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Comment on CPC Decision on Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening Reforms

Zhang Kai

Economically Rightist Oriented

        At the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the Decision on major issues concerning comprehensively deepening reforms was approved. It states that China will stick to the dominant role of public ownership, playing the leading role of the state-owned economy, while encouraging, supporting and guiding the non-public sector, enhancing its vitality and creativity. It promotes a basic economic system which allows more private capital into the market to develop a mixed ownership economy and fiscal system. Moreover, the market will play a "decisive" role in allocating resources, such as water, oil, natural gas, electricity, transportation, telecommunication, among others. It also opens many sectors such as financial market, education, commercial logistics, and electronic trading for foreign capital. China will lower the investment threshold, step up the development of free trade zones and increase opening-up of inland, coastal and border areas. This further proves that China has become capitalist country, but not socialist country with the foundation of state-owned property and planned economy.

Politically More Rigid

        The Decision repeats the jargons of CPC that people is the master of the country. In reality, CPC is authoritative. People do not have the rights of democracy. Grassroots self-governance is not yet well established. Local elections are controlled by bureaucracy (except the case of Wukan Villagers in Guangdong Province). The Decision claims to develop local democracy and to strengthen the system of accountability. As it threatens the interested blocs, it will not be implemented.

        The Decision also promises to better supervise administrative law-enforcement activities, regulate the discretionary power of law-enforcement bodies and ensure fair and civilized law enforcement. In other words, it is not yet carried out. Over the past several decades, peasants are discriminated and marginalized. Now the Decision changes the dual rural-urban economic structure. It grants peasants¡¯ rights to possess, use, benefit from and transfer their contracted land, as well as the right to use their land ownership as collateral. It promotes the equitable exchanges of production factors between cities and rural areas and balanced distribution of public resources. Moreover, peasant workers in the city can enjoy social benefits same as urban citizens. Actually, it all depends on peasants¡¯ struggle for their rights.

        For the past 30 years, CPC authority forced women who violated family planning policy to have abortion and to pay fines. Up to 2012, 24 provinces have received the fines (in the name of social adoption fees) nearly RMB 20 billion. Under public pressure, CPC will loosen its decades-long one-child population policy, allowing couples to have two children if one of them is an only child. In addition, the "reeducation through labor" system, commonly known as "Laojiao," began in the 1950s. China will abolish the Laojiao system, but introduced community correction programs which started in 2003. This measure still fundamentally violates human rights even though it makes some changes.

        The Decision basically reinforces political oppression. One, it will establish a national security commission to improve systems and strategies for national security. That means it oppresses people to defend its authoritative regime. Two, the Decision acknowledges the functions of different cultural enterprises and examination system. It controls strictly journalist qualification. An expert remarks that there are 250 thousands of journalists with certificates, but 100 thousands among of which are required to retake an examination of certification. It implies that journalists who have consciences and can truthfully reflect the reality will be expelled. They will lose freedom of speech and press freedom. Currently CPC strictly controls press freedom. Wu Fei, professor of Zhejiang University and Zhu Xuedong, the chief-editor of China Newsweek respectively disclose in Weibo that, due to the weakening Marxist perception, the Department of Propaganda of CPC decide to re-organize top ten institutes of mass media in universities, including Fudan University, Renmin University of China, Tsinghua University and Peking University. According to Jia Xijin, associate professor of Tsinghua University, proves that the top ten universities receive the notice, stating that they should learn from ¡°Fudan Model¡± that the Dean of the Institute of Mass Media is assigned by the Department of Propaganda of Provincial Government (see Apple Daily, dated 19 December). This regulation is not only applied to the press, but also to speech, publication and internet.

Judicial System Does Not Protect Human Rights

        The Decision claims to build a fair, efficient and authoritative socialist judicial system and safeguard the rights and legitimate interests of the people. China will reduce the number of crimes subject to death penalty "step by step". However, it is well known that China authority does not pay respects to human rights. They should unconditionally release the dissents in prisons and human rights lawyers, such as Liu Xiaobo and his wife who are under illegal home detention, and Xu Zhiyong, a famous human rights lawyer who has been in detention for seven months and then be sent to People¡¯s Procuratorate, out of the ¡®crime of assembling a crowd to disturb order at public places¡¯. But according to Xu¡¯s defense counsel, Xu urges the officials to disclose their property, as well as fights for the equal rights of education. What the authority does is exactly violating the Decision. Nowadays, the existing law and jury mainly serve the privileged ruling class, the change of juridical system depends on how lawyers and people fight together.

Behind the Beautiful Rhetoric

        If capitalist market economy develops so well in China, it undoubtedly leads to serious social polarization and widening the gap between the rich and the poor. The Decision claims to establish a fair pattern of income distribution, to improve the minimum wage system, and to balance the income distribution between rural and urban areas. But it will be private sector which pays social expenditures. As private sector only aims to extract surplus value so it will not carry out the Decision.

        The Decision proposes to set up sustainable social security system which integrates social accounts to personal accounts. This basic insurance system needs official financial support. The government has tremendous revenues but it spends more money on keeping social stability and national defense, than on public health, social welfare and education.

        There are official statistics about major expenditures. So people are so angry about government decision of expending money. If the Decision cannot be carried out, people will become more discontented. It will become the source of social unrest. This is exactly what CPC worries. The Decision offers some small favors, but in nature it constricts people¡¯s freedom and suppresses people¡¯s struggles. This is what the Decision wants to do.                                                                                                         9/12/2013