The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or LOCPG has been busy engaging with Hong Kongers at the grassroots level, in order to connect with the ground. Officials of the Hong Kong government and the pro-Beijing camp have followed suit. Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing speaks to ordinary Hong Kongers and academics to get a sense of whether this strategy will help to further the Chinese Communist Party’s people-centred governance ideal in Hong Kong society.
Rather than wealth redistribution per se, the deeper issue lies in achieving social justice and equal opportunities for all. Going by the US example, it might not be wise or even feasible to curtail the riches of the wealthy or to straitjacket their business environment. Instead, they and other members of the community can be encouraged to help bring about equitable access to education and a better life.
Heightened gestures of corporate social responsibility and outright donations from major companies have been declared since the Chinese government’s recent push for “common prosperity”. Are these simply knee-jerk reactions to the government’s stance? Can companies be encouraged to be more socially responsible in the long term? China is all abuzz with talk on ways to achieve common prosperity.
The assets of the top eight tycoons in the world have a combined worth of half the global population, says EAI academic Lance Gore, and the Chinese Communist Party faces a choice: Will China go down the old path of Western advanced capitalism, especially Anglo-American capitalism, and make the same mistakes as them? China has shown resolve in reforming its income distribution issues in various sectors including the entertainment industry. But it is not an easy path as vested interests may still interfere and the people can only rely on the self-purification of the Chinese Communist Party to uphold the regime’s people-centred nature.
Few may have heard of the Taishan Club, and even fewer would have been admitted. How did it come about, and why was it dissolved earlier this year? Commentator Yuan Guobao gives us a glimpse into this secretive group of super-elite businesspersons with high net worth.
China has set itself the goal of achieving "common prosperity" in the coming years, after realising its goal of "building a moderately prosperous society in all respects". Chinese academic Luo Zhiheng describes this ideal society which is the opposite of a society plagued by a serious wealth gap — people should look forward to improving their quality of life and not worry about their basic needs; social safety nets should also provide basic livelihood protection for the disadvantaged groups. He outlines how China can realise this ideal by harnessing the strength of all who are able and who have "gotten rich first" during the reform and opening up process.
While Marxism failed 30 years ago in the case of the Soviet Union, the Chinese Communist Party of today claims that it owes its success to the “theoretical advantage” of Marxism. However, rather than hanging on to ideological orthodoxy, a revolution of ideologies is needed to steer the building of an inclusive and harmonious society undergoing the fourth industrialisation. In the new paradigm, much thought will need to go into thinking through knotty issues such as the role of the market in socialism, the value of labour in a hi-tech economy and the role that entrepreneurs can play as builders of socialism.
Rapid real estate and infrastructure development in China over the past two to three decades has improved people’s lives, but also led to rising housing prices and property speculation. Regional governments have started to step in with regulatory measures. Commentator David Ng thinks these are good signs, as a society’s wealth should be distributed by labour and contribution instead of through housing.
US-based Chinese researcher Zhou Nongjian takes a close look at Biden’s US$6 trillion stimulus plans to improve the US economy and meet the challenge from China. He asserts that infrastructure-building and poverty assistance plans are stop-gap measures that will not address fundamental problems such as the US’s loss of industries and declining national strength. Is the US president putting the cart before the horse?