Monthly Archives: October 2013

Translation: “Protect the lifeline of the people and the Party” People’s Daily, 10/14/13

Below I’ve translated a very long front page People’s Daily editorial (written under the pen name 任忠平) on the Communist Party’s mass line education campaign. This article was suggested to me by Bill Bishop, who featured it in Sinocism’s Esssential Eight and said it was an important piece in terms of political significance. The state media isn’t solely a propaganda machine: it’s both outward facing (toward the people) and also acts as a way for Party leaders to communicate with each other and with lower level cadres. In reading the state media I find it very difficult to sort out empty rhetoric from the truly important stuff. I won’t do any analysis here, but I’d challenge readers to try and make that distinction, to sort out what is being signaled with this kind of editorial. I’d love to hear any thoughts in the comments section.

On the translation: this was by far the longest and most difficult piece of writing I’ve ever tried to translate. The language was often complex, full of 成语 and references to Party concepts and historical events. I’ve inserted clarifications and the original Chinese where I found difficulties. As always, suggestions for improvement are much appreciated. Also, to anyone looking for an informed analysis of the mass line campaign I’d recommend Alice Miller’s China Leadership Monitor article.

The People’s Daily: Protect the lifeline of the people and the Party

1. The political line is the key choice in determining one’s fate

In October of 2013, the APEC summit returned to Indonesia after 19 years. Amidst hopes that “resilient Asia” can serve as a “global engine,” the choices of the twenty-one members will decide success or failure. With America’s Democratic and Republican parties still unable to overcome their differences on health care reform, the federal government’s non-essential departments have been forced to close and the debt-limit crisis presses close. As the special group of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons arrived in Syria, opposition forces and the Syrian Army remained locked in a stalemate… the world’s future remains shrouded under a cloud of uncertainty. The parting message from the Voyager II as it left the solar system carried a deep meaning: “Goodbye, humankind. You guys can figure it out.”

In China, the long National day holiday just ended and curbs on public spending made for a notable highlight. The leading group for Central Party’s Mass Line Education and Implementation Campaign (from here on out, “mass line campaign”) met urgently, and the Politburo Standing Committee attended meetings throughout focusing on “democratic life meetings.” (“民主生活会”) At the meetings, the criticism and self-criticism by leaders and cadres made for a refreshing change of pace.

Looking ahead, the coming of the 18th Party Congress’s third plenum has received plenty of attention. Thirty-five years after marching out into the currents, the great ship of Chinese reform and opening faces these questions: how to upgrade development? how to deepen reforms? how to expand opening up? 1.3 billion people are waiting. It almost seemed like a metaphor when on the morning of October 1st the five-star flag was raised amidst pouring rain and wind on Tiananmen Square. Opportunities and challenges both lie ahead for this country.

What flag to raise and what road to take? The Party’s 18th Congress once again came out with a resolute reply. But how to turn the announcement of the “five integrated” (五位一体, Economic, political, social, cultural and ecological construction) into specific tasks, how to turn the blueprint of the “two one-hundred years” (两个百年, 100 years after the founding of the party create a well-off society, 100 years after the founding of the PRC create a strong, rich, democratic, harmonious and civilized modern socialist society) into a beautiful reality, behind each step up toward the peak lie hidden dangers and even crises. Faced with such a large chessboard, such a large responsibility, such a large China, we must find a sturdy starting point in order to complete this perilous climb.

“If the Party is strong and remains linked by flesh and blood to the people, the country will be prosperous and stable, and the people will be happy and healthy.” The 18th Party Congress’s report revealed the key to revival. To forge iron one must be strong oneself. The entire Party must be vigilant, resolve outstanding problems within itself in a practical manner, and give both history and the people solutions that are up to standard. The announcement of Xi Jinping as General Secretary placed Party-building and relations between the Party and the masses at the center of the grand and lengthy project of revival.

In this way, the Mass Line Campaign was launched throughout the entire Party.

2. Reform and Opening has pushed China to unprecedented heights. With continuing success come serious difficulties.

If the break in the ice 35 years ago was a return to humanity, common sense and welfare, if liberating one’s thinking was a blade that could everywhere open new horizons (如果说35年前的破冰,是向人性、向常识、向利益的回归,思想解放的刀锋所向,处处都能打开一片新天地), then the current deepening must smash conceptual obstacles in ideology and break down the barriers of entrenched interests. It seems that the contradictions and problems that a developing China now faces are sharper and more complicated.

