eg Chinese Voices
No. 44 | 15.05.2022
Dulongjiang Township in Yunnan Province and its Dulong residents, such as Li Wenshi, have become a model of China’s poverty alleviation drive. [Xinhua]
Challenges for Hong Kong’s new chief executive
Liu Zhaojia
Liu Zhaojia (刘兆佳) is the Vice-President of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies

Context

On May 8, in a decisive victory, the sole candidate John Lee Ka-chiu was elected as the sixth chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). This is the first chief executive-designate since the central government took actions to improve the electoral system. Lee has worked in the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) for more than 30 years and is the first police officer in the city's history to be elected as chief executive. Liu Zhaojia analyzes the external and internal challenges faced by Lee Ka-chiu and the priorities of the Hong Kong administration leadership.

Key Points

  • In the past few years, Hong Kong has faced serious challenges. Existing unresolved conflicts from both internal and external forces, before and after Hong Kong's reunification with the motherland, have been accumulating, and erupted on a large scale through the 2019 protests over the amendment bill (修例风波 xiū lì fēngbō) resulting in an unprecedented crisis in Hong Kong. This forced the central authorities to take decisive measures to curb internal and external hostile forces, to improve the electoral system by implementing the principle "patriots ruling Hong Kong", and to ensure that the "one country, two systems" is adhered to.
  • The gradual decoupling between the US-led Western camp with the counter-hegemonic forces – including China, Russia, and Iran – will strain Hong Kong's past role as a bridge between China and the West. As a result, the "special privileges" that the city previously received from the West will slowly disappear.
  • As a part of the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong's strategic priorities in the future must be, as much as possible, to strengthen its ability to maintain Hong Kong's security and stability and speed up its integration into the overall development of the country.
  • The new chief executive must address the pressing issues, which includes developing a plan to boost the city's economy, strengthening economic ties with mainland China, implementing the 14th Five-Year Plan relating to Hong Kong, improving the people's livelihood, and promoting Hongkonger's sense of belonging to the Chinese community. By doing so, it can gain the trust of the central government and the Hong Kong citizens.
  • In the process of governing Hong Kong, the Special Administrative Region (SAR) government must accept the leadership and guidance of the central government, maintain consistency with it on major issues, and make greater efforts to further strengthen and unite patriotic forces.

Summary

The author points out that Hong Kong's new leadership team should maintain the security of the city in the face of sanctions and suppression from the US and its allies. Under the leadership of the central government, the new SAR government should prevent the spread of Covid-19 and resume quarantine-free travel to and from mainland China and the outside world as soon as possible. The government must cope with the severe economic recession and address rising unemployment, income disparity, housing problems, and upward mobility of young people. Also, the government should implement social systems and policy reforms to build a more fair society and step up efforts to promote education to facilitate the people's sense of national belonging.

How east-west pairing-off cooperation helps to achieve poverty alleviation and common prosperity
Wang Xiaolin
Wang Xiaolin (王小林) is the Deputy Dean and Professor of the Institute for the Six-Sector Economy at Fudan University
Xie Niyun
Xie Niyun (谢妮芸) is a doctoral student at the School of Management, Fudan University

Context

East-west pairing-off cooperation (东西部协作与对口支援 dōngxī bù xiézuò yǔ duìkǒu zhīyuán) is an institutional arrangement that aims to narrow the development gap between regions and promote coordination and common development. Wang Xiaolin and Xie Niyun analyze the establishment and development of this system and its important role in poverty alleviation and achieving common prosperity.

Key points

  • The pairing-off system was established in 1978 to address poverty first in border and ethnic minority areas through financial and technological assistance and then was later expanded to other poor areas in the western regions. Big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai and more developed regions were paired with impoverished cities and provinces in the western areas.
  • In 2016, the east-west pairing-off cooperation became a unique system for poverty alleviation and regional coordination. The areas of cooperation include economic, social, and ecological to achieve sustained poverty reduction.
  • The central government established an incentive and evaluation mechanism (2016) for local governments to take responsibility for the cooperation. Between 2003 and 2015, the average annual governmental aid going from eastern to western areas was 437.82 million yuan. In 2016, the aid amount increased to 2.29 billion yuan.
  • Local governments also strengthened their collaboration with locally-based enterprises. With favorable policies and special funds, local governments in the eastern and western regions provided enterprises with infrastructure, talent training, and industrial parks, and also mobilized and encouraged various state-owned and private enterprises to participate in poverty alleviation. For example, the Guangdong-based property developer Country Garden cultivates vegetables in western Guizhou.
  • Local governments in the eastern areas widely mobilized multiple forces including government agencies, social organizations, and individuals to participate in the cause. For example, an average of 159 government cadres in the eastern areas took temporary government positions in the western areas between 2003 to 2015, and the number increased to 12,412 in 2018.

