Monday 20th of May 2024

Xi Jinping’s Political And Strategic Line (2)
Giancarlo Elia Valori
Region : North East Asia, China,
Issue : Politics,
Remaining part of the article
It should also be noted that the scientific outlook on development had already been incorporated into the Constitution in 2007, even though it was not part of the Party’s guiding ideology at the time.For the first time the typical criterion of the 17th Congress appeared, according to which it was necessary “to put together all the CPC wisdom to develop a scientific outlook on development”.Again a non-Marxist formula that – outside the classic Marxism-Leninism and the tradition of the Chinese State and Party leaders -reminded of an autonomous theory allowing precisely to develop Socialism with Chinese characteristics and, even, a Chinese way to something going even beyond Socialism itself- a road to the power, strategic autonomy and well-being of the Chinese people. Many years later, in 2012, the 18thCPC Congress merged Hu Jintao’ scientific outlook on development with the Party’s “ideological guide”.
Hence, with reference to Xi Jinping, over the last five years the Chinese media have reported the emergence of “Xi Jinping’s thought” and of “Xi Jinping’s Party construction thought”, in addition to “Xi Jinping’s foreign affairs thought”.There are also some quotations on “Xi Jinping’s military thought”, now published regularly in many Chinese newspapers.Moreover, since 2013 the expression “the spirit of the important speeches of Comrade Xi Jinping” has emerged. These speeches are collected in the text entitled “The Governance of China”, which was published for the first time in September 2014.Hence what are the theoretically and practically significant speeches delivered by President Xi Jinping?In February 2017, for example, the Chinese leader proposed “new lines, new concepts, new strategies regarding domestic policy but, above all, foreign policy, military issues and the armed forces”.While his predecessors spoke about economy and the development of productive forces in relation to the masses’ needs, Xi Jinping mainly thinks about the economic expansion of his country in relation to foreign policy and military issues.
This is an extremely important change.
As already noted, while the tradition of his predecessors’ Thoughts – apart from some Mao’s considerations – regarded essentially economic development and the masses’ wellbeing, with Xi Jinping the “Party line” is often focused on foreign policy and global strategy. Hence this becomes a way to fully achieve and develop the internal economic power of current China.
Moreover, the President’s line increasingly regards “the comprehensive deepening of reforms”, that is the union between domestic and foreign policy and the legacy of reforms from Deng to Xi Jinping – reforms currently brandished by the President against the interests of the Party and State bureaucracy.Therefore the aspect currently linking Xi Jinping’s line to Mao Zedong’s is precisely the will to fight against some very strong interests of the Party hierarchy – in the past with the legacy of the Soviet model and the clash between the CPC and Mao after the failure of the “great leap forward” and currently with the struggle between Xi Jinping’s group and the vast network of corruption.
Again in President Xi Jinping’s mind, a new era is currently opening up for China, as well as a new “strategic opportunity”. After the 19thCPC Congress, China has become the leading nation of the countries already called “developing countries” and, at the same time, of the developed ones. While Marxism-Leninism has always been a political theory needed to skip steps and forge ahead at economic and military levels, today Xi Jinping’s China is reaffirming its hegemonic role and hence needs new theoretical models, well beyond the Marxism of the Third International and the inevitable closure of its strategic, military and geopolitical prospects.Again in President Xi Jinping’s mind, China’s future transformation is hinged around some key sectors.
The first one is the CPC deep reform.
With a view to achieving it, first and foremost the Party’s internal discipline must be strengthened, not only with regard to the fight against corruption, but also in proposing Xi Jinping’s austere and simple lifestyle as a universal model.Hence the Party’s reconstruction is essential to understand the President’s Thought, which is based precisely on the CPC’s internal reform. Another factor not to be neglected is what Xi Jinping often defines as “the new contradiction”.In fact, according to the President, the traditional contradiction characterizing the Chinese society has currently evolved and changed.
It is the new contradiction between “unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life”.Hence not productive forces and production conditions, in an old Marxist model which always implies a capitalist overproduction crisis, as in the West, but a typically Chinese contradiction between the development of productive forces and production conditions with respect to the People’s current needs.This is at the core of Xi Jinping struggle – always very explicit in his essays, speeches and actions – for eradicating poverty in China and building much infrastructure, especially in rural areas, to definitively uproot poverty and allow the “Chinese” solution to an old contradiction which has always existed in the Marxist theory, namely the contradiction between urban and rural areas.It is from this viewpoint that Xi Jinping assesses the environmental issue, with an environmental cleaning campaign following the models adopted in his campaigns against corruption.With reference to the issue of President’s control over the Party, Xi Jinping wants to keep on controlling the State economy, which backs the single-party political structure, with structural investment in large transport networks and heavy industries.This is not the return of the Stalinist myths of basic industry, but Xi Jinping’s problem is that the State economy is essentially more efficient than the private one, chaotically developed in a short lapse of time.Hence Xi Jinping will largely enter the best business generated by individuals and private entities over the last ten years. It will be on these modern sectors, typical of the new economy, that the Party reformed by Xi Jinping will justify its new social and political hegemony.