On the macro-level, structural transformation is met with major structural inertia. Altering the development path faces a rock-hard bottleneck in innovative abilities and personnel training. Transforming government functions doesn’t just require heroic courage, it also takes the meticulousness and care of walking atop an iced-over pond. (也不能没有临渊履冰的精细 和严谨) The growth of democracy requires accompaniment by the rule of law. If one departs from democracy, the sanctity of the law can easily turn into arbitrary decisions (民主的发育,要有法治护航;法治的尊严,离开民主又极易专断. Need help on this one). It’s already clear that the “GDP-ism” that overlooks equal enjoyment of the fruits of development is unsustainable. If expectations are too high then the measures taken will be too drastic, and they may even warm the bed for the kind of “welfare-ism” that ties down development… Faced with so many dilemmas, one hesitates, afraid to make a move in this game of chess.

On the micro level, local government debt is high and not falling, and housing prices continue their ups and downs. “The visible hand” is caught between advance and retreat, while “the invisible hand” rarely displays itself. An aging society is swallowing the “demographic dividend” and creating the difficulty of “growing old before growing rich.” On one side it’s hard to find a job, and elsewhere there’s a shortage of workers. On one side the urbanization fire rages on, while you still have have towering city gates and empty highrises. Here we’ve seen great strides in moral education, but outside the campus high-end cram schools cater to the elite. On the one hand doctors working overtime lament their low salaries, while at the same time patients complain that it’s difficult to see a doctor, expensive to see a doctor, and after all that you still have to give a red envelope. With so much conflict, the unhappy, unharmonious and unstable emotions are piling up.

After continued price unification, SOE reform, and government-SOE separation, China’s development has once again entered a period of growing pains. There’s no doubt that in recent years as China became the world’s second largest economy and countless people’s livelihood underwent huge changes, foreign media proclaimed “The Chinese Communist Party is to date the most successful people’s party.” But needless to say, the shaping of this diverse system has made reform backed by “the masses united as one” into a luxury. The wind of corruption has majorly worn away at government departments’ and government employees’ credibility with the people. The rustic innocence of the ordinary people has in some cases given way to unrelenting suspicions.

As the rulers of a rising power, one faces a constantly changing international landscape and the increasingly diverse demands of the people. Faced with this era’s major task of broadly deepening reform and opening, one must continue toward victory in this “great struggle defined by historically new characteristics.” (要在这场“具有许多新的历史特点 的伟大斗争”中继续取得胜利) In the ongoing struggle to realize the Chinese dream and charge through the deep-water rapids that lie ahead, we must: constantly refresh our image with high expectations for ourselves; use sincere interactions based on equality to interact with and soothe the emotions of the masses; fulfill the aspirations of the masses and consolidate their trust; and win the support of the masses and bring together their wisdom.

This is the real background for the current Mass Line Campaign.

3. Looking at the thousands of political parties across the world, on cohesion and strength, none can compare to the Chinese Communist Party (遍观当今世界数以千计的政党,若论凝聚力和战斗力,无出中国共产党其右者)

[Translator’s note: I will summarize rather than translate this third section because I think the jist of the argument is far more important than the details and language]

In this section the author lays out some of the historic examples of famous Chinese Communist revolutionaries and the way they stayed close to the people. First he gives the example of how in the early 1960s the Party downsized the number of officials and their salaries in order to alleviate food shortages [my note: likely caused by Mao’s Great Leap Forward, let’s remember]. It ends by quoting Mao saying “If the Communist Party weren’t in power, what Party could handle this?” and then the author asks “Why could it (the Party) handle this?”

It then relays how when Edgar Snow visited the Communist base in Yanan in the 1930’s, he was impressed by the simplicity with which leaders like Mao, Zhou Enlai and Peng Dehuai lived, and how students at the Red Army’s school would use the back of the enemy’s propaganda flyers for taking notes.

Peng Dehuai

It then goes on with a long quote from Zhu De about how his mother was an ordinary person, and how he is sure that the Communist Party can make a better life for his mother and people like her. Next is an anecdote about how Zhou Enlai demanded relief for drought-stricken Gansu province in 1973. There is also an anecdote about Deng Xiaoping reminding local cadres that they have to look out for small farmers because the people need to eat.

