Both Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping Need to Maintain Social Stability

Zhang Kai

        On 8 November 2012, Hu Jintao presented a report, entitled “Firmly March on the Road of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and Strive to Complete the Building of a Moderately Prosperous Society in All Respects” in the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. He appealed to the capitalist countries that China has implemented market economy for over the past 30 years. In fact, China has legalized the protection of private property, which led to the enlarging gap between the rich and the poor, social conflicts, class polarizations and struggles. There are escalating tensions between party cadres and ordinary people. These are the inevitable consequences of China’s adopting of a capitalist road. If it is what socialism with Chinese characteristics means, then it implies that socialism with Chinese characteristics equals to capitalism, and contradicts obviously Marxist Socialism.


China under the rule of Hu and Wen

    When Hu took power, he urged that CPC should adopt ‘people-centered’ policy, bear people in mind, and fulfill what people desperately need. But he has not carried out what he promised during his rule. Every year, he repeated the same things: “we must be keenly aware that there is still much room for improvement in our work and there are a lot of difficulties and problems on our road ahead. They include the following: Unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development remains a big problem. Many systemic barriers stand in the way of promoting development in a scientific way. The tasks of deepening reform and opening up and changing the growth model remain arduous. The development gap between urban and rural areas and between regions is still large, and so are income disparities. Some community-level Party organizations are weak and lax. Some sectors are prone to corruption and other misconduct, and the fight against corruption remains a serious challenge for us. We must take these difficulties and problems very seriously and work harder to resolve them.

        In order to maintain social stability, China has spent tremendous money. Social instability, embedded in popular discontents, is exactly a consequence of promoting autocratic, bureaucratic and capitalist system by CPC. Whenever the premier Wen Jiabo proposed for limited political reform, he was rejected by the conservatives within the Party, as it would destroy the political and economic privileges of the bureaucratic interest blocs.

        In section 5 of Hu’s report, it states that “we should separate government administration from the management of enterprises, state assets, public institutions, and social organizations”. But it does not mean that the Party should separate from government administration. So the Party is still in super power and the Party cadres can do whatever they like. Although the people are supposed to be ‘the master of the country’ who own the power of supervision, it is only true on paper.

        Today, what Chinese people urgently need most is political democratic reform. During the 18th National Congress of CPC, official media such as the Community of Powerful Country of People’s Net conducted a survey on top ten social issues of concern. The result showed that the first was “democratic politics”, 32.4%, followed by others such as ‘anti-corruption’, ‘social livelihood’, and ‘economic development’.[1] It is reasonable as it is proved by people’s truthful experiences. The social problems have led to more and more massive struggles. The number increased from 58,000 cases in 2003, to 90,000 cases in 2008. Afterwards, there was no more official record. But according to Professor Sun Liping of Tsinghua University, there must be at least 180,000 cases in 2010. [2]


After Xi Jinping took power

        In the 18th National Congress, Xi Jinping was elected to be the general secretary of CPC and the chairman of CPC Central Military Commission. He declared that “empty talk is useless, only hard work can achieve the revival of a nation”. It seems that he will not give any empty talk. He also said that China would continue the policy of reform and open door, but there should be new explorations. Moreover, he claimed that it must fight against corruption, “if corruption gets worse, it will undoubtedly kill the party and ruin the whole country”, “do not think of making profit by being an official, and even take privileges by abusing power, as bureaucracy will be an absolute outcome.” He takes a strong stance on party governance, “no organization or anybody can be above the constitution and law”. However, this kind of privilege has existed for a long time. Everybody knows it. If he cannot abolish it, that means he gives empty talk as well.

        Actually, corruption is very serious in today’s China. Anti-corruption implies that officials have to challenge their own interest groups. The situation gets worse even though some CPC leaders and resolutions made several anti-graft calls. A few corrupt officials were punished as they became losers in the power game. Particularly when capitalism becomes prevalent, officials and businessmen conspire, and lots of cadres become businessmen, the anti-graft campaign would obtain no achievement. The newly elected leadership laid out some concrete anti-graft policies and punished a number of corrupt officials. But corruption is everywhere and becomes institutionalized. Only if the whole bureaucracy and its privileges are completely destroyed, the people of the whole country can be the real masters.

        Xi claimed that he continued to adopt the policy of capitalist market economy which led to problems such as conspiracy of officials and businessmen and corruption getting serious. In that sense, China will become unstable and CPC needs to pay a high cost of maintaining social stability.

        He mentioned about ‘new explorations’ but he has not talked about the concrete contents after one month in office. Later, during his visit to Guangdong, Xi called on the entire Party and people from all ethnic groups to unswervingly adhere to the path of reform and opening up, and put greater focus on pursuing reform in a more systematic, integrated and coordinated way. Xi vowed no stop in reform, and no stop in opening up. Xi urged to work hard to build the moderately prosperous society and to push forward socialist modernization. He stressed that CPC should dare to tackle difficulties and venture along dangerous paths to break through barriers to reform presented by ideological differences and vested interests.[3]

   Will Xi’s new calls and promises come true? Particularly can the last statement be carried out and not be empty talk? We do not have any illusion about this. Let the people wait and see.

20 December 2012


[1] quoted from Apple Daily, 19 Nov 2012.

[2] the figure is quoted from Pan Xiaotao, “Historical Status of Hu Jintao”, published in Ming Pao, 14 Nov 2012.

[3] Xinhua’ news in Wen Wei Po, 11 Dec 2012.