“Three Represents” theory

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“Three Represents” theory is an ideology which was introduced by Jiang Zemin. He first mentioned this theory in Guangdong and further explained it in the 80th anniversary of the establishment of CCP (Chinese Communist party) ceremony. In the 16th National Party Congress which was held recently, the “Three Represents” Theory has been written in the Party Constitution. It has confirmed and legitimized the status of the theory in the party and state. Then, what is the meaning of “Three Represents” Theory? How it differs from the other ideology? And, why it is necessary to advocate this ideology and what are the impacts of the theory?

The meaning of “Three Represents” Theory

What is ideology?

“Ideology is a set of political values, feelings, and ideas that guides individuals to act or behave in a certain manner for the purpose of achieving a particular goal” (Wang, 2001). Moreover, ideology is comprised by “a system of the ideas and representations (images, myths, ideas or concepts, according to the case) which dominate the mind of a man or a social group” (Louis, 1977).

Ideology not only would be logical completed, consistent and coherent, but also must be self-legitimated. Thus the ruling party could like to apply thoughts, emotions and attitudes into politics for legitimate her political actions.

Types of Ideology

Ideology can be divided into two different approaches: the pure ideology and the practical ideology. If an ideology leads to the formulation of a policy or an action, it is a practical ideology; but if an ideology is employed for the sole purpose of molding the thinking of the individual, it is a pure ideology. Generally, the pure ideology is a set of theories; practical ideology is based on experiences and practices. (James C.F.Wang 2002)

The trend of ideology adopt in China

In China, ideology plays a significant role for Communist Party to maintain its governing authority. Marxism, Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory constitute a major portion of the political ideology that not only control people’s thinking, but also guide social and economic development. As the changing environment in China and the world, the third-generation leader: Jiang Zemin, has stated a new ideology “Three Represents” in order to provide the future direction and economic policy development of China. Tracing back to the history, ones can find that the trend of ideology in China is shifting from the pure theory to the more practical one.

In the era of Mao Zedong, he advocated many pure political ideologies, such as class struggle (jianji douzheng wei gang, zua geming, zu shengzhan) to guide all of social and economic developments. However, his ideologies led to economic turmoil and recession in China.

When Deng Xiaoping being the leader of CCP, he introduced “Open- door” policy. Deng’s theory started to shift from pure ideology to a more practical one. “Three benefit theory” and “Cat theory” were derived to the formulation of the “open-door” policy

As the third-generation leader: Jiang Zemin inherits and enhances Deng’s Theory to continue the development of market-oriented economy and “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Recently, he introduced the “Three Represents” theory, which can be regarded as a practical ideology to deem as the supplementary for economic policy development. Thus ideology in China has transformed from the pure political oriented approach to the practical oriented approach.

The meaning of “Three represents”

“Three represents theory” is a new practical ideology, which includes three statements:

1. “The Chinese Communist Party represents advanced productive forces”

2. “The Communist Party represents advanced Chinese culture”

3. “The Communist Party represents the fundamental interests of the overwhelming majority of the people of China”

Although the meaning of them seems to be ambiguous, the main theme of the theory is very obvious. We can easily find that, those three statements are flexible for interpretation. No doubt that the main theme of “Three Represents” is to put emphasis on the legal and formal admission for the owners of the private enterprises in the Chinese Communist Party. Furthermore, it recognizes the owners’ economic contribution in China.

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