[back to translation]

“Everything is for the masses, and everything relies on the masses.” The mass line is our Party’s value and our political line. Facing the masses, the Party shouldn’t have it’s own special benefits or any special privileges. The people’s happiness has always been the Party’s root and the fountainhead of its strength. Scholars have a concluded: other ruling parties failed to complete “the historic task of building modern China” because they “all lacked a connection to the people and became like rootless algae on water.” From the beginning the Communist Party has been “the Party connected to the people.” Because of this, the Party was able to travel the perilous route of revolution, construction and reform, and now to stride toward revival and glory.

“To come from the masses, and to go toward the masses.” Stick to the purpose of serving the people and follow the mass line. Our Party has displayed “that kind of spirit, that kind of strength, that kind of desire, that kind of passion … It’s the diverse and brilliant essence of human history.” It’s this “Eastern Magic” that has drawn western people’s eyes like a magnet. It’s this “light of national rejuvenation” that illuminates the journey, and it’s the source of strength as we today struggle against difficulties and follow dreams.

4. From a revolutionary party to a ruling party, the conditions have changed and the environment has changed. The Party’s Mass Line will have to face severe tests. This is especially the case for large party ruling for a long time.

In times of war, the Party’s existence was directly dependent on the attitudes of the masses toward the Party. After taking over governance, the Party’s political position has changed. With all the country’s apparatus under its control, the Party has an unprecedented richness of resources. On many levels, whether or not the lives of the masses can be improved, and whether or not productive forces can smoothly develop, now this instead depends on the line policies of the Party, on the work attitude of Party organs of all levels, on the work style of Party cadres. This kind of reversal in dependent relationships has often been the breeding ground for bureaucratism.

When a party’s cadres wield great public power and also lack corresponding constraints, the malicious wind of “bureaucratism” can take hold and even spread. When the Party pays attention to the construction of good work styles, leading cadres will consciously connect with the masses and help the masses resolve difficulties. On the other hand, when the Party’s work style is off, that’s when “officials’ power stands out and the people’s power disappears, when officials are the master and the people are the servants, when officials are central and all starts with them, when their is grave opposition between the Party and the people.” In this situation, officials’ self-centered thinking will spread like a virus in all directions and Party members’ lives will become more relaxed, their behavior more vulgar. Liberalism and “making nice” will be in vogue (党内自由主义与好人主义盛行), and some Party members won’t be able to resist the temptations, they’ll know no bottom line, and the distance will grow between the powerful cadres and the masses.

Formalism and bureaucratism are twin brothers. The similarity lies in the inversion of responsibility between those above and below. Those below are submissive, always staring intently to see if the bosses are happy or not, satisfied or not. It gets to the point where they don’t hesitate to lie and deceive, where they’ll drain the pond to get the fish, where they’ll eat next year’s harvest this year, all in order to rack up “political achievements.” As to the feelings of the masses they aren’t sensitive in the least; they don’t pay attention and just don’t care. Towards higher-ups they “check the weather” and towards those below they rain down hail. In the office they’re always looking for that magical wind, while the masses are trying to capture the dew on the ground. (note: this is all a tricky play on words in Chinese that I tried to capture, check the original 对上“看天气”,对下“耍霸气”,办公室里“找灵气”,却 唯独不到群众中“接地气”). If you want them to take a principled stand for the sake of the people you’re going to offend somebody, move your own cheese.

For the rulers, the corrosion caused by power can be fatal. When one has been in power for a long time, it’s all too easy to blur the line between public power and private interests. The seizing of political power was the people seizing power, but in the ruling through political power it’s easy to fall victim to the illusion that one is the father of the country. (”打江山”是人民的江山,“坐江山”却可能有“家天下”的错 觉. Tricky to translate, check links for Chinese explanation of these rhetorical concepts). When faced with the steady flow of wealth and resources into one’s hands, it takes only the slightest loosening up before subjective consciousness and objective oversight are blurred. At that point resisting the temptations of hedonism and wastefulness becomes harder and harder.

It’s not that we lack examples to learn from. The most shocking disintegration occurred in the place that once struck terror into the hearts of imperialist countries: the socialist Soviet Union. During the time of the grain crisis that followed the October Revolution, Commisar Qu Luba (Soviet official, can’t find Russian name), who had the right to allocate billions of tons of food collapsed from hunger during a meeting. Lenin had to propose the creation of a “recuperation cafeterias,” forcing high level party cadres to go there and “eat for the sake of the people.”

