Xi Jinping’s Chinese Dream

Zhang Kai 

October Review: http://octrev.mysrvnet.com/234/234_e59.htm

At the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Xi Jinping was appointed as the General Secretary and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission. In March 2013, he was also elected as the President of the People's Republic of China at the National People’s Congress (NPC). Like his precedents, he is the head of the triple institutions: party, government and military. 

The Idea of Chinese Dream

In the closing ceremony of NPC, Xi delivered a speech on how to work hard to achieve Chinese Dream. He declared that Chinese Dream is “to achieve a comprehensively well-off society, to build a prosperous, strong, democratic, civilized, and harmonious modern socialist country and to attain the great regeneration of the Chinese nation”. However, in fact, for over 30 years, the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is indeed the path of capitalist market economy, which is against socialism proposed by Marxism. Although China has become the second largest economic entity, its enormous wealth is highly concentrated in the hands of statist capitalists and private entrepreneurs. Officials are getting greedier; meanwhile, ordinary people are getting poorer. They suffer from serious inflation and social problems such as health, housing, education, and employment. According to Wen Wei Po dated 5 March, in today’s China, there are still 98.99 million people living under the poverty line of RMB 2,300 per year, who absolutely cannot enjoy the fruits of economic growth.

This path also leads to the enlarging gap between the rich and the poor, the worsening social polarization, and the escalating tensions between officials and masses. The number of mass events sharply increases every year. This year the Chinese government has spent a huge sum of RMB 769 billion for maintaining social stability, while the budget of national defense is RMB 720.1 billion, after having an increase of 10%.

In his speech, Xi talked about the goals of “democracy, civilization, harmony, and people’s happiness”, but they were only empty words. In reality, Chinese society has become less harmonious. People have already been deprived of rights of democracy under the authoritarian bureaucracy of CPC that undoubtedly has led to a political system without democracy. Hence, the emerging need of Chinese people is political democratic reform. During the 18th CPC National Congress, there was a survey conducted by the Community of Strong Power of the official People’s Website. The result showed the top ten concern issues concerned by Netizens. The first issue was democratic politics; the second was anti-corruption, then social livelihood, economic development, among others.

Xi claimed that CPC and even the whole country would have come to the end if corruption became more serious. He insisted that “both tigers and flies should be defeated” and “let power remain in the cage of institution”. After the 18th CPC National Congress, he has stirred up anti-corruption campaign which captured around 30 “tigers and flies”, among which the highest ranking official is Li Chuncheng, the alternate member of the Central Committee of CPC and the general secretary of Sichuan Province of CPC. Xi also stated that the campaign should be against formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism, and extravagance among officials. However, within the CPC, government and military, there are lots of corrupted officials. Corruption has already become institutionalized that is an inevitable consequence of bureaucracy. That is why, in the past, even some high ranking officials declared to fight against corruption, but they failed eventually.

Reactions within the CPC

Meanwhile, Wang Yang, member of Political Bureau of the Central Committee of CPC and Vice Premier, stated that reform metaphorically meant to cut your own body with a knife, and the next step of reform should be to dissolve the interest blocs. Commentators from the official media analyzed that Wang’s speech implied that the main obstacle of reform was the interest blocs (quoted from Ming Po dated 7 March). Will any official sacrifice and “cut his own body”? This shows that any fundamental reform will be resisted. Wen Jiabo, the former Premier, had pushed for political reform for many years. However, the conservative group within the high ranks of the CPC opposed him. In his last work report submitted to the NPC, he did not mention the political reform. This shows that the CPC cannot carry out political reform by itself. Xi’s speech of “Chinese Dream” which briefly talks about “innovative reform” and “deepening the policy of reform and open-door” refers to deepening Deng Xiaoping’s reform policy. His speech is full of beautiful promises of CPC but it does not mention how to concretely carry out innovative reform. 

People's Viewpoint

The survey of “People’s Forum”, the official website of People’s Forum Magazine, disclosed some objective opinions from the people. The survey focused on four beliefs of “Chinese Dream”, such as “Do you agree that CPC has enough courage and wisdom to accelerate reform?”, “Do you agree that to insist on and to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics can bring people fundamental interests?”, “Do you agree that only the CPC can lead people to walk the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics?”, and “Do you agree with the system of one ruling party together with participatory multi-parties?” The result showed that the percentage of people who disagreed was 72%-81%. This led to the deletion of the webpage (quoted from Li Ping’s column about China on Apple Daily dated 18 April). This result unexpectedly hit Xi very hard and disclosed the illusion of the “Chinese Dream”.

30 April 2013