How is the Communist Party of China (CPC) renewing itself under General Secretary of CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping? Why has Xi elevated “Strict Discipline of the Party” to the highest level of national importance, the fourth of his “Four Comprehensives” for governing China? Why is the unprecedented anti-corruption campaign so relentless?
Answers relate to a more basic question: How has the Party, China’s ruling party, the Communist Party of China, the CPC, led China to its remarkable development and modernization? How has the Party adapted to changing conditions and kept up with the times? What can we learn from the Party’s history, its triumphs and tragedies? What is it about the Party’s past that it must now be rejuvenated?
But can a system with a perpetually ruling party strictly govern itself; itself establish credible checks and balances? Is transparency the Party’s foe or friend? What challenges does the Party face? What does the Party consider its greatest dangers? And what are its enduring ideals, its visions for the future? What is the significance of Xi’s renewal of the Party?
General Secretary Xi’s determination to root out corruption – caging “tigers” and swatting “flies”, and cutting the wasteful and detested perks of officialdom – is altering how Party officials in government, and Party executives in state-owned enterprises, work and even think. In addition to building clean government, Xi’s anti-corruption enforcement is said to enhance political stability and unity, and to improve the efficient allocation of resources by attenuating sub-optimal transactions enacted for illicit, personal gain.
The CPC is a "work in progress". It will always be, and that is its strength. For the world to understand China, it must understand why the Party asserts that its continuing political leadership is optimum for China’s development. One key is the Party’s adaptability, stressing experimentation and testing of new policies.
Yet for the Party to continue to earn its ruling status, it has a higher obligation to enhance rectitude of governance, standards of living and personal well-being – which include rule of law, transparency in government, public oversight, institutionalized checks and balances, increasing democracy, various freedoms, and human rights.
General Secretary Xi states that the CPC should be governed by standardized rules and procedures that are open to public oversight. Only by adapting continuously, focusing on real-world issues, can the Party construct a truly prosperous society. The Party claims a historic mission. The significance of “Xi’s renewal of the Party” will be the endurance of the Party.
I’m Keeping Watch. I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn.
(Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn is a CGTN anchor, a public intellectual, international corporate strategist and investment banker)