The Most Mysterious School in China . . . shaping China’s future

National emblem of the People's Republic of China
National emblem of the People’s Republic of China (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Xi Jinping

Here is an interesting article you may care to read. It describes part of the extensive and arduous educational process necessary for those in China who show promise as national leaders.

Apart from the fact that China’s national leaders are a special selected elite bunch of highly-educated, knowledgable, trained & put to the mills, experienced & tested, their role as national leaders leaves you with little doubt of their suitability, competency, legitimacy & meritocracy.

A school that shapes China’s future

By Li Jing and Peng Yining (China Daily) – 2011-06-01

Group interviews were on the agenda last June when 70 journalists from home and abroad visited the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.This might be the most mysterious school in China. The gates are closely guarded by the People’s Armed Police, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Headmasters of this place, a training ground for future leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC), are always one of the country’s vice-presidents, if not the president. Former headmasters include Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi and Hu Jintao.

It is also a haven where possible cures for China’s economic and social ills are discussed and debated, and where policy trends are set. By influencing decision-makers, experts say, the Central Party School is partly navigating the country’s development.

Situated next to the Summer Palace, an 18th century imperial retreat in suburban Beijing’s northwest, the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China – the Central Party School – is like no other university or college in the country.

Without the usual hustle and bustle, the 100-hectare leafy campus is extremely quiet, and almost empty. There is no bicycle congestion. Instead, the roads outside school buildings are lined with black Audis, the German brand selected as the government’s official sedans.

The serenity and security are prepared for those who study there – provincial governors and ministers, young and middle-aged officials, their guest speakers and sometimes the country’s top leaders.

The speeches that top leaders deliver at the Central Party School, and their articles printed in the school’s publications, often signal new strategies and policies that will be adopted by the central government.

Seeking new solutions

The most recent example is the notion of innovative social governance – keeping a handle on social issues while fulfilling people’s fundamental interests – brought about amid growing public concerns over unbalanced and unsustainable development.

In February, at the opening ceremony of a seminar for provincial and ministerial officials at the school, President Hu Jintao called for new methods of social management in a bid to “ensure a harmonious and stable society full of vitality”, Xinhua News Agency reported. Hu acknowledged that the country is “still in a stage where many conflicts are likely to arise”, despite remarkable social and economic development.

In his speech, Hu highlighted the necessities to “improve the structure of social management”, which must be achieved through the Party committee’s leadership, government’s responsibilities, support from non-governmental organizations and public participation.

In March, at the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, a proposal high on the agenda called for establishing a sound social management system with Chinese characteristics during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) period.

More detailed plans have since been drafted, including one for a comprehensive and dynamic national population database. Zhou Yongkang, secretary of the Central Political and Legislative Affairs Committee of the Communist Party of China, made that proposal in an article published in Qiushi, the CPC central committee’s biweekly journal.

Steering the policymaking in China is a tradition for the Central Party School, according to Wang Haiguang, a professor in the school’s history department.

Broad range of programs

The Central Party School, founded in 1933 in Jiangxi province, has trained 61,024 officials under different types of programs.

Provincial and ministerial-level officials usually undergo two months of training on political science, public management, economy and history. Young and middle-aged officials spend six months to a year at the school, usually followed by a promotion.

Since 1981, the school also has offered postgraduate and doctoral programs for about 500 non-official students. They focus on philosophy, economics, laws, politics and the history of the Communist Party of China.

“The Central Party School has played an important role in several critical stages in China’s history,” Wang said. “In some way, it is partly navigating the country’s development through influencing decision-makers.”

Following the end of the “cultural revolution” (1966-1976), Hu Yaobang, then headmaster of the Central Party School, led a fervent discussion about the criterion for “testing truth” among the officials receiving training at the school.

At the time, whatever Mao said was regarded as the truth or principle to follow. The discussion led by Hu was whether this rule should continue.

The discussion was held in a stubborn social environment still dominated by the notion of “two whatevers” – “we will resolutely uphold whatever policy and decisions Chairman Mao made, and unswervingly follow whatever instructions Chairman Mao gave.”

It led to the publication in May 1978 of a commentary piece, titled “Practice Is the Sole Criterion for Testing Truth,” in Guangming Daily. The concept put forward in the article won approval by the majority of Party members, but it also touched off a fierce national debate.

The debate was believed to be a great movement to free the minds of Chinese people from personality cults, and also a solid ideological foundation for the economic reforms and opening-up that would follow.

