Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The "Five Coordinations" (五个统筹) As Party Line and State Policy in China

It is common in the West to dismiss the development of ideological positions of the Chinese Communist Party.  It has been easy to treat the Party Line as both transitory and mere ideology.  The West, more comfortable with the seeming greater solidity of the governmental apparatus, tends to look for policy elsewhere.  But this tends to reduce the ability of the West to understand Chinese political activity and state policy, while serving as a reflection of the self absorption of Western analysts and the construction of their own inward looking analytical universe.  

 (From “五个统筹”即统筹城乡发展、统筹区域发展、统筹经济社会发展、统筹人与自然和谐发展、统筹国内发展和对外开放2007-01-12 13:39) (另一方面,我们要积极参与国际经济贸易规则的订立、修订和完善进程,努力争取使它们符合我国发展的利益。("on the other hand, we should actively participate in setting international economic and trade rules, revise and improve the process, striving to make them consistent with the interests of our country's development")).

Randy Peerenboom has nicely described the difficulties of ignoring ideology in Chinese constitutional discourse:
While most commentators portray political ideology as the main obstacle to establishing rule of law in China, the biggest obstacles at present are systemic in nature and involve the lack of institutional capacity. In the future, economic factors, the interests of key institutional and social actors, and ultimately political ideology (if China remains a single-party socialist state) are likely to exert the most influence on legal reforms and their likelihood of success.
Randall Peerenboom, "What Have We Learned About Law and Development? Describing, Predicting, and Assessing Legal Reforms in China," 27 MICH. J. INT'L L. 823, 864-65 (2006). This tendency has important ramifications.  "On the one hand, it takes the ideological campaigns of the CCP too literally. As a consequence, the analysis tends to minimize the importance of this theorization. . . . On the other hand, Western style analysts do not take CCP ideology literally enough, but as invariably little more than the politics of individual power by other means. It follows from either of these stances that ideology serves merely to mask the arbitrariness of the CCP’s culture of exercising personal power without limits." Larry Catá Backer, The Rule of Law, the Chinese Communist Party, and Ideological Campaigns: Sange Daibiao (the 'Three Represents'), Socialist Rule of Law, and Modern Chinese Constitutionalism. Journal of Transnational Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2006.(SSRN version at 126-127).

One of the more important developments of the Party line has generally gone little noticed in the West.  The so-called "five coordinations" suggests a basis for understanding the approaches of the Chinese government to both internal and external development policy.  The five coordinations seeks to express the five critical aspects of state policy toward development: that is, urban and rural development, regional development, economic and social development, the harmonious development between man and nature, domestic development and opening-up. ("五個統籌"與中國特色信息化道路" Five-overall-planning" and the Road of Informatization with Chinese Characteristics, 姜奇平    汪向東).  The five coordinations is especially useful for understanding the strong element of harmonization and complementarity in Chinese development policy, both as a matter of internal development and as a basis for determining the quality and direction of Chinese participation abroad and in the development of international norms.  "统筹就是兼顾,兼顾就是协调。努力做到“五个统筹”,兼顾到改革发展稳定的各个方面,兼顾到中国特色社会主义事业发展的各个领域,兼顾到全面建设小康社会的整体目标和目的,其结果就是全面、协调和可持续发展,以及社会的安定与和谐、人的全面发展。"  (Ordinance means taking all into caring, which is coordination. Striving to achieve "Five Coordination", taking all aspects of reform, development and stability into account; taking development of socialist society with Chinese characteristics in all aspects into account; taking the account of building a moderately prosperous society with the overall goals and objectives. The result will be a comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable, along with development of social stability and harmony , and total civil development") (From “五个统筹”即统筹城乡发展、统筹区域发展、统筹经济社会发展、统筹人与自然和谐发展、统筹国内发展和对外开放2007-01-12 13:39) To understand the normative framework within which Chinese policy is expressed, constructed and implemented, it is important ot understand the framework from which it arises.  That framework is not identical to the one used in the West.  Though the functional results may often be the same, the differences can best be understood as arising from a difference in normative perspective.

