The new ‘new nor­mal’ is here

China Daily (Canada) - - SHANGHAI - By LI YANG in Shang­hai liyang@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Xi Jin­ping first started us­ing “the new nor­mal” to de­scribe the Chi­nese econ­omy. Now, the term is more and more used to de­pict Chi­nese pol­i­tics. The ques­tion now is what is the new nor­mal and how will it in­flu­ence China and the world.

The slow­down of the Chi­nese econ­omy has given some peo­ple doubts about China’s fu­ture but it is ac­tu­ally an in­evitable part of the eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion. China can­not sus­tain its old growth model, which ben­e­fits from the pop­u­la­tion div­i­dend and cheap re­sources.

Con­sump­tion, in­no­va­tion and high-qual­ity in­vest­ment will re­place ex­port and blind in­vest­ment as the main driv­ers for fu­ture qual­i­ta­tive growth. The gov­ern­ment will spend more money im­prov­ing peo­ple’s liveli­hoods, and more time re­form­ing the old gov­ern­ment-dom­i­nated in­sti­tu­tions, es­pe­cially in fi­nance, in­dus­try and gov­er­nance, to give the mar­ket and the so­ci­ety more vi­tal­ity and free­dom.

The po­lit­i­cal “new nor­mal” can­not be sep­a­rated from the eco­nomic “new nor­mal”.

The gov­ern­ment will meet more re­stric­tions and su­per­vi­sion from the ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties, the peo­ple’s congress and the so­ci­ety while ex­er­cis­ing their power. Gov­ern­ment spend­ing, earn­ings and debt will be more trans­par­ent for au­di­tors and the pub­lic.

The peo­ple’s congress at var­i­ous lev­els needs to be more pro­fes­sional as law­mak­ers and bud­get in­spec­tors. The ju­di­cial de­part­ments will earn their in­de­pen­dence from in­ter­fer­ence by lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

The Com­mu­nist Party of China should also en­ter a “new nor­mal”. All Party mem­bers must abide by laws and a set of more strict Party dis­ci­plines. Se­nior of­fi­cials will be held to ac­count for their de­ci­sions.

Un­der the “new nor­mal”, it will not be much more dif­fi­cult for the vested in­ter­est groups to main­tain their po­si­tions as the main ben­e­fi­ciary of re­form. Deep­en­ing re­form should ac­tu­ally re­form the ir­ra­tional wealth dis­tri­bu­tion in­sti­tu­tions that came into ex­is­tence with the last round of re­forms start­ing in the late 1970s.

The anti-graft cam­paign launched by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping re­flects the new lead­er­ship’s re­solve to solve some pro­tracted knotty is­sues left by his pre­de­ces­sors.

Sev­eral se­nior of­fi­cials in the Party, gov­ern­ment, army, mi­grant work­ers see a clear road map to a hukou, or house­hold reg­is­tra­tion, in big ci­ties thanks to re­forms. peo­ple’s congress and po­lit­i­cal con­sul­ta­tive sys­tems are slated for tri­als along with dozens of min­is­ters and provin­cial lead­ers and hun­dreds of city and county heads.

A big change of the “new nor­mal” is that work­ing in the gov­ern­ment is to serve the peo­ple, rather than mak­ing money.

The peo­ple feel the dif­fer­ences the “new nor­mal” is mak­ing in their life.

The re­form­ers are defin­ing the “new nor­mal” with a se­ries of new doc­u­ments that, if im­ple­mented, will bring about big changes to so­ci­ety. More than 300 mil­lion mi­grant work­ers see a clear road map to a hukou, or house­hold reg­is­tra­tion, in big ci­ties.

Fam­ily plan­ning poli­cies are re­formed to grant more cou­ples the choice to have a sec­ond child. Farm­ers’ prop­erty rights are rec­og­nized in new land re­forms.

Re­forms in the three ar­eas of hukou, fam­ily plan­ning and land is­sues used to seem like daunt­ing tasks. Now, they are all kicked off overnight.

China as­sumes a “new nor­mal” in deal­ing with ex­ter­nal is­sues.

China has be­come a cap­i­tal ex­porter with steadily ris­ing for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment. China has also es­tab­lished in­ter­na­tional banks, such as the New De­vel­op­ment Bank and Asia In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank, with its neigh­bors and part­ners.

China is ac­tively tak­ing the lead in fund­ing in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, trans­porta­tion, en­ergy and re­sources around the world.

The two no­table pro­pos­als of build­ing a Silk Road eco­nomic belt on the Eurasian con­ti­nent and the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road pro­posed by Xi are two im­por­tant ini­tia­tives to make a good use of China’s re­sources to en­large China’s in­ter­na­tional in­flu­ence and com­pete for more global re­sources.

The Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion Lead­ers’ Meet­ing in Beijing con­veys China’s con­fi­dence and abil­ity in adapt­ing to its “new nor­mal” and mak­ing new con­tri­bu­tions to the world.

Even Xi demon­strates a “new nor­mal” as China’s leader. He speaks stan­dard Chi­nese. He likes speak­ing his mind in sim­ple words and sen­tences, rather than read­ing the lengthy and cliché-rid­den lec­ture notes. He and his wife ap­pear more like an am­i­ca­ble cou­ple, liv­ing next door to Chi­nese peo­ple.

WU ZHIYI / CHINA DAILY

Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping and his wife Peng Liyuan take a photo with US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama dur­ing the APEC Sum­mit in Beijing.

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