Xi Jinping, The Governance of China. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 2014. Pages 515.
China is changing and emerging as a super power and world’s largest economy by surpassing the United States, which has reduced to the second position. This is a phenomenal change. China under President Xi Jinping has become world’s largest economy, which is an Asian Dream and pride. The West has dominated world economy so long. The United States lost its 140 years of economic domination to China. Japan ranked to the third position replaced by China just four years ago. After Japan challenged the Western hegemony during and after wars, it is now China that assumed the status of an economic super power. The most important question is whether China would take out the ascendency of global leadership? It is yet difficult to answer. Many would argue that China is still a reluctant super power but China has its own logic.
The book under review, The Governance of China, is a collection of speeches, talks, interviews, instructions, and correspondence of the Chinese President Xi during 15 November 2013 through to 13 June 2014. There are 79 items in toto. The work is compiled by the Foreign Languages Press in Beijing. He is the General-Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the President of the world’s largest Socialist democracy and economy. Readers will get a clear picture of the concepts and strategies of governance of China under the new CPC’s leadership. A truly Asian Century has unfolded with China in the driving seat. Chinese position would be maintained in the rest of our memories.
Pakistan was the first country in Asia, which has officially launched the book on 19 December 2014 and the ceremony was attended by President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain. The book is available in multiple languages such as Chinese, English, French, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Japanese. An Urdu translation of the book would make the ideals of President Xi more accessible to readers in Pakistan.
Talking about Socialism with Chinese characters, President Xi spell out that ensuring a good life for all ethnic groups is his goal and responsibility as a leader. In the last 5000 years, China made significant contribution toward human civilization without disruption. China was rich in shipbuilding, printing, and military technology when Europe was in the Dark Ages. It was the European imperialism and colonialism that made China a backward and a poor nation through exploitation and occupation. Since 1921 the CPC has been guiding the nation toward modernization and development, bridging differences, decreasing poverty, and providing equal opportunities to people.
The CPC liberated the people from Western and Japanese domination and exploitation. China made monumental progress under Socialism – a combination of the thoughts of Karl Marx, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping in a multi-ethnic and religious society. Daoism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity influenced the Chinese society. Socialism has strong taken root in China than any other country and it reflects the wishes and values of its people.
President Xi believes that Chinese must follow the four cardinal principles of Socialism: adhering to the Socialist path, democratic dictatorship, leadership of the CPC, and Marxism, L-Leninism, and Mao’s thought. President Xi advises that China must follow these thoughts in its reform program (p.10). Socialism is the foundation of Chinese political, economic, and social system. He says that only Socialism with Chinese characters could bring development. He also believes that China’s Socialist system is in the primary stage. Speaking to 18th Plenary Session of the CPC in November 2012, President Xi specifically asked to combat corruption to make a corruption-free governance, society and CPC. He often remarks that ‘empty talk harms the country, while hard-work makes it flourish’.
China has embarked on an unprecedented crusade against corruption in modern times. There is now a zero-tolerance level against corruption. President Xi has undertaken crusade against corruption and over 13,000 corrupt officials including high-ranking Politburo and military-men have been punished in 2014. Exercise of power is subject to public scrutiny. CPC officials must strictly follow discipline and must be accountable to the people. President Xi has introduced the concept of rule of law and accountability. His stand against corruption is reflected in his speeches delivered on 19 April 2013 and 14 January 2014. To President Xi, ‘China’s history of combating corruption and its ancient anti-corruption culture offer enlightenment’ (p.432) from top to bottom level by catching ‘tigers’ and ‘flies’ alike (p. 434).
There is a profile of the President Xi attached in the Appendix, which tells us more about his life and achievements and his policy about Chinese people. In just two years rule President Xi made historical changes in the governance of China. He is an advocate of comprehensive reforms in China as were introduced by Deng Xiaoping some 20 years ago. He wants to effectively contribute to world’s peace and prosperity. He is a man of principle and cannot tolerate indiscipline, irregularity, and corruption within the party, government, and in public life. He rose from the gross-root level to become a national leader.
The work is inspirational from Chinese perspective. It represents a Chinese domestic viewpoint as well as a global view of Chinese dream of world peace and development. Space of development, freedom, and human rights have greatly expanded within the parameters of Chinese Socialist democracy. China avoids assuming a hegemonic role in world’s affairs (p. 491) and prefers to maintain a balance in its relations with the United States, Russia, and developing countries. It strongly advocates a peaceful and inclusive rise through cooperation and mending ties with its neighbours such as Japan, India, and South East Asian countries. Building economic corridors with neighbours, fostering development, and creating peace is a Chinese Dream (pp. 315-29). The book provides guidelines about China’s foreign policy and relations with the outside world from the prism of SCO, CICA, Boao Forum, APEC, G-20, and BRICS etc.
The book erases stereo-type notions held about China, its rise, its politics, and policy. The work is a milestone to understand modern China. President Xi presented his thoughts and political wisdom to Chinese people and the outside world. The work is candle to throw light on China’s future development path and its role. The book contains a valuable theme about China’s progress. Academicians and politicians could learn a great deal of lessons about rising China.
Dr Ahmad Rashid Malik is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad.