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Chinese dream in the making

Updated: 2013-09-27 11:48
By Chung-yue Chang ( China Daily)

Plenary session will fix strategic direction and programs for next 10 years

The Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China's Central Committee will be held in November.

By definition, plenary sessions of any conference of any duration are of cardinal importance because all members of the organization who have the right to attend must be present at all sessions so key operational and other important decisions can be made. If China's reform and opening-up is to continue running smoothly, it is important that members of the 18th CPC Central Committee establish a new strategic direction at the November meeting.

The CPC Central Committee, the highest authority of the CPC, is elected every five years by the CPC National Congress. To discharge its duties the committee conducts a specified number of plenary sessions over its five-year tenure. By tradition, the first two are devoted to choosing key Party and State leaders. It is at the third session that the strategy for guiding the CPC and the State for the next five to 10 years is fixed.

Key Party officials to the 18th CPC Central Committee were elected at the First Plenary Session last November. Xi Jinping was elected general secretary of the CPC and chairman of the Central Military Commission. Also elected were members of the Political Bureau and the Political Bureau Standing Committee.

Key State officials were elected at the Second Plenary Session in February. Xi Jinping was elected the country's president and Li Keqiang the premier. Also elected were top members of the State Council, as well as those for the bicameral legislature, the National People's Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. After the Second Plenary Session a new administration for China was born, followed by a smooth, seamless transition of leadership.

In November, the Third Plenary Session will consider and decide on a new comprehensive strategic direction and programs for the next 10 years. This new direction is expected to be socio-political and, as is now increasingly the case, economic in nature, because China is moving from an export-oriented economy to an import-oriented one.

Chinese dream in the making

People worldwide are wondering what China's new strategic direction and programs will be. To know the details we will have to wait until November. But there are already telling indications that can be discerned from, for instance, the meeting of the Political Bureau on Aug 27, after which the timing of the plenary session was announced.

The Aug 27 meeting tells us that the specific goal of the new policy direction will be to realize the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation. Specifically, this will be done by establishing a "moderately prosperous society" (xiaokang) before 2021 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the CPC.

The path leading to the realization of this dream is one of "comprehensive and deepening reform and opening-up", the Political Bureau said, which is a pure process that has "only a progressive tense, no perfect tense". "There is no way for China to reverse or even stop the process."

Such definitive language from the Aug 27 meeting indicates that China's overall strategic direction for the next 10 years will be comprehensive and with deepening reform and opening-up, to be presented with strong economic overtones. As that reform and opening-up proceeds, there will be economic ramifications.

Three issues approved at the August meeting have economic implications. First, the meeting approved plans to prevent and punish corruption. Not only is corruption morally and legally reprehensible, it is also economically damaging and corrosive. Second, the meeting adopted plans for streamlining local government to promote greater economic efficiency. Third, it heard a report on a pilot free-trade-zone in Shanghai that would ease foreign investment rules in order to open up the economy for greater sustainable growth.

The strategic direction to be worked out at the Third Plenary Session will be critical for China's development over the next decade leading to the realization of the Chinese dream.

November's session has greater meaning when its strategy is contrasted with the strategic achievements of the 1978 Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee, as well as those of the 1993 Third Plenary Session of the 14th CPC Central Committee.

At the 1978 Third Plenary Session, China strategically ended decades of seclusion to implement reform and opening-up. At the 1993 Third Plenary Session, it strategically endorsed the socialist market economy, which led to China's rapid economic progress for the next two decades. At this year's session China is likely to strategically implement comprehensive and deepening reform and opening-up under socialism with Chinese characteristics to realize the Chinese dream.

China began its journey of reform and opening-up in 1978, and it is about to complete that journey with comprehensive and deepening reform and opening-up.

That 35-year journey has been accomplished by China working with the world in a spirit of mutual help and gain. It will be in exactly that spirit that China traverses the coming decade that leads to realization of the Chinese dream.

The author teaches philosophy at Montclair State University, New Jersey, US. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily Africa Weekly 09/27/2013 page11)

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