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Prof. Valori: Hu Jintao's Rush to Modernity

By Giancarlo Valori   |  

China’s President Hu Jintao faces a daunting, multi-pronged task — keeping the runaway growth of China on track; propelling the country into modernity; maintaining a watchful gaze on Taiwan, and closing the gap between China’s haves and have-nots. All the while keeping a lid on what the world sees.

To do this, Hu relies on his theory of the “Three Harmonies”: “seeking peace in the world, reconciliation with Taiwan and harmony in Chinese society” — after Jiang Zemin’s (China’s president from 1993-2003) theory of the “Three Represents”: the highest level of productivity, the foremost in culture and the people’s interests first.”

With his theory, Hu wanted to prevent the strong social differences that China has been known for — especially in rural areas and urban outskirts — from hindering steady and stable Chinese economic growth or tarnishing the image of China as a peaceful and stable country.

Hu’s opinion was that it would be possible to retain such a level of regional and global stability and avoid attrition at the Chinese borders. Conversely, if the armed forces became tools for internal repression, the CCP could rapidly lose control. And Hu would not stand for loss of control or disobedience.

The crackdown in Tibet provides a clear example of how little leeway Hu would provide for the common people. While leaders gathered in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, tanks and other military vehicles were rolling through the streets of Lhasa amid a tight security presence to ensure there were no more protests. But the Chinese president has shown the world a softer side when he visited a hospital in China's Gansu Province shortly following the disastrous May 12 earthquake. He then went to the severely-hit Beichuan County, consoling survivors and directing disaster relief operations.

In a recent speech, Hu stated that the spirit prevailing in current China is along the lines of “socialist democracy”. He says, “Socialist democracy has continued to develop and remarkable success has been recorded in fostering democracy and the proper enforcement of laws.”

Hu feels Chinese “multi-party cooperation” has established a unique kind of democracy in the world. It is a Marxist-Leninist soft power strategy to combat the CCP leaders’ autonomy and the consequent corruption which — in Maoist terms — is seen as deviation.

For Hu Jintao the issue lies in building a new ideological configuration for the CCP leadership, which can allow various party members to exist harmoniously within the Party perhaps escaping attention from the internal anti-corruption control bodies.

Time will tell.

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China’s President Hu Jintao faces a daunting, multi-pronged task — keeping the runaway growth of China on track; propelling the country into modernity; maintaining a watchful gaze on Taiwan, and closing the gap between China’s haves and have-nots. All the while keeping a...
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