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The Recent CPC Resolution and the Sino-U.S. Relations

The “Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Upholding and Improving the Socialist System with Chinese Characteristics and on Modernizing the System and Capacity for the Governance of China” was adopted at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee on October 31, 2019. What does this Resolution mean to China? And what does it mean to China’s relations with the United States?
 
What can China benefit from the Resolution?
 
Since Xi took office in 2012, he has rarely worked to separate CPC and government affairs as part of political reforms. However, he repeatedly stressed CPC leadership as the most essential feature and the greatest advantage of socialism in China. The reason is that in the past 70 years, under CPC leadership, China first gained independence and later emerged as the world's second largest economy, and is now expected to become a developed and strong modern socialist country by the middle of this century. This political system, which allows China to become independent, rich and strong, is undoubtedly an effective system suitable for the country. Therefore, what China must do next is not to conduct political reforms, but under CPC leadership, to improve the system and capacity for the governance of China in order to realize the Two Centenary Goals, namely, a moderately prosperous society in all respects and a modern socialist country.
 
For this reason, at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in 2013, the CPC decided for the first time to “modernize the system and capacity for the governance of China.” It also made it the overall objective of China’s reform to “improve and develop the socialist system with Chinese characteristics and modernize the system and capacity for the governance of China.” The session was meaningful in that it marked the CPC’s beginning of its systematic design and implementation of reform.
 
Taking into account the importance of this issue, the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee’s Political Bureau and the Political Bureau met on February 28 and March 29, respectively, and decided that this issue should be discussed at the the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee. A team was thus established to draft the Resolution and started to work under the leadership of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau.
 
The drafting team began to function in April. The team worked out a draft Resolution based on a review of relevant CPC documents, on a summary of the experiences in China's revolution, construction, and reform, especially the main theories and practices since the 18th CPC National Congress, and on repeated discussions. At the beginning of September, the first draft Resolution was issued within a certain scope of the CPC including veteran members for discussion. These people proposed 1,948 revisions, 436 of which were accepted. In addition, supplements were made, contents were rewritten, and wording was improved in 283 places of the draft Resolution. The Resolution was finalized with 15 parts and 18,449 Chinese characters. The main significance of the Resolution for China is that it answered the question of what China should uphold and strengthen and what it should improve and develop.
 
What will the Resolution’s impact on Sino-U.S. relations be?
 
For China now, the first consideration is not diplomacy, but the decisive factor that affects China's present and future. Therefore, the Resolution did not mention the United States. However, the United States is the only single country that exerts the most influence over China, although the impact is significantly lower than when China first began to reform and open up. Moreover, the process of drafting and revising the Resolution coincided with the Sino-U.S. trade war. This could not be ignored in the drafting process.
 
In his explanation of the Resolution, Xi stated that the Resolution is a powerful guarantee of China’s success in responding to risks and challenges and gaining initiative. These risks and challenges come from economic, social, natural, domestic, and foreign sources. The U.S. factor is undoubtedly an integral part of foreign risks and challenges. To this end, China must uphold and improve the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, modernize the system and capacity for its governance, and "use the power of the system to cope with the impact of risks and challenges."
 
The Resolution emphasizes the need to improve the national security system, pursue a holistic approach to national security, balance development and security, improve mechanisms for identifying and defusing national security risks and boost China’s ability to guard against and defuse these risks. Therefore, in its diplomacy with the United States, China will think about worst-case scenarios and work to play a more important role in agenda-setting related to bilateral relations
 
Maintaining peace and realizing development remains China's central task. Therefore, the Resolution emphasizes that China will uphold an independent foreign policy of peace, promote the building of a human community with a shared future, and advance the establishment of an open system of cooperation and win-win results. To this end, China will follow the global governance principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, actively participate in the reform and development of the system for global governance, stand for multilateralism and democracy in international relations, and work for the reform of the mechanism of global economic governance.
 
The Resolution also emphasizes that China will uphold the mutually beneficial strategy of opening up, contribute to the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative, safeguard and improve the multilateral trading system, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and help create a global, high-standard free trade zone network. The Resolution stresses that China will also support other developing countries in improving their capacity for independent development, and help resolve issues such as uneven global development and the digital divide, and contribute to an open world economy.
 
It can be seen that while thinking about worst-case scenarios, China has not closed itself and has no intention of "decoupling from " or "pursuing a comprehensive confrontation with” the United States. On the contrary, it will continue to promote the Belt and Road Initiative in an open and inclusive manner. China welcomes the continued cooperation of the U.S. government, institutions, and individuals. China believes that both China and the United States have many areas and issues on which they can cooperate with each other, whether in either of them or in a third-party market.
 
(Translated by Tong Xiaohua)
 
本文为中美聚焦(China-US Focus)约稿,中英文同时发表。飞机上写的一篇小文,那天在万米高空,似乎头脑比较清晰,加上是商务舱,倒是可以写点文字。先认真学习了三大文件,感觉有收获,大致明白了为什么会有十九届四中全会的主题与“决定”。发表版链接为:The Recent CPC Resolution and Sino-US Relations - Xue Li - CHINA US Focus https://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/the-recent-cpc-resolution-and-sino-us-relations



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