My research assistant Shing Kit Wong (SIA MIA -12) recently wrote a short essay on the 五个统筹. We were particularly interested in the importance of Five Coordinations for corporate social responsibility on China.  I have posted it here.

The Five Coordinations (五个统筹)
Shin Kit Wong

Origins of “Five Coordination”

The 16th Chinese Communist Party Central Committee Third Plenary Assembly was held in Beijing for three days on October 11, 2003. The President of China, Hu Jintao, passed the “CPC Central Committee Decision on Perfecting a Number of Issues in Socialist Market Economic System”, “CPC Central Committee Decision on Revising Part of the Recommendations of the Constitution”, and “Decision to the Tenth National People's Congress Standing Committee”. The Assembly agreed that the congress must take implementation of the Deng Xiaoping Theory and his “Three Represents” as guidance while maintaining the continuity and stability of the party’s governance, and actively create a reform and opening up with socialist modernization construction. Furthermore, the Assembly urges the congress to determine goals of socialist market economic system in China with improvement and contribute to the progressive change in establishing urban-rural dual economic structure. The dominant position of state-owned economy ought to play a leading role in actively promoting a variety of effective forms of public ownership, accelerate the adjustment of the layout and structure of the economy. In terms of rural management, improvement of long-term stability and the basis of household contract management need to be continued. In order to accelerate the construction of a unified national market, the government ought to promote free movement throughout the country and full competition. The Assembly also urges transformation of government functions and deepening reform of administrative examination and approved system. In economic and social development, better market regulation and government policy are needed to promote employment and improve business and employment environment that encourages companies to create more jobs. On the other hand, the Assembly stressed to deepen the culture of science and technology education and health system reform and urged the whole party to fully understand the historical responsibility to its shoulder.

The People’s Republic of China Constitution is the fundamental law and general statute that maintain national unification, ethnic unity, economic development, social progress and long-term stability of the legal basis. The current constitution consists with the good condition of China in the national economic, political, cultural and social life, and plays an extremely important role to protect China's reform and socialist modernization. However, the Assembly pointed out the constitution must uphold the “Four Cardinal Principles” based on the national conditions, give full democracy and listen to opinions, strictly comply with law, and ensure to strengthen and improve the party's leadership. This will help the superiority of the socialist system and is conducive to safeguarding national unification, ethnic unity and social stability, and promoting economic development and social progress.

Finally, the Assembly restated that the congress must implement Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and “Three Represents” to forge ahead and constantly promote the socialist material civilization, political and spiritual civilization coordinated development in order to build a perfect socialist market economic system and achieve a comprehensive grand goal of building a moderately prosperous. The content of the Assembly was summarized in five areas of development known as ‘‘Five Coordination (五个统筹)’’ in order to be coordinated or balanced the social disparities found in present day China: rural versus urban, coastal versus central and western, economic versus social, human versus nature, and domestic development versus openness to the world. This scientific development concept emphasizes a more balanced approach to China’s development.

What is “Five Coordination”?

The fundamental concept of scientific development approach is holistic. As mentioned earlier, it mainly refers to the “urban and rural development”, “regional development”, “economic and social development”, “balancing development of man and nature”, and “domestic development and opening up”. This coordination is to solve some of the most prominent issues and institutional barriers to the deepest level of conflict. In accordance with this coordination, the modification will reflect social and comprehensive human developments that are embodied in the socialist market economy along with understanding of the law.

The CPC believes that progress of any society is originated from economic, political, and cultural development, where economy is the base; politics is esurience; and culture is the pilot. Economic growth is an important foundation for the development, but it is not simply equated to it. In building a moderately prosperous society, the CPC establishes the comprehensive development of ideas and constantly promote more economic development, democracy, science and technology, more prosperous culture, and greater social harmonious. The “Five Coordination” focuses the overall objective to promote a profound answer to building a moderately prosperous society in order to promote Deng’s “Three Represents”.

