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China: ‘’Ferociousness of Forces Opposing Reforms can Exceed Imagination”; By D. S. Rajan

C3S Paper No. 0164/2015


A Chinese language website (HYPERLINK “http://www.guancha.cn” www.guancha.cn)  of the Shanghai-based Spring-Autumn (Chun Qiu) Institute of  Development and Strategic Studies, has come out with a commentary  entitled  “Ferociousness of Forces Opposing Reforms can Exceed Imagination”. Written by one Guo Ping, it has been republished on August 20, 2015 in China’s Television portal  HYPERLINK “http://www.cctv.com” www.cctv.com (Chinese),  the national Guang Ming daily (Chinese)  catering to intellectuals,  the website Net Ease (Chinese, called Wang Yi) and several other websites and blogs. The  Net Ease site quoting other sites  HYPERLINK “http://www.china.com.cn” www.china.com.cn   (Zhong guo net) and  HYPERLINK “http://www.401bz.com” www.401bz.com (Xinwang) , has said that the term  “Guo Ping,”  represents a batch of  politically strong and professionally able  web commentators belonging to the main stream media like the People’s Daily and Xinhua;  the batch  is being paid serious attention in the country as it is engaged in attending to important matters, ‘with a high degree of unity with centre’s policies and measures’.

The foregoing underscores the political importance of the commentary. Its full text, republished by Net Ease is available at Appendix 2 ( HYPERLINK “http://news.163.com/15/0820/19/B1G18JQA0001124J.html” http://news.163.com/15/0820/19/B1G18JQA0001124J.html, August 20,2015) to benefit those intending to go through the original Chinese language version.  A free translation of the commentary into English, done by the writer, is at Appendix 1 to this article.

The commentary makes a central point – the reforms in China are at a critical stage and they are encountering great difficulties, affecting the interests of various groups. The scale of the resistance to reforms is unimaginable. Coming from commentators, being described as close to the Centre, in other words to Xi Jinping, the opinions in the write-up assume great amount of economic and political significance. The concern over opposition to reforms is being noticed at an inopportune time for the Chinese leadership. The Chinese economy is slowing down. The stock crash and devaluation of Yuan seems to have given rise to a piquant situation for the government under Xi which has been giving importance to the role of the market forces in the country’s economy.  Xi’s anti-corruption campaign may be losing momentum against the growing fears in China that it is making the authorities hesitant to make decisions, leading to a policy paralysis. As all affected are close to the former party supremo Jiang Zemin(89) who still enjoys political clout, the  targeting under the campaign is being seen as selective.  In addition, a top party plenum is scheduled for October 2015 by which time Xi is required to further settle his political equations. Personnel changes and finalization of 12th Five Year plan are likely to be the main agenda for the occasion. In a nutshell, the commentary in question indicates that the Xi administration is coming under pressure.

Who are resisting the reforms in China? The commentary does not answer this question. Media reports have quoted Xu Yaotong, a political science professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, as saying that the resistance could be from any of three powerful groups: retired leaders who wanted to exert influence, cadres whose power had been weakened and civil servants unhappy with austerity rules. In particular, the role of the retired leaders has already come under attack in China. The  People’s Daily (Chinese language edition), the mouthpiece of  the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), carried a signed commentary on August 10, 2015, which alleged that “some retired leading cadres” , while they were in  office,   put  their “cronies” in  key positions, so that they can interfere in the work of their original organizations and wield influence in the  future. Quite a few analysts feel that the former party supremo Jiang Zemin (89), still enjoying political clout, has been targeted in that commentary. Targeting Jiang when he is still alive, will not be easy for Xi; it remains to be seen whether Xi will be able to identify and remove Jiang-‘cronies’ from the party.

As the noted Sinologist David Shambaugh puts it (“ The coming Chinese Crack up”, the Wall Street Journal, March 6,2015), reforms in China are being challenged by  powerful deeply entrenched interest groups- such as the state owned enterprises and local party cadres. Xi Jinping thus faces a formidable task in implementing reforms. His formula is to accomplish reforms but without loosening the party’s political control. The harsh measures being taken by his regime against dissenters are a case in point. Suffice to say that the future of reforms in China would be dependent on the ability of the country’s leadership to strike a correct balance between political and economic reforms. One thing is certain – under ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’, the ruling CCP will not like to introduce a political system in the country which can challenge the party monopoly.

           —————–                                          Appendix 1

Free English Translation of Chinese Media article (August 19, 2015) alleging ‘’ferociousness of forces opposing reforms can exceed imagination” (Done by D.S.Rajan, August 23, 2015).

