Advantages of China's political system: A reform-minded CPC
China's political system has witnessed a continuous improvement over the years as a result of consistent reforms and innovative adjustments. In the same spirit, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has also undergone many changes over time, all intended to make sure it remains as vigorous as ever.
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, has pointed out many times that "reform and opening-up is an ongoing process and we will never stop." It is the common understanding of many generations of CPC leaders that only through reform can China blaze new trails, and only through innovation can China adapt to the changing environment and achieve sustainable development.
China is a very successful reformer when compared with other countries in the world. Thanks to the reform, China's political development and practice have greatly enriched the classical theory of Marxism, making further progress in promoting it in a way that matches China's reality.
The country has not only moved away from the "old path" of the planned economy, but also avoided the situation in some other countries where the ruling party was thrown out of power and the country collapsed. China has adopted a sensible approach to reform, balancing it on different fronts and ensuring a smooth and orderly process.
From the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee in 1978 to the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in 2013, many major reform decisions had been introduced and milestones made in such "Third Plenary Sessions." They have also witnessed the gradual establishment of an overall framework for the socialist market economy and the socialist modernization drive.
Reform efforts remain strenuous when they advance to the political arena, an area seen as the most important part of the whole process of China's reform. It's particularly worth noting that over the six years since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, a series of major reforms closely related to political development have taken place.
Since 2013, the central government has successively issued reform guidance documents concerning the development of a country ruled by law, the armed forces and national defense, political activities within the Party, the national supervision system, and the institutional setup of the Party and the state, all of which are of great significance to the further improvement of China's political system. Such efforts further demonstrate the determination of the CPC in carrying out reforms.
CPC members have become able and active self-learners during their long-term experience in governing, which has, to a great extent, contributed to their reform thinking and reform capability.
The party has a good tradition of learning, and has formed a systematic learning mechanism at all levels of party committees and governments. As Xi Jinping pointed out, "the Communist Party of China has come so far thanks to its ability to learn, and it must continue learning in order to go further in the future."
The CPC attaches great importance to learning the best practices from all countries in the world including the West. It has learned the market economy mechanism from capitalist countries and absorbed experience in building a team of officials with honor and integrity from Singapore.
The Great Hall of the People /VCG Photo
The Great Hall of the People /VCG Photo
In fact, as early as 1992, the report of the 14th National Congress of the CPC noted, "to win a comparative advantage over capitalism, socialist China must boldly learn the best business practices and management methods in line with the general law of modern commercial production and commodity economy from other countries in the world, including developed capitalist countries." This speaks volume for the learning spirit of the CPC.
In contrast, the United States is facing a reform conundrum. As its "democracy" turns into "vetocracy," both parties, though fully aware of the pitfalls of "veto politics," have their hands tied. There's nothing Obama or Trump can do to improve the situation.
Moreover, the diversification of the mass media has greatly exacerbated the division along the party lines, and this polarizing trend is not expected to be reversed any time soon. In the U.S., the slow progress in reform is not a result of inaction but the inability to act, which points to the diminishing adaptability of the American political system. This is what the political scholar Francis Fukuyama calls "political decay."
A deeper problem facing the United States is a lack of necessary internal impetus for change. For a long time, the United States has occupied the moral high ground of democracy and stayed in a bubble of self-claimed supremacy.
It believes that its own system is the best and "universally applicable." It fails to reflect upon itself and learn from the systems of other countries in the world with respect. The U.S. government has long sought to spread American democracy that features a multiparty system and universal suffrage.
To achieve this, they have resorted to various means including establishing a large number of non-governmental organizations, sponsoring opposition parties in other countries and even waging wars against them so as to do away with their ideological enemies.
In the face of the competitiveness shown by the Chinese political system, a considerable number of American politicians have never given up bashing the so-called "authoritarian regime," some even fail to break away from the cold-war mentality of confrontation and containment.
Some researchers have thus long pointed out that Americans, including the political elites, "have become used to China learning from the United States." They also noted that "the Republicans' lack of knowledge of China is appalling," and that "Republican candidates are incredibly reluctant to speak honestly about China."
In terms of the course of civilization, China is an ancient country, while the United States is much younger. However, from the perspective of modern nation-building, contemporary China is new and vibrant, while the United States has shown signs of decline.
It's fair to say that Trump is aware of the glaring problems of the U.S. political system, but to what extent can he make changes? Perhaps the aggressive posturing and the strategic containment gesture toward China is a telltale sign of Trump's inability to solve the persistent political problems of his own country.