Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, October 11, 2018

A 40-year plan

Given how much Chinese President Xi pushes "his" reform and opening up ideas, it's good to remember that the idea was raised 40 years ago by Deng Xiaoping.

Senior legislators hold study session on reform, opening up
The Leading Party Members' Group of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee held a study session on China's reform and opening up over the past 40 years.

Li Zhanshu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee and secretary of its leading Party members' group, chaired and addressed the meeting held Monday and Tuesday.

The meeting stressed studying and implementing Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and a profound understanding of the major political judgement by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, that reform and opening up is the key that has determined contemporary China's future…

Summarizing the evolution of the system of people's congresses in the past 40 years of reform and opening up, the meeting noted it was fundamental that the CPC Central Committee has remained sober-minded and maintained its political orientation, and pushed forward reform steadily in line with national conditions and social and economic development realities, thus ensuring the right direction of upholding and improving the system of people's congresses.

Stressing that China's rapid development in the past 40 years has relied on reform and opening up, the statement said that reform and opening up must be unswervingly upheld to secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and to fully build a modern socialist country.

The NPC and its standing committee should thoroughly study Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, fully implement Xi's thought on upholding and improving the system of people's congresses, and develop and improve the system of people's congresses with the times, the statement said.

40 Years and Counting
(From The Diplomat)
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s Reform and Opening (gaige kaifang), initiated by Deng Xiaoping at the Third Plenum of the Eleventh Central Committee in 1978. These economic changes were so far-reaching that Deng described them as part of China’s “second revolution.” Since then, China has become an economic juggernaut with the world’s largest foreign reserves ($3.12 trillion), second-largest GDP ($11 trillion), and third-highest levels of foreign direct investment ($170 billion). Its share of the world economy grew from a mere 1.8 percent in 1978 to a staggering 18.2 percent in 2017.  China is not just an emerging economy but has surely returned to its status as a major world economic power, which accounted for nearly 30 percent of the world economy in the 15th and 16th centuries…

The forces that account for the economic success of the Chinese model have also created tensions between a political system characterized by Leninist single party-led authoritarianism and an economy and society characterized by vibrant market forces. How much of China’s super-charged economic growth can be attributed to state-led planning and how much comes from entrepreneurship and market forces? With Xi holding all the levers of political power, how much is the Chinese leadership willing to let go of economic control?

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