Cheng Li is director of the John L. Thornton China Center and a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. He is also a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.
1, Fairly speaking, in the recent a couple of years of President Xi’s policies, many of the things he has done are conducted under unimaginable circumstances, no matter in market reform, legal construction, anti-corruption or military reform that is currently under construction. In terms of international relations, he has also done a lot and he has never gone too far. Therefore I think, so far he has mastered the general trend pretty well. Of course, in terms of consolidating his personal power and the decision-making process some people think he he is too authoritarian - this deserves further discussion.
2, As the supreme leader, ultimately Xi Jinping needs a more systematic way to consolidate his power and gain a renewed recognition and legitimacy. To achieve this, the key is to make a decision for China’s political system at the 19th Party’s Congress. As a powerful leader, Xi Jinping has many political resources. If he could bring China to a politically civilized country, he could leave his political legacy and be acknowledged by history. I have good hope for this.
3, Wang Qishan is definitely a man of ideas, and meanwhile a man of action within the Party. CCP must have considered the process of systematic anti-corruption. Wang Qishan has many friends from outside of China and his earlier experiences make him well aware of international affairs. Actually, many of the descendents of this generation of leaders have received education in the West. Some of them even have worked in Western society. Therefore, based on their more solid understanding of the outside world, they could have better ideas to change China. There are many problems in the West and the biggest problem for the West is that they don’t want to learn from others. Wang Qishan is a promoter of rule of law. I personally believe in January and February 2017 there will be more major shift. For example, there will be more efforts to build the society based on rule of law.
6, The categorization of generations of leaders is political. The concept of “fifth generation of leaders” is largely promoted by scholars from overseas. Meanwhile, I would like to define this generation of leaders as the “generation of youth sent to the countryside”. We could see that this generation of leaders are adventurous. They are well-experienced. You can’t cheat or blackmail them. From the outside world, you can only reason and prove yourself with your true power. Only when these two conditions are met at the same time, can there be convincing results. Therefore, in the international sphere, it is futile for the West to deal with this generation of Chinese leaders with old tricks.
7, The generation of youth sent to the countryside embody lots of contradictions, which to certain degree could make them become a very excellent and capable generation of leaders in Chinese history. On the other hand, in terms of knowledge structure and worldview, they might also be a very twisted generation. These elements shape their very complicated characteristics.
8, However, as an individual, Xi Jinping is smart because he could break through the huge gap in Chinese society and make himself a widely accepted leader, which is very incredible.
9, In a few decades, the leaders of China and US might be classmates or schoolmates - this is a very positive vision. The weakness of the future generation of Chinese leaders might be that they lack integration and understanding with the grassroot. They may construct society based on a sheltered view and wishful thinking.
Wu Ge is a popular commentator and journalist. He has had some scandal with popular writer Liang Xiaosheng because of an article Liang wrote, which Wu claimed untruthful. Liang is a popular author who writes a lot about youth sent to the countryside. He was also mentioned by China Speaks on March 30/31, 2015.
1, Many people’s online comments about “mixing academics and politics” actually means “trade between power and academic achievement” - for example, some government officials hurry a part-time PhD to get faster promotion. Or some leaders in university disturb the normal academic ecology based on their power on academic resources and position on academic evaluation. This kind of mingling between academics and politics is definitely wrong and needs to be stopped. But what the hell does it have anything to do with academics go to politics?
2, Whether university professors, directors or secretary generals could go to politics or not has nothing to do with the depoliticalization of universities or trade between politics and academic achievement.
3, Along with technological and economic development, the modern social management and state governance is much more complicated than before. In terms of providing public service and conducting public management policies, those who have always been in government management might have some shortcoming because they only pay attention to their current affairs and lack a general long-term horizon. Meanwhile they might lack cutting-edge knowledge and skill on relevant fields. It is because of this very kind of problem that those real professional experts could fill in the gap with their expertise to better manage some difficulties.
4, Besides expertise, another good point for academics to go to politics is that it contributes to the diversity of government officials. It is not to say that government job is the best, and everyone should try to nudge into the political sphere. It is rather that when there is not a diversity of personnel in a system, there will be many disadvantages and problems in this system. When a country’s governance is diversified, and the government system is open but not closed; when it embraces people from different backgrounds, in management and professional field or both, this society is a more dynamic society, it will be a well-managed society.
Cai Xia: Professor at Party’s Construction Research Institute of CPC Party School
1, Life in the military was very “Puritan” - constraints on each level is extremely severe. We all voluntarily abided by the male and female rules. Generally no one dared to bring up the topic of relationships or marriage. For a long time we were used to that kind of atmosphere, suddenly right after you got married your expected time of pregnancy is broadcast on the public wall by the organization. It felt like I was striped naked in the public eye. That kind of strong shame and embarrassment was difficult to avoid. For a long time I lowered my head when I walked and didn’t dare to look at any one.
2, In the beginning of 1980s there were over 2400 workers in my factory. Among them there were about 400 women factory workers and 80% of them were physically suitable for giving birth. The upper level had very strict implementation of family planning work. Not only unplanned birth was forbidden, even unplanned pregnancy was considered a misconduct. Therefore there were two officers in the family planning office and their major work was to detect any potential unplanned pregnancy. Once they detected any problem they would persuade female workers to have an abortion. How could they detect unplanned pregnancy timely and also timely persuade them to have an abortion? They started with taking care of each female worker’s menstrual cycle.
3, Women’s menstrual cycle is highly personal and private, how could the family planning office fully manage the situation? This meant we offered our detailed “care” to each female worker. We particularly allocated some fund for women’s “welfare” - during their menstrual cycle they could go to the family planning office to get two free packages of pads. This was a basic way to set calendar of each woman’s menstrual cycle.
4,There was a particular process to get those pads: female workers must take off their underwear and two female officers would examine “redness” on their underwear before they gave out pads and asked them to sign. To ensure the successful procedure, there was a suite for each family planning office. For those older women who were more thick-skinned, they were very cooperative and just wanted to get the pads. They alway easily took off their underwear to prove their “true identity”.
5, Now looking back, when those female workers were taking off their underwear, they had zero right to privacy. We also didn’t have any awareness to protect people’s personal privacy or invading any personal honor. To the opposite, not only were we praised by our factory leaders for being responsible at our work, but our experience was promoted and copied by others.