Sunday, October 29, 2017

"Clear waters and green mountains are mountains of gold and silver."
   Seeking a Beautiful China and California
   together in harmony for our grandchildren

    Pollution has become a scourge in China, the debilitating consequences of rapid industrial development. Chinese people are exceedingly displeased to see their air, water and soil so polluted, and the government has responded by elevating "Green Development", the third development concept, to highest national importance. One of the pioneers has been East China's Zhejiang province, where in 2005 Xi Jinping, then Zhejiang Party secretary, famously said: "Clear waters and green mountains are mountains of gold and silver." Putting the theory into practice, Zhejiang has pioneered an "eco-compensation" system, which enables regions to both preserve the environment and develop eco-friendly industries. - from "The five major development concepts" by Robert Lawrence Kuhn
Xi Jinping, of course, has been President of China since March 14, 2013. And if you haven't read the other posts here, you can click on the images above where you might learn about the most important government policy developments of the 21st Century to date which will impact on your grandchildren's generation. You will also learn about Xi, the fellow human overseeing the implementation of those policies.
Of course, these government policy developments have nothing to do with Donald Trump. And of course, they are too complex for social media. And of course, because their goals are targeted for 2049 China they have no real impact on the day-to-day lives of Americans today. So of course, Americans generally have no awareness of them.

In 2005 Xi Jinping, then Zhejiang Province Communist Party Secretary, was not even on any pundits radar though in 2002 Xi was elected a full member of the 16th Central Committee. His environmental statement quoted above "Clear waters and green mountains are mountains of gold and silver" was far from pandering to the popular thinking.

In the first decade of this century, climate change skepticism in China was worse than in the U.S. as discussed in The Convenient Disappearance of Climate Change Denial in China: From Western plot to party line, how China embraced climate science to become a green-energy powerhouse. Fortunately, as the article notes: "By the time China adopted its 12th Five-Year Plan in 2011, a green strategy had begun to crystalize."

Keep that 2011 year in mind as you read this posted two weeks ago in the South China News:
    Ten years ago [October 2007], as early autumn set in and the Communist Party of China prepared to convene its 17th National Congress in Beijing, the names of two Lis – Liaoning party chief Li Keqiang and Jiangsu party chief Li Yuanchao – were making the rounds as odds-on favourites to emerge from the scrum of candidates to be anointed supreme leader-in-waiting of the party’s Fifth Generation.
    Newly appointed party chief of Shanghai, Xi Jinping, was not expected to contend for the post. He had just been elevated to his position in spring 2007, was expected to continue serving as Shanghai party chief, and there was no prior precedent of a regionally based leader serving concurrently on the party’s Politburo Standing Committee – the party’s highest decision-making organ.
    By mid-autumn, the script had been re-written.
    In the ‘open audition’ selection process at the party congress for the 25-member Politburo, which for the first time allowed all Central Committee members to vote from a wider pool of candidates drawn from provincial and ministerial-level cadres, Xi won the most support.
    The day after the National Congress, at the First Plenum of the party’s 17th Central Committee, Xi was selected as the sixth-ranking member of the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee and executive secretary of the party’s Secretariat. Later that December, he was appointed president of the Central Party School – mirroring the path that Hu Jintao had taken during his elevation to the supreme leader-in-waiting position in the late-1990s.
    That Xi was neither a protégé of Jiang [Jiang Zemin, President from 1993 to 2003] nor belonged to Hu-linked groupings [Hu Jintao, President from 2003 to 2013] – and therefore his elevation was beholden to neither factional politics nor to the reigning supreme leader’s dictates, was also instrumental in his meteoric rise to the top.
Five months later, at the 11th National People's Congress in March 2008, Xi was elected as Vice-President of the People's Republic of China. By the time of that 2011 Five Year Plan, Xi's vision of "clear waters and green mountains" had become the basis for policy.

On 15 November 2012, Xi Jinping was elected to the post of General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission by the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and on 14 March 2013 was elected President of the People's Republic of China by the 12th National People's Congress.

China is the largest country in the world in terms of population, second only to Russia in terms of land area, and the second only to the United States in terms of GDP (though China is firstcwhen measured by purchasing power parity). As noted in the May 23 post linked above, California and Californians need strong ties to China for economic growth and measures to reduce climate change impacts.

In the pictures at the top of this post, Governor Jerry Brown is shown during his June 2017 trip to China with Chinese  Science and Technology Minister Wan Gang (left) and with Chinese President Xi Jinping (right).

Shortly before meeting with President Xi, Brown, one of the co-chairs of a bipartisan group of U.S. Governors called the Climate Alliance,  signed an agreement providing that China and the Golden State will work together on cutting their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over time.

