Yearbook 2014: Shared Destiny

Cover of the China Story Yearbook 2014 with a word cloud, featuring expressions and official clichés in the shape of the character 共 gong Artwork: Markuz Wernli

Cover of the China Story Yearbook 2014 with a word cloud, featuring expressions and official clichés in the shape of the character 共 gong
Artwork: Markuz Wernli

Humanity as never before shares a common destiny, whether it be in terms of the resources of the planet, the global environment, economic integration, or the movement of peoples, ideas, cultures. For better or worse humankind is a Community of Shared Destiny 命运共同体.

The People’s Republic of China under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and its ‘Chairman of Everything’, Xi Jinping, has declared that it shares in the destiny of the countries of the Asia and Pacific region, as well as of nations that are part of an intertwined national self-interest. The Party, according to Marxist-Leninist-Maoist theory, is the vanguard of progressive social forces; it cleaves to the concept of shared destiny and its historical role in shaping that destiny. Since its early days nearly a century ago it has emphasised the collective over the individual, the end rather than the means. It addresses majority opinion while guiding and moulding the agenda both for today, and for the future.


Yearbook 2014: Shared Destiny can be downloaded on the website of the ANU Press as a PDF, ebook, or ordered as an on demand print volume.

You can also read or download individual chapters of the Yearbook below.

Introduction: Under One Heaven

by Geremie R Barmé

In the China Story Yearbook 2014: Shared Destiny, we take as our theme a concept emphasised by Xi Jinping 习近平, the leader of China’s party-state, in October 2013 when he spoke of the People’s Republic being part of a Community of Shared Destiny 命运共同体, officially translated as a Community of Common Destiny. The expression featured in Chinese pronouncements from as early as 2007 when it was declared that the Mainland and Taiwan formed a Community of Shared Destiny. Addressing the issue of China’s relations with the countries that surround it at the inaugural Periphery Diplomacy Work Forum held in Beijing on 24 October 2013, Xi Jinping further developed the idea when he summed up the engagement between the People’s Republic and its neighbours by using a series of ‘Confucian-style’ one-word expressions: positive bilateral and multilateral relationships were to be based on amity 亲, sincerity 诚, mutual benefit 惠 and inclusiveness 容.

Chapter 1: Great Expectations

by Jane Golley

THIRD PLENUMS, typically held a year after the instalment of a new team of Communist Party leaders, had delivered major breakthroughs in the past. Deng Xiaoping famously initiated the process that would become known as Reform and Opening Up at the Third Plenum of the Eleventh Central Committee in December 1978. And both President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang had signalled a strong commitment to reigniting the reform process. The pressure was on.

Chapter 2: Whose Shared Destiny?

by Richard Rigby and Brendan Taylor

THE ‘COMMUNITY OF SHARED DESTINY’ is not a completely new concept in Chinese foreign policy — the Communist Party first used the term in 2007 in relation to cross-Strait relations. But it is one that has gained greater prominence over the past year. A key development during this period was Xi Jinping’s October 2013 keynote speech at the ‘Workshop on Diplomatic Work with Neighbouring Countries’ 周边国家外交工作座谈会, during which he elaborated on the ‘shared destiny’ theme (sometimes translated into English as ‘common destiny’): it was then that the term officially entered the Chinese foreign policy lexicon.

Chapter 3: The Chinese Internet - Unshared Destiny

by Jeremy Goldkorn

UNDER XI JINPING, the party-state is reinforcing and extending the walls around the Chinese Internet. In early 2014, Xi assumed leadership of the newly formed Central Internet Security and Informatisation Leading Small Group 中央网络安全和信息化领导小组, whose members include Premier Li Keqiang and Liu Yunshan 刘云山, former director of the Party’s Department of Publicity (formerly Propaganda). In a report published on 27 February 2014, Xinhua News Agency quotes Xi as saying that China should ‘strive to become a cyber power’.

Chapter 4: Destiny's Mixed Metaphors

by Gloria Davies

In April 2014, an article titled ‘The China Dream and the New Horizon of Sinicised Marxism’ appeared on the Qiushi 求是 website run by the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee. Qiushi describes itself as the Party’s ‘most influential and most authoritative magazine devoted to policy-making and theoretical studies’ and aims to promote the Party’s ‘governing philosophy’. The article defined the China Dream as the ‘means for bringing together the state, the nation and individuals as an organic whole’. It can do this, the article said, because it ‘accentuates the intimate bond between the future and destiny of each and every person with that of the state and nation’.

Chapter 5: Urban, Mobile and Global

by Carolyn Cartier

PEOPLE IN URBAN China travel, move house and commute longer distances than ever before. They also enjoy greater opportunities to change their lifestyles or move up the social ladder. The gradual removal of historical bans imposed by the Communist Party on unauthorised movement between cities (or from the countryside to the city) as well as owning property and travelling abroad make the ease of movement — mobility — novel and exciting.

Chapter 6: The Sword of Discipline and the Dagger of Justice

by Susan Trevaskes and Elisa Nesossi

XI JINPING AND THE PARTY leadership have been reshaping China’s justice and security agendas to strengthen both the authoritarian rule of the Party and the authoritarian rule of law. They advocate what they call ‘rule of law thinking’ 法治思维 to rebuild public trust in the country’s politico-legal institutions, which include courts, procuratorates (the institutions encompassing public investigators and prosecutors), police, national security and para-policing agencies. This is a strategic shift, following a decade of weiwen 维稳, or ‘Stability Maintenance’, a political program closely associated with the Hu Jintao–Wen Jiabao era that covers a range of politico-legal activities aimed at preventing and/or breaking up collective protests and dealing with court cases raised by individual complainants.

Conclusion: Bringing Order to All-Under-Heaven

by Geremie R Barmé

Xi Jinping’s formulation of the Community of Shared Destiny was a key rhetorical device used in China’s regional and international policy during 2013–2014. It promised to ‘operationalise’ resuscitated, and long-debated ideas related to All-Under-Heaven tianxia, discussed in the Introduction to this volume. Non-mainland analysts and commentators generally have scant interest in Chinese party-state attempts to articulate new international relations or strategic concepts in a language that weds statist Confucian concepts with those of Marxist-Leninist modernity. Perhaps it is an affront that a derivative Marxist state lays claim to some unique approach to world affairs, even though its economic and global heft are undeniable. Status quo thinkers rarely want to make room for unorthodox approaches, especially those essayed by a one-party state that has been in an agonistic relationship with the West since the Second World War.