Friday, September 25, 2015

Part 24 (Foreign Policy and Communist Internationalism) --On a Constitutional Theory for China--From the General Program of the Chinese Communist Party to Political Theory

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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 24, Foreign Policy and Communist Internationalism. It considers Paragraph 21 of the General Program.

Table of Contents

Part 24, Paragraph 22 of the General Program--Foreign Policy and Communist Internationalism.

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. Paragraph 8 serves to sum up the initial paragraphs and as a bridge to the elaboration of the basic CCP line and working style in the paragraphs that follow. It is directed specifically to cadres and provides an easy conceptual framework within which they can understand their role in socialist modernization. Paragraph 9 the General Program moves from theory to action infused by theory. It considers the first of the three fundamental tasks of the CCP derived from its theory, that is the first operational element of the CCP line.

With Paragraph 10 we come to the first full expression of the CCP's basic line in the context of the current stage of development of China. The subsequent paragraphs amplify the basic line. Paragraph 11, the General Program begins the elaboration of the CCP's basic line, starting with economic development as the central task. Paragraph 12, we come to the second amplification of the CCP basic line--the four cardinal principles. Paragraph 13 we consider reform and opening up as an aspect of the CCP's basic line. These four paragraphs are meant to provide a declaration of the CCP's basic line--the product of the more general statements of principle and historical context of Paragraphs 1-9. provide guidance--and a more detailed elaboration of its more important elements.

The CCP's basic line goes to the substantive objectives of the party in fulfilling its role as the party in power. What what is the CCP's working style? How is it expected to act? Working style can be divided along two distinct but related lines. The first goes to the working style of CCP cadres, from the most junior to cadres to those serving in the most senior roles. Working style in this sense has been the subject of both the foundational paragraphs (¶¶ 1-8) and those establishing the CCP's line (¶¶ 9-13). In its second sense, working style goes to the working style of the CCP in its institutional manifestation; that is, it goes to the working style of a vanguard Leninist party within the context and subject to the constraints of its objectives (socialist modernization) and normative principles, its guidebook (¶ 2).

The foundation of the CCP's grounding working style is leadership. Paragraphs 14-19 elaborate the character and practice of the nature and practice of leadership by the CCP as an institutional actor. Paragraphs 14-19 construct the CCP's leadership obligations key specific general areas of activity; ¶ 14 (socialist market economy); ¶ 15 (socialist democracy); ¶ 16 (socialist culture); ¶ 17(harmonious socialist society); ¶ 18(socialist ecological progress); and ¶ 19 (People's Liberation Army). We considered each in turn.

With Paragraph 20 the General Program moves into new, though related, territory--socialist ethnic relations. These, in turn, are part of a larger project that frames party building, the organization framework and working style of the CCP itself taken up in ¶¶ 23-27.  Between Paragraphs 20 and ¶23, ¶ 21 focuses on political and territorial unification--the United Front and national unification, and ¶ 22 focuses on foreign relations and communist internationalism.  The General Program ends with ¶ 28's treatment of the meaning and practice of leadership.

Paragraph 22 speaks to China's outward relations and the ideological framework within which these outward relations are to be maintained, and the ends to which they are sought.

22The Communist Party of China adheres to an independent foreign policy of peace, follows the path of peaceful development and a win-win strategy of opening up, takes both the domestic and international situations into consideration, and vigorously develops relations with other countries in order to bring about a favorable international environment for China's reform, opening up and modernization. In international affairs, it safeguards China's independence and sovereignty, opposes hegemonism and power politics, defends world peace, promotes human progress, and pushes for the building of a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity. It develops relations between China and other countries on the basis of the five principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual nonaggression, noninterference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. It strives for the constant development of good-neighborly relations between China and the surrounding countries and for the strengthening of the unity and cooperation between China and other developing countries. The Communist Party of China develops relations with communist parties and other political parties in other countries in accordance with the principles of independence, complete equality, mutual respect and noninterference in each other's internal affairs.

22 中国共产党坚持独立自主的和平外交政策,坚持和平发展道路,坚持互利共赢的开放战略,统筹国内国际两个大局,积极发展对外关系,努 力为我国的改革开放和现代化建设争取有利的国际环境。在国际事务中,维护我国的独立和主权,反对霸权主义和强权政治,维护世界和平,促进人类进步,努力推 动建设持久和平、共同繁荣的和谐世界。在互相尊重主权和领土完整、互不侵犯、互不干涉内政、平等互利、和平共处五项原则的基础上,发展我国同世界各国的关 系。不断发展我国同周边国家的睦邻友好关系,加强同发展中国家的团结与合作。按照独立自主、完全平等、互相尊重、互不干涉内部事务的原则,发展我党同各国 共产党和其他政党的关系。
The foundational principle of inter-state relations marked by ¶ 22 is national self-interest. This self-interest is, of course, unremarkable in the context of state practice over the last several centuries. Paragraph 22, however, seeks to frame the internal principles that ought to drive choices among foreign policy choices. It provides an overall framework and direction that can serve to help understand some of the foreign policy decisions taken, and at the same time assess the extent to which foreign policy adheres to the principles within which it is to be developed and applied.