Harmonization of economic and social nature is the path of development. Economic, social and natural coordinated progress includes the development of science and technology, education, culture, medical care, natural resource conservation and ecological environment construction. The developments of human society, the realization of economic, social and natural development are significant features of building a moderately prosperous society that must uphold the right direction. Although, China's rapid economic developments in meeting the people’s material life have made ​​great progress, it is still at a low level, incomplete and unbalanced stage. Moreover, water shortage, land desertification, flooding of rivers, pollution, and many other problems have become serious issues that accompany today’s development. Natural resources and social development have become increasingly prominent, and people's increasing material and cultural needs and the backward social production of social conflict are still the main contradiction. In order to strike a balance and maximize the result, the CPC establishes a comprehensive concept of development to accelerate economic growth, and vigorously develop science and technology, education, culture, medical care and other social undertakings to further strengthen environmental protection and ecological construction.

In the process of promoting the coordinated development, the coordination focuses on dealing with urban and rural, regional, domestic and foreign relations. For instance, in handling the relations between urban and rural areas, the key is to bring out the strengths in both areas and use it to benefit each other. While the rural countryside can promote resources and market to urban area, they can also receive talent and technology from urban development and solve various rural issues. It is one of the goals in “Five Coordinate” to fundamentally eliminate the urban-rural dual structure and created a linkage to achieve overall development. Furthermore, coordinated development of the social system and the natural systems are included to mutual promotion and common development of the state, economic, political, cultural, mutual cooperation, inter-regional population, resources and environment complement. They are all influenced by each other to form a rational structure and effective form of a balanced social development.

Another important objective is to solve the problem of uneven development between regions. Deng once proposed development in some regions in a faster phase and some regions develop slower, and thus the more developed regions can influence the slowly developing region and achieve ultimately common prosperity. This implementation of the non-equilibrium model of development has geographic advantage to support the eastern region resulted in uneven development between regions, causing a huge gap with the western region and economic problem and political problem. The new balance is to achieve coordinated regional development of the necessary requirement and gradually solve the problem of uneven regional development. Priority will be given to potential regions with good foundation but consist of limited human, material and financial resources. When high economic growth achieve to a certain stage, it would spread and distribute productive forces to equalization. Different regions of a country's economic development would transfer resources and factors of production from high to low and create a balanced development of economic structure. Regional economic development would transfer through the eastern regions to the central and western regions of China. Such transfer will diffuse resources and industries from all the economic zones. The implementation of coordinated development of the east and west maintain the relative balance between the ratios between the developments of a major move. The achievement of the areas of common development and prosperity will ensure all regions simultaneously entered a well-off society.

Sustainable development as a new scientific development concept deepens reform and plays an important supporting role. Due to the traditional extensive economic growth mode of binding of high consumption and low efficiency, many issues raised in China's economic development. Environmental pollution, ecological damage, industrial waste, air pollution, water pollution, soil erosion and land desertification, grassland desertification and other phenomena have become an increasingly serious matter. Meanwhile, China is a populous country with less resource per capita. The coordination ought to change the way that economic growth can be achieved in sustainable development. Therefore, it is necessary develop technological progress and strengthening management, and create an enabling economic operation mechanism and management system, which will gradually change the way of economic growth and promote a sustained, rapid and healthy development and society.

