The 19th Party Congress of Chinese Communist Party is held in October, 2017. At this congress, the party leadership will be elected. This leadership will then be serving the government leadership positions for a new five year term. The government performance of previous five year and a plan for future five years will be presented at the 13th National People’s Congress in March 2018. This paper makes a preview of China’s forthcoming performance report in terms of specific impressive achievements. China’s success may be attributed to the Sino-democracy. On the world stage, a dialogue seems to be shifting away from debating the meaning, the merit and the legitimacy of Sino-democracy to discussing Chinese accomplishments, her continuing reforms and proposed futuristic global development programs.
The Communist Party of China’s Party Congress (CPCPC) is held every five years to elect the top party leadership. The Congress delegates are screened from grass root to leadership level of the entire party (by nomination, recommendation and election) with scrutiny of the party organization (evaluation and selection) to make sure only the best qualified party members are chosen. The delegates at 19th CPCPC will elect the new leaders of CPC Central Committee, in turn, its General Secretary (CPC Chief), the Majority of Politburo members, members of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), the Central Military Commission (CMC) and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), the internal discipline organ that has come to the political foreground since 2012 for carrying out the party's anti-corruption campaign. The selection of the Politburo Members and the Standing Committee are based on a meritocratic and Sino-Democracy* system guided by the CPC Party bylaws and institutionalized guidelines, such as age limitation requiring party members in active high positions to retire at age of 65. (*the West has always criticized the CPC government as authoritarian but after its years of reform with performance superior to many failing democratic governments, I coin the word Sino-Democracy for facilitating discussion of democracy in CPC)
No political system can be totally free of political patronage and personal relations. Thus, candidates for Politburo must have some backings of the present leadership figures. Since Xi Jinping (born 6-15-1953) is expected to continue serving another five year term, many of his close associates in the past stand a better chance to be advanced to the party leadership. Xi's party career and his regional party service experience have exhibited his preference to promoting low-key leaders driven by a strong work ethic rather than party bureaucrats motivated by personal interest and/or self financial gain. Domestic Chinese media offer far more positive view than the Western anti-China publications claiming that Xi's promotion of ‘his familiar’ people is for the purpose of dissolving the vast network of interlocking vested interest groups cultivated through the past administrations. Since Xi has done a superb job in his first five-year term as the Commander-in-Chief-of-China enjoying a high rating from the Chinese populace, one intriguing question circulating in the Internet blogs is that will the 19th CPCPC make a special provision for Xi to serve beyond his second term when he will be reaching 69 passing the retirement age of Chief, 68. Likewise, a question exists about the future of Premier Li Keqiang (7-1-1955) who will pass 65.
The 19th CPCPC (October 18, 2017) will lead to the 13th NPC (Spring, 2018) where a progress report of the past five years and a new five year plan will be discussed. Despite of the legacy arguments that China's one party government is not a ‘West endorsed democratic' government, the CPC government has made tremendous progress in alleviating poverty and elevating per-capital income multiple-fold since the government took a reform policy in 1978. Peering into China's progress report under preparation today by the State Council for the 13th NPC, we cannot help but feel impressed by her past achievements. From 1-2012 to 12-2016, China had carefully directed her economy from a manufacturing and export oriented economy gradually to a consumption based economy with supply side stimulation and industrial innovation to move her economic sectors to higher technology content with creativity and innovation. The next 5-year official data and statistics seem to suggest that China has made significant progress meeting her set goals and initiated plenty of innovations driving China's economy to a higher plateau.
First, China has seen a 47.5% increase in R&D expenditures (from 1.0298 (2012) to 1.55 trillion Yuan (2016)). This nearly double-digit annual increase apparently has stimulated economic growth in several sectors with emphasis in science and technology. In basic research, China cites several achievements: I. Anomalous Quantum Hall Effect, 2. Outer Fermions, 3. Iron-based High-T Superconductor, 4. Chemically-Induced-Pluri-Potent Stem Cells, 5. Dark Matter Particle Detector Satellite, and 6. Heat Shock Protein. In other S&T area, the brag list includes: 1. New Generation Heavy Lift Carrier Rocket (Long March 5), 2. Manned Spacecraft Auto Dock and Space Lab with space station to launch in 2020 (Russia has requested to join), 3. World-Fastest-Super-Computer built with Chinese Chips (>100 petaflops/sec), 4. Unmanned-Chinese-Submersible-Vehicle, Haidou, dived 10,767 meter below Sea, and 5. Various New Tech: High-Speed Railway, Hydropower Efficiency, UHV Power Transmission, Hybrid Rice, Earth Observing Satellite, BeiDou Navigation, and Electric Car.
