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The overall objective of comprehensively deepening reform: improving and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernizing china's governance system and governance capacity

Submit Time:30-10-2014 | Zoom In | Zoom Out

Author:XI JINPING | Source:How to deepen reform comprehensively

Abstract:

We will remain committed to making the improvement and development of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the modernization of our country’s governance system and governance capacity our overall objective for comprehensively deepening reform. In 1992, Deng Xiaoping said that it would probably take another 30 years for us to build a complete set of mature and well-defined institutions. On the basis of his strategic thought, the decision was made at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee to modernize our country’s governance system and governance capacity. This is necessary for improving and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, and is an inseparable part of our efforts to achieve socialist modernization. We decided that the plenary session would focus on comprehensively deepening reform; not on pushing forward reform in just one, or in several areas, but in all areas. We made this decision based on our overall thinking about improving our country’s governance system and governance capacity.

A country’s governance system and governance capacity are very much reflective of that country’s institutions and its ability to implement them. Our country’s governance system is an institutional system under the leadership of the Party by which the country is governed. It is comprised of institutions, mechanisms, laws and regulations regarding economics, politics, culture, society, ecological progress, and Party building, and is a complete set of closely connected and coordinated institutions. Our country’s governance capacity is our actual ability to use the governance system to manage all affairs in Chinese society, including reform, development, and stability; internal affairs, foreign relations, and national defense; and Party, state and military affairs. Our country’s governance system and governance capacity form an organic whole, and they complement each other. A good governance system is necessary to improve governance capacity, and improving governance capacity is requisite for a governance system to achieve maximum effectiveness.

To truly achieve social harmony and stability and lasting political stability, we must rely on institutions, outstanding governance capacity, and highly competent officials. We must modernize our country’s governance system and governance capacity in all areas to take full advantage of the superiority of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

To modernize our country’s governance system and governance capacity, we need to adapt to changing times by reforming institutions, mechanisms, laws and regulations that fail to keep pace with the development of praxis, while at the same time constantly establishing new ones, so that all of our institutions are more scientific and robust, and the governance of Party, state, and social affairs is more institutionalized, standardized and procedure-based. We need to work harder to improve our governance capacity, be more mindful of the need to act on the basis of institutions and in accordance with the law, and become better able to use institutions and laws to govern the country. We need to use all the strengths of our system to make our governance more effective, and enhance the Party’s capacity to govern scientifically, democratically, and in accordance with the law.

—Excerpts from the speech “Conscientiously Aligning Our Thinking with the Guiding Principles of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee,” November 12, 2013, published in the journal Qiushi, No. 1, 2014

As the context we are in and the tasks before us develop and change, we need to expand the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, enrich the system of theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics and improve the socialist system with Chinese characteristics by comprehensively deepening reform.

—Excerpt from a speech at a meeting commemorating the 120th anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong, December 26, 2013, published in the People’s Daily on December 27, 2013

The overall objective of comprehensively deepening reform laid out at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee is to improve and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernize our country’s governance system and governance capacity. In the past we have discussed modernizing many areas including agriculture,industry, science and technology, and national defense, but this is the first time we have discussed modernizing our country’s governance system and governance capacity. A thorough, correct understanding of this overall objective is paramount to implementing all reform measures.

What the word “comprehensively” means in “comprehensively deepening reform” is that we need to coordinate the implementation of reforms across the board. We need to have an overall goal, and we also have to ask ourselves: What is the ultimate purpose of all of these reforms? What is the overall result we hope to achieve from them? This is what is meant by the saying, “Governance must be subject to rules and carried out in good order.”

In the past, we also laid out reform goals, but most of them pertained to specific fields. For example, we have stated that the overall aim of our political structural reform is to strengthen socialism, develop the productive forces of socialist society, foster socialist democracy, and generate enthusiasm from the people. The 14th National Party Congress stated that the aim of China’s economic structural reform was to establish a socialist market economy. The 18th CPC Central Committee set forth the overall objective of comprehensively deepening reform at its third plenary session, and under this overall objective it clearly delineated specific goals for deepening reform of the economic, political, cultural, social, ecological, and Party building systems. This is an objective requirement stemming from the reform process itself as it moves forward, and it indicates that our Party’s understanding of reform has become deeper and more systemic.

From the perspective of forming an increasingly mature and better-defined system, our country’s socialist praxis has already passed the halfway point. Up to this point, our main historic tasks have been to establish a basic system of socialism and then to carry out reform under that system. We have now already done a good job of this. From here on, our main historic tasks are to improve and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics and to provide a set of more complete, stable, and effective institutions for the development of the cause of the Party and the country, the wellbeing of the people, social harmony and stability, and the lasting political stability of the country. This is a very ambitious project that cannot be achieved by making piecemeal adjustments or cobbling together fragmentary reforms. Rather, reform must be carried out comprehensively and systematically so that reforms and improvements in all fields are linked and integrated to produce an overall effect on the modernization of our country’s governance system and governance capacity.

A country’s governance system and capacity for governance are strong reflections of that country’s institutions and its ability to implement them. The system of and capacity for governance complement each other; a country cannot be governed by relying on only one or the other. In governing a country, the system plays a fundamental, comprehensive, and enduring role. However, without effective governance capacity, even the best system will do little good. At the same time, we must realize that even though a country’s governance system and governance capacity are intimately connected, they are not the same thing. It does not follow that the better a country’s governance system is the stronger its governance capacity will be. All over the world we see that every country has its own governance system, but their governance capacities differ due to differences in objective conditions and subjective factors, and a country’s governance capacity may vary significantly over time even though the same governance system has been in place the whole time. This is the basis for our decision to modernize both our country’s governance system and governance capacity.

We must realize that there are many aspects of our country’s governance system and governance capacity that urgently need to be improved given the country’s economic and social development, the people’s demands, the increasingly fierce international competition in today’s world, and our goal of achieving lasting political stability. Our governance system is not yet sufficiently mature or well-defined, and some of its shortcomings have seriously affected our development and stability. Therefore, we must adapt to the process of our country’s modernization to make our Party’s governance more scientific, democratic and law-based; make state organs perform their functions better; ensure that the people are better able to manage state affairs,economic, social, and cultural affairs, and their own affairs in accordance with the law; institutionalize, standardize and establish effective procedures for the governance of all Party, state, and social affairs; and improve our ability to effectively govern the country under socialism with Chinese characteristics.

We need to be aware that our ability to implement institutions and our governance capacity have become important factors affecting the utilization of the strengths of our country’s socialist system and the progress of our Party and country’s cause. We can get our country’s governance system to operate more effectively only if we focus on improving the Party’s governance capacity; raise the intellectual and political competence, scientific and cultural level, and work skills of officials at all levels and administrative staff in all sectors as soon as possible; and quickly ensure that Party and state organs, enterprises, public institutions, people’s organizations, and social organizations are better able to do their work.

—Excerpts from a speech at a workshop for principal officials at or above the provincial and ministerial level on studying and implementing the guiding principles of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee and on comprehensively deepening reform, February 17, 2014

Translated by The Compilation and Translation Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China


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