But by the end of Kruschev’s time these “recuperation cafeterias” had spread to the whole country and changed into “little white birch” shops (“小白桦”商店). They offered up all kinds of rare imported products for close to a million people with special privileges. “Special hospitals, special recovery homes, beautiful restaurants and feasts with special delicacies. Also, comfortable transportation options,” Boris Yeltsin remembered. As an alternate to the Politburo, he had three chefs, three waitresses, one cleaner and one gardener. “If you climbed to the peak of the Party’s pyramid of power, you can enjoy everything — you’ve arrived at communism! At the time we’d think, what world revolution? What peak labor efficiency? And that national people’s harmony? We don’t need all that.”

Today, the Soviet Union with its 74 years of history has been broken up for 22 years. With these past 20 years to reflect on the death of the Soviet Union’s communist party and the country, Chinese socialism has never stopped. We’ve been faced with the danger of spiritual slackening, abilities weakening, and corruption growing. We’ve been put to the test of governance, of reform and opening, of the market economy, and of the external environment. And we’ve remained through it all, passing through the gates of fire and realizing the goal of long-term order and lasting peace. (Difficult section, I got a bit creative at points. 精神懈怠、能力不足、脱离群众、消极腐败 的危险,执政考验、改革开放考验、市场经济考验、外部环境考验,防住了经得起,我们就能涉险过关,实现长治久安.) If we can’t stand our guard against the spread formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance, it won’t just bring about the “capsizing of the boat” that we’ve been warned about for ages. It could be the disaster that brings about the death of the Party and the death of the country. (所带来的不仅是“载舟覆舟”的千古警思,更有亡党亡国的灭顶之灾).

Now standing at these heights, Secretary Xi Jinping has solemnly emphasized: the problems with “work styles” are absolutely no trifling matter. If one doesn’t resolutely correct bad work styles, if these developments go unchecked, it will be like an invisible wall that divides the Party from the masses. Our Party will lose its roots, lose its lifeblood, lose its strength. It might turn into what Comrade Mao Zedong described with the metaphor “Farewell My Concubine.”

5. Wavering in beliefs and ideals is the root of the departure from the masses. The barriers that lie between the Party and the masses are more complex than those described in any of the classic works.

The older generation that made revolution and seized power was made of many people from the lower, oppressed classes, and also quite a few “rebels” from important families. There feelings toward ordinary people were truly sincere; they knew the sufferings of the people like the back of their hand, and they were as one big family with ordinary people (与平民大众“天生就是一家人”).

When Zhou Enlai arrived in the Hebei countryside to conduct investigations, he sat his butt right down on the threshold of a farmer’s house. Sitting next to him was farmer Zhang Ermin, telling him what was in his heart. From that time onwards, Zhou Enlai, the man willing to listen to the truth, promised that every year he would send someone to that village to represent him in listening to his farming friend who dared to speak the truth. When Peng Dehuai went back home to conduct surveys, the cadres at the evening discussions told him how high the grain yields were stacked. He grabbed a flashlight and headed out to the grain fields, feeling the grain himself. He wanted to see it with his own eyes.

Today, the style of the older generation has already become a memory. Many Party leaders that have grown up in these peaceful and prosperous times lack that immediate sense of the Party and the masses mutual reliance, of the flesh and blood, life and death connection between the two. Some people only emphasize “leadership by elites,” “leadership by experts,” and forget this root in the masses. Even more common are the “three gate cadres”: when they leave the gates of their home they enter the gates of the school, and when they leave school they enter the gates of a government department. They lack work experience and they lack an understanding of things at the bottom level of society. Some Party leaders see the ordinary people as the object from their studies in management; they don’t have any deep feelings for the masses and they’re just not sufficiently concerned about them. Sometimes they lack the ability to resolve difficult problems at the bottom levels of society: there’s an awkward juxtaposition as some are afraid to go down to those levels of society and others want to go down but they just can’t make it happen.

What’s more, sometimes the “close connection to the people” turns into a “close connection to money and power.” Their own interests override the interests of the masses, turning “the relationship between fish and water” into “the relationship between oil and water” or even “the relationship between fire and water.” [reference to Mao’s invocation that the Party/Red Army should move amongst the people like fish in water]. The connection between the cadres and people has been pulled further and further apart.

“Breaking away from the masses” has roots in a lack of personal effort, and also in the real difficulties brought on by changes in the environment.