Another important aspect in the “Five Coordination” is to take a new path to industrialization. The CPC concluded on the basis of practical experience to make a major decision in following the tide of economic development from the world that science and technology being a natural choice that is fully considering the basic national conditions of China. In order to take a new path to industrialization, technological progress must be accelerated, and the application of information technology must improve the investment output ratio. It also need to optimize resources and reduce production costs, improve energy and raw materials use efficiency and reduce resource consumption and implement clean production. The development of green industries and environmental protection industries are essential in which will enhance the environmental and ecological protection, the progressive realization of sustained economic development, social progress, and sustainable use of resources. Thus the environment will continue to improve and achieve the goal of ecological virtuous circle. Overall harmonious development between man and nature reflects the essence of sustainable development and is the fundamental requirement “Five Coordination”. Former President of China, Jiang Zemin, once pointed out that economic development, environment, and resources management are not only arrangements to the current generations, but also for the sake of future generations to create better conditions.

The coordination adheres to “People First”, coordinated and sustainable development, and promotes the overall economic, social and human development. This is the Marxist theory of the overall development of human inheritance, wealth and development, as well as the essential requirement of “Five Coordination”. “People First” is to people as a social subject and center in social development to meet human needs, improve human quality, and to achieve the ultimate goal of human development. It requires improvement to the structure, deepening reform, and acceleration of development that the practices considers people as the center and propose as the primary focus of all development. CPC subjects to the majority of the people’s interests as the highest value to the comprehensive development of human as the supreme values ​​and ideals. To achieve the idea of “People First”, the party ought to improve the understanding of people, reflect their will, and value their resources of decision-making mechanism. The party also needs to promote decision-making more scientific and democratic, and make the principles and policies better reflect the people's fundamental interests. On the other hand, to serve the people with the value of orientation, it must be right of the people and benefits for the people.

The last focus of “Five Coordination” is coordinating domestic development and foreign strategy. It requires the plan for development, good use of the global strategic vision to capture the opportunities, and strive to external opportunities to continuously improve the participation in international competition and cooperation skills. The formulation of policies ought to base on the internal development needs, but also needs take full account of international influence, and promote common development in conducting macro-control. Coordinate domestic development with opening up the essence is to make good use of international and domestic markets and resources as well as their relative effectiveness. The government should promote foreign trade and attract foreign investment growth mode from extensive to intensive. Moreover, the government need to accelerate the integration of domestic and foreign trade management system, strengthen management of foreign affairs, always put national sovereignty and security, and ensure the country's political security, economic security, cultural security and information security.

Why is “Five Coordinate” important?

The “Five Coordinate” is the idea of CPC Central Committee on perfecting the socialist market economic system, and maximizes greater play to market forces in allocating resources to the basic role and enhance their vitality and competitiveness, and improve the government's social management and public service functions for building a well to provide strong institutional protection. It is the ideology of what the society should be like and the basis of development and law making which can achieve such society. In March 14, 2006, National People's Congress adopted the fourth meeting of the State Council's “National Economic and Social Development Five-Year Plan Outline”. The meeting agreed that the NPC Financial and Economic Committee's review report on the results and decided to approve this planning framework. The meeting proposed fully implement of the “Eleventh National Economy and Social Development Five-Year Plan Proposal”, shortened as “Eleventh Five-Year”. The plan outlines the goal of guiding principles and development on building a moderately prosperous society and fully implements the scientific concept of development. On the other hand, it delineates the idea of building a new socialist countryside by developing modern agriculture and increasing farmers’ income. Training modernized farmers and increase agricultural and rural investment are also the keys to reform the countryside. Regarding industrial structure optimization, development of high-tech industry needs to accelerate; the development of the energy industry needs to be optimized and revitalizes the equipment manufacturing industry. The plan also urges to speed up the development of services and expand of producer services. Reformation of consumer services and policies to promote development of service industry is a key in the plan. Coordinated development of the overall strategy for regional improvement is the one of the cores in the “Five Coordination”. It focuses on the formation of the main functional areas and promotes health development of urbanization in order to create a resource-saving and environment-friendly society. In terms of national security, the plan outlines the need to accelerate scientific and technological innovation and give priority to education in those areas. The plan also stresses administrative reform and improves the economic system including the financial and tax reform. In contract, improving the modern market system requires implementation of mutually beneficial and win-win strategy of opening up. It also requires accelerating the transformation foreign trade growth mode and improves the quality of using foreign capital. This will bring Chinese economy in active engage in international economic cooperation. In the same line of “Five Coordination”, the Eleventh Five-Year” also urges a socialist harmonious society construction to improve people's living standards including improvement of the medical care and the improvement of a better the social management system. Furthermore, the plan describes how to strengthen socialist democracy and the socialist cultural construction, and to strengthen national defense with implementation mechanism to establish and improve the national strategic system.