First, the application of the principle of peaceful relations should be understood in context. It is centered on and filtered through the overall project of socialist modernization. Peaceful relations, then, can be understood as an aspect of the “unities” principles that marks ¶¶ 20-22. In this case unity or coordination in outward relations must be understood in its role as a means of invoking its international aspect of opening up (“vigorously develops relations with other countries in order to bring about a favorable international environment for China's reform”).Thus coordination references both external coordination of policy, and the coordination or unity of external and internal policy. This refines the a core part of the CCP Basic Line (¶ 10). Thus beyond the usual instrumentalism of foreign policy, it suggests that the principle of peaceful relations is valuable and to be pursued only as and to the extent that it furthers internal obligations related to reform and opening up, and those in turn serve the greater project of socialist modernization. But the principle also suggests its converse: the principle of peaceful relations can be pursued only as long as it converges with the CCP’s basic line with respect to reform and opening up (and the larger project of socialist modernization). Where they do not converge, or where there is a contradiction between the two, peaceful relations will give way to the more important internal obligations of the CCP line.

Second, the principle of peaceful relations is mediated by the requirements of the other unities of ¶¶ 20-22. This is particularly true with respect to political and territorial unity. Thus for example, peaceful relations may be subordinated to the need to protect claims in the South China Sea and require China to adopt a more aggressive policy that may not further peaceful relations but furthers the obligations of territorial unification and protection of sovereign claims (“safeguards China's independence and sovereignty”). Thus the principle of peaceful relations is subsumed within both the overall project of socialist modernization and the specific requirements of the policies of the unities (ethnic relations, political unity and territorial unity). It is perhaps in this sense that one can understand the framework within which the foreign relations of China are “independent.”

Third, the five principles of international relations (“mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual nonaggression, noninterference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence”), now an ancient formula for structuring outbound relations within the public sphere does little to suggest the ways in which contradictions or conflicts among these principles can be resolved. The Indian territorial problem provides a case in point. Respect for territorial integrity is challenged by conflicting claims each of which are strongly held by China and India. Non-aggression and peaceful co-existence suggests that such conflicts be peacefully resolved in equality and mutual benefit. Yet the history of that dispute suggests that these principles, from China-s perspective, must be applied in a way that favors internal Chinese policies and principles. Given that hierarchy of interest, all the principles permit is a long stalemate with no resolution—at best, and conflict at worst. It also opens, and necessarily, interference in internal affairs as part of any negotiation process and it does not forbid decisions that may appear quite provocative to international rivals. Again, then, these principles are mediated by context and applied within and following the overarching objectives of Chinese ideological structures and its formulation as policy that may change with the changes in the historical stages in which China finds itself.

Fourth, ∆ 22 deals only with external relations with other sovereign states. It has little to offer for relationships with governance entities that are not states. With respect to these—civil society, economic enterprises, international public and private organizations—the foreign policy structures of paragraph 22 cannot apply. Instead, CCP ideology requires that they be folded into the organizational and power hierarchies developed within the General Program itself and its ideological core. It is this reflex that translate foreign organization within the vocabulary of Chinese political-ideological structures (the internal construction of understanding) that is central to placing these organizations within Chinese political culture. In other words, it naturalizes these organizations within the Chinese context for absorption or response within China. But at the same time it produces the same sort of ideological blinders that make it impossible for China to correctly understand and respond to these organizations as they have come to be developed within their own political-culture. That latter point has caused problems especially where the internal reconstruction of the meaning and place of these organizations is contradicted by both the self understanding of these entities and the meaning given to them outside of China. And that has impeded the ability of China to effectively deploy the standards and principles of paragraph 22 outside of the state-public sector. An useful example touches on the character of multinational corporations//these may be understood in China either as the creatures of the states in which the head offices of these enterprises are located *and thus treated as a department of the home state for formulating policy(, or they may be treated as wholly private grouping with no self-constituting structures or effects. Both, of course, fail to capture the way in which multinational corporations now are constituted and operate within the logic of globalization outside of China. Even more dangerous is the failure to capture the transformation of civil society, especially powerful global civil society actors, that under the General Program must either be treated as a subset of states or as a private movement that then underestimates or over estimates the effect of these organizations, and misunderstands their role in governance outside of China.

Fifth, this blindness to the role of non state actors in international affairs in their own right is particularly ironic in the face of the careful policy developed from out of old communist internationalism relating to the relationships between the CCP and other communist parties abroad (“Communist Party of China develops relations with communist parties and other political parties in other countries in accordance with the principles of independence, complete equality, mutual respect and noninterference in each other's internal affairs”). Effectively, Paragraph 22 recognizes the extra-national and autonomous character of foreign communist party organizations, and develops a policy for relations that mirror those China reserves to state to state relations. One can see here a quite useful template that could be extended to other international actors, or other foreign non-state actors. Certainly the conceptual door is opened in Paragraph 22, and opened even wider by the inclusion of other “political” parties in the principle of communist international relations. This is a provision still trapped in some respects within the strictures of European and especially Soviet Marxism//one which viewed with suspicion other non-state organizations as threats to the vanguard role fo the communist party. But such a simple and early 20th century view no longer accords with the facts of global organization from which Chinese foreign policy theory must be based, especially if it is remain true to the fundamental principles of Paragraphs 2 and 5.

Sixth, conversely, the principle of communist party internationalism creates a fundamental contradiction with the basis of foreign relations grounded in non interference. The coordination of relations with foreign communist parties, which may be in conflict with or the objects of suppression in foreign states, and the objective of positive peaceful relations must be reconciled. And that reconciliation is likely to be made by weighing the way in which a decision will impact both internal Chinese objectives and the legitimacy of its vanguard role. In that balancing, and at times, that may reduce the importance either of the principle of peaceful coexistence or that of non interference.

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