Seduced by the West
For too long a corpus of Western media theory and its conceptualisation of journalism have been popular among certain individuals in China. Some media figures constantly refer to the West, its ‘freedom of expression’ and the ‘Fourth Estate’ as though they were some gold standard. To them giving prominence to the achievements of national development is ‘hypocritical news’; reporting on the dark underbelly or talking about social anomie, however, are ‘socially responsible’. In reality these people are revealing their ignorance of the Western media approach.
In a dual-party or multi-party system, as in the West, media groups have their own political agendas which aid and abet their political masters. They report negative news and attack each other, their bag of tricks including rumour-mongering and the sullying of opponent’s reputations. Our unique national conditions [guoqing 国情] differ from those of the West. If we were to introduce such skullduggery to China it could all too easily undermine and divide the social consensus and it would be disadvantageous to the creation of a stable and harmonious social environment.
What Chinese society needs is a responsible and modulated media that truly protects the fundamental interests of the state, the nation and the people. We do not need a media that, under the cover of ‘objective reporting’, constantly finds fault. It is only right and proper that our media participate in building and supporting China’s search for wealth, power and development. We require a media that enthusiastically encourages society to develop in a positive way and that can nurture an uplifting, energized and optimistic information environment…. Media should take a creative stance in helping resolve conflict, breach differences and forge consensus. It should not pursue its own interests to egg people on to greater excesses nor incite the public.
…A correctly guided media creates good fortune for our Party and for our people; an arrant media direction will be destructive of both the Party and of our people…. Our political system determines that China’s media will sing in tune with the keynote determined by the Party. This is in accord with the realities of a country of 1.3 billion people. The reality is that for China to develop social stability must be maintained; and a media environment must be created that benefits the overall stable situation. This then is the true responsibility of China’s media; it is also in the basic interests of the people’s of China.
– from ‘Media Enthusiasm for Negative Reporting is the Result of Western Seduction’,
Beijing Daily, 19 May 2012.
The following is a list of the achievements of the People’s Republic of China and the Communist Party from 2009 to 2012. This information is drawn from annual Government Work Reports (available at www.gov.cn) and the Xinhua News Agency. Direct quotes are taken from the English versions of Government Work Reports.
- The Summer Olympic Games were successfully held in Beijing with China topping the gold medal count.
- China’s economy maintained steady growth despite the global financial crisis. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) topped thirty trillion yuan, an increase of nine percent over the previous year, while overall price rises were held in check.
- Grain output rose for the fifth consecutive year and totalled 528.5 million tonnes, a record high.
- In September, the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft was launched, sending three astronauts into space, one of whom completed China’s first space walk.
- Reform and opening up were ‘further deepened’. New breakthroughs were made ‘in reforms in key areas and crucial links, such as the fiscal, taxation, financial and pricing systems and administration’.
- More than eleven million new urban residents entered the workforce. Urban per capita annual disposable income reached 15,781 yuan, an increase of more than eight percent, while rural per capita net income reached 4,761 yuan, an increase of eight percent.
- Great victories were won in the fight against massive natural disasters: rescue and recovery operations during the Sichuan earthquake were successful.
- On 1 October, a ‘grand celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of New China’ was held. The 2009 Government Work Report notes: ‘[T]he outstanding achievements we made in that time have greatly boosted the confidence and pride of the people, strengthened the cohesiveness of the Chinese nation, and raised China’s international standing and influence.’
- A four trillion yuan stimulus package helped ‘ensure a steady growth rate for China, which remain[ed] one of the least-hit major economies amid the financial crisis.’
- GDP reached 33.5 trillion yuan, an increase of more than eight percent over the previous year.
- Grain production was 530.82 million tonnes, a new record and an increase for the sixth consecutive year.
- More than eleven million urban jobs were created. The per capita disposable income of urban residents was 17,175 yuan, and the net per capita income of rural residents was 5,153 yuan, up more than eight and nine percent respectively from the previous year.
- In 2009, China’s higher learning institutions had 29.79 million students, with a gross enrolment rate of 24.2 percent, equalling the world average level.
- The 2010 Shanghai Expo was successfully held, attracting more than seventy million visitors.
- In October, the Chang’e-2 lunar probe was lifted into space by a Long March-3 carrier rocket.
- The 2010 Asian Games were successfully held in Guangzhou.
- GDP grew at an average annual rate of more than eleven percent to reach more than thirty-nine trillion yuan.
- New record highs were set for grain production, which reached more than 5.46 trillion tonnes. The per capita net income of farmers continued to grow rapidly and reached 5,919 yuan.
- 7,356 large and medium-sized reservoirs and key small reservoirs were reinforced, ensuring the safety of drinking water for 215 million rural residents.
- New power generating units with a capacity of 445 million kW were brought on line, including hydro power plants with 96.01 million kW capacity and nuclear power plants with 3.84 million kW capacity. More than 25.29 million hectares of land were re-afforested. Sulphur dioxide emissions were cut by 14.29%.
- Foreign exchange reserves soared to US$2.85 trillion as of the end of 2010, up twelve times from US$212.2 billion in 2001.
- China’s overseas direct investment flow increased by an average of forty percent annually from 2001 to 2010, when it amounted to US$68.8 billion.
- China surpassed the United States in the annual volume of car production and sales in 2009; in 2010 auto sales reached 18.06 million units, while output rose to 18.26 million units.
