Politics in Western countries often involves celebrity gossip, scandals, rumors, and tweetstorms. Political leaders pander to adolescent sentiments among the public, cultivating a mindset akin to sports fans -- cheering on their favorite teams while booing their opponents.
However, when one opens the pages of Xi Jinping's "The Governance of China," the second volume now available in English, the pages present a lost art, something that was essential in building civilization: statecraft.
The art of leadership that built Mesopotamia, Greece, Rome, and eventually pushed Europe toward the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, was not a mindset that sought to win juvenile beauty contests or Twitter arguments. Leadership is both a science and an art, in which those who have carefully studied human behavior and economics can enact policies to advance their nation-state.
Xi Jinping is from an entirely different stock than Donald Trump. Xi has spent his life studying Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, and the ideology and principles that created modern China. Xi is qualified due to his years of service and has been entrusted by his people to perform the task of building a prosperous, socialist society.
The first time Xi Jinping visited the United States, he went to Muscatine, Iowa. Why? Xi was serving in the local government of a rural area. He knew that American farms were using the most advanced agricultural technology and science, and as a young, rising star within the Chinese Communist Party, he traveled across the planet to see what could be learned from American farmers.
Xi's family suffered during the disastrous policies of "The Gang of Four," and it was in the aftermath of Deng's great reform and opening up, when so many new possibilities lay before the country, that Xi began to ascend toward his current role as head of state.
Xi Jinping's writings present the wisdom of a statesman who knows his craft. The latest volume expounds on the Belt and Road Initiative, an alternative vision of globalization in which countries can enrich themselves through win-win cooperation.
The book talks about Marxism and the scientific socialist principles that have been essential in the founding and growth of the People's Republic. A section of the new text is dedicated to environmentalism and China's efforts to develop technology that is ecologically sustainable.
Xi emphasizes party discipline and policies to combat corruption. His efforts to clean up the business environment in China and ensure that honesty and government accountability prevail have made headlines around the world.
Mao Zedong, the founder of the People's Republic of China, famously said: "If you want to know the taste of a pear, you must change the pear by eating it yourself. If you want to know the theory and methods of revolution, you must take part in revolution. All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience."
As the pages of the U.S. mainstream press seem to ponder and try to explain China on a daily basis, the actual writings of Xi Jinping are essential for those who want to go beyond speculation and understand the truth.
Furthermore, Xi Jinping has said himself, on more than one occasion: "The worth of any plan is in its implementation." As China becomes stronger and more prosperous every day, living out the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, it should be evident to any serious student of politics, economics, or world events, why reading Xi Jinping's published works is essential.
Originally Published at China.org.cn