better. President Xi Jinping, son of a revolutionary father, himself is a leader of clean image and an individual who has worked from the grass root level and has served his country in different capacities. As Vice President he had paid official visits to forty two countries that included United States, Russia and European, Latin America, Caribbean, African and-South East Asian countries drawing admiration. His knowledge about the need of the Chinese people and the call of time was well expressed in his address to the National People’s Congress after being elected the President of China. Xi, as General Secretary of the CPC, had advocated that “the power should be restricted by the cage of regulation”, and after being elected the President of China by NPC, Xi made the clarion call to work hard as per the call of the time. He declared, “In face of the mighty trend of the times and earnest expectations of the people for a better life, we cannot have the slightest complacency, or get the slightest slack at work”.

Stressing on the inseparable bond between the Chinese people and socialism with Chinese characteristics, he said: “we must make persistent efforts, press ahead with indomitable will, continue to push forward the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and strive to achieve the Chinese dream of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” The Chinese people, socialism with Chinese characteristics, the Chinese dream of rejuvenation Of the Chinese people- all these intertwined was the core spirit of Xi’s expression.

The next powerful man of China, Premier Li Keqiang, while addressing the mammoth gathering of national and international media, outlined the basic policies of the Chinese Government. His stress was more on the economic reform that was imperative to introduce a new growth model. Li was confident of the stable and sustainable growth of Chinese

economy and its peaceful development. According to OECD, “China’s economy should expand by 8.5 percent in 2013 and more in 2014, with inflation and export demand the biggest near term risks to growth that should average 8 percent in this decade at current rates of investment and reform”. In 2012, China’s growth was 7.8.

Li’s forceful deliberation during the press conference was a message to the world that China will never compromise its sovereignty and will safeguard its sovereignty independence and territorial integrity.

As this message was delivered by Li during the period of heightening tension in South China Sea, now with some sign of subsiding, it was a declaration of the stand by the Fifth Generation of Chinese leadership on the issues of China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. To assert China’s policy to repel foreign pressure and attempts to contain China, Li assured neighbors that “China will have best cooperating relation with the neighboring countries but doesn’t need any hegemony”.

These were the answers Li delivered to the flurry of questions. To sum up, the most important part of his first press conference as premier was centered on economic reform, foreign policy, the rule of law, transparency and China’s determination to play its active role in shaping the world order. The Chinese leaders seem to be confident that by making every Chinese citizen, irrespective of their position, abide by the rule of law and transparency in the Government affairs will solve most of China’s problems.

Experts, however, are of the view that since “China is poised to launch its most serious economic reform drive since 1990s after a series of top appointments at the weekend”, “Li’s agenda will be focused on fiscal changes that redistribute income and promote private consumption, cutting China’s reliance on investment-led, export oriented growth while pursuing the next phase of urbanization that is designed to drive domestic economic activity”. Smoothly executing China’s foreign policy has been entrusted to experienced hands like Yang Jiechi, the State Councilor, and Wang Yi, the Foreign Minister.

Wang is known for his best performance as Ambassador to Japan, point person to six party talks on Korean peninsula and Minister of Taiwan affairs. To put it in a nutshell, Xi’s entire team is composed of selective experts that know their business, very well and possess the required sine qua non.

Prof. Zhu Feng, School of International Studies, Peking University, affirms: “unlike their predecessors, Xi’s generation had been through higher education and embarked on careers at the time of the launch of the country’s opening-up and reform. In 1978, when China opened its door to the world, Xi and his peers were eager to learn from the West. They embraced the notion that knowledge has the power to shape the fate and future of their country, and were heartened at Deng Xiaoping’s pragmatic proposal to cast aside the fetters of ultra-leftist ideology.”(China’s New Leadership and the World, China Today, 1st January, 2013)

Reform:

The Communist Party of China is convinced that its previous model of development needs to be changed. Reform should be introduced to every field. This, however, doesn’t mean that China will make any major change in its political system that will weaken the position of the ruling Communist Party. It is expressed in the clearest possible way when Xi Jinping underscored that China should learn to avoid the fate of the Soviet Union. He analyzed the cause of disintegration of the Soviet Union and rightly pointed out that the reason is “losing the communist beliefs and ideals”. When Xi said, “We learn from the Soviet experience that we have to strengthen the grip of the party on the military. The Soviet army de-politicized itself, dissociated itself from the party, and changed its nature (from a party army) to a national army. This means stripping the party of the ability to defend itself”, made the world to understand that the Communist Party of China and People’s Liberation Army are inseparable. It is indeed an outstanding assertion based on the history of Chinese revolution in which People Liberation Army played the key role to liberate China from the occupation of the foreign powers, defeat the feudal reactionary rule and establishment of People’s Republic of China. Since then PLA’s role and importance is ever growing.

Besides, the CPC Constitution stipulates: “The realization of communism is the highest ideal and ultimate goal of the party”. A columnist Ching Cheong, in his article “Dreams of Reform in China,” writes, the term “realization of communism” has not been used since China’s reform and opening up started in 1978. But it is enshrined in the CPC Constitution, which says, “The realization of communism is the highest ideal and ultimate goal of the party”. Xi’s remark on the cause of demise of the Soviet Union emphasizes on the necessity to preserve communist ideology and is enough to convey that the political reform in China, if it takes place, in no way takes the trajectory that will weaken the one party rule in China. Apart from it, the 18th Congress undertook major amendments to establish the Scientific Outlook on Development as a guiding theory of the party and “the Congress unanimously agreed that along with Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thought of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook of Development should be made a part of the Party’s guide for action in the Party Constitution”. This statement has amply explained the future course of China and the parameter within which the Fifth Generation of leaders will have to exercise it and the road through which this great nation will traverse. To achieve the principal objective of the CPC, the Fifth Generation of Chinese Leadership will exercise power on a more popular base through the People’s Congress. For it, the CPC has introduced major changes to its constitution, preserving core theories and values, while the CPC believes that “reform in every realm must be comprehensively pushed forward with more resolution and encouragement”.

To be ccontinued.

From the book: China’s leadership-The Fifth Generation, China Study Center Publication. Thanks.

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