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.

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Shuanglang – Little Known Secret Paradise

Shuanglang nestling on Erhai

Shuanglang, a Bai Minority town,

across from Dali in Yunnan, nestling on the shore of Erhai Lake, is one of China‘s most laid-back destination.

With poetic scenery and tranquil guesthouses, the small fishing village of Shuanglang has become a favourite escape from urban living for those know.

An idyllic hideaway 

Many of you may know of the tourist-thronging Dali & Lijiang in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province. But few of you may have heard of Shuanglang Village. This is an idyllic place & China’s hidden little treasure which few have come to know.

For over a thousand years, the local Bai Minority people here have made their living fishing in the lake. But the past 10 years have brought in a change to life. The small tranquil village is now popular with visitors looking to unwind and enjoy a slower tempo.

Boating pleasure

Old alleys and traditional architecture made for pleasant wanders. And it’s easy to take a boat out on the lake or just kick back and do very little.

Surrounded by mountains on three sides, Shuanglang village hugs the scenic Erhai lake. The weather here always seems perfect, making it a great retreat anytime of the year. It is also home to some of the most romantic boutique guesthouses in China.

Filming taking place . . .

Baxun, Shuanglang village chief & owner of the first such guesthouses, said,”A guesthouse is not a hotel. It’s much more personal. The decoration varies in different guesthouses. Each and every one of them represents the owner’s unique style.” There are more than 120 guesthouses now, offering much choice for a comfortable stay. Most face the lake and have decks providing breath-taking views.

A tourist said,” I like staying here. It feels like home.” And many really do make this their other home. In fact, many of the guesthouses are opened by the once “outsiders”.

Xiaoyun and her husband, “We wanted to find somewhere peaceful to live,” came to Shuanglang in 2009 from Beijing, and fell in love with the quiet village. The couple later quit their jobs to set up their own guesthouse here. “We had traveled to many places around the country. The air, clouds, people . . . we just love everything here.”

As elsewhere in China, change is coming to Shuanglang. Several new guesthouses have been built in anticipation of future visitors. With the influx of bar, restaurants & people, the mood of the village will no doubt change. Hopefully it will be a few years before this hidden gem becomes a mini-Lijiang.

English: Erhai - Lake of Dali (Yunnan) - North...
English: Erhai – Lake  (Yunnan) – Northern part (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the present, tranquillity & peace exist. Before long these may not persist!

China’s Women Army

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China has the largest army in the world.

The number of women in the army is itself staggering at about 2 million

YouTube Video

Speaking just on the Female Airforce, according to a Xinhua News Agency article the first six ”loyal and fearless” female pilots flying with the Xian JH-7 fighter bomber have just finished the training required to perform all-weather air-to-ground missions and are now able to attack and destroy targets located on unfamiliar ground, hidden by fog, using precision munitions.

The female fighter pilots, currently assigned to a PLAAF (People’s Liberation Army Air Force) Regiment, were selected from more than 20 million girls graduated from high school in Sept. 2005. After attending the flying school, they were assigned to a front line squadron in March 2011, where they conducted advanced training that included formation flying, low altitude attack, live firing exercises using conventional weapons.

The Xinhua article depicts the female pilots as “skilled” “loyal” and “fearless” and provides also a group shot of the six JH-7 pilots with flight suits and helmets. Wow, not bad for a totalitarian state where the information on women (and women’s rights..) is usually hidden or classified as secret.

 Posted by David Cenciotti in China.

Below these female fighter pilots are among some 328 female pilots recently recruited and trained by China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force. They don’t just look good, they can roar through the skies faster than the speed of sound. And they don’t just fly normal air force missions, they also take part in disaster relief flights, research-oriented trial flights and afforestation. They have also flown in China’s 60th national day parade.

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YouTube Video

Asian Rich Outnumber Europeans

According to a report by Xinhuanet (October 17, 2011), Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and Capgemini found that the number of wealthy people in the Asia-Pacific region grew 9.7 percent to 3.3 million in 2010, becoming the second-largest region behind North America in terms of wealth. This is leapfrogging Europe for the first time.

The report, which defined the wealthy as people with at least $US1 million in net assets (excluding their homes, collections, consumer and durable goods), said the wealth of Asia-Pacific rich surpassed Europe as early as in 2009 and increased 12.1 percent to US$10.8 trillion last year, compared with Europe’s US$10.2 trillion.

In the Asia-Pacific region, real estate and equities investment still made up the primary choices for the rich last year, with 27 percent choosing housing market, far higher than the global average of 19 percent.

The report also predicted that the Asia-Pacific wealthy will beef up stock and fixed-return investment while reducing holdings of cash and deposit from 2011 through 2012.

While economy stumbles globally

The rich & famous have cash to splash around still.

(Source: China.org.cn)

The World’s First Aircraft Carrier Hotel in China

By P Chong

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Source: Xinhua Photos/www.news.cn & China Daily

An attendant stands in the Presidential suite of Tianjin Aircraft Carrier Hotel in Tianjin on Aug. 8, 2011. The first aircraft carrier hotel in China, which lies in the Kiev aircraft carrier, the former Soviet Union’s flagship of the Pacific Fleet, has completed the interior decoration of two presidential suites. (Xinhua Photo). Below: Tianjin Aircraft Carrier Hotel.

 

With many a country operating active-military service aircraft carriers such as: The United States (11) The United Kingdom (1) France (1) Italy (2) Spain (1) Russia(1) India(1) Thailand (1) Brazil (1) , can you imagine China doing otherwise? Surprising though it may be, China is not going down the same down-trodden way, as evidenced by the likes of the United States and Russia.

China has built up a USD$3.2trillion foreign reserve, not through conquest or domination of other countries, but by providing goods and services. Indiscriminating or unlimited spending on “weapons of mass destruction” with the building & maintenance of global naval bases, could only lead to financial disasters and self-destruction in the end.

Below: USS Abraham Lincoln

China owns just three ex-Russian aircraft carriers – the Kiev, the Minsk and the Vareyag. In the process, these carriers have accordingly been refitted for their peaceful humantarian use, research & training as opposed to the likes of others.

It is already a well known fact that the Varyag is now China’s “Shi Lang Aircraft Carrier”. Latest news is that the Kiev is now the “Tianjin Aircraft Carrier Hotel” based in Tianjin, China, one of its kind, uniquely refitted to be the world’s first Aircraft Carrier Hotel. See more of the following pictures:

The foregoing pictures show Tianjin beautiful interior layout. Two attendants clean the Presidential suite of Tianjin Aircraft Carrier Hotel in Tianjin on August 8, 2011. [Photo/Xinhua] 

 

 

Glimpses of USS Midway  aircraft carrier & Others –

All equipped for war!

Tianjin might play up to be a great competitor with the world’s best cruise ships. It can become a unique floating hotel with great destinations! Also in the offering will Aircraft Carrier Theme Parks!

Be prepared to move aside “Oasis of the Seas”!!