Understanding China’s Rise Under Xi Jinping – By The Honourable Kevin Rudd

Adaci propone una lettura delle nuove dinamiche che muovono la Cina di XI Jinping

Tratto da un articolo del World Economic Forum del 17 Marzo sulla storia e sulla situazione politico economica della Cina.
L’articolo è lungo e fa considerazioni ad ampio spettro, in particolare è interessante la parte in cui sono indicate le 7 priorità core della Cina secondo il pensiero del presidente XI Jinping dopo la sua recente ufficializzazione della posizione di capo assoluto. Questo approfondimento è dedicato a chi tratta con la Cina ed è utile per avere un quadro ampio delle linee che muoveranno questo importante partner commerciale e industriale per il prossimo futuro.

I am pleased to share you with an address that the Honourable Kevin Rudd gave at West Point earlier this month. It is long but worth the read. I wish I had written as it is the clearest exposition of Xi Jinping‘s China I have so far read. Mr. Rudd, a Sinocism subscriber, graciously agreed to let me share it with all of you.
Mr. Rudd is fluent in Chinese and has several decades of experience working in and on China, including many meetings with Xi and Wang Qishan.
Mr. Rudd served as Australia’s 26th Prime Minister (2007-2010, 2013) and as Foreign Minister (2010-2012). He joined the Asia Society Policy Institute as its inaugural President in January 2015. ASPI is a “think-do tank” dedicated to using second-track diplomacy to assist governments and businesses in resolving policy challenges within Asia, and between Asia and the West. You can read more about him on his web site.
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Next week marks the 216th anniversary of the founding of the West Point Military Academy. Its founding came less than 20 years after the defeat of the British at Yorktown in 1781. It followed the decision by President Thomas Jefferson to establish the United States Military Academy just after his inauguration in 1801. Indeed the United States continental army first occupied this place on 27 January 1778, barely two years into the Revolutionary War, when things were not proceeding all that well against the British in that great conflagration. So you have been here at West Point since virtually the first birth-pangs of this great Republic.
Over the span of history, this nation has grown from thirteen fissiparous colonies to become the most powerful nation on earth. And while the challenges have been many, you have preserved the flame of liberal democracy throughout the nation’s rise.
When this nation was being born, China was at its height. In 1799, the Qianlong Emperor died, having reigned for over 60 years. His grandfather, the Kangxi Emperor, had reigned for 61 years until 1722. Between both their reigns, the territorial expanse of the Chinese Empire virtually doubled, occupying some 10 per cent of the world’s land area, 30 percent of the world’s population, and 32 percent of the world’s economy.
Although the United States sought to establish consular relations with China in 1784, this was rebuffed by Qianlong’s court, delaying the establishment of diplomatic relations until 1844 with the Treat of Wangxia. By this stage, China had already suffered its first major defeat at the hands of the British during the First Opium War. The second defeat would follow less than 20 years later at the hands of the British and the French. And so began China’s “Century of National Humiliation” until the birth of the People’s Republic in 1949.
As for Australia, proudly an ally of the United States since we first fought together in the trenches in 1918, our short history, at least as a settler society, has been considerably more recent than either China or the US—although our indigenous peoples, Aboriginal Australians, are the oldest continuing cultures on earth, going back 60,000 years. Because Washington’s continental army prevailed at Yorktown in 1781, not only did Britain lose these colonies, it also lost its convict dumping ground at Savannah Georgia. Back in the British Admiralty, after the Treaty of Paris in 1783, they dusted off the navigation charts of James Cook taken some 13 years before, and in 1788 established a convict colony and the first European settlement in what we now call Sydney, Australia.
China, because of its proximity and size, has loomed large in the Australian national imagination ever since. Just as it now looms large in the global imagination. Not least because China’s new leadership, under Xi Jinping, as of the very day he first came to power as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party five years ago, claimed that China’s national mission was now one of “national renaissance” (guojia fuxing).
Xi Jinping, in rallying his party to a future vision for his country, looks deeply to China’s history as a source of national inspiration. China’s national pride at the historical achievements of the great dynasties of the Qing, Ming, Song, Tang, and the Han is palpable. The Chinese political leadership harness their national past selectively, always carefully using rose-coloured glasses, omitting those chapters which may be more problematic for China’s current national narrative. But then again, China’s leaders are no more guilty of this than other countries.
Nonetheless, for those who are professionally charged with interpreting China’s future, as you are in this great military academy, it means that we must also take time to understand China’s past. To understand how China perceives the world around it. And to understand how it now perceives its own national destiny in the turbulent world of the 21st century.
It is one of the reasons why after more than 40 years of studying Chinese language, history, politics, economics, and culture, I have embarked on a fresh research project at Oxford University, seeking to define Xi Jinping’s worldview. This is not a static process. This is a dynamic process. China is as much deeply marked by its past, as it is being reshaped by the unprecedented torrent of economic, social, cultural, and technological forces that are washing over its future.
Over the last 40 years I have engaged China as a student, bureaucrat, diplomat, member of parliament, foreign minister, and prime minister. And now as the President of an American think tank, part of a venerable institution, the Asia Society, which has been engaging China since the earliest days of the People’s Republic in 1956. Understanding China is a lifelong journey.
For those of you who would become the next generation of American military leaders, it must be your lifelong journey as well. I argue that there will be no more important part of your professional skill-craft than to understand how Chinese leaders think, how they perceive the world, and how the world should most productively engage them. That applies also to your country’s future political leadership, corporate leadership, and every branch of its military. So I encourage you in your mission.
Xi’s Political Authority
The beginning of wisdom in understanding China’s view of the world is to understand China’s view of the future of its own country—its politics, its economics, its society. Xi Jinping lies at the apex of the Chinese political system. But his influence now permeates every level. Five years ago, I wrote that Xi would be China’s most powerful leader since Deng. I was wrong. He’s now China’s most powerful leader since Mao. We see this at multiple levels. The anti-corruption campaign he’s wielded across the Party has not only helped him “clean up” the country’s almost industrial levels of corruption. It has also afforded the additional benefit of “cleaning up” all of Xi Jinping’s political opponents on the way through. It’s a formidable list:
• Bo Xilai, Politburo member and Party Secretary of Chongqing;
• Zhou Yongkang, Politburo Standing Committee member and head of the internal security apparatus;
• Xu Caihou, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission;
• Guo Boxiong, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission;
• Ling Jihua, former Chief of the General Office of the CPC and Chief of Staff to Hu Jintao;
• Sun Zhengcai, Politburo member and another Party Secretary from Chongqing;
• And just prior to the 19th Party Congress, General Fang Fenghui, Chief of the Joint Staffs, and General Zhang Yang, Director of the PLA Political Work Department, who recently committed suicide.
None of this is for the faint-hearted. It says much about the inherent nature of a Chinese political system which has rarely managed leadership transitions smoothly. But it also points to the political skill-craft of Xi Jinping himself.
Xi Jinping is no political neophyte. He has grown up in Chinese party politics as conducted at the highest levels. Through his father, Xi Zhongxun, he has been on both the winning side and the losing side of the many bloody battles that have been fought within the Chinese Communist Party since the days of the Cultural Revolution half a century ago.
There is little that Xi Jinping hasn’t seen with his own eyes on the deepest internal workings of the Party. He has been through a “masterclass” of not only how to survive it, but al