Over the past years, China has strengthened its anti-corruption campaign, regulated disorderly capital expansion, and pledged to achieve common prosperity. Combined with the decline in economic growth in the second half of 2021, some Chinese entrepreneurs are beginning to lose confidence in China's development prospects. Yao Yang, however, said at a recent conference that China is seen as a land of hope, maintaining the world's highest foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows (US$177 billion, one-fifth of global total) in the first half of 2021, according to OECD. He added that China will enter its most prosperous period in the coming thirty years in a millennium. Technological progress and capital accumulation are the main driving forces for economic development. Globally, China has played a big part in the field of intermediate technology, and also has become the world leader in some areas of advanced technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), renewable energy, and electric vehicles. For example, with AI-enabled mapping, even Chinese elders commonly track their online packages on their phones in real-time; 75 percent of the world's solar energy components are made in China; the country's electric cars are expected to be exported to the rest of world in the next 10 years like Japanese-made cars that swept the world in the 1980s. Some economists think that China's economy has seen its peak in capital accumulation after maintaining rapid growth for 40 years. Yao asserts that capital accumulation will continuously rise as long as China is in the process of being urbanized, in which an estimated 200 million Chinese peasants will move to the cities in the next 15 years. Yao believes that these two factors will prop up China's long-term growth. According to Yao, if China's growth were 1.5 percentage points higher than the US', the country would overtake the US to be the world's largest economy between 2028 and 2030. Also, the country's GDP would become twice as big as the US' by 2049 when China is expected to achieved the Second Centenary Goal (第二个百年目标 dì èr gè bǎinián mùbiāo) of becoming a modern socialist country in all respects in the process of national rejuvenation.
The US-China relationship is the most critical bilateral relationship in the world system today. Tian Feilong points out that US perceptions and interactions with China have always been characterized by a colonialist impulse and a sense of moral vanity, as well as a strong economic rationality motivated by capitalist interests and the market. Beginning with the Sino-American Treaty of Wangxia (望厦条约 wàng shà tiáoyuēn) in 1844, the US attempted to influence and transform China with the Western-style market principles, rule of law, and democracy. By the late 1940s, however, the US strategy to transform China failed through supporting a KMT government that represented the interests of China's powerful elites and compradors. The decisive rise of the CPC and the self-liberation of the Chinese people broke the US' "grand plan" for market capture and democratic transformation of China. The author argues that US-China relations after the founding of the PRC in 1949 represent a history of alternating between a short-term hot war, long-term cold war, and contact and reconciliation. The US is directly confronted with the CPC, which has embraced Marxism and has taken root in China and among the Chinese people. During the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union, faced with an ideological antagonism of the CPC and a socialist China under its leadership, the US sought a new strategy of "engagement" (接触主义 jiēchù zhǔyì), namely limited contact and guidance of China in diplomatic and economic relations, to eventually split the socialist camp and achieve a convergence of Chinese values and institutions with those of the West. The former was achieved successfully-the Soviet Union collapsed，but the latter has been blocked under the leadership of President Xi Jinping since 2012. The country's rapid development poses a direct challenge to the global hegemony of the US, and therefore it cannot accept China's new globalization system of the Belt and Road Initiative and a "community with a shared future for humanity" that is truly based on the universal values of peace and development. In his "New Iron Curtain Speech" in July 2020, US Secretary of State Pompeo announced the end of the "engagement doctrine" and the beginning of the new "containment doctrine" strategy, and declared that the "New Cold War" between China and the United States had begun. The US-China relationship has gradually shifted from the offensive and defensive positions of the trade war to the "balance of power" of comprehensive national strength. This also implies a major shift in China's foreign strategy, from the previous strategies of "hiding our strength and biding our time" (韬光养晦 tāoguāngyǎnghuì) to " proactive and equal-footing " (平视有为 píngshì yǒu wéi). The author argues that although the US does not officially use the term "New Cold War" to position the new US-China relationship, "cooperation" is clearly no longer the main axis of relations between the two countries. They have entered a phase of strategic stalemate, which has three substantive foundations: first, the strategic stage theory of Mao Zedong's "On Protracted War" (论持久战 lùn chíjiǔ zhàn); second, the "declining resilience" of US hegemony; and third, the systematic growth of China's national rejuvenation and global governance.
