Friday, March 02, 2018

The Vanguard Acts: A Focus on China at the Dawn of its “New Era” (先锋行为:在“新时代”开始时关注中国): Announcement of Three Days of Events at Penn State

At its 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, held October 2017, the CPC leadership boldly announced the dawn of a “New Era”–a new stage in the history of the CPC and of China, as it moved forward, under the leadership of the CPC toward the ultimate mandatory goal of establishing a communist society in China.

For most outsiders much of this is both new and daunting. It is sometimes difficult to separate the myths and stereotypes of the failed European Marxist-Leninist experiment form the construction of the Chinese (and to some extent the Vietnamese) Party-State. Yet such an understanding is now essential for anyone who is likely to deal with China or its enterprises int he course of global trade, international relations, or in the cyber sphere.

We are fortunate to have been able to bring together a number of noted China experts to consider various aspects of the the changes that constitute the New Era reforms in China. Over the course of three days at Penn State we will sponsor three events under a uniting theme: The Vanguard Acts: A Focus on China at the Dawn of its “New Era:” (先锋行为:在“新时代”开始时关注中国):

1.Round Table: Socialist Rule of Law and Governance after the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress 13 March 2018 (国内外两个视角2018年3月13日圆桌会议概念文件);
This more informal event brings scholars together from around the world to take stock of the tremendous changes that are occurring now and their international and international implications. The focus is on conversation.  There will be lots of time for questions.
2. Teach-In: China in the “New Era” — A Primer; 14 March 2018;

--> is designed especially for those with little knowledge of China, its governmental, legal and economic structures.  3. Conference: Rule of Law and Governance in China at Home and Abroad 15 March 2018 (国内与国外两个视角 2018年3月15日, 会议概念文件). 
This short conference will present some cutting-edge research of faculty gathered together here from Europe, the U.S. and China.
The event will be live streamed and then available in video recording. We encourage questions from our off site audience through Mediasite.

The Concept Notes for the three events follows. More information and details will be posted shortly.

The Vanguard Acts: A Focus on China at the Dawn of its “New Era”

(March 2018)

Round Table: Socialist Rule of Law and Governance after the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress 13 March 2018 (国内外两个视角2018年3月13日圆桌会议概念文件)

Conference: Rule of Law and Governance in China at Home and Abroad 15 March 2018 (国内与国外两个视角 2018年3月15日, 会议概念文件)

This Round Table brings together a group of scholars form China, Europe and the U.S. who will consider the further implications of the 19th CPC Congress more specifically in the context of the important objectives of developing Socialist Rule of Law and governance.  That exploration implicates significant initiatives both internally and in the context of China’s growing external relations.  Participants will consider the development of internal disciplinary systems, their rules and structures, as well as Chinese external initiatives–principally the One Belt One Road Initiative.  The relevance of big data management, AI and algorithms will also be considered.

In the Report to the 19th CPC Congress, Xi Jinping stressed the drivers of the project to continue to develop Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in China’s New Era of development.  These consisted of a 13 part approach founded on  a focus on ensuring CPC leadership over all work expressed through a number of objectives: commitment to a people centered approach, continuation of comprehensive system reform, adoption of a new vision for development, affirming the principle of popular sovereignty, commitment to the construction of system in which every dimension of governance is law-based, commitment to upholding core Socialist Values, improving living standards through development, promotion of harmony between people and nature, pursuit of a holistic approach to national security, commitment to CPC control of military forces, promotion of national reunification under the one country two systems principle, promotion of the building of a community with a shared future for humankind, and the exercise of full and rigorous governance over the CPC.
These suggest the nature and character of Chinese approaches to law and governance–with respect to its objectives, forms and scope.  Three areas of reform stand out.  The first touches on the reform of the institutional architecture of the state and the exercise of democratic governance through those institutions. These touch not only on the role of the CPC, but on its interactions with and the exercise of authority by the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (人民政协). The second touches on the nature of legality.  This is understood both in its constitutional sense–arranging the organizing principles and jurisdictions of the political and administrative sectors of government in their representative capacity guided by the overarching normative program set out in the CPC’s Basic Line. But it also touches on the protection of the integrity of governance through enhanced anti-corruption efforts centered on the work of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. The third touches on the coupling of these changes with macro-economic policy that focuses both on national development and on China’s place within global systems. In that sense, Chinese rule of law, development and governance systems are understood to be carried out to the world both in China’s bi-lateral relations and in defining China’s objectives in international forums.
This broad set of objectives and implications suggests the ambitious scope of reform envisioned in the 19th CPC Report.  It also suggests the comprehensive approach to reform that the 19th CPC Report adopts. State, society, economics, politics, and culture are treated as an integrated whole the development of which is deeply integrated.  It also suggests that within this comprehensive approach to development and reform the old categories of governance might be abandoned as well.  The traditional techniques and modalities of public governance–law and administrative regulation–are to be enhanced with many of the methodologies of private governance.  These include data driven algorithmically structured  real time assessment mechanisms through which rewards and punishments may be allocated to create incentives toward behavior goals. These trends parallel similar Western reforms but with significant Chinese characteristics that are worthy of consideration in their own right.
Round Table participants will consider aspects of some or all of these important developments and together consider how these ideas will be manifested in Chinese legal, political and economic reform at home and abroad. This Round Table builds on our initial Round Table, The Implications of the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress, which we held shortly after the conclusion of the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress.
All are welcome to attend and participate either in person or through an interactive live streaming of the event.  Participants will be afforded ample time for questions which may be submitted online or in person. Round Table information is posted on the Conference Website.

