China hails Xi's 'Four Comprehensives'

[BEIJING] Chinese state-run media gave wall-to-wall coverage on Wednesday to President Xi Jinping's newly declared "Four Comprehensives" political theory as he consolidates power and advances his own brand of Communist thought.

The People's Daily, the ruling party's official mouthpiece, devoted a front-page editorial to the quartet: "Comprehensively build a moderately prosperous society, comprehensively deepen reform, comprehensively govern the nation according to law, comprehensively strictly govern the Party".

The concepts would be the lead item on state broadcaster China Central Television's nightly news programme, it said, and the official Xinhua news agency was to disseminate Mr Xi's political theory - to be republished by news outlets around the country.

Mr Xi first mentioned the idea during a trip to Jiangsu province in December, and a party journal carried an introduction to it last week. But Wednesday was the first time it was promoted on a mass scale.

The Communist Party has had a penchant for numbered catchphrases ever since revolutionary leader Mao Zedong. In the 1960s Mao railed against "the four olds" - old customs, culture, habits and ideas - in his quest to remake society, and the trend has continued ever since.

Former president Jiang Zemin's somewhat intangible "Three Represents" theory was a call for more open membership of the ruling party, which has "Eight Immortals" among its elite revolutionaries.

In its editorial the People's Daily said the Four Comprehensives would "lead the way for strategic layout for national renewal".

But such political pronouncements are often catchphrases with little precise definition or impact on policy.

The first step in the strategy was "achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people through the Chinese Dream" - a phrase that has so far been the catchphrase of Mr Xi's administration.

Despite the Communist Party moving away from its Marxist-Leninist roots to embrace a more market economy - "socialism with Chinese characteristics" - propaganda output and official communications remain awash with jargon.

Mr Jiang's theory and his successor Hu Jintao's own "scientific outlook on development" - a call for sustainable economic growth that has little to do with science - were invoked regularly by cadres at all levels to support the party's policies, and have been enshrined in the national constitution.

Nearly five years ago Mr Xi himself, then vice president, gave a speech at the central party school decrying the use of political jargon that walled the ruling party off from the country's more plain-spoken citizens.

He gave no examples in his attack on "empty words".



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