The Xi Administration Introduces “Eight Musts”

On his China Copyright and Media blog, Rogier Creemers translates an article published by the Observer News Weekly, which he believes is, “the first major policy declaration from the Xi administration.” The article defines the “Eight Musts,” which outline the principles that will guide the current administration. From the translation [emphasis added]:

The 18th Party Congress pointed out that, revolving around this main theme, to grasp new victories for Socialism with Chinese Characteristics under new historical conditions, we must closely grasp the basic requirements in eight areas, and let them become the common convictions of the entire Party and the people of all ethnicities in the entire country. These eight basic requirements are: we must persist in the dominant role of the people; we must persist in liberating and developing social productive forces; we must persist in moving reform and opening-up forward; we must persist in safeguarding social fairness and justice; we must persist in marching the path of being well-to-do together; we must persist in stimulating social harmony; we must persist in peaceful development; and we must persist in the leadership of the Party. The basic requirements and common convictions of these “Eight Musts” are an enrichment and development of the inner meaning of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, and shall become our programme of action.

Socialism with Chinese Characteristics is the undertaking of the millions of people themselves, therefore, the mastering spirit of the people must be given full rein, to better guarantee that the people are the master of their own affairs.

Persisting in the dominant role of the people, is that we must believe in the people, rely on the people and consider the people as real heroes. This is the tradition and superiority of the Chinese Communist Party.

In another post, Creemers provides analysis of this article and the significance of the “Eight Musts.” Notably, Creemers believes these principles partially aim to acknowledge the popularity of certain policies put forth by disgraced Chongqing Party chief Bo Xilai:

Basically, these documents confirm the Party’s intention to maintain the current political structure, strengthen and improve it. This should come as no surprise, as this basically has been the line that has been taken since 1979. In other words, anyone expecting breakthroughs in areas that the Party has identified as crucial for its hold on power, including media (as demonstrated by the Southern Weekend kerfuffle), the Internet, relations with the Army, and the Leninist political structure. What is striking, however, is that the legitimation of all Eight Musts is based on quotes from Mao and Deng. Jiang Zemin is completely absent from the articles, while Hu Jintao is only mentioned once in the People’s Daily. More generally, these articles clearly aim to reconnect pre-’79 China with the reform period. In my view, this is an effort to take over some of the success garnered by the nostalgic Bo line, and to hark back to a more egalitarian age, when the Party was less beset by the well-known illnesses of corruption, privilege and abuse that plague it today. The People’s Daily also clearly mentions that a greater role must be given to the “mastering spirit” of the people, to ensure that they are more in charge of their own affairs. This is an affirmation of democracy, but in the Chinese sense: democratic centralism in politics, but possibly a new emphasis on private entrepreneurialism and a shift away from the attention lavished on large SOEs during the previous decade.


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