How the CCP Works
I expect to see the State, which is in a position to calculate the marginal efficiency of capital-goods on long views and on the basis of the general social advantage, taking an ever greater responsibility for directly organizing investment.
– John Maynard Keynes
In the Chinese tradition, an enduring definition of the end of political governance was articulated by Confucius two and a half millenniums ago. He called it Xiao Kang (as differentiated from Da Tong — an unattainable ideal). In contemporary terms it can be described as a society of general peace and prosperity with a just legal order and built upon a righteous moral foundation. Interestingly enough, when Deng Xiaoping launched his reforms in 1979 he declared that the goal of the Chinese nation in the next phase of its development was to build or, perhaps more accurately, rebuild a Xiao Kang society.
The current China model has the following components:
1. Political authority, combined with moral authority, is vested in a single political organization, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which represents the entirety of the Chinese nation. This is in contrast to systems under which multiple parties represent different sectors of a nation state.
2. Meritocracy underlies the effectiveness and survival of the ruling organization. A highly sophisticated, elaborate, and rigorous system of selection and promotion within the CCP is designed to recruit those with capabilities and integrity into the Party and move them up the ranks if they choose government service as their careers.
3. The preeminence of political authority is central to the China model. This ensures no special groups, be it capital or talents, can develop capabilities that enable them to place their interests above the national interests. The market and the so-called civil society are both subservient to political authority.
4. Pragmatism is central and ideologies are peripheral. As economic development is seen as of paramount importance to China at the current stage, the political system is designed and adjusted to maximize its success. As the nation’s needs and conditions change, political adjustments can follow.
The current practice of the Chinese model is far from obtaining the ideal state in each of these components. Widespread corruption and the wealth gap are but two examples.
– Eric X Li
The reason that the People’s Congress does not reject legislation at the conventions is that they have seen many iterations of it by the time it is ready for public presentation. Even at that late date they can and do delay it further–sometimes for years. The Communist Party merely functions as ‘a neutral government shaping national consensus’ in the words of Zhang Weiwei.
THE best translation of the Chinese word for ‘fixer’, “说客”, Is ‘lobbyist’. The job of the 说客 is to vouch for you, his client, to an official who trusts his judgement. Of course there are corrupt officials and corrupting lobbyists in China, as there are here.
China’s best example of success is their own: the 1,800 years prior to our invasion of them when they led the world morally, financially, and artistically.
China’s stated goal at the commencement of the Opening Up, and reiterated by all of Deng’s successors, is a “moderately prosperous country” (小康: a Confucian term describing a society of modest means) for two reasons:
1. The planet’s resource limits cannot afford more than that for an additional 1.3 billion people.
2. Western-style wealth is un-Chinese, vulgar, unnecessary, and un-Communist.
I think you’ll find that the Chinese press gives a more balanced, thoughtful, and comprehensive account of things than our Western corporate media (remember WMD?). Certainly the Chinese people think so. 80-90% of them regularly report trusting it above all other sources (Pew; Edelman). Try reading it.
As to dissenters: Chinese are free to dissent which, if you read even Western accounts of their writings, you can see that they do. What they are not free to do is to organize dissent. That is a law which is fully supported by 90% of Chinese who are painfully aware that, prior to 1980, the longest peaceful period their country had enjoyed since 1780 lasted 7 years. Remember, too, the number of dissenters (Communists, Muslims) who languished–and still languish–in our jails.
In common with our own dissenters, Chinese are not free to be on the payroll of a foreign power while advocating the overthrow of their government unless, of course, they register as agents of that power– a step which both Mr. Ai and Mr. Liu omitted. That’s why they were prosecuted, as the court transcripts make clear.