Is President Xi better than Hu?

In 1979 Deng Xiaoping gave the country and the Party a goal of establishing a xiaokangsociety (general peace, moderate prosperity and a just legal order based on sound moral foundations) by 2021, the 100th. anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party, and they’ve been working on it full time ever since. (President Xi recently reminded everyone about it, calling it ‘the Chinese Dream’). They’re working to a plan, and it’s important to understand that Chinese Presidents – whatever else they want to do – are expected to accomplish the work that planners have scheduled during their ten years in office.Country headed right direction

People speak dismissively about President Hu without understanding the assignment the planners gave him, his personal sacrifice, or his accomplishments. The planners told him that, to meet Deng’s 2021 deadline of moderate prosperity, Hu would have to double everyone’s wages within ten years and double the size of the economy so that, in addition to the higher wages China could afford extra investment to develop the country. A Western entrepreneur would have fainted on the spot.

Is President Xi better than President Hu?

Hu’s ten years nearly killed him –as you can see in his recent appearances – but he did doubled the economy and everyone’s wages, too. Imagine how Americans would feel about a President who doubled everyone’s wages and doubled the US economy in two terms. We’d worship him as a God, put up statues, shrines, name our cities and our children after him. Well, that’s what President Hu did: he got everyone a 100% raise and doubled GDP without the wheels coming off China’s economy – something that Western media predicted almost daily at the time.

Having myself (barely) managed staffs of a few hundred I am in awe of anyone who can manage 10 million civil servants on behalf of 1.3 billion citizens and double all their wages while growing an increasingly complex economy at warp speed. But Hu was a genuine genius. As a dirt poor 19-year-old undergraduate in the toughest engineering school in China he was managing a staff of 200 while getting straight A’s and leading the ballroom dancing club. Here’s Robin Daverman answering the question of Is President Hu better than President Xi Jinping?

The fourth Politburo class was headed by Hu Jintao, whose biggest contribution was the development and formalization of social-experiment-based policy development. Nowadays, almost every policy proposal is first tried in villages/towns/cities, the data reviewed and analyzed, before rolling out nationally. Policy development is almost managed as your double-blind, randomized clinical trials. The vast majority of the policy proposals die in the experimental phase, because even if it’s completely out of good intentions, the reality is what it is, and some things just don’t work under the current social conditions. That “Trial Spots” process is formalized under Hu. Basically he wanted everything to be done as scientifically and objectively as possible. Europe has started doing some of these “trial spots” thingy with the idea of universal income, but China has been doing this for the last 30+ years and they have a whole mature system to support it and manage it.

The Chinese want predictable, clear, uniformly administered laws, but they know that laws alone cannot create a civilized society.

That’s why they expect more than crime prevention from their government. For them civilization is Confucius’ dàtóng[1] society, which no laws can accomplish. Thus the raison d’être of the Communist Party is to serve as the vanguard and protector of their civilizational dream and blaze a trail towards dàtóng, which assumes that people will follow the example of virtuous leaders who, in China, have always been government officials.

So the Party has assumed responsibility for, first, creating a xiaokang society, as President Hu explained in his speech in 2006, when he explained that, to create a harmonious, well-governed, tranquil xiaokang society, the Party must practice and demonstrate six qualities:

  1. Democratic rule of law, minzhu fazhi;
  2. Fairness and justice, gongping zhengyi;
  3. Honesty and fraternity, chengxin youai;
  4. Abundant energy,” chongman huoli;
  5. Stable orderliness, anding youxu; and
  6. Harmony between people and the environment, ren he ziran hexie xiangchu, leading to sustainable development.

He explained that the ultimate goal of the well-managed xiaokang society is to produce a dàtóng society composed of free individuals who will ‘take from each according his ability and give to each according to his need’. The Party published Hu’s speech and added five policy goals for 2020:

  1. A more democratic system;
  2. Rights of people more honored;
  3. Differences between regions (provinces, metropolises, towns, countryside) more equalized;
  4. More reasonable income distribution and allocation of public resources;
  5. Improved standards of living for families.

We are now only two years away from Hu’s goal and his legacy–which will not be achieved without the efforts of Xi Jinping. I guess we should wait a few years before we judge either of them..

Is President Hu better than President Xi?

President Xi’s assignment is to maintain the economy’s momentum and carry the baton across the finish line: he will preside over China’s first real xiaokang society – the Lesser Prosperity – which Confucius described 2,500 years ago but only existed in an imaginary Golden Age – and even that imaginary Golden Age did not deliver prosperity as evenly or as lavishly as the one we’ll see in 2021.

