The following is partly a translation from Chinese media, with commentary:
Jiang Zemin put forth his Three Represents, and Hu Jintao put forth his Scientific Outlook on Development. Both are regarded as the legacy guidelines they left for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to follow.
Now it is Xi Jinping’s turn. He put forth his “Four Comprehensives” in a speech last December. Just like Jiang Zemin’s first mention of his Three Represents in a speech in 2000, Xi’s mentioning of his Four Comprehensives did not attract much attention until now.
The CCP mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, has published the first, and will publish one commentary after another to publicise it as “a strategic blueprint for China’s future.”
I am going to give below the full texts of The People’s Daily commentary and the Reuters’ reports on the Four Comprehensives.
However, it is interesting to point out that Jiang put forth his Three Represents for the first time in 2000, 11 years after he was appointed CCP general secretary. It indicated the difficulties in establishing his powerbase. Hu put forth his Scientific Outlook on Development within one year after being appointed. It indicated the strong support he got from Jiang, the core of the third generation of CCP leadership.
Xi has obtained strong support from not only Jiang, the core of the CCP, but also other elders so that he was able to put forth his Chinese Dream as soon as he was appointed. Now he has substantiated his Chinese Dream with the Four Comprehensives. It indicates his success in establishing his position as CCP leader.
However, judging by the serious pollution, corruption, overcapacity, excessive local government debts, and other problems left behind by Hu Jintao, Hu did not have much success in realising his Scientific Outlook in developing the Chinese economy.
Will Xi be able to realise his Four Comprehensives to “comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society, comprehensively deepen reform, comprehensively implement the rule of law, and comprehensively strengthen Party discipline”?
That is the question.
Deepen reform? Can he surmount the resistance from conservatives and vested interests?
Rule of law? Can China’s judiciary be independent?
Strengthen party discipline? Can he overcome rampant corruption?
PEOPLE’S DAILY COMMENTARY
Xi’s ‘Four Comprehensives’ a strategic blueprint for China’s future
A moderately prosperous society, reform, rule of law, Party discipline — these “Four Comprehensives” are Xi Jinping’s blueprint for China’s future.
The “Four Comprehensives” are tasks raised at Communist Party of China (CPC) meetings over the last two years, since President Xi Jinping took office.
The concept was first mentioned by Xi in December, “..comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society, comprehensively deepen reform, comprehensively implement the rule of law, and comprehensively strengthen Party discipline.”
Shortly after Xi took helm of the CPC in November 2012, he put forward the concept of “the Chinese Dream,” or “the great renewal of the Chinese nation”.
“A moderately prosperous society” is not only the primary objective identified at the 18th Party Congress, but also “a crucial step towards the Chinese dream of great rejuvenation.”
Xi’s first trip as China’s leader was to Shenzhen, symbolic hub of Deng Xiaoping‘s reforms, and promised “no stop to reform and opening up”.
“Deepening reform” identifies the route to prosperity and social progress.
The “Four Comprehensives” come as China pays greater attention to improving governance following the economic miracle. Social justice has become an important goal.
“The rule of law” came to prominence at the fourth session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, and guarantees modernisation of the system of government while championing social justice.
The leadership has taken great pains to address corruption, which they believe may threaten the very survival of the Party and the state: “Strengthening Party discipline” is a must for the CPC to survive.
The “Four Comprehensives” will ensure China continues steadily on its path of development.
After the ‘Three Represents,’ China pushes ‘Four Comprehensives’
Following in the footsteps of Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the “Three Represents,” China is promoting President Xi Jinping’s “Four Comprehensives,” calling for rule of law and enforcement of Communist Party discipline.
State media has ratcheted up promotion of the doctrine in the run-up to the country’s annual parliamentary session in March.
The People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s most important mouthpiece, praised the slogan in a front-page commentary on Wednesday. The commentary also appeared on state television and other party-owned news outlets.
The “Four Comprehensives” refer to China working “comprehensively” to build a moderately prosperous society and strengthen reforms, rule of law and party discipline.
Building Party discipline is Communist Party jargon for efforts to fight corruption. A campaign against graft has formed the centerpiece of Xi’s administration and the leadership has vowed to target both high- and low-level offenders.
Xi has referred to the “Four Comprehensives” in past months but the People’s Daily editorial signals a wide endorsement.
Xi’s best-known slogan so far has been his call for the “Chinese dream”, an ambiguous catchphrase leaders have said refers to national rejuvenation in everything from ties with Taiwan to China’s space program.
Critics say pursuing rule of law is futile without granting independence to courts, which are controlled by the Communist Party. China’s top court on Thursday said it rejected the notion of Western-style judicial independence and separation of powers.
Former President Jiang Zemin was famed for his “Three Represents,” which embraced private entrepreneurs and were written into the party’s constitution.
Hu Jintao, Xi’s immediate predecessor, was primarily known for the economic doctrine of “scientific development”.
I believe that Reuters’ report today on China’s rule of law is also interesting; therefore, I give its full text below:
China’s top court unveils deadlines for legal reform
China’s top court set a five-year deadline on Thursday for legal reforms to protect the rights of individuals, prevent miscarriages of justice and make its judiciary more professional as the ruling Communist Party seeks to quell public discontent.
A statement on the Supreme Court’s website promised specific deadlines for each goal, including support for a “social atmosphere of justice” by 2018.
It gave more details of a decision reached at a four-day meeting last year, when the party pledged to speed up legislation to fight corruption and make it tougher for officials to exert control over the judiciary.
Despite the legal reforms, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s administration has shown no interest in political change and has detained dozens of dissidents, including lawyers.
China’s top court stressed that one of the five basic principles of legal reform was adhering to the party’s leadership and “ensuring the correct political orientation”.
He Xiaorong, the director of the Supreme People’s Court‘s reform division, said the court “would make officials bear responsibility for dereliction of duty” for cases that have a wide impact.
“Only through the establishment of such a system can we ensure that we can guarantee social fairness and justice in every case,” He told a news conference, according to a transcript on the court’s website.
The measures reflect worries about rising social unrest. Anger over land grabs, corruption and pollution – issues often left unresolved by courts – have resulted in violence between police and residents in recent years, threatening social order.
The court said it would prohibit criminal defendants from wearing vests and jumpsuits to trials, effectively removing the presumption of guilt that is common in China. It pledged to strengthen the prevention of torture to gain evidence and “effectively prevent miscarriages of justice”.
It would also establish a performance evaluation system for judges, “perfect the mechanism for protecting lawyers’ rights” and establish media galleries in courts for certain trials.
It also promised to boost transparency, saying it would make more information available, and reduce local protectionism by changing the jurisdiction of courts.
How much impact the reforms would have was uncertain. Laws are often not enforced and can be abused by the police.
On Wednesday, the court urged party officials to shun Western-style judicial independence and reject “erroneous Western thought”, state media said on Thursday, as controls over the media, dissent and the Internet are tightened.
Source: People’s Daily – “Xi’s ‘Four Comprehensives’ a strategic blueprint for China’s future”
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