Following along with the deepening development of the socialist market economy, China’s socialist structures have undergone deep changes. A trend has emerged of increasing competition, movement and division between people. In breaking down the borders between units, regions, and the city-country divide, “fluid/mobile China” (流动中国) has increased the interaction between people, increased society’s vitality, but also increased the scope of conflicts amongst the people.

Just as the children of migrant workers from the countryside hope they’ll be able to enjoy the high-quality education resources of the city, urban parents are afraid that education resources are being diluted and competition to get into good schools will intensify. Just as some people think that small carts lining the sidewalks, with the owners shouting out their wares, makes life more convenient, some people think it disturbs public order. Some people think those clogging up the city streets should be punished, and others think that weaker groups in society need to be protected. When it comes to resolving traffic, congestion bikers fight for their right of way, drivers demand more parking spaces, wealthy families oppose license plate lotteries, and low-income people think collecting congestion fees discriminates against poor people.

These attitudes are completely different, with the demands going off in all different directions, but each person is one part of the masses, and each person should be served by the Party and the government. Faced with this diverse and ever-changing landscape of interests and demands, the difficulties of working for the masses grow each day, and presenting unprecedented challenges.

In recent years there have been sizable crowds of petitioners and we frequently hear of mass incidents. On the one hand, this shows that the masses are always becoming more concerned and more sensitive about their own rights, and thus the difficulty in coordinating and planning one’s work for the masses is growing. It also shows that when working for the masses some Party cadres have lost their words and some methods have lost their effectiveness. In terms of the mass line they’ve lost their place, and their ability to connect with the people has fallen. Taken together, this means the connection Party cadres and the masses now faces an unprecedentedly difficult test of the times.

6. We often say that development is the key to solving all of contemporary China’s problems. This “development” is used in the broad sense of the word, including innovation in the work for the masses and the upgrading of governing abilities.

The Chinese Communist Party of today has kept up fast-paced growth in terms of the number of party members. By the end of 2012 the number of party members broke the 85 million mark, with annual growth of 3%. Based on this rate of growth, members of the Chinese Communist Party will break 100 million within a few years, a number that exceeds the total population of most countries.

Compared with the past, the strength of our Party members has greatly increased and our economic and financial strength has shot up. Today the multi-faceted resources we control has increased and the technological methods at our disposal have been enriched. Still, all comrades must remember: there is no strength on Earth that can replace the strength of the people. If one doesn’t represent the interests of the people, doesn’t adhere to the principles of the masses, no matter how abundant the strength or how numerous the forces, they will be nothing more than a platform without legs, a tree without roots, a stream without a source. All comrades must remember: 64 years after taking over governance, the new resources and avenues we have merely show that we need to have more determination, wisdom and flexibility in grasping the thinking, resolving the problems and fulfilling the desires of the masses.

History has proven this. In 1990 the Soviet Union’s “Siberia Report” gave results from a survey in which people were asked “Who does the Communist Party of the Soviet Union represent?” The results were as follows: 7% believed it represented the workers, 11% believed it represented all Party members, and 85% believed it represented the bureaucracy. If the people believe that a party doesn’t represent their interests, it doesn’t matter how long or glorious of a history it has, in the end its fall is inevitable.

Foreign observers have pointed out that of the many concepts used by the Chinese Communist Party, “the mass line” is the most complex and the most universal. It “contains all the secrets of the CCP” and is “the most important form of soft power.” Truly, the Chinese Communist Party’s biggest political advantage is its close connection to the masses. The mass line is our political party’s lifeline in maintaining our advanced nature, our purity, in consolidating our political position and in pushing forward the work of socialism.

How do we care for this lifeline of the Party and guarantee that cadres are not willing, not able and not daring to break away from the people? How do we safeguard the long-term governance by the Party and enduring peace in the country? These are the big questions of the new age in terms of building a ruling Party, and they are questions that need to be explored and resolved. The mass line campaign is like this era’s test paper that’s been handed out by our Party, and this generation of communists should solemnly ask themselves: “what have we to write?” (群众路线教育实践活动,在这张 我们党交出的时代答卷上,这一代共产党人都应严肃自问:我们该有怎样的书写?)

7. “Looking in the mirror, straightening one’s dress, taking a bath, and curing the disease,” [note: using Alice Miller’s translation for this slogan] the bottom-up mass line campaign has been launched and has already spawned some changes and gained some clear achievements.

But the launch of the campaign  has  also  revealed some problems, namely that some leading cadres still think the “four winds”  [formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance] problem has nothing to do with them. They treat the masses in just the way Deng Xiaoping once criticized: “In difficult times they rely on them, in smooth times they don’t rely on them. When they need them they rely on them, when they don’t need them they don’t rely on them. In their words they rely on them, but in their thinking they don’t.” As a result, they treat study as a mere formality, acting as if it were an extra burden and stopping when they’ve just gotten the general idea.

They’re afraid to listen to complaints will mean losing face and harming their authority. They lack the courage and the mindset to enjoy correcting errors that have been pointed out. In revealing problems, fear is at the front of their mind. “Criticize the higher ups and you fear reprisal; criticize your peers and you fear the fire will spread to you; criticize lower levels and you fear losing support; criticize yourself and you fear you’ll destroy your own image.” These people hesitate when implementing rectification and reform, looking all around them with fear that once these limits on power are institutionalized they will limit their freedom.

This reminds us once again: the Party-masses relationship embodied in the mass line campaign must be made more specific, more clear and more standardized. It’s for this very reason that the Party center has emphasized that the mass line campaign must go hand in hand with institution building. The campaign can be used to build lasting attitudes and lasting methods in the system. It must fundamentally resolve the existing “four winds” problem in the Party as well as problems in the Party-masses relationship. “Once the institutions have taken shape, they must be strictly adhered to, ensuring that their are no exceptions in implementation.”

In reality, improving work styles, cleaning up the “four winds” isn’t just a one-time “revolution in thinking”: it’s more of a “exploration of institutions”. “Achieving the macro requires doing the micro” (“天下大事,必作于细”); the small opening created by improved work styles opens up a huge space for work.

On one hand, the question of work styles has a real connection to the desires of the people. Beginning with resolving outstanding problems and the most sensitive issues for the masses, the Party can finally begin building up political credibility. On the other hand, whether it’s reviving the treasured practice of criticism and self-criticism, or “opening the door and doing one’s work,” or holding “democratic life meetings,” these are all expressions of the principles behind our Party building democracy. As political scientists have observed, the mass line campaign is “a kind of reverse mode of public participation.” It emphasizes that policy makers must pro-actively go out into the masses, and that should turn into a determination by the ruling Party to conduct self-purification, self-improvement, and self-renewal.

Transforming work styles is intimately connected to the the masses, and is also a force pushing reform in all sectors. In the economic sector, work-style construction squeezes the bubble of public expenditures and pushes forward healthy and reasonable spending behaviors. This will shape rules about sustainable and efficient use of public money, and will bring together stronger positive energy behind development.

In the political arena, changes to work styles will raise administrative efficiency. By standardizing the operation of power, optimizing the mechanisms, and innovating in institutions, it will plug up the leaks in the operation of government. In the social and cultural sphere, changes to work style will doubtless push a plain and simple style throughout all of society. This will build a strong foundation of values for economic and social development. From here we can see, the mass line campaign that sets correcting work styles as its goal is really like “the wings of a butterfly”: it beats out a breeze that will bring deep and far reaching changes.  And at the center of all these changes is one relationship: the relationship between rights and power. (权利与权力)

One still remembers that during the victory in the war of resistance against Japan, when the American military observer group finished its inspection at Yan’an they praised the new style of the CCP’s administration there to Madame Chiang Kai-shek. Upon hearing this, Madame Chiang Kai-shek disdainfully said that this was because the CCP hadn’t yet truly tasted power. These disdainful doubts were like a mirror, a warning to the communists who were marching toward power. For the past half century, “to serve the people,” these golden words carved above the Xinhua University gate, are further carved into the hearts of tens of millions of Party members. The “Two Musts” of Xibaipo act as a warning that forever resonates. (Xibaipo was the Hebei city where the Communist army stayed in preparation for it’s march on Beijing. The two-musts are roughly: comrades must remain modest, prudent and free from arrogance in work style, comrades must continue to maintain the work style of arduous struggle.)

When our Party does anything, it must first ask: “do the people support it? are the people happy? will the people go along with it?” The Party must “always represent the the interests of the overwhelming majority of the people”, and practice “development for the people, development that relies on the people, development that benefits the people.” “The people’s desire for a good life is the goal of our struggle.” Generation after generation of communists have not for a moment forgotten the exhortations of the people, always strictly governing the Party and diligently practicing that earliest promise made 90 years ago.

