Xi Jinping, the Governance of China III – Book Review

书评:Ken Liu
图片:ken Liu

By Ken Liu

Ken Liu is scholar from the University of Auckland, independent political commentator in New Zealand.

Ken Liu 是来自奥克兰大学的学者,新西兰独立政治评论员

The book

This book is the third of the series, which includes a collection of speeches and essays by the Chinese president Mr. Xi Jinping, on a variety of significant aspects of China’s governance including but not limited to the political structure, the Communist Party of China (CPC)’s overall leadership, poverty elimination, further reforms, opening up to the world, high-quality development, what does it mean to be the socialist democracy, Chines culture, harmony with the nature, China’s military forces, China’s diplomacy, shared future for the entire human race, reforms within the CPC and so many more.

The content is structured in categories, and within each category, the articles are roughly arranged chronically, so that the improvements and changes could be seen should people choose to read it sequentially. There are a number of photos inserted capturing the key moments of President Xi attending both domestic and international events.

General Impressions

This is a thick book, though not filled with specifics, it maps out the detailed approach to a balanced improvement in all facets of the Chinese society with the foundational governing philosophies very well explained and in depth. After reading it, you could gain a great knowledge of where China was, is today, and where it intends to go.

It basically included what President Xi said, just like the way the ancient Chinese wisdoms were captured in books such as the Analects of Confucius, with the only differences that his words were published publicly before the book was compiled.

Most of the content are speeches made in recent times and occasions, for different purposes. It starts with the thoughts on the socialist system in the face of the new challenges in a new era, then move to the discussion on the leadership of the CPC, followed by a series of key tasks in the agenda, such as poverty, deeper reform, opening up and economy, democracy, culture, wellbeing of its people, environment, military, diplomacy and so on. It is very comprehensive, and the messages are clearly articulated. It is must read, should anyone want to learn more about China’s politics without listening to the potential distorted interpretations from the media.  

Opinions and Discussions

Socialism and CPC’ leadership

First and foremost, Xi has reiterated that the political structure of China is socialism with Chinese characteristics, which, as in his first book, is the fundamental accomplishment of the Chinese people. This structure consists of “a path, theory and system”. The path is cantered with economic development, and the theory is a combination of theories and thoughts passed down from Mao, to Deng, and then to Jiang and Hu, and now to Xi. Based on the original theories of Marxism and Leninism, CPC has developed the theories dramatically to adapt into the context and reality of China in specific times along its course of development. In Xi’s book, it is clearly stated that the political system of China is unique and effective, and the astonishing advancement of China in the past three decades is its best proof. However, Xi also pointed out that system is not prefect or fully functioning, so it must be improved institutionally, theoretically and timely based on experience gained in practice.

The leadership of CPC has been emphasised in the book, and this is very different from a one party rule in the western society. Unlike the western democratic political structure, China adopted a system of socialism governed primarily by one political party (CPC), and the party is held primarily accountable for its performance to realise the wants of the Chinese people. I usually find it difficult to explain this to the people from the west, because they would find it impossible to imagine an alternative that could lead humanity to prosperity and happiness. In some cases, even if the political system of China has been sufficiently explained, most couldn’t handle such a concept or couldn’t make justification of such a political setting, where one political party leads the country and still get overwhelming support from its people. However, as the American political commentator Cyrus Janssen once explained that looking from the perspective of the Chinese people, the CPC has led the Chinese people out of the war chaos, broken free from the control and bully imposed by the western countries, established an independent and reunited nation, solidarised the people, lifted them from the poverty, gained respect, dignity and independence internationally, and now is heading in full speed toward a new era to rejuvenate the Chinese civilisation. Therefore, it is not hard to understand why Xi said in his book that CPC’s leadership reflects the will of the people and has been fully proved through the long-term practice.

Chinese dream and the shared future of the humanity

In the first book of the series, Xi has clearly stated that the dream of the Chinese people is to achieve the rejuvenation, which means to “bring about a moderately prosperous society in all aspects by 2021”, and to “build China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by 2049”. However, unlike how the western countries got their first pots of gold through colonisation and slavery, Xi, in his books, proposed a peaceful rise of China through the hard work of the Chinese people. “Empty talks harms the country, while hard work makes it flourish…we must rely firmly on the working class.” However, it is Xi’s view to have a shared future with the rest of humanity if China is determined to forge ahead.

Therefore, he proposed that China need to strengthen unity and build mutual trust, strengthen the foundations of shared peace and security, build a powerful engine to achieve common development and prosperity, forge closer ties through cultural and people-to-people exchange, and expand partnership networks of international cooperation. These are obviously not empty words. China based its entire foreign policy on establishing mutual trust and respect, and it started the famous Belt and Road Initiatives to strengthen the economic ties through mutual beneficial projects. The first occurrence of the concept of “a community of shared future” was in Xi’s second book, where he claimed that “humanity is in an era of major development as well as profound transformation and change”, because of the increasing and never-slowing-down development into globalisation. This has created a situation of win-win or lose-lose when it comes to global growth into a future, a future shared by all the humanity, despite of nations, languages, cultures, or colours of skin.

Last comments

It is a thick book to go through, but it is indeed a detailed book the governance of China. Some readers hold the view that because this book was officially published by the Chinese government, it is propaganda, but from what I have read, there is no texts on enforcing propaganda messages to the readers, instead, it states the plans, strategies, experiences, stories, decisions on almost all aspects of China. I think it is a book that everyone who is serious about understanding Chinese politics should keep on in the shelf.


Ken Liu





书中强调了中国共产党的领导能力,这与西方社会的一党制非常不同。与西方民主政治结构不同,中国采用的社会主义制度主要由中国共产党领导,另其为实现中国人民的需要也负主要责任。我通常感到很难向西方人解释这一点,因为他们发现无法想象一种替代方法可以使人类走向繁荣与幸福。在某些情况下,即使对中国的政治制度进行了充分的解释,大多数西方人也无法处理这样的概念,也无法为这样的政治环境辩护,在这种政治环境中,一个政党领导着国家,但仍然得到了中国人民压倒性支持。但是,正如美国政治评论员赛勒斯·詹森(Cyrus Janssen)曾经解释说的那样,从中国人民的角度来看,中国共产党带领中国人民渡过了战争混乱,摆脱了西方国家的控制和霸权,建立了独立的团结的国家,团结了人民,使他们摆脱了贫困,在国际上获得了尊重,尊严和独立,现在正全速迈向振兴中华文明的新时代。因此,不难理解习近平主席为何在书中说,中国共产党的领导体现了人民的意志,长期实践经验已经充分证明了这一点。
习近平主席在该系列的第一本书中明确指出,中国人民的梦想是实现复兴,这意味着到2021年在各个方面实现小康社会,到2049年实现繁荣,强大,民主,文化先进和和谐的社会主义国家。然而,与西方国家通过殖民和奴隶制获得第一桶金不同,习近平主席在书中提出通过中国人民的辛勤努力来和平崛起中国。 “空谈损害了国家,而辛勤工作却使国家繁荣起来……我们必须坚定地依靠工人阶级。” 但是,如果中国决心向前迈进,习近平主席认为与全人类都有共同的未来。


未经书面许可,保留所有权利,不得使用任何部分或完整的文章或照片。本号转载的文章都已注明出处,如对版权有任何疑问,请在第一时间发送邮件给本号, bbcc1223@126.com我们将在收到后第一时间进行删除。