From renewable energy technologies to zero-emission vehicles, from low carbon infrastructures to electricity efficiency savings, a working group of top-level officials from both sides will continually plot ways to cooperate on climate measures and to zero in on initiatives that will help both countries cut their carbon footprints.

The agreement builds on subnational pacts Brown signed with officials in Sichuan and Jiangsu provinces earlier this week.

“California is the leading economic state in America and we are also the pioneering state on clean technology, cap and trade, electric vehicles and batteries, but we can’t do it alone,” Brown said before a Chinese delegation.

"I have proposed that California will cut its greenhouse gases 40 per cent below 1990 levels and that we'll have 50 per cent of our electricity from renewables," Brown told President Xi Jinping in a 45-minute meeting.

"To keep that goal, we need a very close partnership with China - with your businesses, with your provinces, with your universities," Brown said. 

"Nobody can stay on the sidelines. We can't afford any dropouts in the tremendous human challenge to make the transition to a sustainable future," Brown said during a green energy conference in Beijing. "Disaster still looms and we've got to make the turn."

Chinese President Xi expressed support for California to play a bigger role in promoting exchange and cooperation between China and the United States. He said he hoped California could continue to promote bilateral exchanges between localities and contribute more to China-U.S. cooperation in areas including technology, innovation and green development.  He welcomed California to join the Belt and Road Initiative.

Voicing appreciation of Xi's speech at the World Economic Forum annual meeting at Davos in January, Brown said California was willing to join the construction of the Belt and Road and was looking forward to a stronger cooperative relationship with China in trade, investment, clean technology and environmental protection.

Which brings us to the point of these posts. Climate change and economic issues in California are intricately tied to China. And going even further, understanding Chinese history, problems, and politics can help to understand the continuing political evolution of the United States and particularly of California. For example, consider the issue of multiculturalism.

China has about 7000 years of history, 1.4 billion people, and 56± ethnic groups. About 92% are considered Han Chinese while 8% are:

Ethnic Group
Major Areas of Distribution
Yunnan, Guizhou
Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, Xinjiang
Guizhou, Hunan, Guangxi
Gansu, Xinjiang
Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang
Ningxia, Gansu, Henan, Hebei, Qinghai, Shandong, Yunnan, Xinjiang, Anhui, Liaoning, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Shaanxi, Beijing, Tianjin
Taiwan (population not counted), Fujian
Guizhou, Guangxi
Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai
Xinjiang, Heilongjiang
Jilin, Liaoning, Heilongjiang
Yunnan, Sichuan
Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Hebei, Beijing, Inner Mongolia
Guizhou, Hunan, Yunnan, Guangxi, Sichuan, Hainan, Hubei
Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Qinghai
Yannan, Sichuan
Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang
Qinghai, Gansu
Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Guangdong
Guizhou, Guangxi
Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, Yunan
Qinghai, Gansu
Hunnan, Hubei
Xinjiang, Liaoning, Jilin
Guangxi, Hunan, Ynnan, Guangdong, Guizhou
Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi
Guangxi, Yunnan, Guangdong, Guizhou

If one wants to talk about a "melting pot" and assimilation or multicultural diversity, China is the place to go, not the United States. DNA sampling indicates that the Han Chinese have about the same kind of historical experience as white European Americans - practically everybody is mixed because that is the result of constant human migration.

Language, however, does represent a clearer picture of multicultural diversity. Let's begin with this from the Microsoft Technet Citizenship Asia Pacific site Celebrating Linguistic Diversity on International Mother Language Day:

On 21 February, we celebrate International Mother Language Day, aimed at promoting linguistic and cultural diversity and multi- lingualism. A world map denoting the native languages spoken in different countries. Image courtesy of Daniel Dalet on

2,200—that is the estimated number of languages spoken in Asia Pacific, more than any other region in the world. Check out some interesting facts about Asian languages that you might have missed out learning in school:
  • Mandarin Chinese has the most native speakers of any language, with an estimated 12.5 percent of the world's population speaking it as their first language. If you are planning to pick up Mandarin, don’t be daunted by the fact that it has 50,000 characters—practice always makes perfect!
  • There are 830 listed languages in the island state of Papua New Guinea (PNG), accounting for the greatest concentration of linguistic diversity on Earth today. Sitting in what is known as a language hot-spot—an area where many languages face the threat of extinction—linguists from National Geographic’s Enduring Voices programme are surveying many in PNG to better understand the world’s languages and the forces that drive language extinction.
  • Asia is home to some of the world’s most endangered languages, including the Ainu in Japan, Dumi in Nepal and Manchu from China. The youngest speakers of these languages are often grandparents themselves, who are only able to speak them partially and infrequently.
While this rich variety of languages continues to shape and preserve the unique cultural identities of many Asian communities, language barriers can be a significant concern.
Within China there is a diversity of languages and cultures many as 292 living language identified though most are very small populations. The map below gives a sense of the areas where larger populations speak a language other than Mandarin which is spoken by 70% of the population:

This gives China problems as reflected in this 2016 story China aims to ease ethnic tensions with integration policy which is an indication that 7000 years of history still offers no solution to the "melting pot" versus "multicultural diversity" debate.

