Core Socialist Values (China)

By | November 16, 2021

[November 16, 2021]  In 2012, China formally adopted an idealistic set of 12 “core socialist values” at their 18th National Congress.1  This set of values, not unlike core values I’ve written about here in my blog, attempt to set the stage for how citizens of China see themselves in relation to citizens of other nations and among themselves.  The socialist values are valuable in discussing China’s ascent in the modern world.

Many of these values are predictable and unsurprising; integrity, patriotism, civility, dedication, etc.  Others seem incongruous to the typical Western understanding of China and its long-established wariness of importing Western political democracy; freedom, justice, equality, democracy, etc.

None of these are new.  Since his ascension, President Xi Jinping made the “rule of law” a policy cornerstone and harked back to the second or third century BC.  Some see this emphasis on the rule of law, just a tool for communist party control.  Others say it is the recognition by the party that governance needs to improve.

Democracy is one surprising addition, but a review of Chinese history reveals that this value is commonly found in their history.  However, its use, where citizens elect their government, applies at the local levels of government and in their towns and villages.  It does not apply at the national level.

The question we should ask is why Xi would put forth such an effort to popularize these values.  Most observers believe it is to win all people’s hearts and minds, both at home and abroad.  With the rise of social media, the Chinese see themselves as compared to others worldwide and begin to question the Chinese communist party.  Their citizens, like all of us, want to know that their nation is on the right path.  It is comforting to hear that China has what everyone else has.

By adopting language pleasant to Western ears, it is clear that Xi meant this to be far more than domestic propaganda.  More can be read on Xi’s philosophy here (see link).

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  1. Core Socialist Values:
  • National values
  1. Prosperity (Chinese: 富强; pinyin: fùqiáng)
  2. Democracy (Chinese: 民主; pinyin: mínzhǔ)
  3. Civility (Chinese: 文明; pinyin: wénmíng)
  4. Harmony (Chinese: 和谐; pinyin: héxié)
  • Social values
  1. Freedom (Chinese: 自由; pinyin: zìyóu)
  2. Equality (Chinese: 平等; pinyin: píngděng)
  3. Justice (Chinese: 公正; pinyin: gōngzhèng)
  4. Rule of law (Chinese: 法治; pinyin: fǎzhì)
  • Individual values
  1. Patriotism (Chinese: 爱国; pinyin: àiguó)
  2. Dedication (Chinese: 敬业; pinyin: jìngyè)
  3. Integrity (Chinese: 诚信; pinyin: chéngxìn)
  4. Friendship (Chinese: 友善; pinyin: yǒushàn)

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

21 thoughts on “Core Socialist Values (China)

  1. Lady Hawk

    Gen. Satterfield, thanks for this article. I never knew. Why this info is not out there more is what I’m surprised about. And, I would expect that American socialists (communists by another softer name) would be jumping on the bandwagon. But ‘no.’ What gives?

    Reply
    1. corralesdon

      Don’t be too surprised by this Lady Hawk. I see a lot of value to China for trying to emulate the West despite their previous attempts to distance themselves from Europe and America.

      Reply
  2. Wilson Cox

    While there is little evidence that anyone in China takes the values seriously, it may signal, for the cautiously optimistic, that the country is moving in the right direction, and thus tamp down any nascent dissent.

    Reply
    1. Dead Pool Guy

      “Core socialist values are the soul of cultural soft power…Basically, the soft power of a nation depends on the vitality, cohesive force and charisma of its core values.” — President Xi Jinping addressed at a group study of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee Feb 25, 2014

      Reply
      1. Kenny Foster

        Good point, Goalie. These are evils of mankind because it destroys.

        Reply
      2. Silly Man

        The CCP distorts religious teachings by forcing churches, temples, and mosques to preach according to the government-prescribed scripture.

        Reply
        1. Max Foster

          President Xi Jinping demanded in 2015 to “use the core socialist values to guide China’s religions and nourish them with Chinese culture, support interpretations of religious thoughts, regulations, and teachings according to the progress of the times.” The president promotes the values aiming to “strengthen Marxism’s guiding position in the ideological fields” to resist “Western ideological influence on the people.”

          Reply
  3. Billy Kenningston

    Well, I never saw this coming. Out of the blue, Gen. Satterfield has taken us into the realm of China’s leadership. This is a great move and I hope to see more on it. Why? Simple, because that is how we can learn more about leadership and improve out own understanding of it.

    Reply
  4. Len Jakosky

    Gen. Satterfield, excellent article on China’s core values. Of course, I think it is for Party control and to sooth the small minds of those who would stick their heads in the ground when it comes to China’s march to dominance over the world.

    Reply
  5. Rusty D

    If you’re looking for more info on China, there is much out there and I do recommend reading it. China’s ascent, as Gen. Satterfield calls it (truthfully), is something to be concerned about. As Gen. S. notes, this list of values does NOT apply to the Communist Party.

    Reply
    1. Greg Heyman

      Correct, esp. “democracy.” This is meant to bamboozle liberals into thinking China good, America bad. Typical ignorance of those who love Joe Biden and his ilk.

      Reply
      1. Bryan Z. Lee

        Yeah, I was thinking exactly the same thing. Liberals are easily fooled. They follow the leader like lemmings following their leader off the cliff.

        Reply
    2. JT Patterson

      Good point Rusty D. and I’m glad that Gen. Satterfield has finally touched on this topic. I expect to read more about it here in this leadership website, in particular how American reacts to a rising China.

      Reply
      1. Harry Donner

        How does India as a nation – soon to be larger than China – play into this dynamic? More on this would be appreciated.

        Reply

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