On August 19, 2015, the CCTV network published a commentary signed by “Guo Ping” which said that at a time when reforms situation is good in overall sense, there is more need for the people to clearly comprehend the deep rooted  problems arising  as reforms deepen and  percolate into various levels of China’s politics, economy, society, diplomacy  and  military.    Fundamental problems especially pertain to making economic, financial, labour and manufacturing fronts productive and healthy.  People should become aware that the difficulties will be great, that resistance will be much and that the stubborn ferocity of forces not adapting to reforms and opposing reforms can exceed people’s imagination. The emphasis therefore at this moment should be on meeting the special need – strengthening of will to do reforms and maintaining of tenacity in doing reforms.

The Commentary reads as follows:

The General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping, in his important address at the 15th meeting of the Central Leading Group on deepening reforms all round, has said –”Enhance ability to do reforms, maintain tenacity in doing reforms,  strengthen ideological guidance, focus on research of new situations and problems encountered in the reform process,  persevere in  and   improve  doing  of  reforms, heighten the ability to do reforms with precision  and to provide capacity to it for correct landing and  implement  solid reform initiatives”.  Xi’s address is of great significance, close to realities, in line with the current situation and a key requirement for meeting the demands coming from a critical moment.

Since holding of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Party Congress Central Committee, in every front, reforms are progressing comprehensively and continuing to deepen in a stable manner. In recent years, reforms are showing a good trend; it is so from the centre to localities and from urban to rural areas. Due to the government’s policy of empowering people, the reforms, in an unprecedented manner,  are getting broadened, strengthened and deepened. However, the more general reforms situation become good, more the need arises for the people to become clearly aware of all sorts of deep-rooted problems  appearing in various fields like China’s politics, economy, society, military and diplomacy.  Fundamental problems especially pertain to making economic, financial, labour and manufacturing fronts productive and providing health for the people.  People should become aware that the difficulties will be great, that resistance will be much and that the stubborn ferocity of forces not adapting to reforms and opposing reforms can exceed people’s imagination. The emphasis therefore at this moment should be on meeting the special need – strengthening of will  to do reforms and maintaining of tenacity in doing reforms.

“Reforms need time to carry out; there is no time limit for their completion”.  To “enhance the will to do reforms, maintain tenacity in doing reforms”, one should master the strategic judgment of General Secretary Xi jinping of the historical order in which China developed.  Reform and opening up is vital to the destiny of contemporary China and is going to be endless. Deepening reforms, may not be easy, there should be a will for it. One should not fear and respect both the beginning as well as the end. Regardless of new situations and problems and difficulties and obstacles, which may arise in the reform path, one should remain steady and continuously maintain the will to do reforms as well as the tenacity to do reforms. Reformers and leaders should focus on perseverance, and grasp the overall situation with political courage and wisdom.

Enhancing the will to do reforms and maintaining tenacity in doing reforms, are the hope of and demand from the people. All round deepening of reforms concerns the entire scenario coming under a ‘Five in One’ Framework – politics, economy, culture, society and ecology. The starting point and aims of reforms concern the interests of people and masses and the long term prosperity of millions of people.  Facts have proved that the series of reform initiatives taken by the party centre with Xi Jinping as general secretary are close to the people, based on the people and popular with the people.  At the same time, people know that “reforms and opening up” is  a new  greatest revolution under new conditions  launched by the people under  our party’s leadership.   During this historic mission, people and masses realize that the outcome of each reform is hard to come by and they get startled at each step of the progress being made. They are compelled to hope for the ruling party’s capacity to “enhance the will to do reforms, and maintain tenacity in doing reforms”, and lead as well as  motivate people of all nationalities without slackness in tackling  tough challenges and winning better future.

The required conditions and demands for “enhancing the will to do reforms, maintain tenacity in doing reforms”, are – “guiding the people to serve as promoters of reforms, making efforts to strengthen their courage and   tackling their tough problems”. New situations and problems encountered in the reform can be met with perseverance.  How to face the difficulties and contradictions?  The answer lies in making maximum realistic reform proposals in line with demands for reform and improving precision and effectiveness of the reform process.  This is a new requirement at this stage for party members and cadres at all levels. Let all the cadres, who think about reforms, seek reforms and have enthusiasm for reforms, get mobilized, let them gain power to assume heavy responsibilities, and let them have courage of convictions and tenacity, to comprehensively deepen reforms.

“Insist people not to relax while climbing mountains”. The cause of reform is never an easy thing, Winds from the East, South, West and North cannot shake if reformers have strong will.  The situation is confused; this generation of reformers will have to gain values for   countering the confused situation, gathering will power, remaining strong in adversity and acquiring tenacity.

