The annual plenum of the China Communist Party central committee closed on Wednesday and issued the most important result of the meeting, a resolution on “several major issues about building a harmonious society.”
An editorial on People’s Daily, the major party mouthpiece, called the resolution a “guiding document” for the harmonious-society endeavor. The party initiated the drive as the core maneuver to tackle the widely spreading economic inequality among people from different classes and regions in China, as the country has been labeled by some as one of the most unequal economies and societies in the world.
The resolution portrayed the harmonious society as being “built and enjoyed by all Chinese people under the leadership of the CCP.” The concept was also labeled as the essence for the party’s course of building a China-style socialism society.
Through the declaration of the meeting, the party admitted that there were many conflicts and problems within today’s Chinese society, and urged party members to try their best to “increase harmonious elements as much as possible, and decrease the un-harmonious elements as much as possible.”
Specific goals of establishing such a society were articulated by the meeting, including a sounder judicial systems, reining the trend of the widening gap between rural and urban area, boosting technology innovations and "obvious improvements" of environment.
Bold economic developments and emphasis on social fairness and justice were cited as the basis for achieving a harmonious society. The meeting pledged to establish systems that will guarantee social fairness and justice, help the development of rural villages, make education development the priority, and improve public health care and environment protection. The party also mentioned establishing better anti-corruption mechanism and strengthening supervision of party officials.
These goals are set to be reached by the year of 2020, the declaration said.
Generally speaking, these principals and goals are old messages to Chinese people, except for a few things such as the stress on social fairness and intra-party utility, which suggests factional conflicts within the party. Some of the discourse is simply reiterating those that have been sung for many years by the party, although under different names, be it establishing China-style socialism, socialism market economy, or accomplishing the preliminary stage of socialism. Many of these goals have yet to be really achieved.
Among the initials mentioned in the plenum declaration, nothing substantial was mentioned about political reform. The focus was mostly on economy and social developments. The one-party ruling system was resolutely upheld, like always.
Elizabeth Economy, director of Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the question now is not the goals or the strategies, but secondary strategies used to achieve the goals.
“The issue is not what has come out of Beijing’s mouth, as much as it is what is Beijing doing to ensure that what has come out of its mouth is being implemented at the local level,” said Dr. Economy.
----by Josie Liu