Summary

The authors argue that the evolution of the east-west pairing-off cooperation system must be placed in the overall context of China's progress toward modernization. With the goal of common prosperity, the Chinese government with its socialist characteristics, has demonstrated a stronger ability to allocate resources and regulate the market than western countries. The system is not a "robbing the rich to give to the poor" under the Western federal taxation theory, but rather a redistribution under China's tax-sharing fiscal system.

The identity transformation of China’s working-class
Cheng Meidong
Cheng Meidong(程美东) is a professor at the School of Marxism, Peking University
Lin Yanzhi
Lin Yanzhi(林炎志) is the former Deputy Secretary of the Jilin Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC)

Context

The Chinese people celebrated International Worker's Day on May 1 and Youth Day on May 4. In their article, Cheng Meidong and Lin Yanzhi analyze the century-long transformation of the Chinese working class' social identity since the May Fourth Movement in 1919, from "labor sacredness"(劳工神圣láogōng shénshèng) and "workers and peasants supremacy"(工农至上gōngnóng zhìshàng), to "dagong ren"(打工人dǎgōng rén), popular internet slang, which initially referred to young migrant workers in labor-intensive industries, then expanded to well-educated white-collar city workers. They also discuss the current policy objectives of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to curb the negative role of capital and dedicate itself to improving the people's well-being.

Key points

  • During the May Fourth Movement period, the term "labor sacredness" was developed by intellectuals who were influenced by the Western value of equality and socialist ideology combined with Chinese traditional culture. It was first proposed in 1918 by a renowned educator, Cai Yuanpei, an important contributor to the spread of Marxism in China. He emphasized the need to respect labor and proposed that intellectuals should integrate with the working class. After World War I, China saw the rise of the Diligent Work-Frugal Study Movement (勤工俭学 qín gōng jiǎn xué), an important practice of the young intellectual class leaving their elite training programmes and becoming ordinary workers.
  • After CPC was founded, the moral consciousness of "labor sacredness" directly enabled the working class to become a key force in the Chinese revolution led by CPC. An important requirement for CPC membership during the ten-year civil war (1927-1937) was that the applicant came from the working class.
  • After the founding of New China, the "supremacy of workers and peasants" became the fundamental political principle. Despite the continued challenges faced by Chinese workers and peasants for a long period of time, they had heartfelt respect and gratitude for Mao Zedong and the Communist Party, because they gained unprecedented respect in terms of social and political identity.
  • "Dagong ren" highlights that only through hard work can we reap the rewards. The current popularity of the concept expresses a pragmatic self-perception of the new generation of young people growing up in the 21st century.

Summary

Cheng Meidong points out that "dagong ren" "moves away from the "sacred" identity of the working class, and the prevalence of its use among Chinese people reflects the fact that the working class has more expectations for the distribution of social benefits under the socialist market economy system. Since December 2020, CPC has started to systematically curb capital's negative influence on public interests and pledged to achieve common prosperity. Lin Yanzhi explains that these policies represent the CPC's people-centered economic development efforts, a process in which development serves, relies on, and the results of which are shared among the people.

How CPC lifts minority groups out of poverty: A case study of Dulong people in Yunnan province
Outlook Weekly
Outlook Weekly(《瞭望》周刊) is a news magazine specializing in Chinese current affairs and political economy and is part of Xinhua News Agency.

Context

The ethnic minorities in remote areas are the top priority of the CPC poverty alleviation campaign. The Dulong ethnic group (独龙族 dú lóng zú) living in Dulongjiang Township – one of the poorest regions in China – is one of the 28 ethnic groups with small populations in China. The group is also one of the ethnic minorities that transitioned directly from a primitive society to a socialist society (in Marxist term ) when the New China was founded. This article explains how the Dulong people were lifted out of extreme poverty under the leadership of President Xi Jinping.

Key points

  • In the 1990s, there weren't any roads in the Dulongjiang Township, and a zip line was the Dulong people's only means of transportation across the river. In 2014, the Dulong River road tunnel in the Gaoligong Mountain was opened, and more than 4,200 Dulong people said goodbye to the thousands years-old history of being bound by the mountains.
  • With the support of Shanghai, under the east-west pairing-up system, 32 provincial departments in Yunnan Province have set up a leadership team to develop "six poverty alleviation programs" in the Dulong settlement area, including housing, food, infrastructure construction and environmental protection, with a total investment of more than 1.315 billion yuan.
  • One of the poverty alleviation policies is to develop special industries to help the people increase their income. The Dulong people have planted 70,000 mu(4,667 hectares) of grass and fruits, with 16 mu per capita and an average household income of 20,000 yuan. Dulong bees, cattle, and other special industries have also been developed.
  • After the eradication of absolute poverty, Yunnan Province adopted a five-level secretary responsibility system from the province to the village committee to continue to implement the rural revitalization strategy. This system includes solving villagers' employment on a one-to-one basis and mobilizing villagers to participate in vocational skills training in welding and electrical work. In 2021, employment training benefited more than 400 people, and the number of villagers who found jobs in the town or city reached 1,314.
  • In 2021, the per capita net income of farmers in Dulongjiang Township reached 15,000 yuan. More than 85 percent of families in the township have motor vehicles.
  • Today Dulongjiang has 3 doctoral students, 2 master students, and 65 undergraduates, and online shopping and mobile payment have become a way of life for the younger generation. Dulongjiang Township has developed the forestry industry to help people earn more money, and the forest coverage rate has reached 93.10 percent.

Summary

The article points out that "to achieve prosperity in all aspects, no one ethnic group should be left behind". The elimination of poverty among the Dulong people is an example of the CPC putting that slogan into action. These examples show that the government, under Xi's leadership, attaches great importance to the welfare of ethnic minorities, the economic and social development of ethnic areas, and the equality of all ethnic groups.

Mao Zedong’s contribution to the establishment of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) system
Zhao Lianwen
Zhao Lianwen (赵连稳) is the executive deputy director of Beijing Political Civilization Construction Research Base of Beijing Union University and a research expert on CPPCC issues

Context

The multi-party cooperation and political consultation system under the leadership of CPC, as a socialist party system with Chinese characteristics, is a product of combining Marxist party theory and the concept of the united front reflecting the realities in China. In this article, Zhao Lianwen discusses in detail how the system of CPPCC was established and improved step-by-step from the later stage of the Liberation War to the early founding of the People's Republic of China, and the historic contribution made by Mao Zedong.

Key points

  • As early as during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, Mao recognized that the establishment of a united front, by uniting progressive forces outside the Party, was crucial to the victory of the revolution. In April 1948, when victory in the War of Liberation was imminent, he issued a call to "convene a political consultative conference and set up a coalition government" and promoted the idea of multi-party cooperation.
  • When Mao learned of the dissolution of some democratic parties, such as the Chinese People's Salvation Association (中国人民救国会 zhōngguó rénmín jiùguóhuì), after the founding of New China, he immediately stopped the dissolution. He emphasized, "an alliance of CPC and non-Communist parties will always be around".
  • Mao then presided over the formulation of the Common Program of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and other legal documents, stipulating in legislative form that CPPCC was a people's democratic united front organization with a long history.
  • In 1949, the First National Political Consultative Conference convened its plenary session acting as a substitute for the People's Congress. Some minority party members misunderstood that CPPCC would be an organ of power in New China. Mao pointed out that New China adopted the political system of a socialist state as opposed to the bourgeois parliamentary system. The 1954 Common Program made it clear that the rights of the People's Republic of China belonged to the people, and the people's highest organ to exercise power was the National People's Congress. And therefore, CPPCC is not a state organ but a united front organization.
  • Political consultation, democratic supervision, and participation in political affairs are the main functions of CPPCC system. Mao advocated that people outside the Party should supervise the Communist Party, put forward their opinions on various issues, and that the party should listen to them. He emphasized the right of CPPCC to make proposals to the National People's Congress and the central government.

Summary

After the First National People's Congress (NPC) was held in September 1954, CPPCC ceased to act as a substitute for state power. Mao said, "The existence of NPC does not prevent us from establishing CPPCC for political consultation. It is very important for the leading figures of all parties, nationalities, and groups to come together to consult on the great affairs of the New China." The history of the past 70 years proves that CPPCC, as an important participant in the construction of China's socialist democratic politics, has played an essential role in the process of improving the capacity and level of national governance.

(Chinese Voices will continue to interpret the historical context and developmental logic of Marxism's Sinicization)

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