“At all times and in all situations, one must never depart from the position of breathing with the people and sharing the people’s fate. Never forget the command to wholeheartedly serve the people. Never lose the principle of materialist philosophy: the masses are the true heroes of history.” “Take the Party’s nature and cultivate it correctly; take Party members responsibilities and understand them thoroughly; take Party discipline and national law and tighten them up.” (“把党性修养正一 正、把党员义务理一理、把党纪国法紧一紧”) “Never loosen your grip on work-style construction, don’t stop even for a moment.” The constantly deepening education activities are crystallizing the political principle of governing for the people, forging the political ethics of people’s democracy, and embodying the historical consciousness of an ever-vigilant Marxist political party. (体现了一个马克思主义政党居安思危的历史自觉.)

8. During the 8th Party Congress of 1956, one poet wrote out these thoughts:

“Don’t forget the mothers in the countryside! Don’t forget the brothers sleeping on their broken kangs! Don’t forget the friendship of the sisters who did the mending! You must deeply reflect on their frustrations and difficulties. This is our fundamental character and our history. Carve them like a monument into your hearts!”

    Ninety years ago, when our Party had 50 members it was able to attract countless people to gather under the same banner. When it had 1.2 million members, it ushered in victory in the War of Resistance Against Japan. When it had 4.5 million members it founded a new socialist China. When it had 35 million members it pushed us on the path toward catching up with the world through reform and opening. When it had 80 million members it led China to becoming the world’s second largest economy. Today, we have 85 million members leading 1.3 billion people toward realizing the Chinese Dream of the great revival of the Chinese people..

During the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the founding of new China, an old revolutionary stood on the Tiananmen gate watching the endless stream of the National Day parade. He spoke this deeply meaningful sentence: “The people are the nation, the nation is the people.” (人民就是江山,江山就是人民. Going out on a limb by translating 江山/”rivers and mountains” as “the nation” but I think it captures the meaning better than “The people are the rivers and mountains.”)

The past, the present and the future, everything originates from this promise:

“Be as one with the people, share their hardships, and unite with them in struggle.”

The People’s Daily, 10/14/2013

Translator’s Note: If you made it his far, congratulations! That was long, dense and often stuffy. I’d love to hear any comments on content of the piece, what it is signalling to the people/cadres, and what your general tolerance is for over-the-top CCP rhetoric.

Translation: “The Deep Significance for Reform in Shanghai’s Free Trade Zone” by Hu Shuli


In last week’s Caixin Hu Shuli (胡舒立) wrote about her belief that the Shanghai FTZ marks a new beginning for economic reforms, potentially marking the “third wave” of reforms (after the SEZ’s of the 80’s and WTO entrance in 2001). She claims that the Shanghai FTZ (technically called the “China (Shanghai) FTZ”) will serve as a gateway and a testing ground for major financial reforms that will then go national. It’s an optimistic take on a policy that has somewhat underwhelmed other commentators, but my understanding is that Hu enjoys strong connections to the new administration. Here’s to hoping she’s right.

As always, comments appreciated on the translation. Link to the original piece here, h/t Sinocism.

The Deep Significance for Reform in Shanghai’s Free Trade Zone

by Hu Shuli

    High-level designs and roadmaps for the new round of reforms remain unclear, but “using opening up to promote reform” has already taken off. On September 29th, half a year after high-level leaders put forward a motion to establish a free trade zone, the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone officially opened. The initial batch of 55 policy trials all came on line, and the remaining 43 policies should come out before year’s end.

    The meaning of this initiative is deep and far-reaching. In the past ten years China has trekked into the deep waters of reform, but interests have solidified, constructing numerous obstacles and clearly slowing the pace of reforms. Over the past year, the new generation of central leaders have together returned to “using opening up to promote reform.” Decision-makers have overridden the objectors and forcefully pushed forward the construction of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone, in the process receiving the enthusiastic support of the markets. We can look forward to the founding of the Shanghai pilot free trade zone as a major step in national reform strategies. It seems likely the FTZ could become the third wave of China’s opening up to the outside world, following on the 1980’s special economic zones and the entrance into the WTO at the turn of the century.

