Along with the continuous and rapid changes of international situation and global governance and the gradual adjustment of the overall evolution and contradiction setup of domestic social situation, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as its general secretary has continuously optimized the way of governance since the 18th National Congress of the Party. It was formulated in the third plenary session as “the modernization of the national governance system and capacity”. In a comparative vision, the feature of the way can be expressed with six “attentions”.
First, pay more attention to top-level design. When talking about the comprehensively deepening the reform, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out it is a complicated systems engineering project which needs to strengthen planning at the top level and adopt a holistic approach in doing so, strengthen the study of the connectedness, consistency and feasibility of the reform measures. He particularly stressed that on the basis of affirming major reform measures, (we) should intensify the study of the connectedness of reform in different areas and the coupling of various reform measures, properly grasp the major relations of comprehensively deepening the reform so as to make various reform measures supplementary in policy orientation, mutually promoting during the process of implementation and complementary each other in actual effect. It is under such a guideline, the Party Central Committee set up the Leading Group for Deepening Reform Comprehensively that is to give better play to the Party’s core function as leader having a picture of the whole situation and as chief coordinator of different aspects, so as to ensure the reform progresses smoothly and the tasks are implemented as planned. In major fields, the Central Committee also pays high attention to top level planning. For example, in the security field, the Central Committee set up the Council of State Security to coordinate the major events and important works related with state security.
Second, pay more attention to institutional building. Institution is a mode, structure and process to regulate individual and collective actions in the social life. Its distinctive features are stability and constancy. For the Chinese society in the process of changes, institutional building is of special importance. It was the necessary means for stabilizing the reform achievements in the early stage and is also the guiding force and regulated force for the future reform. The new Party Central Committee pays attention to the institutional building in various aspects of social life. Among them, the most important part is the construction of legal institutions. The most distinctive indication is the “Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening the Reform adopted at the fourth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee. The Decision stresses to form a complete legal norm system, an effective system of rule of law, a strict supervision system of rule of law, a powerful guarantee system of rule of law and an improved in-Party system of legal norm. This is undoubtedly the most extensive and profound institutional building involving social life, which will play a role in future.
Third, pay more attention to team building. Team building involves many aspects and parts. Among them, the most distinctive portion is the team building of leaders and cadres. Such a team constitutes the “corner stone” of the power of the Party and the nation. It is related with the ups and downs of the undertaking of the Party and the nation. The new Party Central Committee pays high attention to the team building of leaders and cadres. From the introduction of the “Eight-Point Code”, to the fight against the four undesirable work styles (formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance), the education on mass line, the practice of “Three Stricts and Three Steadies” and the in-depth anti-corruption, a series of measures aim to build an honest and clean cadre team. The Central Committee also pays high attention to the enhancement of the ability and qualification of cadres. In October 2015, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China issued the Work Ordinance of Cadre Education and Training, stressing that cadre’s education and training should have rules to follow, and stressing on improvement of training contents, way of training, integration of training resources, optimization of training team, overall enhancement of quality and efficiency so as to earnestly push forward the scientific, institutional and standardization of cadre’s education and training work and actually implement the task of cultivating high qualification ruling backbone team. This is to strengthen the team building from both positive and negative aspects.
Fourth, pay more attention to market construction. Market is the fundamental way of modern social allocation of resources. It has been the fundamental path for economic development since China’s reform and opening up. Since the 3rd plenary session of the 11th National Congress, understanding for the function of market has experienced a process of gradual improvement. The 3rd plenary session of the 18th National Congress proposed to “play decisive role of the market in the allocation of resources”, which was an important progress and breakthrough in theory and would surely bring major innovations in practice. It is an inevitable step for intensifying economic system reform. To implement such an assertion and concept that have strategic significance, the Party and government adopted many important measures. Among them, the dominant measure is to transfer the government role through streamlining administration and delegate power to the lower level and reducing the central government’s management to micro-affairs and market operation at the maximum extent. The 3rd plenary session proposed that market mechanism could effectively adjust the economic activities and abolish the examination and approval. For items remaining for administrative examination and approval, administration should be regulated to enhance efficiency. At the same time, various measures should be adopted to fully implement the right to invest and operate of the enterprise, push forward the convenience for investment and startup and allow the market to drive the enterprise to prosperity.
Fifth, pay more attention to ecology construction. During the process of industrialization and urbanization in the more than 30 years, China accumulated a good many ecological issues. The carrying capacity of the environment has been reduced to extremely low. The ecological issue is urgently placed in front of the new Party Central Committee. The Central Committee has clear awareness and profound understanding. President Xi Jinping has a famous saying: We need both lucid waters and lush mountains and gold and silver mountain. We would rather need lucid waters and lush mountains than gold and silver mountains. Lucid water and lush mountains are in fact the invaluable assets. The ecological civilization building is a complicated system engineering project. The Central Committee has taken measures from various aspects to strengthen the construction of the area. In the aspect of the overall layout, the main function zone division and construction is launched to optimize the setup of land development; in the aspect of supervision and inspection, the Ministry of Environmental Protection launches an interview system at which local governments who are involved in environmental pollution will be given a direct verbal warning and ordered to make corrections in limited time; in the aspect of leadership liability, the leadership liability accountability system is launched. In August 2015, the General Office of the Central Committee of the CPC and the General Office of the State Council enacted the Methods on Liability Accountability for Ecological Environmental Damage of the Party and Government Leaders (Trial). In November, the two offices also issued the Trial Plan of the Term-end Natural Resource Asset Audit for Leaders, proposing an audit assessment for the implementation of natural resource asset management and ecological environment protection liability during the term of the leaders audited to define the respective responsibilities of the leaders. In the aspect of institutional design, the national overall plan design is adopted. In September 2015, the Central Committee and the State Council issued the General Plan for the Institutional Reform of Ecological Civilization, proposing both the formation of the interest-guiding mechanism for supporting green development, circular development and low-carbon development, and the practice of strict prevention from the origin, strict management during the process, strict punishment for any damages caused and being held for responsibilities so as to gradually realize the ecological construction in a way of marketization, legalization and institutionalization.
Sixth, pay more attention to the moral building. China has been known as a state of etiquette and ceremonies since ancient time. It has been regarded as a place where moral building is flourishing. Since the modern time, the moral conditions have been damaged to some extents due to various reasons. Since the 3rd plenary session of the 11th National Congress of the Party, the Central Committee has continuously adopted some measures to solve the moral issues and gained some progress and effects. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the new Party Central Committee has strengthened its efforts to tackle the situation. The most distinctive is to give wide publicity to the core values of socialism through various methods. Today, we can see posters depicting the core values in the streets across China. These posters transfer the excellent moral concept in the form that is delighted to hear and see by the people. Second, it strengthens the moral building through the institutional power. For example, in June 2014, the Outline for the Plan of Social Credit System Construction (2014-2020) issued by the State Council. Then, it strengthened the publicity of moral building by mean of etiquette. The oath-taking of officials for the national key positions and the setup of the memorial day of the Victory of the Anti-Japanese War of the Chinese People and the National Memorial Day for the victims of Nanjing Massacre are all moral educations through ceremonies. It can be imagined the new form of the state of etiquette and ceremonies will appear.
Under general situation, “paying attention to” is a term to depict the psychological mechanism and process of a person. But when it is used to describe the feature of the work of the leading group of the Central Committee, it actually indicates the promulgation of many policies and the establishment of various systems, means the demonstration and manifestation of a new political stage. This is just because of this, it is necessary for us to observe, comb, analyze and assess from the academic aspects.
(Author: Professor, Social and Cultural Education Research Department of the Chinese Academy of Governance)