Ex­perts laud 6th plenum doc­u­ment

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

China-watch­ers in the United States ap­plauded the com­mu­nique re­leased on Thurs­day af­ter the sixth ple­nary ses­sion of the 18th CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, which was held in Bei­jing from Mon­day through Thurs­day.

Cheng Li, di­rec­tor of the John L. Thorn­ton China Cen­ter at the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion, de­scribed the com­mu­nique as a “very good doc­u­ment. I be­lieve the sixth ple­nary ses­sion will have its sta­tus in CPC his­tory,” he said on Thurs­day.

Ac­cord­ing to Li, the doc­u­ment well em­pha­sizes the re­la­tion­ship be­tween col­lec­tive lead­er­ship and the top leader’s re­spon­si­bil­ity, es­pe­cially in em­pha­siz­ing the strict man­age­ment of the Party.

While some Western me­dia out­lets have fo­cused on the core sta­tus of Xi Jin­ping, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, Li noted that this is not a new con­cept, but a ti­tle that has been used of­ten through­out the pre­vi­ous lead­er­ship.

Rather than see­ing the doc­u­ment as a sub­ver­sion from pre­vi­ous Party doc­u­ments as sug­gested by some Western me­dia, Li said there is a con­ti­nu­ity from con­tri­bu­tions made by pre­vi­ous lead­ers such as the con­cept of “Three Rep­re­sen­ta­tives” by Jiang Zemin and “Sci­en­tific Out­look on De­vel­op­ment” by Hu Jin­tao, both for­mer CPC party chiefs.

Li, au­thor of the lat­est book Chi­nese Pol­i­tics in the Xi Jin­ping Era, said it is wrong to think that there is no su­per­vi­sion nor checks and bal­ance in the Party.

“There is not only checks and bal­ances, the doc­u­ment also em­pha­sizes that there is no taboo and ex­cep­tion even for top lead­ers. This is a very strong lan­guage,” he said.

He be­lieves the elab­o­ra­tion on the re­la­tion­ship of col­lec­tive lead­er­ship and in­di­vid­ual re­spon­si­bil­ity is es­pe­cially im­por­tant, adding that no coun­try has han­dled the is­sue well.

In his view, it will be prob­lem­atic to give a pres­i­dent too much power, but it also won’t work if the pres­i­dent does not have the nec­es­sary power. “This is a com­mon chal­lenge in so­cial gov­er­nance,” Li said.

He noted that with­out enough power granted to Xi, it is hard to imag­ine how he can take on the tough job of fight­ing cor­rup­tion and im­ple­ment­ing re­form mea­sures.

Jon Tay­lor

Cheng Li

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