The vision of the Chinese Dream is a continuation of the policy of reforms, being a need of the time. President Xi’s leadership can be termed as the third era of China’s massive transformation; Mao’s and Deng’s being the first and second era, respectively.
Chinese Dream, a vision introduced by President Xi Jinping, is a buzzword and a guiding instrument for policy and implementation framework of China. It has also attracted attention of the leading players of global order. They are trying to decode and comprehend it. Chinese Dream is being considered a new beginning for China at the global stage. It is true as China herself described it as a new beginning and journey towards the rejuvenation of China. Thus, it is necessary to try to understand the vision behind it.
It is based on two pillars: peace and prosperity. President Xi believes that peace and prosperity can only be achieved through power and development. Thus, he is working relentlessly to devise and implement policies, which can serve the dual purpose of peace and prosperity.
President Xi Jinping started by aiming at prosperity and introduced his economic and development vision, which is now termed as Xiconomics. However, he was convinced that to achieve prosperity, there is a need to fix the economic governance and means of distribution. Thus, he made elimination of corruption the prime goal, which he deemed necessary to ensure prosperity of the society. He told the fellow comrades that corruption – if it goes unchecked – will weaken the party. Thus, he launched a comprehensive campaign to eliminate corruption and did not spare anyone, no matter who the culprit was. It is in line with the teaching of Confucius, “Govern with virtue and keep order through punishments.”
Simultaneously, he emphasized on reforms in the economic field, which helped China grow and improve welfare of the people. In Party deliberation, he highlighted that without ensuring welfare of the people and society, there is no justification of Communist Party of China (CPC). So, he made it clear that reforms must be for the poor and pro-business. For that purpose, a two-pronged strategy was adopted with a strong role of invisible and visible hand. He also introduced mechanisms which can create a balance between the visible and invisible hand. To ensure the role of invisible hand, he emphasized on the role of market and urged the market forces to work for an efficient market system.
President Xi has taken a bold and forward-looking step by launching the Global Security Initiative (GSI). The vision of GSI is built on the pillars of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security.
However, it was assumed that the invisible hand cannot work without the visible hand. China tried to learn from the shortcomings of the invisible hand by analysing the western markets. Thus, he urged the CPC and government to make the visible hand capable and efficient. Macro-stability was made the prime goal of visible hand and a massive campaign was launched to strengthen the capability and capacity of the government. To achieve the goal, China introduced multiple reforms to improve coordination, implementation, monitoring, accountability and strengthen the role of the government at all levels. The key job of the visible hand was/is to ensure that all economic interventions must contribute to the welfare of people and society.
Second, power is a fundamental tool to achieve the goal of peace, both at domestic and global levels. Thus, asked the CPC and government to work on strengthening the mechanisms, which can help consolidate the power of the country. Power was divided in two categories, i.e., hard and soft power. For hard power, President Xi Jinping has made it clear to the armed forces that they will transform.
Thus, to achieve the goal of hard power, he is continuously reforming the armed forces of the country. First, he slashed the size of the armed forces and prohibited them from getting involved in business, except military. It is considered a landmark step, as since the establishment of the country, the strength of forces was measured through the number of soldiers. Second, he urged the armed forces to enhance their combat capability and capacity to face any adversary or challenge. For that purpose, he asked them to focus on training and research and development (R&D). Now China, under his leadership, is generously allocating financial resources to modernize training and enhance the culture of R&D. Since 2012, spending on training and R&D has increased manyfold. It is deemed necessary to move away from the number of soldiers to modern means of military strength.
Third, China is also emerging as a global player in the security arena. It is the first concrete step, which indicates that China is willing to take the lead to reform global security policy and infrastructure. President Xi has taken a bold and forward-looking step by launching the Global Security Initiative (GSI). The vision of GSI is built on the pillars of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security. GSI promotes peaceful coexistence by adhering to the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty, recognition of non-traditional security and peaceful solutions of conflicts through dialogue and consultation.
On the soft side of power, President Xi Jinping has initiated reforms on three fronts. First, since 2014, he introduced the doctrine of a proactive role for reforming the global system. It has been dubbed as the biggest shift in the history of modern China. Policymakers and experts consider it a departure from Deng Xiaoping’s policy of hiding the strength and never taking the lead. However, in reality, it is a required reform in the international relations’ policy of China; it always kept on reforming and changing the goals of economic policy according to the new needs of the state of development. China is applying the same strategy to the international relations policy. First, Chairman Mao devised a policy to serve the interest of revolution and it was termed as a revolutionary diplomacy. Second, Deng Xiaoping’s policy was dubbed as development diplomacy, as it was framed to serve the development interest. Now, China is in the third era and President Xi has devised a policy to serve the objectives of Chinese Dream. Therefore, it can be said that it is a continuity of reforming the system according to the needs of the time.
Through BRI, China is trying to bridge the global investment gap and assist the less developed to pursue the dream of development. It is also helping debt-ridden countries to generate financial resources and get rid of the debt trap, which was woven by international institutes like World Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF), etc.
China, under the Chinese Dream diplomacy, is transforming from a passive, reactive and lowkey to assertive, proactive, and high-profile country. It is not ready to tolerate any unjust action or interference in its internal affairs. The new policy can be best understood from the statement of State Councillor and Foreign Minister of China, Mr. Wang, as he said, “We never pick a fight or bully others. But we have principles and guts. We will push back any deliberate insult, resolutely defend our national honor and dignity, and we will refute all groundless slander with facts”. This statement helps us to comprehend the Chinese Dream diplomacy.
Second, President Xi is cognizant of the fact that without sharing prosperity, there is no way to sustain a respectable relationship in the global community. Thus, he has started numerous programs like Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, initiatives under Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS, etc. China is also negotiating an investment agreement with Europe. Through BRI, China is trying to bridge the global investment gap and assist the less developed to pursue the dream of development. It is helping debt-ridden countries to generate financial resources and get rid of the debt trap, which was woven by international institutes like World Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF), etc. Therefore, it is also dubbed as debt relief diplomacy by China.
Third, China has also launched development initiatives like Six-100s program under South-South Cooperation Forum and Global Development Initiative (GDI). GDI is global in nature and deeply aligned with Agenda 2030. It has eight pillars, which have been created to tackle the most urgent needs of the world.
Although China has consolidated her position as the leading economy of the world, formidable military power and an important player of global diplomacy, it must continue to be a responsible global player and become a role model for other nations.
The writer is CEO of Asian Institute of Eco-Civilization Research and Development.
E-mail: [email protected]
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