Pictures do appear in the press like the one on the right of police patroling the streets of the Muslim Uighur quarter in Urumqi after a series of violent incidents hit the Xinjiang region in the summer of 2013. China’s state-run media blamed around 100 people it branded as “terrorists” for sparking “riots” in the ethnically-divided region of western China.

On December 31, 2013, President Xi Jinping appeared on CCTV and extended his “New Year’s wishes to Chinese of all ethnic groups.”

The history is complicated as it is in the United States. As one commenter noted in Are Ethnic Tensions on the Rise in China? the answer is time frame dependent. From month to month the answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no. Since the formation of the People's Republic of China in 1949 regarding the Tibetans and Uighurs, China saw major armed rebellions during the mid 1950s, the imposition of martial law in 1989, and the 1990s were particularly volatile with many clashes, bombings, and assassinations. So right now, ethnic tensions are not quite so tense.

But just like us, they will see pictures appear like the one above and in this modern age occasional disturbing videos. Because just like us, they find it complicated to bring humans together. It is what makes politics and governing difficult.

Xi clearly stated that he wants a "country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful." His Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road plan covering 65 nations, about 60 per cent of the world’s population and a third of global GDP, involves the integration of a large region into a cohesive economic area through building infrastructure, increasing cultural exchanges, and broadening trade (see more details in the May 23 post here). He invited California to participate when meeting with Governor Brown.

We in California need to understand China and its politics. And we need to understand it without a bias that derives from a mid-20th Century view of communism. As explained in the last post, the folks in charge over there are the ones who were shipped off to rural farms to work after their parents were arrested, imprisoned, humiliated, tortured, and in some cases killed. It's safe to assume that they want far better for the next generations.

We need to be seeking together in harmony a beautiful China and California with clear waters and green mountains for our grandchildren. Xi and Brown are making the effort. So should all of us.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Xi's team to lead a 21st Century China
 They want for their grandchildren a prosperous, democratic,
 strong, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful life

The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 19th CPC Central Committee from left, Han Zheng, 63, the Communist Party Secretary of Shanghai; Wang Huning, 62, Director of the Central Policy Research Office; Li Zhanshu, 67, Director of the General Office of the Communist Party of China; President Xi Jinping, 64, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China ; Premier Li Keqiang, 62, Premier of the People's Republic of China; Wang Yang, 62, Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China; and Zhao Leji, 60, Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

For the first time at the end of a National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), all seven Standing Committee members of the Political Bureau were born after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

All were born and raised in the People's Republic of China. That means that none of them were WWII veterans and none were part of the Revolution. Instead, all were impacted as children from 1958 to 1962 by Chairman Mao's Great Leap Forward and as teens by Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution from 1966 until 1976.

The Great Leap Forward was intended through the use of persuasion and force to rapidly transform the country from an agrarian economy into a socialist society through rapid industrialization and collectivization but instead caused economic regression, the Great Chinese Famine, and tens of millions of deaths. Welcome to childhood.

The goal of the Cultural Revolution was to preserve 'true' Communist ideology in the country by purging remnants of capitalist and traditional elements from Chinese society, and to re-impose Maoist thought as the dominant ideology within the Party. Millions of people were persecuted in the violent struggles that ensued across the country, and suffered a wide range of abuses including public humiliation, arbitrary imprisonment, torture, hard labor, sustained harassment, seizure of property and sometimes execution. A large segment of the population was forcibly displaced, most notably the transfer of urban youth to rural regions during the Down to the Countryside Movement. Historical relics and artifacts were destroyed. Cultural and religious sites were ransacked.

To understand the meaning of this history to these seven men, one only need to look at the experience of President Xi Jinping.

After the founding of the Communist state in 1949, Xi's father held a series of posts, including propaganda chief, vice-premier, and vice-chairman of the National People's Congress. Xi was born June 15, 1953. Based on normal expectations, Xi's future looked bright.

But when Xi was age 10, his father was purged from the Party and sent to work in a factory in Luoyang, Henan. In May 1966, Xi's "high school years" were cut short by the Cultural Revolution, when all secondary classes were halted for students to criticise and fight their teachers. Xi was age 15 when his father was jailed in 1968.