    Currently lots of analysis of the FTZ has focused on which stocks or related real estate assets will gain value. The points of interest are what kinds of “policy dividends” might be included in the FTZ’s trials and how much benefit the local economy will derive from the project. The approval of the Shanghai FTZ set off a craze of applications for free trade zones, a phenomenon not unrelated to this expectation of “policy dividends.”

    Actually, the fact that the Shanghai FTZ has been crowned with the word “China” reveals that the focus of experiments in reform isn’t beneficial measures or preferential policies. Instead, the focus is on innovations in the market economy, and is actually a localized test-arrangement with an eye toward the broader situation. This Chinese FTZ located in Shanghai will undertake the mission of the liberalization of trade, the facilitation of investment, the internationalization of finance and the streamlining of administration. The essence of this is using opening up to promote reform, and to use the achievements of experiments in institutional innovation to realize the national strategy. Success or failure is directly connected to the entire situation.

    Let’s take exchange rate liberalization as an example. We can anticipate the prioritization of experiments in innovation of financial market products, offshore operations, financial opening to the outside world, and both domestic investment abroad and foreign investment in China. According to the latest statistics from the Bank for International Settlements, of the $5.3 trillion of daily foreign exchange, the daily RMB exchange has already expanded to $1.2 trillion, representing the first time the RMB has made it into the top ten most used currencies. I believe the FTZ, this bridgehead of opening to the outside world, will become an engine and platform for convertibility of the RMB.

    On the method of opening up, the foreign capital management model of pre-admission national treatment and negative listing (准入前国民待遇和负面清单的外资管理模式, sorry, really don’t understand this jargon) has already become a new trend in the development of international investment rules, one adopted by over seventy countries worldwide. More important is that this model is in step with the direction of reform that China is pushing in its system of administrative approvals. At its essence, it’s a way of creating a fair competitive environment for enterprises under all forms of ownership. However, over the past few decades the complicated “approval system” has already become what economists call “path dependent”: complete reform can only be started with a push from outside, and a fresh start to major changes can only come by way of the experimental zone.

    Looked at from an international perspective, calls for change are already quite urgent. The U.S. and Europe have actively pushed the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP), the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement (TTIP), Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) and the U.S. Model Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT2012). It’s not merely that these agreements cover a wide scope and affect a great deal of economic activity. They use the resolution of issues regarding market access for trade and investment to establish new standards and rules in the areas of the environment, labor, intellectual property, competition, and the transfer of funds. The new situation forces one to either advance or retreat. This means that in exploring new investment management models, the Shanghai FTZ not only benefits internal pushes for reform, but also learns from the experience of the ongoing China-U.S. negotiations over investment agreements. The FTZ will help China win the right to speak on the establishment of new rules, allowing it to play a greater role in global management.

    Of course, the two-track system of policies in and outside the Shanghai FTZ  contains certain dangers and has related supervisory departments worried. The difficulty lies in policy coordination in and outside the FTZ, and the close cooperation of central government departments, especially in terms of integrated supervision and regulation. During the beginning phase of the pilot zone, the strategy of “first line opening up, second line taking control” (“一线放开,二线管住”) will be implemented. This will attempt to both guarantee a localized breakthrough while also strictly controlling the potential for outside risk and preventing the formation of a large shockwave. (力图既保证局部性突破,又严格控制可能的 外部性风险,以防形成过大冲击波)

    The cultivators of the pilot fields must liberate their thought and have the courage to act. Using the courage of reformers and wise, meticulous planning, they must bravely explore and steadily push ahead. They can’t be fettered by the interests of their own departments or their own areas. This requires a rather long process of exploration. The earliest stages of implementation should be a trial-and-error process of relaxing controls and elevating regulatory efficiency. As the FTZ steadily accrues more mature reforms, it will become a “replicable and widely applicable system and regulatory model,” one that can be spread to the whole nation. With that, the reform mission of the China (Shanghai) Free Trade Zone will finally truly be realized.

    In any event, this 28.78 square kilometer hotspot is merely a starting point: the opening up of the Shanghai FTZ is just a prelude to future reforms that will be even larger in scope. In the time between planning and opening up the FTZ, public opinion has been strong and the markets have been enthusiastic. One can see that throughout the country people are eagerly anticipating reform. The luck, glory and hardships of reformers don’t merely belong to Shanghai. From now through after the end of the year, we’ll see every locale and every industry gain more of the reformer’s bravery, and wisdom will transform into major action for reform. China will eventually see the emergence of a rolling high tide of reform.