会议将在2018年3月18日上午十点,宾夕法尼亚州立大学大学公园校区Lewis Katz Building 232 举办,欢迎大家亲身来到会场或者是通过现场直播和网上问答渠道参与我们讨论,具体的圆桌信息将发布在会议网站上。


Teach-In: China in the “New Era” — A Primer Concept Note 

At its 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, held October 2017, the CPC leadership boldly announced the dawn of a “New Era”–a new stage in the history of the CPC and of China, as it moved forward, under the leadership of the CPC toward the ultimate mandatory goal of establishing a communist society in China. That forward movement represents the workings of two quite related but distinct elements. The first is the Marxist element–the continuing refinement and development of the basic normative theories from which the obligations of state, society and vanguard are derived and the goals toward which everything is bent. The second is the Leninist element–the continuing development of the normative structures of legitimate leadership by a vanguard element (in common parlance a “Communist” party) whose core obligation is to lead the people toward its Marxist objectives. These two basic elements are interlinked through the establishment of governmental (administrative) institutions through which the vanguard party might assert its leadership role in bringing society closer to its ultimate objectives.

While the development of Marxism and Leninism withered in Europe after the 1980s, lingering only in outlier states like North Korea and Cuba, China took a different path. The result was the creation of a unique approach to both government (the Leninist party of its structure) and the road taken toward the establishment of a Marxist society. To that end, China began to develop a Marxism with Chinese characteristics some of which were quite non-European. Its implementation of socialist development moved Marxism toward the adoption of the techniques of markets in the service of its Marxist goals. This Markets Marxism sought to embed markets into the objectives based obligations of its vanguard party. At the same time, the character of the CPC and its leadership role also developed. It profited from the lessons learned from the tragedies of cults of personality in Leninist parties and sought to begin to develop the collective principle inherent in Leninism in building what might evolve into a unique approach to endogenous democracy.

Chinese progress from the time of the beginning of the commencement of the last “New Era” (1978-2016) suggested to CPC leaders that the China of 2017 was at a very different stage from the China of 1978 and that this progress required more explicit refinement of its normative and governance structures in line with that progress. Both Marxism and Leninism were again further refined by the 19th CPC Congress. In its Leninist aspects, the centrality of a rules based organization was advanced along with a strengthening of intra-Party democratic principles (and perhaps eventually more fully practices). Accountability was centered through a focus on monitoring and cadre oversight and discipline. But the role of the CPC was also more explicitly broadened to cover virtually every sphere of life. CPC leadership, then, is now more clearly understood to extend to all aspects of national life. At the same time, the Marxist elements were developed. The central contradiction–the challenges at the center of the immediate leadership obligations of the CPC was recognized to have changed, and with it the primary obligation for leadership through state organs. That central contradiction, before 1978 was focused on the classical one of class struggle (from out of which European Marxism never advanced). After 1978 it was focused on economic development, centering on the contradiction in Chinese society between the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and the low level of production. The current “New Era” however, sees a movement beyond that to the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever growing need for a better life. These changes will have profound effect on government by shaping its policy choices and programs.

For most outsiders much of this is both new and daunting. It is sometimes difficult to separate the myths and stereotypes of the failed European Marxist-Leninist experiment form the construction of the Chinese (and to some extent the Vietnamese) Party-State. Yet such an understanding is now essential for anyone who is likely to deal with China or its enterprises int he course of global trade, international relations, or in the cyber sphere.

To bridge the knowledge gap in the West The Coalition for Peace and Ethics and its Partners have sought to develop a set of events designed to provide basic understanding of the operation and world view of the Chinese state and its vanguard party. To that end this Teach-In will provide a basic introduction to the government and political ideology of China today. It is designed especially for those with little or no knowledge of China and will provide a strong foundation from which participants will be able to better understand and follow developments at home and abroad respecting China and its emerging place in the world.