China’s patents increased from 217,105 to 404, 208 (2012-2016), >4200 Shared Workspace, >3000 Tech Incubators, >400,000 Startups in Service Industry, >44M Market Players, 13.62M New Companies, >2.4M New Jobs by New Firms, 690M Internet Broadband Ports, 940.75M Internet Users, Smart Phone occupying 20% global market with 1.54B units and new energy vehicle sales 510,000 both being no. 1 in the world, SUV 9.14M 3.4X increase over 2015 and Industrial robot sales, 72,000, a 30.4% increase over 2015. China reported domestic travel, 4.44B People (50.2% up) and 3.939 T Yuan (73.5% up) (from 2012) and outbound people 120M. Most Impressive is China's e-commerce, online retail sales reached 5.1556 T Yuan, a 26.2% rise over 2015 and express business volume 31.3B, 6X increase from 2012 which brought a significant change in payment system online by banks and other institutions. The new sharing business in China shows 225M people booked taxis online, 165M booked chauffeur driven cars and 2M registered bike users with >1M orders per day, all booming innovative industries.
China places tremendous emphasis on innovation to drive manufacturing upgrade from mid and low to hi-end. The impressive progress is reflected in China's growth rate, average 7.2% from 2013-2016, compared to 2.1% U.S., 1.3% EU and 1.0% Japan and in China's contribution to world's economy, averages 31.6% compared to 18.2% U.S., 8.0% EU, and 3.7% Japan. China's GDP in 2016 was $11.2T, 14.9% of the world with grain, meat, major agriculture products, crude steel, coal, electric energy and chemical fertilizer manufacturing being number one in the world. China has 20,000 km high speed railway more than the second to tenth countries combined. China has 123,500 km express highway, 23000km more than the U.S., no. 2.
Even though the progress report is impressive, China still has 43.35 M people in poverty (2016) dropping from 98.99 M (2012). China is embarking an education reform to create more innovative skills even though her college enrollment rate has increased from 27.2% (2012) to 43.3 % (2015). China's next five year plan will likely include a shift to focus on early education, language skills and discipline-interest matching with the purpose of creating more talents for innovation. The current examination system, one test defining career path, will likely be changed. Judging on CPC's past track record, we would likely see China maintaining her impressive growth and development defying the theory of a collapsing China.
On the world stage, we will see a shift of dialogue away from debating the meaning and merit of democracy and the legitimacy of China's CPC Government to practical Chinese accomplishments, her continuing reforms and proposed global development programs. Big nations can avoid Thucydides Trap if dealing issues with rationale rather than nationalistic thinking. PM of India Modi's decision of backing down from Docklam dispute with China in the Himalayan mountains for seeking a more welcomed position in BRICS conference in Xiamen, China (9/3-5/ 2017), is a good example for world statesmen to ponder. India has a lot to lose by taking an unjustified hostile position against Chinese road building benefitting all Himalayans. Recently, Russian President Putin’s declaration of joining the Chinese Space Station Program with Russian contribution of rocket transport engine is another example showing that excluding China from the existing space station program based on discrimination indeed backfired. Japan as an ambitious powerful nation with historical hostility towards China should particularly be honest and sincere in setting her China policy.
I have discussed that democracy is not an ideology but a tool for making decisions and the tool may take different forms for different institutions or circumstances, for example, in business corporations, local governments, unique US school boards, military establishments and national Congresses. The Sino-Democracy referred to above has not been so transparent to and understood by the people outside of China, perhaps, it would do the world good if CPC scholars would enlighten the world how Sino-Democracy works.