It will absorb them and it will make them tools for political and social cohesion.From this viewpoint, Xi Jinping’s China will be increasingly assertive, aggressive and sometimes cynical on world markets and in its relations with the other Powers.
Currently Xi Jinping wants above all the Chinese supremacy in Asia and later in the Eurasian Heartland, up to being on an equal footing with the United States in the old strategic regions and playing an asymmetric role again with the United States in the new strategic regions of the future, namely the Arctic, Southeast Asia, South Pacific, Antarctica.As Xi Jinping said at the 19th Congress, China is “ready to donate to the world its ancient wisdom and its recipes for the salvation of mankind”. It will be once again the Middle Kingdom with its explicit “civilizing mission” at cultural, political and strategic levels.Xi Jinping currently thinks about China as the world, while his predecessors pondered on how to reach the development of the First World countries as early as possible.Hence, according to President Xi Jinping, at the end of the current phase of development there will be the “revitalization and rejuvenation of the Chinese race” – at least until the centenary of the Party’s foundation in 2022.From this viewpoint, we need to clarify the apparently simple concept of “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”.As is well-known, according to Marx and Engels, Socialism could be achieved only with the maximum maturation of capitalism.
From the “Long March” onwards, China has inevitably developed the project of a Socialism created starting from a semi-feudal and backward society both in terms of productive forces and in terms of production conditions.Forget about structural overproduction crises! For centuries China had been experiencing only massive famines.In this sense, in the Chinese case, the traditional CPC theorists spoke of a transition from the unqualified to the qualified, from the indistinct to the distinct – and Xi Jinping certainly does not deny this theory.
This means that Socialism in China must experience the transition from an indistinct backward and semi-feudal society to undeveloped capitalism.This implies the future transition to Socialism in the ways and conditions of the ancient Chinese society.Therefore China had to develop industrialization, marketing, socialization and modernization, all together at the same time, by repeating the capitalist contradictions along with those typical of a backward society.Hence the need for the Chinese Communists to use a full market economy, but always distinguishing between the State and the market, by combining the superiority of Socialism and public ownership with free market – hence a State competing with the private sector, which optimizes the costs of the State sector almost automatically.
But only if the Party rules the whole society.
In fact, while the Soviets calculated the costs of production and prices figuratively by using Lange’s public accounting, for Communist China the market parallel to the State and to its planned economy optimally calculates exact and minimum prices.Another trait of “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” is the link between strong strategic autonomy (i.e. an economy not dependent on foreign countries) and the maximum openness to the world market.Without peace in the world there is no economic autonomy and optimal combination of State and Market in China.Therefore for Socialism with Chinese characteristics it is necessary: 1) to speed up modernization through the use of foreign investment; 2) to attract advanced technologies from abroad for current China’s dual economy system (State and private sector); 3 ) to promote the creation of special autonomous free zones for the industrial economy and international trade; 4) to make the best use of capitalism through the formula of “one country, two systems”; 5) to combine Socialism with the market in order to overcome the gap between China and the rest of the world.Moreover, Xi Jinping’s Thought initially incurred some unexpected difficulties in becoming – as theoretical model – the focus of the Chinese debate inside and outside the CPC.
Again in Xi Jinping’s mind, the contradiction between the State and the market – brilliantly managed from Deng Xiaoping onwards in Communist China – in which both are essential for the single hegemony of the CPC and its leader, regards the simultaneous following of the “mass policy line”(which implied, with Mao, the slogan “to serve the people”) and the “strengthening of the State’s transformation”.Here Xi Jinping proposes again his theory of the “Four Greats”, already clear as early as 2007.
According to the President, the Four Greats are the following: “great struggle, great project, great cause and great dream”.This clearly reminds us of Mao Zedong’s old statement, “it is a great pleasure to fight against Heaven, to make war with the Earth, to clash with human beings”.Furthermore, Xi Jinping recalls that it is necessary to “fight against subversive mistakes” in economics and politics.President Xi Jinping will never accept the Party’s weakness or its transformation into a secondary factor for the creation of the Chinese State.It is not easy, however, to imagine how all this will materialize in the concrete Chinese political and economic practice. Nevertheless, it is clear that Xi Jinping’s Thought is the formula with which, today, China thinks to overcome its traditional appearance, be it Marxist-Leninist or born of a whirling and often corrupt market economy.The new synthesis between these two functions, which Xi Jinping no longer interprets as weaknesses or simple internal contradictions, will be the one shaping the shift from a China rising to the level of the other world powers to a China achieving a new global hegemony on its own.
This article originally appeared in Modern Diplomacy
The views expressed above belong to the author(s).

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