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Print Edition> Nation
UPDATED: May 26, 2015 NO.22 MAY 28, 2015
The Chinese Dream
By Carlos Magariños
Editor's Note: At the end of 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the strategic layout of the Four Comprehensives--comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society, deepening reform, advancing the rule of law, and strictly governing the Communist Party of China. Later, the new guideline for development became the overall framework for the current leadership's work and has aroused interest at home and abroad. From Issue No.17 onward, Beijing Review publishes a series of commentaries by foreign researchers commissioned by Renmin University of China's Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies.

Over the past years the world has confronted very serious challenges, economically and politically.

Most advanced economies (especially Europe) are still struggling--nearly eight years on now--to emerge from nearly the worst financial crisis in almost a century while also facing a multilateral political agenda that has led to a number of conflicts of interest.

The international community had been suffering the pain and the scarcity of a more decisive political leadership.

In this context, President Xi Jinping's domestic and international initiatives are encouraging and very welcomed. His Four Comprehensives build on the decisions of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee regarding China's reform to give a visible face and a meaningful goal to the efforts and commitment of the Chinese people, embodied in the definition of the Chinese dream.

This vision gives the center stage to "the building of a moderately prosperous society in a comprehensive manner," to ensure that the people of China will find satisfaction to its economic and social needs. It implicitly advocates for the strengthening of the successful process of socio-economic progress that took place over the last decades, stimulating innovation, entrepreneurship and trade to continue creating jobs and opportunities for all.

To achieve this goal, Xi has crafted a very clear message: More reform is needed. He identifies the route to prosperity and social progress in a precise mandate to "comprehensively deepen reform" efforts.

It is not a minor issue considering that China could be at a sort of "reform crossroads."

A considerable share of the Chinese population could feel that the reform process had already achieved quite something for them and become reluctant to committing continuous efforts to that end. Others could be in prominent places and do not want to see their positions compromised.

The leadership understands, however, that reform must continue until "all," if possible, or "almost all" Chinese people at least meet the basic living standards require to live with dignity and opportunities in the "epochal change" we are confronting at the world level.

It can be easily understood that, to deepen reform in that context--considering the many years invested already on economic and social reform efforts--would imply a renovation and modernization of the system of government in China. The driver of the process proposed by Xi will be "the implementation of the rule of law in a comprehensive manner."

This constitutes a major political move to secure social justice, a very important goal in the present phase of the Chinese economic miracle. After so many years focusing on economic growth to enhance social conditions of the people, the time has come to consolidate previous gains, adding to it efforts to strengthen social justice by means of modernizing the government system.

"Comprehensively strengthening Party discipline" could be seen as an indispensable element to secure the other three comprehensive measures and, in particular, for the implementation of the rule of law, since the elimination of corruption constitutes an essential element for it to deliver the expected results in terms of social justice.

From a hierarchical point of view, comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society constitutes the main goal, the basic element of the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. It cannot be achieved, however, without a key element: the drive toward "comprehensively deepening reform" which in turn requires modern government practices committed to social justice by means of "comprehensively implementing the rule of law" and "comprehensively strengthening party discipline."

Xi's blueprint for the future of China includes a strategic goal and a number of measures that support each other and reciprocally influence one another.

His commitment and decisive leadership can be assessed, at least by a foreigner, by the fact that to further this agenda, unlike his predecessors, he will probably have to overcome considerable domestic unrest.

In addition to a very demanding domestic agenda, Xi is determined to play also a constructive role for China as a responsible global citizen.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative--including the $40-billion Silk Road Fund--are important plans to develop closer cooperation with Central Asian countries and with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its members, as it is the initiative of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank for the whole Asian countries.

Additionally, the BRICS Group of emerging economies--whose membership includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa--has established the $50-billion New Development Bank and signed an agreement to establish the Contingency Reserves Agreement of $100 billion to address liquidity concerns of its members in times of financial crisis.

These are just examples of the many actions taken by the Chinese leadership to contribute its share in the building of modern institutions. I have learned only too well that the international community needs new institutions for a new era. It cannot address the problems of the future with the organizations of the past.

China is decisively contributing to the building of the institutions needed to renew multilateralism, taking stock of the new international balance of economic power and new political realities. This is essential to shape a modern and progressive international society. It seems it wants a domestic "moderately prosperous society" in an "international modern and progressive society."

China's domestic and international initiatives are well correlated. Both are pursuing the building of a better society. From my viewpoint, it is evident that this generation of Chinese leaders have a "rendezvous" with destiny. And Xi seems to have well understood the challenge, willing to face it in the best possible manner. He is contributing positive and decisive leadership, a scarce and precious gift in the times we live.

The author is chairman of the Global Alliance of SMEs and former director general of the UN Industrial Development Organization

Copyedited by Kieran Pringle 

Comments to zanjifang@bjreview.com

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The Four Comprehensives

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