Domestic Affairs

CPC: Present challenges and future course

By Geeta Kochhar (
Updated: 2011-06-24 14:16
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As a revolutionary party, the Communist Party of China (CPC) began its road with the major hurdles of confrontation and civil war. Then it was a war for seeking freedom and building a society that can cater to the masses in a more equitable manner. Now it is a party that is working to build a prosperous China and a society that works to create harmonious living.

Looking back at the events since the founding of the People's Republic of China, we find Chairman Mao Zedong raising the five-star red flag in Tian'anmen square on Oct 1, 1949, with 300,000 soldiers and civilians. This was followed by the sounds of guns resonating 28 times, to symbolize the victory of New Revolution led by the Chinese Communist Party after 28 years of hard struggle. The years after this were filled with revolutionary spirit, hard-core ideologies, cultural reshaping, egalitarian notions, and leaps to move ahead.

In late 1978, Deng Xiaoping comes to power and makes an important philosophical shift by "seeking truth from facts" (实事求是 shishi qiushi), which meant looking for economic and political solutions that had practical applications. Under the umbrella of "socialism with Chinese characteristics", market economic reforms were rigorously promoted to uplift the masses from abject poverty. The years from then on seems to be a period of un-impeded economic growth, boost in infrastructure development, and enough to eat for the masses.

Today, China stands at another shift of phase and is drafting the road ahead. The big question now is whether it should revert back and start afresh - walk on a completely new path. Debates among policy makers are opened to all highlights: "Retrogression or back-pedaling offers no way" (倒退没有出路 dao tui meiyou chulu).

Henceforth, the only choice left is to carve a new road parallel or similar to the earlier roads.

The problem in doing so lies in the fact that China of today is not the same as China 90 years back. Its population has more than doubled, the economy has expanded exponentially, and information spreads at super fast speeds to the masses. It is hence, that any decision at the central level has multiplying effects and repercussions from the masses. The daunting task for the central leadership is to engage the masses and involve the masses more actively in any new decision over the future of China.

President Hu Jintao, the fourth generation of core leadership of the CPC, seems to understand the complexities of present-day China. It is with this understanding that he proposed a more people-centric policy of "building a harmonious society" and a scientific approach to development.

The need of the hour is to reduce the tensions escalating among different social groups and to rapidly expand the middle class, which acts as a buffer between the rich and the poor. Meanwhile, rural areas need to get special attention for the betterment of the peasantry.

As President Hu Jintao had earlier pointed out, all this cannot be achieved without development. Development is hard logic, but today's development needs to be sustainable. China's sustainable development requires a close link between economic development and social development, which is environment-friendly as well.

The areas and the classes that were "the core" at the time of the founding of the PRC requires reemphasis; while the new economic vision framed at the time of reform and opening up needs to be broadened. In essence, it means that the new path to be carved for the future needs to combine the "good" of different phases, which will bring out a new Chinese history - rich in content and in action. A new amalgamation for a new beginning awaits China's future.

Dr. Geeta Kochhar is a Visiting Fellow at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. She is an Assistant Professor at the Center for Chinese & South-East Asian Studies, School of Language, Literature & Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India. She could be reached at

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the China Daily Website.