Freedom of speech

Although outsiders expect the Central Party School to be conservative, the school tolerates free internal discussions, even without limits. Li Tao, a 27-year-old postgraduate student at the school, was surprised by the freedom of speech in class.

“Teachers told us there were no taboos in their teaching, and officials can debate on almost any sensitive issues in the country,” Li said. “This is actually a place of mind emancipation and free speech.”

“Officials might be discreet in talking to strangers or in public, but their internal discussion in class is unbounded,” said Wu Zhongmin, a professor at the Central Party School who focuses on social justice research. “Sometimes their opinions can be really audacious and revolutionary.

“The Central Party School is a place where officials and researchers debate about the future of the country and the Party,” Wu said. “They have to face the problems and find ways to solve them. Speaking empty words or simply flattering makes no sense here.”

Discussions are closely linked to the most sizzling social problems, such as illegal land grabs, inequality between rural and urban areas, and corruption. To give trainees a better understanding of these problems, the Central Party School sometimes invites outspoken scholars to give lectures.

One speaker, in 2009, was Yu Jianrong, head of the Rural Development Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and a prominent advocate for farmers’ rights. He addressed the rapid urbanization that has resulted in farmland being taken up for construction projects and the use of the petition system for redress.

Some farmers, believing they had not been adequately compensated for their land, appealed to the petition system. But going over local officials’ heads by petitioning can lead to ill treatment by officials whose job performance is downgraded when they do not handle problems well locally.

Wang Changjiang, director of the school’s Party Building Teaching and Research Department, said officials are aware that mishandling such social problems could create greater chaos.

“China has so many problems now,” Wang said. “As the country’s governors, officials have no reason to ignore those problems. They must bear in mind that only reform and changes to the Party can help it stay in power.”

Social and economic changes also have led to changes in officials’ mindset, he said. In the early 1990s, higher ranked officials were unaware of some of the problems at the grassroots.

Wang said he met strong opposition from trainees when he tried to talk about democratic reform in 1996. But in recent years, more high-ranking Party leaders began to realize the need to carry out government reform following economic progress.

“The Central Party School might be the most ideal place for such discussions,” he said, “because you can’t find anywhere else where hundreds of high-ranking officials gather for months.”

International exchanges

Since the mid-1990s, the Central Party School has welcomed another group of guest speakers – top leaders from foreign countries – in a bid to give Chinese officials a wider horizon and better understanding of different cultures, values and political systems.

Most recently, Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, gave a speech titled “Europe and China in an Interdependent World” on May 17 during his visit to Beijing. Besides talking about the economic crisis, he also addressed human rights, climate change and other concerns common to both Europe and China.

Xu Wei contributed to this report.

China’s Leaping Achievements

History of China

By Paul Chong                                                                              Sunday, 29 November 2009  A Chinese By Descent, An Australian By Consent

President Hu Expounds China’s Views On Development

China can boast of its silk and tea culture long before any other country in the world. Even the technological plough was first discovered in China. By and large, all discoveries were directed towards peaceful use and the enrichment of life and culture, as with the gun powder. Now the world is witnessing an unprecedented quantum growth in China – all within one generation!

China Foreign Reserve    World No. 1

China Oil Consumption    World No. 2

China Trade Value              World No. 3

China Economic Output    World No. 4

Latest: China is the richest nation in the world.

‘Xiang Qian Zou’ – The Road To Riches

The Road To Riches – A Nation of Bicycles To Motor Vehicles

Of the nations in the world today, China stands out progressively tall and strong. It is as though a sleeping dragon is finally awakened. This appears to be the fear of the West. Though an economically strong China is good commercially for all the trading nations in the West, politically China poses a great threat. It is feared that “once China stands up, it won’t topple or be toppled.” That was why precisely Napoleon in his wisdom decided to let China be and not to rouse her.

In retrospect, China is undoubtedly the world’s greatest civilised nation over a continuous period of thousands of years – a civilisation undiminished and unbroken, unlike past civilisations like Egypt, Greece, or the Romans. By any reckoning, China should have by now be far more superior than the rest of the world. Why not?

Map of the “Middle Kingdom”

Of the many reasons why China did not progress beyond its initial lead in technology and discovery, the main cause of which can largely be attributed to its inward looking policy . . . viewing all territories outside the Great Wall of China and its boundaries as barbaric in nature. This nationalistic pride and closed door policy led to its seclusion, totally depriving itself from the inter-change of ideas and exposure to new scientific developments and industrial growth. While China lavished in its culture, philosophy and essentially non-materialistic form of development, it began to lag behind the West in terms of economic industrial growth. In preserving its civilisation from being tainted by corruption, disruption and deterioration, it never knew new growth, development and discoveries elsewhere in the whole wide world. The “Middle Kingdom” realised too late the encroachment of other nations upon its shores and territories. Countries like Britain, Portugal, Japan were making inroads into China through modern superior arms of war instead of its age-old “kung-fu”.

Zhejiang – Economic Zone

To grow, to progress is to change. Sentiment must give way to progress. There is no room for inhibition to changes. Change needs to take place before growth and progress can be attained. It’s attitude more than aptitude that scales the altitude. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, the great former prime minister of Singapore, is credited for the great strides achieved by the City State. His visionary ideas have no room for inhibition or sentiment to change or any hindrance.

Now, what a change has come about as a result of Deng Xiao Ping’s visionary concept of “Xiang Qian Zou”. In Mandarin, it means “Forward Move”, but by replacing the middle word with the similar pronunciation, it becomes “Moving Forward With Money”. This started a great frenzy for the Chinese striving for monetary progress in all spheres of work and life. China has made a quantum leap – a country virtually with no phone to the modern technology of mobile phones! But capitalistic way of life does have its price. A single generation can witness the most remarkable change & progress. Transformation just sweeps aside all inhibition, resistance and sentiment.

Greed always breed a profound loss of goodness in mankind. Simple honesty, truth, kindness and compassion are lost in the process. The dollar sign is etched prominently on the foreheads of goal-getters. It is evident to an outside observer that the whole civilisation is transformed overnight. China, in its forward economic stride, has done away with its traditional large families, and its door is wide open to the corrupt western way of life. There is a price to be paid, for consequential results cannot be avoided.

Like most economies in the world, the road to riches often affect those who are involved, largely the urban folks, leaving behind a vast majority of the rural peasants. Even then great disparity may result among the urbanites. Encouraged by the concept of “Xiang Qian Zou” and ‘you’ve got to be in it to benefit it’, waves and tides of migrating movement are emptying the youth from the rural and pastoral areas. China is vast country where hundreds of millions of the peasant still labour and toil and are poor by comparison with the urban rich. No doubt, this is creating a set of social chaos unknown before.

Hong Kong, for instance, is a magnetic attraction for mainland Chinese. Tens of thousands cross the border which still has the immigration formality with number restrictions. In 2002 this number has been lifted and the hours of opening has even extended to 12 mid-night. This is largely due to the fact that the constant stream of exchange of people movement just keep on going growing bigger and bigger. The benefits work both ways. The affluent mainland Chinese pour money into Hong Kong, and the Hongkees likewise do the same in respect of investing in cheaper and more attractive housing in Mainland China.

On the more positive & human well being aspects, China has done itself proud by alleviating poverty for the great mass of the population. Consider this report by World Bank: “China has maintained a high growth rate for more than 30 years since the beginning of economic reform in 1978 and this growth has generated a huge increase in average living standards.

China’s sustained growth fueled historically unprecedented poverty reduction.  Based on household surveys by the World Bank, the poverty rate in China in 1981 was 63% of the population.  This rate declined to 10% in 2004, indicating that about 500 million people have climbed out of poverty during this period.’

Update & in a lighter vein:

China, now second largest economy in the world, has 19% of the world’s population, but consumes

. . . 53% of the world’s cement

. . . 48% of the world’s iron ore

. . . 47% of the world’s coal

. . . and the majority of just about every major commodity.

In 2010, China produced 11 times more steel than the United States.

New World Record: China made and sold 18 million vehicles in 2010.

China currently has the world’s fastest train and the world’s largest high-speed rail network.

China is currently the number one producer in the world of wind and solar power.

China currently controls more than 90% of the total global supply of rare earth elements.

In the past 15 years, China has moved from 14th place to 2nd place in the world in published scientific research articles.

China now possesses the fastest supercomputer on the entire globe.

 As at the end of March 2011, China has accumulated US$3.04 trillion in foreign currency reserves- the largest stockpile on the entire globe.

 Chinese consume 50,000 cigarettes every second …Not an enviable record though …

And here is the secret to the Chinese miracle: There are more pigs in China than in the next 43 pork producing nations combined.

So it is PORK that is driving China !! ENJOY YOUR PORK !

Now . . . you know why we eat “bak kut the” to be one in spirit with our China cousins.

Comments

Your comments are invited.

What problems do you envisage for China in this economic crisis?

How would the rest of the world, particularly US, react or act towards China?

What role do you think that China is likely to play on the world stage?

Do you think that China would follow the path of US & change its basic peaceful co-existence policy?

Any others?