China’s Common Prosperity Campaign


UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Xi Jinping President of the People’s Republic of China speak’s at a United Nations Office at Geneva. 18 january 2017. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

Safa Hameed

This year, President Xi Jinping has implemented a massive crackdown and reshaping on all spheres of Chinese life–from the economy to culture–in what some have called a “rectification” program, but Jinping calls “common prosperity.” 

The “common prosperity” that Jinping is pushing is a plan to close the gap between the rich and poor in China, both economically and culturally. China, like all other countries, experiences an ever growing and startling wealth inequality and the main goal of the campaign. This in return has seen plans and actions of raising taxes on grossly excessive wealth and curbing them for the poor, increasing social welfare programs, raiding the entertainment industry to be more “Chinese”, getting rid of private for-profit education, cutting down work hours, and even raising wages. 

Jinping has been in office since 2013, yet mentions of this “common prosperity” and the agenda which he began to dole out only became prominent in late 2020 and implemented this year. This is because, while sure this campaign is in part due to his concern for the Chinese people as President and face of Socialism, this campaign has been politically engineered. Next year, Jinping plans to run and ultimately win his third term in office. This is unprecedented as he is the first Chinese President to go beyond the two-term limit that had been previously set. 

For the most part, Xi Jinping can do what Xi Jinping wants to do. So, if he wants another term nothing is really stopping him–not even the people. However, he still recognizes that as much as everything can be regulated, mandated, and accepted, you can’t control how people think. So, by taking on this campaign which benefits the majority of older and low-income Chinese buys Jinping’s approval rating and ticket to no dissent among his people as he ushers in a new political era. With the people calling for and now backing his third term–one that most people recognize will turn never ending–the people who oppose his move can’t say anything.

This campaign has seen China wanting to become egalitarian especially in housing, school, and health care. For example, in order to make schooling more fair China has banned private for-profit tutoring. This is seen as a move to make education more equal since richer citizens pay massive amounts of money that guarantee their children high end schooling that guarantees college admission. 

Moreover, the entertainment industry has seen lots of crackdowns from the government as well. The government has worn against excessive fan bases and has told social media sites, like Weibo (Chinese version of twitter), to keep them in line. This is a move that has been favored by parents all over the country who view the fan bases as too extreme, including to some who think they view fans as money makers. The government banned TV survival shows for celebrity “Idol” trainees that only allow viewers to vote by spending money. On the Chinese TV show, Idol Producer, fans could vote for their favorites by buying milk and using the code on the bottles to vote through an app. Well, this product promotion worked well because fans were seeing buying obscene amounts of milk and dumping them down drains in truckloads.