No. 16 | 17.10.2021
China should firmly and boldly lead the new industrial revolution
Justin Yifu Lin
Justin Yifu Lin (林毅夫) is Dean of the Institute of New Structural Economics and the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development, Peking University, and is the former Chief Economist of the World Bank.

Justin Yifu Lin believes that one of the hallmarks of China's second centennial goal – "build a modern socialist country by 2049" – should be that China's GDP per capita reaches at least half that of the US. Since becoming the world's biggest economy in the late 19th century, the US has formed a habit of containing a country when its economy comes second to the US's, reaching 60 percent of its GDP; Japan in the 1980s was an example of this. Now that China's GDP measured by market exchange rates has risen to 70 percent that of the US, the US is playing the same old trick again. Lin argues that China is more than capable of leading the new industrial revolution to break US tech blockade and achieve its second centennial goal. Currently, China's top seven GDP per capita provinces and municipalities attained 54.5 percent of the GDP per capita of the US using PPP (purchasing power parity) exchange rate, roughly the same ratio of Germany's per capita GDP to the UK when Germany led the Second Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century. In addition to the material conditions, China also boasts abundant human capital, enormous market size, and comprehensive industrial sectors, securing the edge over the US in leading the new industrial revolution. In response to the criticisms of liberal economists' on government economic intervention through industrial policy, Lin urges that the government should, instead, firmly and boldly employ the industrial policies to support the new industrial revolution. Active and productive government guidance to overcome market failures is necessary for developing new technologies and industries – whether they are in the catch-up or the leading stage.

A sign of warming relations with the US? China should avoid the US’s trap
Zhao Dingxin
Zhao Dingxin (赵鼎新) is a sociologist and the director of Institute for Advanced Study in Humanities and Social Sciences, Zhejiang University.

The recent top-level meetings between China and the US spark speculation that the US is adjusting its policy towards China. In this article, Zhao Dingxin argues it is crucial that China avoid the “trap of being expendable” (垫背陷阱 Dìanbèi jiànjǐng) in managing ties with the US. Although the US has the absolute advantage in geographic location, military power, and talent attraction, it cannot effectively carry out progressive reforms because of its conservative structure. As a result, the nationwide George Floyd protests and the Capitol riot led by supporters of Donald Trump are examples of the various social problems that arise. The US has historically relieved social tensions through western expansion or wars. For instance, the US involvement in World War II after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor was the perfect opportunity for the US to pull itself out of the Great Recession and usher in prosperity. Japan became cannon fodder that "made America great again." Zhao believes that if US domestic issues are left unresolved, the spillover effects will inevitably hit China first. China should not underestimate the US' powerful and creative capacity. It should approach the notion of "American decline" with caution and continue its win-win approach to diplomacy. Simultaneous cooperation with and resistance to the West are necessary for breaking the US-led alliance against China. Under no circumstances should China be expended in the process of US's "creative destruction."

Sustainable energy growth is the key to China becoming the world’s largest economy
Wang Jian
Wang Jian(王建) is an economist and the vice president of Society of Macroeconomy of China

The recent electricity restrictions in some regions of China reflect a major shortfall in the electricity supply chain. According to Wang Jian, this energy shortage will be the biggest hurdle in the progress towards becoming the world's largest economy. According to the registered population, China's urbanized population was about 45 percent in 2020. The rate of urbanization in Japan and South Korea reached 80 to 85 percent in the 1970s and 1980s, respectively. If China were to reach a similar level of urbanization, approximately 800 million rural population would move into the cities. Accordingly, China's industrial output would need to rise three-and-a-half fold to 100 trillion yuan (US$ 15.2 trillion) to meet these astronomical demands. From this point of view, China's economy still has substantial potential. However, China will encounter an energy hurdle that is harder to overcome compared to countries that successful "caught up" with advanced economies. The US, for instance, accessed an abundance of energy resources for its emergence as a world superpower in the period of the two world wars because 70 percent of newly discovered energy sources were in the North American continent. Moreover, developed countries have gradually shifted focus from the virtual economy back to the real economy since 2016. If the real economy of the West strengthens, the increased energy demand will cause high resource conflict with China. Hence, this is why Wang argues that China can become the world's strongest economy only if the country can overcome the energy constraints by 2050.

The values of the United Nations can only be upheld by developing countries
Yin Zhiguang
Yin Zhiguang (殷之光)is a professor of International Politics, School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Fudan University

Last month, in Biden's address at the general debate of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, he mentioned the words "attack" six times, "threat" fourteen times, and "allies" eight times, without disguising his US-centric standpoint. In the article, Professor Yin states that the address showed nothing but an imperialist declaration of war that violates the spirit of the United Nations. These remarks indicate Biden's conviction to bring war back to the world, especially toward developing countries that are not "allies" suppressed by the hegemonic power. In contrast, China's president Xi used "cooperation" eight times and "multilateral" five times in his speech, reflecting the perspective of world order based on multilateralism and diversification. The author explains that over the past 80 years, thanks to the anti-imperialist movement of developing countries, including China, the United Nations has shifted from a military alliance to an international organization promoting peaceful and equal development of world order. Developing countries conceived a different world order disenchanted from the narratives of Western-centric imperialism under the process of cooperation under "internationalism." The US forged a political and military alliance with Australia and UK to counter China just before the UN General Assembly, signaling its contempt for the UN's value of equal world order. The author suggests that peace under the US-hegemonic global order is short-lived. For this reason, the UN's principles and values are only defensible by counter-hegemonic developing countries.

Why does the CPC celebrate the Xinhai Revolution with great magnificence?
Zhang Haipeng
Zhang Haipeng (张海鹏) is a historian. As a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, his research focuses on modern Chinese history.

In the commemorative meeting marking the 110th anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution (辛亥革命 xīn hài gé mìng) on October 9, President Xi Jinping's remarks gained wide attention on China's internet. Historian Zhang Haipeng analyzes why the CPC has held grand ceremonies to mark this historical event since the founding of the PRC. First, the party aims to learn from and carry forward the indomitable spirit to revitalize China, pioneered by Sun Yat-sen (孙中山 Sūn zhōngshān) and other revolutionaries in the process of socialist modernization. Second, consolidating the broadest patriotic united front towards national unification is a top priority of the party. The significance of the Xinhai Revolution is that it overthrew the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) – ending the 2,000-year-long imperial and feudal rule – and created the bourgeois-democratic republic. It was a movement of ideological liberation, advocating for the changes in China's political system, foreign relations, social economy, education, culture, customs, and ideas, among others. Zhang argues that the Xinhai Revolution offers valuable lessons to the subsequent revolutionary endeavors and has paved the way forward despite its failure to complete the task of anti-imperialism and anti-feudalism. It could be said that the New Democracy Revolution led by the CPC represents a continuation of the Xinhai Revolution. Zhang further argues that it was the failure of the Xinhai Revolution that pushed Sun to explore a new path for the development of Chinese society. In Sun's later years, he put forward the ideas of "land to the tiller" (耕者有其田 gēng zhě yǒu qí tián) and regulation of capital. As a follower of Marx and Marxism, Sun repeatedly emphasized that socialism and communism were the developmental path China would take.

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