Xi’s Catchphrases in 2015

by Lorand Laskai

Political discipline and rules 政治规矩

‘Political discipline and rules exist to enable CPC cadres to defend the authority of the CPC Central Committee and cadres must follow those rules, aligning themselves with the committee in deed and thought, at all times and in any situation. Party unity must be ensured.’

At the fifth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) in January, Xi said that to preserve party rule, cadres had to obey ‘political discipline and rules’. This included ‘unifying and concentrating power in one leader’.

New normal 新常态

‘China’s economic development has entered a “new normal”. The rate of economic growth is shifting to a medium-to-high rate, the model of large-scale quick growth is shifting towards a quality-centred model of intensive growth, and the momentum from investments is transitioning towards towards innovation driven growth.’

Although Xi’s signature term to describe China’s economic slowdown, ‘the new normal’, was coined in 2014, it remained a centrepiece of the Chinese president’s policy speeches in 2015, including the one given at the Boao Forum in March. By one scholar’s estimation, by March of 2015, Xi had already used the term ‘new normal’ over 160 times since the 18th Party Congress.

Critical minority 关键少数

‘Governing the country according to comprehensive rule of law must capture a “critical minority” of the leadership cadre.’

At a session for leading provincial-level cadres in February, Xi said a ‘critical minority’ of leading cadre was required to promote the rule of law and strengthen national defence and the military, among other goals. Xi has used the term repeatedly to emphasise the need for a disciplined vanguard within the top levels of the Party.

Feeling of progress 获得感

‘Reform must be carried through from the first to last kilometre, breaking through obstructions and preventing omissions. The gold content of reform must be fully displayed so the people can have a feeling of progress.’

At the tenth meeting of the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms on 27 February, and perhaps in an acknowledgement that fast-paced economic development does not objectively benefit everyone equally, Xi suggested using the people’s ‘feeling of progress’ as a barometer for success. He later used the term when discussing cross-Strait trade dialogue with Taiwan: people on Taiwan, he said, needed the ‘feeling of progress’ if they were to ‘close the distance between compatriots on both sides of the Strait’.

Purify the political ecology 净化政治生态

‘When the political ecology is dirty, the environment becomes vile; when the political ecology is bright and clean, the environment is first rate. Political and natural ecology are the same—neglect it even a little and it will very quickly become polluted. Once problems appear, recovery demands a large price.’

First coined last year, Xi has since used the concept of ‘political ecology’ on a number of occasions, including during the 2015 meetings of the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

Toilet revolution 厕所革命

‘Along with the quickened pace of agricultural modernisation and new rural construction, we must launch a “toilet revolution” to ensure the rural masses have access to sanitary toilets.’

Xi raised the need to make dramatic improvements to rural sanitation facilities on a number of occasions including during a visit to Yanbian Korean autonomous prefecture in July. China’s first ‘toilet revolution’ was in 1965; there have been at least three others since the 1980s.

Supply-side reform 供给侧改革

‘At the same time as appropriately increasing demand, we must try hard to increase structural supply-side reforms, raise the supply system’s quality and efficiency, and strengthen the momentum for sustainable economic growth.’

Xi first used the term ‘supply-side reforms’ during a meeting of the Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs on 11 November 2015 and has since used it repeatedly to underscore the government’s resolve to curb oversupply and push through new structural reforms during the period of the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan.

‘Four-iron’ cadres ‘四铁’干部

‘In order to build a prosperous society and realise the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, we must groom officials to be as strong as iron in their belief, faith, discipline and sense of responsibility.’

At the National Party School Work Conference in December, Xi coined this new term to describe the calibre of cadre the country needs. The meeting came a few months after the party released new strict disciplinary regulations for party members.

Community of shared destiny in cyberspace 网络空间命运共同体

‘Cyberspace is humanity’s commons. The future of cyberspace should be in the hands of all nations. Each country should step up communication, broaden consensus and deepen co-operation, in order to jointly build a community of shared destiny in cyberspace.’

During the keynote address to the Second Wuzhen World Internet Conference in December, Xi adapted another favorite catchphrase, ‘common destiny’, to the politics of global Internet governance. He used it to stress the importance of establishing a ‘multinational’ regime for Internet management.