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Special> NPC & CPPCC Sessions 2015> Exclusive
UPDATED: March 14, 2015 NO. 12 MARCH 19, 2015
A New Conception of Governance

The phrase the "Four Comprehensives" may well be the hottest buzzword in Chinese political circles at present. Premier Li Keqiang once again emphasized the set of the concepts—comprehensively establishing a moderately prosperous society, deepening reform, advancing the rule of law, and strictly governing the Communist Party of China (CPC)—in this year's Government Work Report, which was delivered on the opening day of the Third Session of the 12th National People's Congress on March 5. Moreover, he proposed concrete measures for their realization. The strategic plan for turning the "Four Comprehensives" from a concept into a tangible reality has hence become more concrete. This collection of tenets is expected to comprise the Chinese Government's guiding principles for governance for some time to come.

All of the four pillars have appeared in some form or another before; but they were only referred to as a whole for the first time by President Xi Jinping last December. A strong logically dependent relationship exists between each of the components. Realizing the general objective of "comprehensively establishing a moderately prosperous society" would be unfeasible without "comprehensively deepening reform," and this goal in turn would be unattainable without the twin actions of "comprehensively advancing the rule of law" and "comprehensively strictly governing the CPC."

The "Four Comprehensives" represent a continuation of the governance principles of the top CPC leadership since the reform and opening-up drive began in the late 1970s. For over 30 years, the CPC has in succession birthed a series of philosophies: Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of the Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development, all of which have constituted vital components of the umbrella philosophy of "socialism with Chinese characteristics" and played significant roles individually throughout the various stages of China's modern development.

The four principles have been accorded special attention, insisted upon and repeatedly emphasized by CPC leaders ever since the early days of reform and opening up and have become the guiding principles that have determined the general direction of the national takeoff. Xi's proposal of the "Four Comprehensives" not only conforms to the guidelines and policies of the CPC but has also refined the principles to a new level of clarity and precision.

The "Four Comprehensives" have expanded the CPC's horizons and capacity for governing the country and are adapted to the requirements of "the new normal" characterized by slower and more sustainable growth rather than the breakneck expansion experienced in the previous years. Going forward, they are expected to greatly improve the overall competence of the CPC's governance.

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