Download Conference Note HERE: Concept_Note_China_Governance_3-2018-FINAL

It is well known that China has emerged as a leading driver of global economic activity.  China is now a major producer of goods, and it is quickly becoming an important source of services as well. Chinese investment worldwide is now an important factor in driving global production.  With that economic expansion has come a measure of influence, especially in matters of economy and trade.  China has sought to institutionalize this role through a number of initiatives.  Many of these suggest a new Chinese oriented multilateralism.  Among these is the One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative, through which China will seek to put its own stamp on the operation of global production chains.  Also increasingly important is China’s role as a leader of states in developing strategies for infrastructure development through the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank.
The Chinese economic system has emerged as a model, especially for developing states.  It offers a combination of state direction (the leadership of the political sphere) that is informed by the operation of market forces in a constant interaction that produces guided economic growth that meets the political objectives of the nation.  This model has appeal to developing states and offers a measure of autonomy for states that might otherwise find themselves at the mercy of outside forces over which they have little control. This model is built around three sectors—a strong state sector that can provide leadership in the form of objectives (macro choices among possibilities for economic activities) and rules to ensure an appropriate functioning of such activity; a strong state enterprise sector through which the state can manage economic activity in markets; and a strong market sector through which private markets activity might be exercised in coordination with or that complements the activities of the state.
What is less well known id that the drive toward economic leadership in the world has also be accompanied by a strong effort to develop Chinese normative and rule structures through which power can be put in a cage and leadership exercised in conformity with norms.  The fundamental objective of the development of the productive forces of Chinese governance  is to foster a rules basis for the operation of the state and to manage the exercise of discretion by officials in accordance with the norms and rules—to “lead by example, follow the party constitution and rules, conform to the party’s political norms and disciplines, always remember the party’s mission, and set a good example for party members” (CPC to hold key plenum in October, focus on Party management). These objectives apply to all aspects of the organization of society.  They are meant to produce stability and order within the context of Chinese political principles. The focus of this activity is not merely on the regulation of conduct but also on the regulation of markets—most importantly now the regulation of markets for information (data and assessment), social and economic, and protection against abuse from internet rumors through regulations designed to protect the integrity of channels of communication in accordance with the political framework of the state.
China has been moving forward its project to develop a coherent and autonomous theory of Socialist Rule of Law and Socialist Legality that is meant to provide a conceptual and operational basis for the functioning of state, economy and society in accordance with rules that would guide individuals and officials alike.  It is meant to derive from the fundamental political principles of Chinese governance and to institutionalize those norms within the operational systems of the core institutions of politics, economics, and society.   What distinguishes Socialist Rule of Law is inherent in its Chinese characteristics.  These touch on both Chinese culture and on the operational political structure of the state—one based on the leadership of a vanguard party the leadership of which is essential to the operational decisions undertaken by the administrative organs of state, and which serve as guidance for activities in the non-state sectors. For Westerners, the distinguishing qualities of Socialist Rule of Law tends to focus on the relationship of the judiciary to the state (Xi urges socialist rule of law). Western notions of the relationship of the role and scope of the state constitution and of the allocation of political authority and leadership also distinguish Socialist Rule of Law from its Western variant.
The development of the structures of Chinese governance was highlighted in the work of the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, which concluded in October 2017. The 19th CCP Congress outlined an ambitious program of development of the structures of governance to meet the challenges of the contemporary world. That development will be guided by the thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era —新时代中国特色社会主义思想 —introduced by Xi Jinping as the central theme of the Report delivered on 18 October 2017 (original language version of that Report —  中文 ).
In the wake of the 19th CCP Congress China has moved aggressively to reform its governance systems and their implementation. On October 24, 2017, the CCP Congress adopted a resolution on the Constitution of the Communist Party of China (Amendment), effective immediately.  The revision represents an important development in the evolution of the political constitution of China, defining the vanguard party’s program, organization, organization system, party members, party members’ rights and obligations, party discipline, and the like. On 28 December 2017, the Politburo of the CCP announced an intention to amend the state constitution as well.
Taken together, these changes mark the rise of China not merely as a leader in the economic field, but increasingly now as a leader in the development of law and governance structures, including the higher law of a state. It becomes necessary, then, to study the developments in Chinese governance, including constitutionalism and approaches to the legalities of relationships within the international community. These changes also require a recognition that the principles of governance being developed may affect not just state to state relations, but also the relations between Chinese actors and global partners in emerging multilateral structures.
This conference hopes to draw these trends together.  Bringing speakers together from the U. S., China and Europe, Conference participants will consider the internal and external consequences of the current development of Chinese governance.  Conference participants will explore these developments within the normative framework of the Chinese politics and government from a variety of perspectives. The discussion will also consider the global implications of these developments for China and states and private actors with which China will continue to engage in the political, economic, and societal spheres.   The Conference is scheduled for 14 March 2018 and held at Katz Hall, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.  It will be livestreamed and thereafter available on video. The Conference is sponsored by the Coalition for Peace & Ethics, Penn State Rock Ethics Institute, the Penn State School of International Affairs, Penn State Law and the Research Career Development Network of Law and International Affairs.
2018年3月15日, 会议概念文件








这次会议希望能够将上述趋势放在一起讨论。与来自美国、中国和欧洲的学者一起,本次会议的参与者们会讨论中国治理当前发展的内部和外部影响。与会者们将在中国政治和政府的规范性框架中,从许多不同角度探讨上述发展趋势。这次讨论也将考虑这些新发展对中国国家和私人行为体在全球层面的影响,在政治、经济和社会层面上,中国还将与这些行为体进一步互动。本次会议将在2018年3月15日下午于宾夕法尼亚州立大学Lewis Katz Building 110举办,整场会议提供现场直播和全程录像。

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