It’s Slogan Time in China

China’s political slogans yield clues about who’s rising and which policies are favored. With Xi Jinping’s elevation to party secretary this November, analysts will be counting how often older slogans appear in state media and whether new slogans are unveiled at the Party Congress.

Dexter Roberts

Socialism With Chinese Characteristics

In 1982, Deng Xiaoping launched this catchall theory that allows the Communist Party to continually introduce new ideas about running the country. It was another maneuver to nudge the country closer to a market economy.

The Scientific Outlook on Development

Soon-to-retire Party Secretary and President Hu Jintao coined the Scientific Development slogan in 2003. It promotes a more balanced approach to economic development — a rebuke to Deng’s policy of growth at any cost.

The Four Cardinal Principles

Paramount leader Deng Xiaoping introduced the principles in 1979. They include adhering to the socialist road and upholding the leadership of the Communist Party. Deng used them as cover to take the radical step of opening the economy.

The Three Represents

Former President Jiang Zemin introduced this slogan in 2000. It was later added to the constitution as one of the party’s defining ideologies. The first of the “represents” is “advanced productive forces,” code for private entrepreneurs.

Intra-Party Democracy

This slogan dates back decades but has recently gained popularity in the state media and among top officials. It touts efforts to make the Communist Party more accountable to the people, more transparent in its decision-making, and more meritocratic.


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