The Watcher: New Era
By Robert L. Kuhn
I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn and here’s what I’m watching…. China’s “New Era,” the big idea driving the recent amendment to the Party Constitution – “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.” 
“New Era” is intended as a “game changer,” a conceptual lens with which to view the range of goals, strategies and concepts that compose Xi Jinping’s way of thinking. 
Party analysts say the New Era provides answers to five questions. What "road" to take? Socialism with Chinese characteristics under new historical conditions. What kind of country to build? 
First, a moderately prosperous society by 2020, then a fully modernized socialist country by 2050. What development to realize? Better life and common prosperity for all. What goal to achieve? The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation as the Chinese Dream. What contribution to make? Facilitate peace and prosperity by making greater contributions to the world (exemplified by the Belt and Road Initiative). 
Thus, Xi Jinping joins Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping with his name affixed to a political philosophy in the Party Constitution, a blazing sign of transcendent vision and overarching understanding lost on no one. 
It then follows that this “New Era” is the Third Era of the CPC and hence of the People’s Republic of China: the first era was Mao’s, the second, Deng’s, and the third, naturally, is Xi’s. 
The New Era is described by disruptions. China is facing unprecedented, complex challenges – domestically, slower growth, industrial overcapacity, endemic pollution, income disparity, social imbalances, social injustice, social service demands, interest groups blocking reform, people’s rising expectations. 
Internationally, regional conflicts, sluggish economies, volatile markets, trade protectionism, ethnic clashes, terrorism, geopolitical rivalries and territorial disputes. Intensifying the instability, the CPC had become ridden with corruption. 
"Achieving national rejuvenation will be no walk in the park," Xi Jinping said. "It will take more than drum-beating and gong-clanging to get there." 
Xi sees China as standing at a new historic starting point and socialism with Chinese characteristics as exploring new horizons. China has entered a new era and the road ahead leads, according to plan, to great nation status by 2050. But who knows what lies ahead, on that road ahead? 
I’m keeping watch. I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn.