Sun Bin has an excellent article on what the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) envisions for China in the medium term (20-50 years), based on his analysis of the messages in a recent Chinese TV documentary series, "The Rise of the Great Nations."
Many years ago, I read Paul Kennedy's The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers. It appears someone in the Chinese leadership also read this book, prompting a CCP Politburo seminar on the subject in 2003, and the beginning of TV production project that took three years and resulted in the recent CCTV documentary.
The video (Chinese only) is now available on several websites (1-7, 8, 9, 10, 11-12) or bittorrent. (The latter server hosted in the US and run by exiled pro-democracy activist Hu Ping). There's also some discussion (in English) here, but Sun Bin's article is the best analysis I've seen, including his summary of the key principles being pushed:
- Great Nation = Innovation and contribution to its own people and the world
... In the Finale the head of Chinese Diplomatic Institute Wu Jianmin was quoted as saying something like this, "Great nation contributes to the world development, innovation is essential for making such contribution, and innovation is not possible if free thinking is constrained"
- Aggression through force is to be avoided at all costs
... the program made it clear that the modern world order is one in which competition is by business and innovation, and contribution to humanity and scientific knowledges, not by military success.
- Rule of law and building of a system
... in almost all episodes, especially that of UK and US, the rule of law were emphasized ...
- Focus on internal development and building sustainable capabilities
- For catching up 'great nations' (e.g Germany, Japan, Russia), the government must play the leading role
This is perhaps the most controversal point in this program, IMHO, as it not only emphasized the role of government "planning", praising its contribution to the Russian industrialization in the 1920s-1930s, it also praises the Keysian economics which influenced the role fo the governement in Rosevelt administration -- my concern is that it is difficult and tempting to forget the fact that government role is needed only when the problem is so serious that the invisible hand is unable to cope with it, and Chinese bureacracts, like bureacrats elsewhere will soon forget the principle that government intervention is needed only as a last resort)
- Together with the government role above, the views on USSR's "worthy experiment" on socialism and planned economy is positively ambiguous
My speculation is that the Politburo could not agree on these issues and decided they will keep the conclusion open (again, this is assuming that the program is part of the state propaganda). Same can be said about when globalization will truly make aggressive war obsolete, as in the Finale it stated such time will come even though if not in the medium term.
If you are at all interested in China, I heartily recommend reading Sun Bin's complete post.