According to the recently released China Statistical Yearbook 2021, in 2020, China had 564 million people with a monthly per capita disposable income – income after personal taxes for consumption or saving – of just over 1,000 yuan (US$140) or even lower, accounting for 40 percent of the total population. Nevertheless, the number of low-income people is decreasing. In May 2020, Premier Li Keqiang said that "600 million people in China earn only 1,000 yuan a month" (610 million, 2019), sparking a huge public discussion. In his article, Ning Nanshan categorizes China's low-income population into five main groups: around 161 million elderly people, especially in rural areas, who only have an average monthly pension of 174 yuan (US$27.3), and earn money through farming and selling vegetables; people with disabilities or diseases that affect their work account for over 80 million people; tens of millions people who still do farming and herding in less developed ethnic minority regions, such as Liangshan in Sichuan Province and southern Xinjiang; nearly 10 million unemployed people, and the working group aged above 40 but have low-education level, such as truck drivers, construction workers, cleaners, and security guards, as well as their children. One notable fact is that thanks to China's poverty alleviation project, the annual per capita income of the poorest 20 percent of the population (282 million) has increased by 65.75 percent to 7,868.8 yuan (US$1,234.8) from 2014 to 2020, the fastest growth among any groups. The author states that the number of low-income people will continue to decrease with the universalization of social security and the rising education level and economic growth of non-first-tier cities, such as Nanjing, Hefei, and Chengdu. He concludes that in order to achieve common prosperity, while continuing to "make the cake bigger" (or pursuing higher economic growth), it is also necessary to strengthen the balanced distribution of industries across the country, to narrow the regional development gap, create job opportunities for those who are unable to leave their hometowns, and improve the living standards of low-income people.
China is committed to following a road of socialist rural revitalization with Chinese characteristics. Chen Wensheng reviews the evolution of six historical stages of the Communist Party of China's (CPC) handling of urban-rural relations since 1927, shedding light on CPC's current focus on rural revitalization as part of its historical mission. The first stage was after the defeat of the Chinese Revolution- a significant revolution against imperialism and feudal warlords between 1924-1927 led by the Kuomintang (KMT)-CPC alliance. The stage, characterized by urban worker-led uprisings, that shifted the CPC's focus from the cities to the countryside, opening the way for the strategy of encircling the cities from the countryside. The second phase was just before the Chinese Revolution in 1949, when the Party decided to shift the focus of work from the countryside to the cities, promoting China's transformation from an agricultural to an industrial country. This was the first time that Mao Zedong clearly stated that the direction of China's future development was "modernization" (现代化 xiàndàihuà). As a result of the separation of urban and rural areas, China established two different household registration systems, resource allocation systems, and a dual structure in which industry dominates agriculture. The third phase began in 1978 when China entered a new era of reform and opening up. The reform was first initiated in the poorest rural areas, and in 1985, for the first time since PRC's foundation, peasants contributed a much greater share than urban citizens in consumer spending. At the same time, township enterprises emerged. The vast majority of the million dollar households were owned by farmers. The fourth phase was marked by the Third Plenary Session of the Twelfth Central Committee of the CPC in October 1984, which announced that the focus of work had once again shifted from the countryside to the cities. An export-oriented, large-scale, and labor-intensive economy developed rapidly, and China's status as the "factory of the world" gradually took shape. However, the "Three Rural Issues" (三农问题 sān nóng wèntí) became the general social consensus of that era. The fifth phase began in November 2002 when the 16th National Congress of CPC formally proposed the integration of urban and rural economic and social development, initiating a historic transformation of China's urban-rural relations. During this stage, China increased agricultural subsidies and completely abolished agricultural taxes. At the 18th National Congress, the CPC initiated its sixth shift in its focus, making the vast rural areas the main battleground for fighting poverty and building an all-rounded moderately prosperous society. After eradicating absolute poverty at the end of 2020, along with the implementation of the CPC's second centenary goal, the central government proposed that "to revive the nation, the countryside must be revitalized," placing rural revitalization at an unprecedented national strategic level. The author points out that this indicates that China's social development is evolving into a more advanced stage of modernization with the integration of urban and rural development.
The process of Sinicization of Marxism has taken three leaps, providing ideological guidance to the CPC in different historical periods. In his article, Shen Chuanbao analyzes the historical evolution of these three leaps. In the early days of the Party, due to the lack of revolutionary experience, dogmatism dominated at different moments, and the Chinese revolutionary process found itself in a near-desperate situation. The Chinese Communists, represented by Mao Zedong, established the ideological line of seeking truth from facts (实事求是 shí shì qiú shì) and explored the new democratic revolutionary path of "encircling cities in the countryside and seizing power with arms," which was different from the classic Marxist-Leninist approach. After the reform and opening up in 1978, Deng Xiaoping created the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, re-established the ideological line of seeking truth from facts, scientifically grasped the theme of the times, comprehensively summarized the historical experience since the founding of New China, shifted the focus to the economy, and started the second historical leap of Marxism's Sinicization. Subsequent leaders such as Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao have further developed the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics and made world-renowned achievements in economic development. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, China's main domestic contradiction has shifted from insufficient productivity to unbalanced development. Internationally, China's achievements have sharpened the competition over ideologies and social systems. In the face of the world's unprecedented changes in a century, Xi Jinping is leading the third historical leap of Marxism's Sinicization, summarizing historical experience, grasping the essence of Marxism, insisting on seeking truth from facts, and boldly making theoretical innovations to continue providing theoretical guidance for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
(Chinese Voices will continue to interpret the historical context and developmental logic of Marxism's Sinicization)
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