This Blog Essay site devotes every February to a series of integrated but short essays on a single theme. For 2015 this site introduces a new theme: On a Constitutional Theory for China--From the General Program of the Chinese Communist Party to Political Theory.
This Post includes Part 10, Cage of Principles-Cage of Policy. It considers Paragraph 8 of the General Program.
Table of Contents
Part 10, Paragraph 8 of the General Program--Cage of Principle-Cage of Policy.
We have been reviewing the initial paragraphs of the CCP Constitution's General Program. The first two paragraphs of the General Program set out the outer framework of two critical aspects of Chinese constitutional theory. The five theories identified in paragraph 2 are the elaborated in paragraphs 3-7. Each, in turn, represents the “crystallization of the collective wisdom of the Communist Party of China” at each successive stage on the road toward communism. And the path itself makes clear that the process of successive crystallization is far from complete. Paragraph 3 elaborated on the place of classical Marxism-Leninism as the first stage of the path of socialism and serves as the foundation for Chinese political and constitutional theory. If the foundations of Chinese political and constitutional theory is built on European and received wisdom--the classical philosophy of Marxism-Leninism—the foundations of classical Chinese political and constitutional theory is built on Mai Zedong Thought.
Paragraph 4 considered Mao Zedong Thought as a necessary bridge between European theory and its transposition within the Chinese context, one that brings Marxism-Leninism forward from out of Europe into Asia, and places that forward evolution within the historical constraints of its time.It expressed the Leninist foundations of Chinese constitutional theory within notions of collective development and its role in establishing the socialist path toward which Mao Zedong Thought points, but which it does not in itself constitute. Paragraph 5 introduces the next stage in the development of Chinese constitutional and political Theory--Deng Xiaoping Theory. If Mao Zedong Thought provided a bridge from revolutionary to governing vanguard party, Deng Xiaoping theory provides the principles through which socialist modernization can be realized. Paragraph 6 introduces the succeeding layer of development of Chinese constitutional and political theory--the Important thought of Three Represents (Sange Daibiao). Paragraph 7 introduces the last of the current layers of theoretical development of Chinese political and constitutional theory--the scientific outlook on development.
 The fundamental reason behind all of China's achievements and progress since the reform and opening up policy was introduced is, in the final analysis, that the Party has blazed a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, formulated the system of theories of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and established the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. All Party members must cherish the path, the theories and the socialist system that the Party has explored and created after going through all the hardships; and they must keep to them all the time and continue to develop them. They must hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics and strive to fulfill the three historic tasks of advancing the modernization drive, achieving national reunification, and safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.
 改革开放以来我们取得一切成绩和进步的根本原因，归结起来就是：开辟了中国特色社会主义道路，形成了中国特色社会主义理论体系。全 党同志要倍加珍惜、长期坚持和不断发展党历经艰辛开创的这条道路和这个理论体系，高举中国特色社会主义伟大旗帜，为实现推进现代化建设、完成祖国统一、维 护世界和平与促进共同发展这三大历史任务而奋斗。
Paragraph 8 provides a summary, and a bridge to the historical and substantive provisions that follow. These will build on the basic theory foundations of Paragraphs 1-8 to flesh out the CCP's line. In effect, one can read Paragraphs 1-8 as setting out first principles--the cage of principles within which the CCP may develop programs to guide it in its leadership role. The remainder of the General Program then builds on those principles the specifics of the CCP's governing principles--the cage of policy that is the CCP line. These governing principles are necessarily constrained by the foundational principles of ¶¶ 1-8, just as the CCP's leadership role and policy are constrained by the governing principles specified in the remainder of the General Principles. Together, both serves as the normative framework that disciplines the CCP ensuring that it follows the socialist path toward its goal--not for the greater glory of the CCP or its leaders, but for the attainment of a communist society for its people. That discipline, and this cage of principle, provide the singular basis for the legitimacy of the CCP in its role within the Chinese system of democratic dictatorship. And this is, in essence, "the socialist system with Chinese characteristics" which references the entirety of the constraining principles through which the CCP may exercise leadership. That, at any rate, is the theory elaborated in this bridge paragraph.
The proof of legitimacy is success. But success, is in part, related to discipline; and discipline is a function of the develop of and adherence to the theory on which success is founded. The are some points worth noting in this respect that are made clear from Paragraph 8. First, the starting point for measuring of success, the start of the post revolutionary period in the development of China, the starting point for measuring success is the period "since the reform and opening up policy was introduced." Second, CCP's leadership in developing theory, structuring its Party line on that foundation and then implementing the line are to be tested against measurable economic, social and cultural progress, the facts from which the truth of the legitimacy of the CCP's leadership is derived. This will be an important principle for gauging legitimacy of theory and action. Third, this cage of principles provides the framework for guiding the actions and behaviors of CCP cadres--whatever their rank. Fourth, this obligation of cadres must reflect both the disciplinary element of historical determinism in the evolution of theory but also its dynamic character ("they must keep to them all the time and continue to develop them"). The cage of principles is informed by the CCP's working style. The cage is not meant to imprison--the errors of rigidity and bureaucratism--but to focus and constrain excess--cults of personality in the service of the three "historic tasks"of the CCP--socialist modernization, national reunification and the participation of China on the world stage.
Each of these fundamental tasks--derived from the core principles--are taken up next.