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Move forward on Xi's remark
The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping has said: "Making empty talk is harmful to the nation, while doing practical jobs can help it thrive". This is not only a sign that the Party is determined to change its working and talking style, but also a serious reflection on history that will lead to China's rejuvenation, says an article on eastday.com. Excerpts:
Xi's remark can be traced back to Deng Xiaoping, who first used it while addressing local leaders in Hubei province on his inspection tour of South China in 1992. Deng's speeches made on the southern tour has opened compatriots' mind and served as the driving force of China's reform and opening-up, and the country's fast development.
Now that Xi has used it, it is a clear signal that the new leadership is committed to continuing the reform and opening-up, and it is in conformity with the road explored by former leaders.
The word "empty talk" is a reference to "talking without action", which famous scholar Gu Yanwu of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) summed up and said was misleading for a state's fortune.
Phrase mongering used to be popular among feudal social and government elites during the Three Kingdoms (AD 220-280), Jin Dynasty (AD 265-420), and Southern and Northern Dynasties (AD 420-581), a period of disunity, instability and warfare in China. Descendants even blamed it for the collapse of the Jin Dynasty (AD 265-420).
Even earlier, in ancient China, there was a popular tradition of debating such as the Contention of a Hundred Schools of Thoughts during the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) and the Warring States Period (475-221 BC).
Therefore, discussing thoughts and ideas gradually became not only a way of academic exchange, but also a style of functioning for elites, who perceived speculative debating as a way to achieve their goals.
Elites at that time indulged in debating, drinking, playing music and cynicism, turning a blind eye to practical solutions to social problems. This actually sowed the seeds for the chaos that was to follow later.
The fact of "empty talk is harmful to country" can be interpreted as a historical phenomenon. Emperor Li Shimin of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) pushed for the compilation of the history of the Jin Dynasty (AD 265-420), because most importantly he wanted to learn how "empty talk" led to the Jin Dynasty's collapse.
Although a conclusion has not been reached on whether "empty talk" is alone to blame for social decay and failure, it should certainly not be part of social attitude.
Since China faces an important historic period that offers great opportunities and constitutes serious challenges as well, we should not waste time on "empty talk". The reality, however, is the opposite in the country.
Given the amount of officials' speeches at conferences, and the highlighting of their major principles on TV screens and in newspapers, we have to confess that "empty talk" has already caused harm. What we need more than ever now is practical work.
Xi's remark conveys two basic meanings. One is that we should take the right direction for reform and development, make serious efforts to achieve our goals and avoid meaningless arguments. The other is that we should change our political culture from "empty talk" to practical work and try to help the people overcome their real problems. Only in this way, can we achieve new things under the new leadership and realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
(China Daily 12/06/2012 page9)