What I learnt from the third volume of Xi Jinping’s The Governance of China.
Recently I was on a visit to the USA when the third volume of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s book, ‘The Governance of China’, was published. One of my Chinese friends who work at the Chinese newspapers I occasionally write for was kind enough to courier me a copy to our Houston, Texas address. The book took several weeks to arrive, reasons unknown, possibly because of the US-China trade tensions and the closure of China’s Houston Consulate by the US authorities. By the time the book arrived, I had already landed in Islamabad.
The volume makes such a fascinating reading that I wouldn’t want the learning remaining limited to me only. There’s so much we could learn from China’s experiences and its President Xi Jinping’s wisdom. Here’s my attempt in picking a nugget or two from his recent volume.
The third volume of The Governance of China is a collection of 92 articles, speeches, etc, of President Xi Jinping between mid-2017 and early 2020. In 19 sections it discusses topics ranging from national governance and China’s reform and opening up to the global community.
The 19 sections of The Governance of China include: Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era; Overall CPC Leadership; State System and National Governance; The People as Masters of the Country: Poverty Elimination and a Moderately Prosperous Society; Further Reform; All-Round Opening Up; Risk Management; High-Quality Development; Socialist Democracy; Chinese Culture; The People’s Wellbeing; Harmony Between Humanity and Nature; The People’s Armed Forces; Hong Kong, Macao and China’s Peaceful Reunification; China’s Diplomacy as a Major Country; A Global Community of Shared Future; The Belt and Road Initiative; and Self-Reform of the CPC.
As you can see, even the topic list is fascinating and shows the intellectual depth of Chinese leadership. For example, Xi’s choice of words demonstrates China’s internal assessment of their stage of growth and stature. Aspirational but realistic, Chinese leadership knows how to either raise expectations of the world and its population or manage these expectations. Examples include:
Instead of painting it as the next superpower as the mainstream US or global media does, Xi Jinping refers to China as a ‘major country’.
Similarly, Xi does not just refer to continuing GDP growth as the only next aim but adds high-quality prefix.
In China’s battle to combat poverty, Xi manages global expectation that China is not going to be next G7 or Europe any time soon. Unlike our Pakistani leaders who routinely call our cities’ future as the next Paris, Xi portrays poverty alleviation efforts aiming at a moderately prosperous society.
As a student of political science, if you get the opportunity to go through this volume, you will come out much informed and become a visionary about nuances of China’s stride in becoming the next superpower, without saying these words.
While he emphasises the military’s preparedness and combat capability, Xi Jinping’s emphatic words are worth considering: ‘The absolute Party [CPC] leadership over the armed forces must be upheld, the full and strict Party governance must be exercised.’
Xi also urged efforts to improve Party conduct and combat corruption in the armed forces. ‘The anti-corruption fight must be carried forward with firmness, and there will be no deviation.’
It was the same month when Xi ordered the country’s military to get out of the kindergarten business and focus on fighting. The commercial landscape of Pakistan mirrors early days of China before his balance-of-power struggle took a decisive phase.
Only a year ago, speaking at the first-ever Army Day parade to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at a remote Zhurihe Combined Tactics Training Base in northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, 400km from Beijing where 12,000 PLA troops took part—which this writer reported in this paper—President Xi issued a demand for loyalty, asking the troops to ‘unswervingly stick to the fundamental principle and system of the party’s absolute leadership over the army,’ ‘always listen to and follow the party’s orders,’ and ‘march to wherever the party points to.’
Only time will tell which direction we in Pakistan take.
The writer is an award-winning journalist. He writes on issues of significance to Pakistan, CPEC & BRI. He tweets