“Five Coordination” and Corporate Social Responsibility in China

As a legal entity that is created under the laws of state, corporation, as an instrument of the nation, ought to ensure its active compliance with the national laws and goals, ethical standards, and international norms. Corporate social responsibility in China is based on the “Five Coordination” and corporations act as the executor of the social reform and developments. In order to build a harmonious and orderly society, Chinese believes that it requires maximization of mobilizing all labor, knowledge, management, capital and technology, energy, and exploration the source of all social wealth. Corporate have the advantages in resources from the all sizes of business organizations. Thus, in the process of building a harmonious society, they have a unique and unmatched status. In the developing economy, one of the main Chinese corporate social responsibilities is to help solving the employment problem. The standard specifies mainly address the labor problems and stress that the corporate need to ensure clean and sanitary working environment of workers, eliminate safety hazards, not using child labor, and effectively protect the vital interests of the workers.

To achieve such objective, corporate should fulfill its financial responsibility for the great wealth of the people's material life, the rapid and stable development of the national economy. The most direct way is to maximize profit, which can be achieve by increasing sales, reducing costs, and the right decisions to ensure the legitimate interests of stakeholders. Moreover, corporate ought to comply with all laws and regulations, including environmental law, consumer law and labor protection laws, completion of all contractual obligations, leading credit management, legal operations, and acceptance of the warranty promise. Additionally, corporate should enhance its employees and business communities in such idea in which creating a legal-bidding society. The ethical responsibility to society is also expectations from all kinds of corporations. Businesses should strive to make their own community not suffering from operational activities, the negative impact of products and services. Corporate should also accelerate the upgrading of industrial technology and industrial structure optimization, developing green technology, increasing its ability to absorb employment, environmental protection and social stability due diligence. Lastly, corporate is the responsible for social philanthropy. It is an important task for corporate to develop social service, education, health care, and social security that is directly related to the development of people's most immediate interests, thus achieving social stability and harmony. Capital corporate ought to maximize their advantages for the development of social undertakings in order to become a good corporate citizen. In addition, corporate should support community education, health, humanities, culture and art, the development of urban construction projects, helping communities to improve the public environment through voluntary community work.

On the other hand, a clear corporate social responsibility is to help protect resources and the environment and achieve sustainable development. As corporate citizen with great influence in social resource, it is an important corporate social responsibility to reduce all aspects of production activities may cause pollution to the environment through technical innovation and the reduction energy consumption and resources along with reduction of production costs and thus making products more prices competitive. Corporate should also build public good of environmental protection and community facilities to purify the environment, and protect the interests of the community and other citizens. This will help the city economic development and ease serious environmental pollution, particularly in industrial corporate concentrated area, and people living contradiction between environmental degradation. Corporate social responsibility in China also aims to help alleviate the gap and eliminate the hidden dangers of social instability. Corporate ought to focus on capital advantages, management strengths and human resources to the development of resources in poor areas via expansion of their operations access to new growth to make up for the lack of funding in poor areas and help local poverty. Such duty, in addition to sponsorship of cultural, educational, and other social welfare, also includes in the responsibility to the community. This framework of CSR in China derived heavily from the “Five Coordination”.



KIN-MAN CHAN, Harmonious Society,









发挥人大政治优势 依法推进科学发展, 解读十六届三中全会文件:五个统筹是一种新的发展观,

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