In 1969, lacking the protection of his father, Xi was sent to work in Yanchuan County, Shaanxi, in Mao Zedong's Down to the Countryside Movement. After a few months, unable to stand rural life, he ran away to Beijing. He was arrested during a crackdown on deserters from the countryside and sent to a work camp to dig ditches.

In 1981, the Party declared that the Cultural Revolution was "responsible for the most severe setback and the heaviest losses suffered by the Party, the country, and the people since the founding of the People's Republic" Welcome to adolescence.

Read the Wikipedia entry on Xi for more details (and the Wikipedia entry on Peng Liyuan his folksinger wife who until 2007 was more well-known). Also, in 2007 when it became evident that Xi was being groomed to assume the duties of his current job, an article appeared in The Guardian which helps provide some perspective from a British point of view: Most corrupt officials are from poor families but Chinese royals have a spirit that is not dominated by money.

The following graphic indicates the Party organization.

The seven-member Political Bureau Standing Committee is the center of political power in China. While certainly this year the generational factor is important, it is also important to know that five of the seven are new to the Standing Committee.

It is also true that none are in their fifties, a fact troubling to some American pundits. In more recent times being in that 50's age group would have indicated a Standing Committee member was being prepared to replace President Xi five years from now in 2022.

Of course, in 2022 only one of the Standing Committee members will be as old as Donald Trump was when he became U.S. President this year. In fact, in 2022 President Xi will be 69, two years younger than Trump is right now!

For more about these seven men, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post offers this: China's Leadership Reshuffle: Profiles.

More troubling to many is that none of these guys are women. In fact, at the next level down, in the 25 member Political Bureau (aka Politburo), the number of from two women members to one after the 19th National Congress.

Of the delegates to the Party Congress, only 24.1% were women. When comparing ruling parties, that is about the same ratio as the delegates to the 2016 Republican Party National Convention. (The 2016 National Convention of the losing Democratic Party had about 60% women.)

China's two most senior female politicians a month ago were vice premier Liu Yandong, 71, a scion of a political dynasty -- her father was a close ally of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin -- and Sun Chunlan, a rising Party chief.

In this week's leadership reshuffle, Liu retired from the Politburo, leaving Sun as the only female member. Sun Chunlan, 67, is head of the party’s United Front Work Department, the agency that serves as the Party's interface with individuals and organizations that are not Party members that have social, commercial, or academic influence, or who represent important interest groups, both inside and outside China.

Another woman politician better known to the West, Fu Ying, 64, an ethnic Mongol born in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, is not a member of the Politburo, although she has held Ambassador posts to Australia and the Philippines and currently holds the position of vice foreign minister after a long career in the Chinese diplomatic service. In 2010 the Financial Times offered an extensive article Lunch with the FT: Madam Fu Ying which included this giving us an insight into her formative years:
    Fu Ying was born in 1953 in Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, an “autonomous region” of China. Her parents were bilingual, speaking Mandarin and Mongolian. Her father wrote poetry. She can, she tells me, still remember the day that a tall, ethnically Chinese man arrived at the family home to take her father away. It was 1967 and the height of the Cultural Revolution, the bloody chaos unleashed by Mao to purge the party and consolidate power.
    “The [tall] man looked into my eyes and said, ‘Democracy is great. Do you know what is democracy?’ I shook my head; I didn’t know. And he said, ‘That’s the change of history. You will be swept away by the change of history.’” (Democracy, during the Cultural Revolution, was equivalent to anarchy. No wonder, I muse to myself, it does not carry the same positive connotations in China as in the west.)
    A tear appears in Madam Fu’s eye. She recounts how school was shut down and she was taken away, aged 17, to a remote town in the mountains, Wulashan, five hours distant by train. There she worked in the fields – “very, very physical, really stressful and extreme for a young girl” – before helping to build a new factory where she was employed as an announcer, broadcasting information to her co-workers about the weather and the like through a loudspeaker.
    But then, in 1973, she had her first break. The Cultural Revolution was in its last throes and previously frowned-upon practices such as examinations to test pupil ability were revived. Fu Ying excelled, having squirrelled away first Russian and then French classics from a library in Wulashan. She also excelled in English, having picked up the basics on Chinese radio. She gained a place to study for four years at Beijing Foreign Studies University.
    After the death of Chairman Mao in 1976, China started to open to the rest of the world. Suddenly, interpreters were in heavy demand. Madam Fu joined the elite translation department of the diplomatic service.
It is clear that the generation now leading China had a less than enchanting experience with Mao's brand of authoritarianism under the name communism. On the other hand, for these and most Chinese people, China has a 7,000 year history, most of which has been as a moderately successful single autocratic state under an emperor. [To learn more about China, its history and culture, watch the six episode Story of China at]