                                                       Appendix 2

                     国平发文:反对改革的力量凶猛诡异 可能超出想象

(    HYPERLINK “http://news.163.com/15/0820/19/B1G18JQA0001124J.html” http://news.163.com/15/0820/19/B1G18JQA0001124J.html, August 20,2015)

8月19日,央视网刊发署名“国平”的评论文章称,越是在改革形势总体向好之时,人们越需要清醒地意识到,深化改革必将触及中国政治、经济、社会、 军事、外交多个领域的种种深层次问题,必将涉及中国这一庞大经济体肌体造血功能重构、运行更加健康的根本问题,困难之大,阻力之多,不适应改革乃至反对改 革的力量之顽固凶猛复杂诡异,可能超出人们的想象。正因为如此,当前特别需要强调增强改革定力、保持改革韧劲。

中国网信网此前消息显示,“国平”是一支由人民日报、新华社等主流媒体的一批政治强、业务精的评论作者组成的网络评论队伍。“国平”关注的事件不单重要,而且评论与中央步调高度统一,受到了广泛关注。

全文如下:

“增强改革定力、保持改革韧劲,加强思想引导,注重研究改革遇到的新情况新问题,锲而不舍、坚韧不拔,提高改革精确发力和精准落地能力,扎扎实实把 改革举措落到实处。”中共中央总书记习近平在中央全面深化改革领导小组第十五次会议上发表的重要讲话,紧紧围绕实际,切合当前形势,是在关键时刻提出的关 键要求,意义重大。

自党的十八届三中全会吹响全面深化改革的号角之后,各方面改革蹄疾步稳,持续向纵深推进。近一年多来,从中央到地方,从城市到农村,从政府不断地简 政放权到益民政策的次第铺开,改革之广度、力度、深度前所未有,呈现良好态势。然而,越是在改革形势总体向好之时,人们越需要清醒地意识到,深化改革必将 触及中国政治、经济、社会、军事、外交多个领域的种种深层次问题,必将涉及中国这一庞大经济体肌体造血功能重构、运行更加健康的根本问题,困难之大,阻力 之多,不适应改革乃至反对改革的力量之顽固凶猛复杂诡异,可能超出人们的想象。正因为如此,当前特别需要强调增强改革定力、保持改革韧劲。

“改革只有进行时,没有完成时”。增强改革定力、保持改革韧劲源自于习近平总书记对中国发展历史规律的战略判断和清晰把握。改革开放是决定当代中国 命运的关键一招,改革开放永无止境。对于深化改革的大计,志不求易而志在必得,事不畏难而敬终如始。在改革的路上,无论出现什么新情况、新问题,无论遇到 什么样的困难和阻力,“我自岿然不动”,始终保持并不断增强改革定力,始终保持改革韧劲,聚焦关键发力、持之以恒用力,这充分体现出改革者、领导者总揽全 局把握方向的政治勇气和政治智慧。

增强改革定力、保持改革韧劲,是人民的希望与要求。全面深化改革是政治、经济、文化、社会和生态“五位一体”布局下的全景式改革。改革的出发点和改 革的目的,都事关人民群众的切身利益,都是为了亿万人民的长远幸福。实践证明,以习近平同志为总书记的党中央谋划制定的一系列改革举措,贴近百姓,立足于 民;为民所想,深得民心。与此同时,当人民群众深知“改革开放是我们党在新的时代条件下带领人民进行的新的伟大革命”这一历史使命时,当人民群众意识到改 革的每一个成果都来之不易,每一步前进都步步惊心时,他们迫切希望执政党能够增强改革定力、保持改革韧劲,带领全国各族人民铆足干劲决不懈怠,坚定信心攻 坚克难,去赢取更美好的未来。

“要引导大家争当改革促进派,着力强化敢于担当、攻坚克难的用人导向”,这是增强改革定力、保持改革韧劲的前提条件和必然要求。谋事在人,面对改革 遇到的新情况新问题,能不能做到锲而不舍、坚韧不拔?如何直面困难和矛盾,最大限度地提出符合实际、符合改革要求的改革方案,提高改革精确发力和精准落地 能力,扎扎实实把改革举措落到实处?这是现阶段对各级党员干部提出的新要求。毫无疑问,“把那些想改革、谋改革、善改革的干部用起来,激励干部勇挑重 担”,才能够有定力、有韧劲,把全面深化改革这篇大文章做好。

“咬定青山不放松”,改革事业从来就不是容易的事,东南西北风的侵袭搅扰,动摇不了改革者的坚强意志。局势纷杂,方显定力,遇挫愈强,愈见韧劲,这将成为这一代改革者的宝贵品质。 HYPERLINK “http://e.news.163.com/navi/99/2015082019/B1G18JQA0001124J.html?frp091” http://e.news.163.com/navi/99/2015082019/B1G18JQA0001124J.html?frp091

                              —————–

(The writer, D.S.Rajan, is Distinguished Fellow, Chennai Centre for China Studies, Chennai, India. Contributing date – August 24, 2015. Email:  HYPERLINK “mailto:dsrajan@gmail.com” dsrajan@gmail.com).

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