- The Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail link opened to the public.
- China became the world’s second largest economy, with GDP expanding to 40.12 trillion yuan.
- The unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft was launched in November, returning safely to earth after completing China’s first space docking with the target module Tiangong-1, which was launched in September.
- China’s GDP reached 47.2 trillion yuan, an increase of 9.2 percent over the previous year.
- China’s grain output reached a record high of 571.21 million tonnes.
- A total of 12.21 million new urban jobs was created. The per capita disposable income of urban residents and the per capita net income of rural residents rose in real terms by more than eight and more than eleven percent respectively.
- The government continued to renovate dilapidated houses in rural areas, ensured the safety of potable water for more than sixty million additional rural residents, delivered electricity to 600,000 people in areas that had no power supply, and ‘further improved rural working and living conditions’.
- The government implemented the ‘second phase of the project to protect virgin forests and raised related subsidies’ and planted more than six million hectares of trees.
- Preferential policies were implemented ‘to promote the leapfrog development of Tibet and Xinjiang’.
- China’s urbanization level exceeded fifty percent, marking a historic change in the country’s social structure.
- Reconstruction of earthquake-hit areas around Wenchuan, Sichuan province, was completed; major progress in disaster relief and reconstruction in Yushu, Qinghai; Zhugqu, Gansu; and Yingjiang, Yunnan was achieved.
- The government ‘fully attained the goals of making nine-year compulsory education universally available and basically eliminating illiteracy among young and middle-aged adults’. The children of rural migrant workers were ‘generally granted access to compulsory education in cities where they live’.
- The government ‘vigorously strengthened development of the cultural sector’, increasing financial support for cultural programs that benefit the people. ‘Major progress was made’ in protecting cultural relics and in protecting China’s intangible cultural heritage.
- Coverage of basic medical insurance was extended to 1.3 billion urban and rural residents. The government implemented a ‘national system for basic drugs in all community-level medical and health care institutions run by the government, and basic drugs became safer and more affordable.’
The Reasons for China’s ‘Glorious Decade’
People’s Daily Online
4 July 2012
The past ten years has been the result of the relentless and comprehensive development of what is called the ‘Glorious Decade’ in China. China had effectively deal with the public health crisis known as SARS, swiftly responded to the tragic Wenchuan earthquake, completed amongst some of the world’s largest reconstruction tasks, successfully hosted the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympics’ Games, Shanghai World Expo and Guangzhou Asian Games. It has successfully dealt with the international financial crisis, and accomplished the main tasks of the Tenth Five-Year Plan and the Eleventh Five-Year Plan.
In ten years, China’s status on the world stage has undergone historic changes: An annual average 11.5 percent of high economic growth, with an economic aggregate ranked first at sixth quickly jumping to second highest in the world; an annual average of 18.8 percent of growth in export and import of trade jumping from fifth to second highest in the world; an annual average of 23.5 percent in the growth of R&D expenditures, with total R&D spending also jumping from fifth to second highest in the world.
Never before has China received so much attention from the world, and the world, until now has never been more in need of China. So what is the cause behind China’s brilliance and shining success?
From the perspective of the characteristics and conditions of the political development, the political superiority from the socialist system in China means a strong Central Politburo Standing Committee, which is the key condition for the correct decisionmaking and successful development. The Standing Committee is comprised of nine members, representing eight leading institutions, such as the Party, State and Army, forming a ‘collective presidential systems’ with Chinese characteristics.
The most important feature of this type of system can be summed up with one word: ‘collective’. Everything is referred to as ‘collective members’ rather than the ‘individual member’, representing a ‘collective body’ rather than an ‘individual’, the ‘collective wisdom’ as opposed to ‘personal wisdom’ and finally ‘collective decision-making’ instead of ‘personal decisions’. This is reflected in the five parallel running mechanisms; collective shift succession, collective division of labor, collective learning, collective research and collective decision-making.
The ‘collective presidential system’ is far superior to a ‘personal presidential system’ in terms of the interaction between the information sharing structure that enables fully information sharing and the decisionmaking structure that is fully democratic, therefore it is more democratic, more coordinative and more efficient. This explains why China not only maintained the best macroeconomic indicators, but also rapidly narrowed the GDP gap with the US in the financial crisis. In addition, China played the most significant and active role in the global response since the credit crunch.
In terms of development theories and strategies, the CCP Central Committee innovated the ‘people-orientated’ scientific concept of development, which is the latest theoretical achievement of the Party with regards to the laws of construction of socialism, social development and the understanding of the Party’s governance. It has become the ideological ‘soul’ for the ‘Giant in the East’ to further advance. Over the last ten years, China has accelerated its development in the scientific development field, and excelled in its impact and transformation over economic developments. All this in turn allows for comprehensive, well-coordinated and sustainable development in the form of the world’s first green development plan, the Twelfth Five-Year Plan.
Finally, from the perspective of creative power, there are 1.3 billion people each creating the miracles of true heroes, whom all share the same core values for development. China is home to some of the world’s most diligent and also most intelligent people, packed with robustness and with unlimited potential to give. With 1.3 billion people all learning together, innovating together; we shall build common prosperity and we can achieve a great rejuvenation for the Chinese nation.
These are the fundamental reasons for China’s continued success.