While most of us who live in the Progressive Pacific states have some awareness of China, it is important to understand how the current Chinese leadership generation sees the world. Among others, Fu Ying has been tasked with assisting us. In 2016 in Foreign Affairs her article How China Sees Russia she provides clear insight into information we should understand:
    ...China has no interest in a formal alliance with Russia, nor in forming an anti-U.S. or anti-Western bloc of any kind. Rather, Beijing hopes that China and Russia can maintain their relationship in a way that will provide a safe environment for the two big neighbors to achieve their development goals and to support each other through mutually beneficial cooperation, offering a model for how major countries can manage their differences and cooperate in ways that strengthen the international system.
    On several occasions between the end of the nineteenth century and the middle of the twentieth century, China entered into an alliance with the Russian empire and its successor, the Soviet Union. But every time, the arrangement proved short-lived, as each amounted to nothing more than an expediency between countries of unequal strength. In the decades that followed, the two powerful communist-led countries muddled through, occasionally cooperating but often riven by rivalry and mistrust. In 1989, in the waning years of Soviet rule, they finally restored normalcy to their relations. They jointly declared that they would develop bilateral relations based on “mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual nonaggression, noninterference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.” Two years later, the Soviet Union disintegrated, but Chinese-Russian relations carried on with the principle of “no alliance, no conflict, and no targeting any third country.”
    Soon thereafter, the newborn Russian Federation embraced the so-called Atlanticist approach. To win the trust and help of the West, Russia not only followed Western prescriptions for economic reform but also made concessions on major security issues, including reducing its stockpile of strategic nuclear weapons. However, things didn’t turn out the way the Russians had hoped, as the country’s economy tanked and its regional influence waned. In 1992, disappointed with what they saw as unfulfilled pledges of American and European assistance and irritated by talk of NATO’s eastward expansion, the Russians began to pay more attention to Asia. That year, China and Russia announced that each would regard the other as a “friendly country” and issued a joint political statement stipulating that “the freedom of people to choose their own development paths should be respected, while differences in social systems and ideologies should not hamper the normal progress of relations.”
    Ever since, Chinese-Russian relations have gradually improved and deepened. During the past 20 years or so, bilateral trade and investment have expanded on a massive scale. In 2011, China became Russia’s largest trading partner. In 2014 alone, China’s investment in Russia grew by 80 percent—and the trend toward more investment remains strong. To get a sense of the growth in economic ties, consider that in the early 1990s, annual bilateral trade between China and Russia amounted to around $5 billion; by 2014, it came close to $100 billion. That year, Beijing and Moscow signed a landmark agreement to construct a pipeline that, by 2018, will bring as much as 38 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas to China every year. The two countries are also planning significant deals involving nuclear power generation, aerospace manufacturing, high-speed rail, and infrastructure development. Furthermore, they are cooperating on new multinational financial institutions, such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank BRICS, and the BRICS foreign exchange reserve pool.
In the middle of the 2008 financial crisis Xi said: "First, China doesn't export revolution; second, China doesn't export hunger and poverty; third, China doesn't come and cause you headaches. What more is there to be said?"

This past week Xi reaffirmed that Beijing will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion "no matter what stage of development it reaches" and that "China will never pursue development at the expense of others' interests and its development does not pose a threat to any other country."

In her 2010 article Fu Ying noted:
    In remarks during [his visit to the United States in 2009], Xi directly addressed the idea that China’s development presents a challenge to the United States’ global leadership. “The path China follows is one of peaceful development, and China does not pose a threat to other countries,” Xi said. Later, he added, “People should give up the old concepts of ‘you lose, I win,’ or zero-sum game, and establish a new concept of peaceful development and win-win cooperation. If China develops well, it will benefit the whole world and benefit the United States. If the United States develops well, it will also benefit the world and China.”
If one pays attention to what this new generation of Chinese leadership communicates, we can create a consistent set of China-centered goals that evolve from this 2008 statement:

In 2012 Xi's goal for 2020 was made clear:

And now, in 2017, Xi set forth for 2049 the goal of achieving "a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful."

We need to know and understand these people.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Xi Jinping's strategy for a 21st Century China
  With thoughtful characteristics a President tends his
  plan for 1.4 billion people for 2020, 2035, and 2049

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was began last week, a once-every-five-years gathering.

