La Chine se développe aujourd’hui à une telle vitesse qu’on en oublie parfois comment son régime politique fonctionne. A Pékin, on peut par exemple constater les pages manquantes dans les journaux étrangers pour mesurer la censure d’État, mais rien ne vaut une lecture du China Daily (journal officiel du régime, en Anglais) pour se faire une idée de la mainmise idéologique du Parti sur l’opinion. Entre un billet sur les bienfaits du développement forcé du Tibet, et un autre sur le naufrage électoral Américain, voici par exemple un article de la semaine dernière expliquant sans honte pourquoi la Chine a le système politique le plus adapté. Attention, « Spirit of collective leadership » (NDLR: « L’état d’esprit d’une gestion collective ») décoiffe nos idées reçues sur la démocratie ! Ci-dessous (en Anglais).
Spirit of collective leadership
Updated: 2012-08-11 07:47
By Hu Angang ( China Daily)
Effective mechanisms of CPC help ensure sound political progress and pave the way for country’s development. Adopted in most countries across the world, the presidential system has long been hailed as a democratic system for modern countries.
Elected directly or indirectly through nationwide elections, the president stands as the head of state when dealing with foreign countries and leads the formulation of foreign policies. Domestically, the president acts as the chief of government, and decides on domestic policies.
In China, however, it is a different story. Here, a collective leadership system has been created through joint efforts of a new and modern political party and country, namely, the multi-member Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China, which works under the mechanism of collective leadership.
According to the Constitution of the Communist Party of China, the members on the Standing Committee, the CPC general secretary, the secretary of the Central Discipline Inspection Commission and the chairman of the Central Military Commission shall be chosen through democratic elections by the Party’s national congress and its central committee.
On the government side, the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China says that all State leaders, including the president, the vice-president, the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the premier, the vice-premiers and the chairman of the Military Commission of the Central Government shall be democratically elected by the NPC (NDLR: National People’s Congress).
There are nine members on the Political Bureau Standing Committee, representing the country’s top leading bodies and exercise joint leadership over Party, government and military affairs. Forming a core of collective leadership featuring clear division of work, cooperation and coordination, this mechanism can be described as collective leadership with Chinese characteristics.
Why has China created and developed such a collective leadership system? The answer is to be found both in the political logic of the evolution of the ruling history of the Party and in the logic of governance of a country meeting every basic condition of a super country.
- First, China is a super country in population, which is 1.6 times that of the aggregate population of the United States and 27 European Union countries.
- Second, China is a super country in size but suffers from big development gaps between its urban and rural areas and between its different regions, gaps wider than that seen in European or US history.
- Third, China is a super country in governance, with five levels of governments, two more than in the US. It is difficult to coordinate these governments, and even more difficult to administer them.
- And lastly, the CPC is a super ruling party with more than 80 million members and, therefore, close supervision and tight control are an absolute necessity.
All this makes the bipartisan system, the tripartite system, the presidential system and the bicameral system followed in most countries too simplistic, too limited and too defective for application in China.
Some of the systems were tried out in China by various regimes after the 1911 Revolution which dethroned the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) emperor. One after another, however, they ended in failure, with none proving to be a solution for a « land of total disunity », a phrase used by Dr Sun Yat-sen to describe China’s situation in those days.
During the course of building a new China, the CPC made every effort to find a model fit for the country’s national conditions and development stage. Through constant exploration, experiment and adjustment, it finally « crossed the river by feeling the stones » and put in place the current collective leadership system for a « super state apparatus ».
As a super country, China must have a super state apparatus. This is not only a subjective selection, but also an objective mandate. Neither is China the only case in the world. In a super society with more than 1.3 billion people born into 56 ethnic groups in about 2,860 counties across 30-plus provincial administrative regions, high-quality and effective governance is of key importance.
A most important feature of the « collective leadership system with Chinese characteristics » lies in the word collective, which means that it is composed of a group of members instead of a single president, consists of a large number of organs instead of just one, relies on the wisdom of a team instead of an individual, and opts for collective instead of personal decision-making.
As the head of the central leading team, the CPC general secretary plays the role of a guide and leader. Such a system will make it possible to pool the wisdom of the whole leading team. This has been proved by what China has achieved so far. Through a study of the Political Bureau Standing Committee of the 16th and the 17th Central Committee of the CPC, I have found five major mechanisms operating in the collective leadership system with Chinese characteristics:
- First is the mechanism of collective appraisal of candidates, and collective withdrawal and succession of membership, which both terminates the tradition of individual succession of power seen in China’s history and prevents selection of politicians totally through election as practiced abroad.
- The second, the mechanism of collective coordination and distribution of responsibilities, is an effective firewall against indecision, buck-passing and opposition in the decision-making process.
- The mechanism of collective study, the third, leads to common view through sharing of decision-making wisdom and expertise.
- The fourth, the mechanism of collective inspection and investigation, gives the members a solid ground to speak, to propose and to decide.
- And the last, the mechanism of collective decision-making, prevents an individual from making decisions on major issues and allows timely correction of mistakes.
At the core of these five mechanisms is the mechanism of collective decision-making. Viewed from the theory and practice of decision-making, the collective leadership system has its advantages in terms of information sharing and correct decision making, thanks to its democratic nature.
Just as Deng Xiaoping said in 1990, the key issue in China is that the CPC has a good Political Bureau, a good Political Bureau Standing Committee, in particular. So long as nothing goes wrong in this link, China will remain as stable as Mount Tai. This conclusion has proved true throughout China’s development over the past 30 years.
The author is director of the Institute for Contemporary China Studies and professor of economics at Tsinghua University.
(China Daily 08/11/2012 page5)