Thanks to men like Hu carrying out their assignments, China has come a long way since 1979. The government eliminated urban poverty in 2016 and are focusing on eliminating the remaining pockets of rural poverty by President Xi’s 2020 deadline. The planners have even published a checklist, 23 Indicators of a Xiaokong Society with wonderfully bureaucratic, wonky criteria like:

SOCIAL HARMONY: Sex ratio of senior high school graduates:

  • Ratio of unemployed females to unemployed males,
  • proportion of females in junior or senior high school graduates,
  • proportion of women in civil service
  • ratio of women’s average payment to that of men

The xiaokang society/Chinese dream is a praiseworthy goal and a wonderful achievement, but Master Kong said it’s only a preliminary stage in China’s evolution: beyond xiaokanglies the Promised Land of datong, the era of Greater Unity. Here’s the Master himself, in a famous conversations from The Book of Rites:

Once Confucius was taking part in the winter sacrifice. After the ceremony was over he took a stroll along the top of the city wall and sighed mournfully. His disciple Tzu Lu, asked: ‘Why does the Master sigh?’ Confucius replied:

‘Today the Great Way is hidden and the world is the possession of private families. Each regards as parents only his own parents, as sons only his own sons; goods and labor are employed for selfish ends. Hereditary offices and titles are granted by ritual law while walls and moats must provide security. Ritual and righteousness are used to regulate the relationship between ruler and subject, to insure affection between father and son, peace between brothers, and harmony between husband and wife, to set up social institutions, organize the farms and villages, honor the brave and wise, and bring merit to the individual. Therefore intrigue and plotting come about and men take up arms. The Duke of Zhou achieved eminence for this reason: he was constantly attentive to ritual, made manifest their righteousness and acted in complete faith. He exposed error, made humanity his law and humility his practice, showing the people wherein they should constantly abide. If there were any who did not abide by these principles, they were dismissed from their positions and regarded by the multitude as dangerous nuisances. This is the period of Lesser Prosperity.

‘The practice of the Great Way, the illustrious men of the Three Dynasties – these I shall never know in person. And yet they inspire my ambition! When the Great Way was practiced, the world was shared by all alike. The worthy and the able were promoted to office and men practiced good faith and lived in affection. Therefore they did not regard as parents only their own parents, or as sons only their own sons. The aged found a fitting close to their lives, the robust their proper employment; the young were provided with an upbringing and the widow and widower, the orphaned and the sick, with proper care. Men had their tasks and women their hearths. They hated to see goods lying about in waste yet did not hoard them for themselves; they disliked the thought that their energies were not fully used, yet they used them not for private ends. Therefore all evil plotting was prevented and thieves and rebels did not arise, so that people could leave their outer gates unbolted. This was the age of Grand Unity’.

On June 1, 2021, President Xi will announce that China has achieved a xiaokang society and decree a national holiday so everyone can celebrate the country’s extraordinary accomplishment. He’ll then announce that China’s next goal is establishing a datongsociety: an age of Grand Unity. The planners are already working on schedules and checklists.

Now to have states, families, and selves is to allow each individual to maintain a sphere of selfishness. This infracts utterly the Universal Principle, gongli, and impedes progress. …

Therefore, not only states should be abolished, so that there would be no more struggle between the strong and the weak; families should also be done away with, so that there would no longer be inequality of love and affection [among men]; and, finally, selfishness itself should be banished, so that goods and services would not be used for private ends. …

The only [true way] is sharing the world in common by all (tienxia weigong) …

To share in common is to treat each and every one alike. There should be no distinction between high and low, no discrepancy between rich and poor, no segregation of human races, no inequality between sexes. All should be educated and supported with the common property; none should depend on private possession. … This is the way of the Great Community. [Kang Youwei, Liyun Zhu called dàtóng Shu].

Is President Xi better than President Hu?

Hu’s only reward for sacrificing his health was to open the Three Gorges Dam, the greatest engineering feat in world history and one dear to his heart, since he’s a hydrological engineer. That alone guarantees him a place in China’s pantheon of very good rulers. And the Chinese have kept scores on every ruler they’ve had in the last 3,000 years and rank them pitilessly. That’s why we cannot yet decide if President Xi is better than President Hu Jintao.

The Birth of Eurasia

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