Speaking for three hours and 23 minutes, China's President and Party General Secretary Xi Jinping delivered the opening report to the nearly 2,300 party delegates who represent China's
  • 22 provinces; 
  • five autonomous regions, each with a designated minority group; 
  • four municipalities; 
  • two Special Administrative Regions;
  • plus the central financial system, state-run institutions, the military and the police.
The People's Republic of China is the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion, and at 9.3 million square kilometres (3.6 million square miles), is the world's second-largest state by land area. For comparison, the United States of America has 23% of the population at 0.324 billion people, but at 9.1 million square kilometres (3.5 million square miles) is almost as big geographically.

As usual, the American press struggled with its coverage of the 19th National Congress (however limited it was, which means very limited). Of course many American "journalists" couldn't even tell you how the government works that is responsible for the contents of their own toilet after its flushed, much less explain how government really works in China. And many bring to the subject of China's government a nationalistic bias of their own heavily colored by mid-20th Century views on communism and socialism.

Yes, the Communist Party of China provides the leadership of the state. However, to understand government in China one must understand this explanation from Wikipedia:
Due to China's large population and area, the administrative divisions of China have consisted of several levels since ancient times. The constitution of China provides for three de jure levels of government. Currently, however, there are five practical (de facto) levels of local government: the provincial (province, autonomous region, municipality, and special administrative region), prefecture, county, township, and village.

Since the 17th century, provincial boundaries in China have remained largely static. Major changes since then have been the reorganization of provinces in the northeast after the establishment of the People's Republic of China and the formation of autonomous regions, based on Soviet ethnic policies. The provinces serve an important cultural role in China, as people tend to identify with their native province.
As with President Donald Trump, China's President Xi has no direct role overseeing local sewage systems. But unlike an American President, Xi is the General Secretary of the Communist Party in a de facto one-party state and holds ultimate, albeit indirect, authority over almost all government officials through the Communist Party.

Nonetheless, it is important to note that the governmental electoral system is pyramidal. Local People's Congresses are directly elected, and higher levels of People's Congresses up to the National People's Congress (NPC) are indirectly elected by the People's Congress of the level immediately below. The political system is decentralized, and provincial and sub-provincial leaders have a significant amount of autonomy.

The most recent post here in this blog - in May - was about President Xi, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, and the California-China Business Summit during ChinaWeek.

The Belt and Road Forum was President Xi's opportunity to lay out a broad foreign policy with an emphasis on creating a 21st Century China that could replace the United States as the world's preeminent economic power - much like the United States replaced a floundering Europe in the 20th Century.

This past week's 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China sets the agenda for the future of China beginning with that all-important three-hour “work report” speech by Xi.

To provide insight into President Xi's zeal to assure a strong future for his country, it is important to remember that on February 11, 2009, while visiting Mexico, then Vice-President Xi spoke in front of a group of overseas Chinese noting that China's task was to keep "its 1.3 billion people from hunger."

And regarding the 2008 financial crisis affecting the Atlantic oriented world filled with complaints about Chinese foreign trade: "There are some bored foreigners, with full stomachs, who have nothing better to do than point fingers at us. First, China doesn't export revolution; second, China doesn't export hunger and poverty; third, China doesn't come and cause you headaches. What more is there to be said?"

This week President Xi Jinping reaffirmed that Beijing will never seek hegemony or engage in expansion "no matter what stage of development it reaches" and that "China will never pursue development at the expense of others' interests and its development does not pose a threat to any other country."

Since the 18th CPC Congress in 2012, in which Xi assumed his current position, China's "two centenary goals" were to
  1. build a moderately prosperous society by 2020, one year before the Party's 100th anniversary in 2021, and 
  2. develop China into a "fully modernized, socialist nation" by the 100th anniversary of the People's Republic of China in 2049.
To accomplish the goals, the "Four Comprehensives" came into being:
  1. comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society (put forward at the November 2012 18th Party Congress),
  2. comprehensively deepen reform (put forward at the November 2013 3rd Central Committee Plenum),
  3. comprehensively and strictly govern the Party (put forward at the early October 2014 summary meeting of the Mass Line Campaign), and
  4. comprehensively advance the rule of law (put forward during the late October 2014 4th Central Committee Plenum).
Additionally,  the "Five Development Concepts" from the 13th Five Year Plan (2016-2020) of innovation, coordination, green, openness and shared development were to be implemented.

This week Xi offered in his report a plan to "build on the foundation created by the moderately prosperous society" by implementing "a further 15 years of hard work to see that socialist modernization is basically realized" from 2020 to 2035, and then from 2035 to the middle of the 21st century "work hard for a further 15 years and develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful."

