Xi Jinping

China starts massive promotion of Xi Jinping’s ‘four comprehensives’ political theory

State leader's 'Four Comprehensives' framework to governing China gets extensive news coverage

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 February, 2015, 4:24pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 February, 2015, 9:26am

State media has given widespread coverage to President Xi Jinping's political theory ahead of the national parliamentary session, advancing his vision for governing China.

The Communist Party's official mouthpiece People's Daily devoted a 2,000-character front-page editorial to the "Four Comprehensives" theory that Xi has advocated since he came to power two years ago.

The theory refers to "comprehensively" building a moderately prosperous society, deepening reform, governing the country according to rule by law, and enforcing strict party discipline.

Mainland media has given extensive coverage to the "Chinese dream" - a term Xi coined shortly after he came to power - and the latest elaboration of the four comprehensives reinforces a tradition of party leaders cementing their ideas into theories.

Though the catchphrases are often vaguely defined, they are cited by cadres at all levels to pledge their support to the party's policies and are seen as an attempt by leaders to establish their legacy.

Xi's predecessor Hu Jintao introduced his "scientific outlook on development" as the party's guiding socio-economic principle. Former president Jiang Zemin introduced his "three represents" theory, referring to social productive forces, cultural development and the fundamental interests of the majority, in 2000. Both Hu and Jiang's theories are enshrined in the nation's constitution.

State broadcaster CCTV featured the People's Daily editorial as its main news programme's fifth item, while the full editorial - the first of five to be published - was also run by Xinhua and local party newspapers around the nation.

Xi first mentioned the "Four Comprehensives" theory in a visit to Jiangsu province in December, and said the first step in the strategy was "achieving the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people", the editorial said.

The theory arose from "the aspirations of the masses" and was a crucial foundation to solving the problems that the nation faced, it said.

Led by Xi, the administration has conducted a massive anti-corruption campaign, targeting top politicians including the nation's former security tsar Zhou Yongkang , and stressed that it would improve the legal system and rule by law.

Renmin University political analyst Zhang Ming said the four comprehensives was a more concrete political motto than the Chinese dream.

"The public can better understand [the concept of] four comprehensives than the Chinese dream, which many regard as a very vague idea," he said.

Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan said party leaders often came up with catchphrases and slogans to solicit public support.

Previous party leaders had also stressed the concepts behind the four comprehensives theory, such as building a prosperous society and maintaining strict governance by the party, but the implementation was often obstructed, Zhang said.

"The party is not using any new ideas but is sticking to the old concepts as it tries to solicit public support," he said.

Rampant corruption and power struggles among factions and vested interests within the party would be major obstacles to reforms, he added, while the risk of an economic downturn would pose further challenges to the party.