Communist Party must win 'eight new battles' to hold onto power in China, scholar warns

Analysts say comments by Professor Han Qingxiong, vice-dean of studies at Central Party School, suggest leaders are increasingly concerned that the party can maintain power

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 July, 2014, 8:12pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 July, 2014, 9:55am

If the Communist Party is to continue ruling the world’s most populous nation, it will have to win “eight new types” of battles, cautions a top party scholar.

Professor Han Qingxiong, vice-dean of studies at the Central Party School, the training base for senior officials, also identified what he called “four challenges” and “four risks” the world’s largest ruling party is now facing.

He listed the eight new types of battles as those involving resources, currency, market share, ideology, territorial integrity, anti-graft, internet, and separatism.

The “four challenges” facing the ruling government  will come from maintaining rulership in the long term, the implementation of a reform and openness policy, the introduction of a market economy, and protection from the external environment.

The “four risks” are a slackness in spirit; the inability to meet challenges; losing contact with masses; and widespread corruption among officials.

Describing the statement as seemingly reminiscent of the extremely leftist idea of “class struggle” and a “Great Struggle” during the Cultural Revolution, some analysts said the rhetoric also reflected the leadership’s increasing concern that the party can maintain its rule.

Xigen Li, associate professor with City University’s department of media and communication, called Han’s idea of “The Great Struggle” rhetoric taken from party discourse, and added: “It is more of a cliché than an actual call for action.”

Zhang Ming, professor of political science at Renmin University, said the rhetoric reflects “an overwhelming sense of crisis among party leaders”.

The context of Han’s presentation is President Xi Jinping’s sweeping ideological campaign targeting liberal intellectuals and an intense crackdown on political dissenters.

Earlier, an official with the party’s anti-graft and discipline watchdog warned of “infiltration by foreign forces” in the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Han made similar warnings of threats, infiltration and containment by foreign forces and the negative influence of Western ideals such as “constitutionalism”, “neo-liberalism” and “universal values”.

Li said that domestically, official corruption, pollution and the crisis of social trust are severe problems. But the solutions don’t constitute any “great struggle”, but instead a strict implementation of laws and a restoration of moral values.

Li said that internationally, China is now leaving a world of illusion that some scholars within the system created and entering the real world.

“The strategic partnerships established recently with several Western countries illustrate why Chinese leaders disapprove of confrontation,” Li said.