But Xi warned that it would be "no walk in the park. It will take more than drum beating and gong clanging to get there."

And thus in three hours and 23 minutes President Xi Jinping under the title Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era laid out his vision for the Chinese people. “The Chinese nation … has stood up, grown rich, and become strong – and it now embraces the brilliant prospects of rejuvenation … It will be an era that sees China moving closer to centre stage and making greater contributions to mankind.”

Fortunately, the Xinhua News Agency, the official press agency of the People's Republic of China, a ministry-level institution subordinate to the Chinese central government, provided this post-speech summary infographic:

It would be interesting to compare the Chinese President's hopes for his country for the next 30 years, plus the plans for his country to be implemented over the next five years, to those of the U.S. President.

It would be interesting if it weren't for the fact that the U.S. President's thinking is limited to 140 character tweets. It would be interesting if it weren't for the fact that the Trump Administration thinks in those deplorable American time frames described in the last post as "much of our business activity is controlled by a 5 to 10 week time frame and generally Americans struggle with a planning attention span of 5 to 10 days."

Even more troubling is the fact that key members of the Trump Administration are simply uninformed or misinformed about China.

Which brings us again to author and Forbes Contributor Wade Shepard. As noted in the previous post, Shepard is one of those rare American's who, in addition to being able to read and write well above a 6th grade level, is a China expert based upon his travels and study in China. In a post this past Thursday, Shepard wrote:
    On October 3rd, US Defense Secretary James Mattis proclaimed at a congressional hearing, "In a globalized world, there are many belts and many roads, and no one nation should put itself into a position of dictating 'One Belt, One Road.'"
     While the defense secretary was ultimately correct -- there are many different countries who are driving trans-Eurasian integration and China’s international infrastructural, economic, and political engagements do often overlap with other initiatives -- the style, scope, financial backing, strategy, and underlaying purpose behind China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) puts it in a category all its own, and should not be underestimated. We have perhaps never seen a program of geo-economic positioning quite like this before, and skeptically framing it in with known practices or established models is a mistake that political analysts, government officials, and even investors have been making -- even as they are encircled by the very initiative they write off or deny.
     If you’re looking for an official, correct map of where China’s Belt and Road actually goes, good luck. If you’re looking for an official explanation of what it really is, a list of approved projects, the amount of actual funding, where this funding is really coming from, what entities have the authority to engage projects under its name (and what entities don't), or even a run down of what countries are officially a part of it, you’ve just jumped down into a very deep hole of misinformation, no information, and all out propaganda.
     This is an initiative for which there are no publicly-stated KPI [Key Performance Indicator], no overarching institutionalization, no formal membership protocols, no founding charters, and a timeline for development that is not measured in mere years, but decades.
In a post the previous week The Real Reason Behind What's Driving China's Ambitions For A New Silk Road Shepard which describes a natural gas pipeline constructed at a cost of cost $7.5 billion under a 2007 contract negotiated by Xi's predecessor President Hu Jintao which this month will begin shipping natural gas to China.
    ...China’s appetite for this energy source is growing at an impressive clip, and is expected to rise 8.1% annually until 2030, which is far above the 2.1% global annual growth rate.
    If we looked at the entire BRI in terms of China increasing, bolstering, and securing their energy supply lines alone — without any of the rhetoric about global prosperity and “win-win” partnerships — it would still make sense. The economic powerhouse that is China requires energy to run, and this is something the country has not been able to handle on its own since at least 1993.
    Diversifying the sources of foreign oil and gas has been of tantamount importance to Beijing for well over a decade. In 2006, the Brookings Institute pointed this out in no uncertain terms:
    "The Chinese government recognizes that the diversification of China’s oil suppliers and import routes can enhance the security of the country’s oil supply. In terms of oil suppliers, China has sought not only to expand the number of countries and regions from which it imports oil but also to limit its dependence on the Persian Gulf, which in 2005 provided China with almost half of its crude oil imports… In terms of import routes, China wants to reduce its dependence on the sea lines of communication through which almost 90% of the country’s crude oil imports travel because of their vulnerability to disruption on the high seas by various modern navies."
    At this time, the focus of this diversification was mainly on the array of new China-bound oil and gas pipelines that were being dug across Russia and Central Asia. What could not be foreseen then was the attempt to create no less than three multimodal transport corridors that China would spearhead under the premise of the BRI to enable energy shipments from the Middle East and to enter the country while bypassing the heavily US Navy-fortified Straight of Malacca. These three prospective corridors extend overland from the ports of Bandar Abbas in Iran, Gwadar in Pakistan, and Kyauk Pyu in Myanmar up to China, enabling energy shipments to go partway by sea and then the rest of the way by pipeline or potentially even rail.
It is obvious that Xi sincerely hopes for a moderately prosperous China by 2020, a fully modernized China by 2035, and a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful China by 2049. It is also obvious that he is proud of what China is achieving in the 21st Century.

Orville Schell, head of the Asia Society’s Center on US-China Relations and a veteran China expert who has been studying Chinese politics since the late 1950s, noted that Xi's "Socialism with Chinese Characteristics is a viable counter-model to the presumption of western liberal democracy and capitalism. In a sense, what Xi is setting up here is not only a clash of civilization and values, but one of political and economic systems."

Xi could comfortably note how China had "taken a driving seat in international cooperation to respond to climate change." He added: "Only by observing the laws of nature can mankind avoid costly blunders in its exploitation. Any harm we inflict on nature will eventually return to haunt us. This is a reality we have to face!"

Xi could also note: “No one political system should be regarded as the only choice and we should not just mechanically copy the political systems of other countries. The political system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is a great creation.”

He could say this because he and those in his administration know that with the election of Donald Trump the United States has...
  • a Republican President who by a large margin lost the popular vote (for the second time since the year 2000);
  • a Senate in which 60 of the 100 Senators with 60% of the vote in the Senate represent less than 25% of the population, while 18 of the 100 Senators with only 18% of the vote in the Senate represent the majority of Americans, and despite the fact that more votes were cast for Democratic candidates than Republican candidates in the last three Senate elections, Republicans control the Senate;
  • a House of Representatives in which Democratic candidates received a nationwide plurality but the Republican candidates won a majority of the House seats; and
  • a nationwide justice system that randomly injures, kills, or imprisons large numbers of non-white American citizens without a trial, creating the highest incarceration rate in the world with about 22 percent of the world's prisoners in a nation that has about 4.4 percent of the world's population.
...leaving Americans with no ability at all to respond to Xi's "political system" challenge by claiming their government is a democracy - assuming democracy in any sense means majority rule based on the popular vote.

China is facing challenges which if covered by balanced reporting in the U.S. would seem familiar to Americans. Today, nearing the end of the 19th Congress, the Minister of Education Chen Baosheng, Minister of Civil Affairs Huang Shuxian, Minister of Human Resources and Social Security Yin Weimin, Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Wang Menghui, and Minister of National Health and Family Planning Commission Li Bin held a joint news briefing.

Minister of Human Resources and Social Security Yin Weimin noted that despite the 3.95% registered unemployment rate in China's urban areas at the end of September "raising the capacity to employ workers overall still faces large pressures."

"We need to create 15 million jobs per year," Yin said, singling out China’s more than 8 million new university graduates that enter the job market each year as one group in need of additional employment.

Yin also said the low unemployment rate in the face of an overall slowdown in the economy was largely due to the new internet economy and entrepreneurship, adding that the ministry would actively support startups to help them “thrive”.

He reported "We've helped 8.8 million people in strained circumstances find jobs," adding that the total number of rural migrant workers increased from 263 million in 2012 to 282 million in 2016.

At the two-hour briefing held partly to address what President Xi called China’s “principle contradiction” between the country’s unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing need for a better life, the ministers outlined some of what they consider to be the biggest achievements of the last five years. Among those achievements is the expansion of basic medical insurance to cover 1.3 billion people and educational opportunities for 90 percent of disabled children.

With 230 million people over the age of 60, making up nearly 1/5 of the population, the challenges grow. Minister Huang Shuxian said they are making progress in providing better facilities for those senior citizens noting “28,000 elderly care homes with nearly seven million beds have been registered across the country. Elderly care service facilities are available in all urban communities and in over half of China’s rural communities.”

Minister Chen Baosheng noted the continuing unbalance of educational resources between urban and rural areas, and even among different districts of individual cities. “The basic focus of our policies is to provide benefits to rural areas, to poor performing schools, to less privileged areas, and to people with economic difficulties,” Chen Baosheng said laying out goals for 2020: an 85 percent gross enrollment rate in three-year kindergarten, and 90 percent in high-schools.

While this was a press briefing, not a new conference, the following CGTN America coverage on YouTube provides a video context though it does have to be pointed out that CGTN is the collection of international language news channels run by the China's government-owned broadcaster China Central Television:

In terms of the goals of China's government, this week provided a good opportunity to learn so long as one recognizes in this context that "short-term" means five years while the year 2049 looms on the Chinese culture's visible horizon.

The year 2049 looms on the California culture's visible horizon also. We might want to give some thought to how China's goals might impact us as we cope with economic and environmental issues.

To learn more about China, its history and culture, watch the six episode Story of China at