After 40 years of rapid development, China has entered a phase of medium to low growth, while facing Western aggression. According to Fang Ning, the next 15 to 30 years will be a critical and high-risk period for China's industrialization and modernization. However, the development of the "Aihui-Tengchong line"(“瑷珲—腾冲线”) – a virtual boundary proposed by the economic geographer Hu Huanyong in 1935, starting from Aihui in Heilongjiang on the northeastern border and crossing 45 degrees to the southwest to Tengchong in Yunnan Province – is in a position to become an important breakthrough in the construction of a new pattern of development and to help China achieve its second wave of industrialization.
- China's previous economic development model of pursuing speed and scale expansion is highlighting a number of problems, such as imbalances and insufficiency in development, heavy reliance on investment and exports, and insufficient scientific and technological innovation capabilities. These challenges, among others, are contributing to China's difficulties to move up the manufacturing value chain.
- China aims to raise its urbanization rate to 65 percent by 2035. According to the Asian experience, countries and regions with an urbanization rate of more than 65 percent eventually passed the risky final stage of modernization, while countries with an urbanization rate of less than 60 percent tend to experience greater social conflicts when they encounter political turmoil.
- The unevenness of regional development has been increasingly aggravated during the first wave of China's industrialization and urbanization over the last 40 years. In 2019, the gross domestic product (GDP) of the east and the west was 50.98 trillion yuan and 20.49 trillion yuan respectively, with the GDP of one eastern province, Guangdong, being approximately equal to the total of eight western provinces and autonomous regions (Yunnan, Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, Guizhou, etc.).
- The Aihui-Tengchong line reflects the uneven distribution of population and resources between the southeast and northwest regions of China. The area east of the Aihui-Tengchong line accounts for 38.12 percent of the country's land area and about 90 percent of its population, while the area west of the line accounts for 61.88 percent of the country's land area and only about 10 percent of its population.
- The construction of a new pattern of development requires the penetration and expansion of the economically developed southeastern coastal zone into the region along the Aihui-Tengchong line, to produce China's "second wave of industrialization and modernization".
The author points out that the construction of a new economic growth model requires confronting the problems of unbalanced and insufficient development. The imbalance in the population and resource allocation on both sides of the Aihui-Tengchong line is the fundamental cause of China's developmental issues. It is, therefore, the reason that this bottleneck must be broken so that China can meet the unprecedented changes required for this century. The area along the Aihui-Tengchong line has huge developmental potential and has both the need for and the conditions to become the "second wave" of China's future industrialization and the "new frontier" of modernization.
It has been more than six months since the Taliban took power in Afghanistan. Following Wang Yi's first visit to Afghanistan on March 24, China hosted a third meeting of foreign ministers of Afghanistan and its neighbors on March 30-31 in Tunxi, Anhui Province, China. This includes Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, with the participation of representatives from the US, Indonesia, and Qatar. The author points out that this meeting included more countries than the previous two foreign ministers' meetings, and its aim was to build consensus on the developments in Afghanistan, to discuss the next stage of joint efforts to promote the country's stabilization, and to appeal to the international community to provide greater support.
- Western media ignores Afghanistan, but the country is currently suffering from a humanitarian crisis that's worse than Ukraine's. More than 90 percent of Afghans lack sufficient food and more than 1.1 million children are severely malnourished. Western countries, the US in particular, are, in large part, responsible for Afghanistan's problems, but have "washed their hands" of any responsibility for the lives of the Afghans.
- At a time when the US has started a New Cold War and the world is becoming more polarized, China is uniting all the forces it can to help Afghanistan solve its problems and to change the direction of international relations. China provides the world a clear example of its diplomacy in practicing multilateralism and standing for international justice.
- China respects the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, and respects the independent choices made by the Afghan people. Over the past year, China has participated in many international conferences related to the Afghan issue and contributed through diplomatic means.
- China has also provided Afghanistan humanitarian aid worth nearly 300 million yuan. The Western "aid" to Ukraine consists only of anti-personnel weapons, while China has provided Afghanistan and Ukraine with food, medicine, clothing, sleeping bags, tents, and other real humanitarian aid.
The author points out that all kinds of humanitarian disasters in the world today are linked to the hegemony of the United States. The existing international order is no longer effective in restraining the superpower, but this does not mean that the people of the world approve of the US approach. China has helped shine a light on the human suffering that exists in Afghanistan and it will continue to draw the world's attention toward this grave crisis. Whether it is the Russian-Ukranian crisis or the Afghanistan issue, China has always maintained an objective and neutral attitude, not taking sides, but advocating dialogue and guidance to help resolve the crisis.
Since March, the number of Covid-19 cases in Shanghai has continued to surge. There is tremendous pressure to curb the spread of the pandemic, and consequently 15 provinces across the country have sent more than 38,000 medical personnel and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) has deployed 2,000 people to support Shanghai. Similarly, during the outbreak of Covid-19 in Wuhan, Hubei province in early 2020, China adopted the “pairing assistance”(对口支援 duìkǒu zhīyuán) measure, mobilizing more than 40,000 medical personnel from 29 provinces across China to support Hubei (as of March 2020), and thus the outbreak was effectively controlled within two months. Shi Xiaoqin, Fan Liming, and Shi Shaobin analyze the important role of "pairing assistance" approach, as an institutional arrangement with Chinese characteristics that has been used for over 40 years.
- "Pairing assistance" is an inter-regional resource allocation and horizontal transfer payment (横向转移支付héngxiàng zhuǎnyí zhīfù) system under the macro-control of the central government. It is implemented by "provinces helping cities" and "cities assisting counties". And it is noteworthy that the less developed regions such as Xinjiang, Gansu and Ningxia, which used to be recipients of aid, have now become the main providers of this aid.
- The reason for the rapid start of the "pairing assistance" policy reflects the characteristics of the Chinese system. The leadership of the Communist Party of China and the central government ensure that lower-level governments adhere to higher-level governments. This ensures that there is a nationwide coordinated plan, in which all forces and resources can be quickly mobilized to cope with the tasks.
- "Pairing assistance" program's implementation will also be included in the performance assessment of government officials. A series of incentives and constraint mechanisms ensure that local governments respond actively to the central government's policies and fully mobilize resources to control the epidemic and make people's lives the top priority.
- The Party and the government's "people-oriented" philosophy of governance, as well as the cultural legacy such as "standing together with mutual assistance amid difficulties"（守望相助 shǒu wàng xiāng zhù) and "the primacy of righteousness over profit"（重义轻利 zhòng yì qīng lì). This governance style internalizes the moral obligation of "pairing assistance" rather than making it a compulsory political task, which ensures the continuous and effective practice of the policy.
The authors argue that the "pairing assistance" program in Wuhan represents the largest aid-related operation ever conducted in history, even faster than the speed of the Wenchuan earthquake rescue in 2008. "Pairing assistance" has enhanced Hubei's public service capacity, and guaranteed the efficiency and quality of medical treatment. At the same time, the government deployed the media to publish real-time information of "pairing assistance" to society, strengthening people's trust in political decisions made by the Party and the government, maintaining the stability of social order, and, as a result, laying the foundation for the national economic recovery.
As part of China's rural revitalization strategy to achieve common prosperity, new forms of collective economy are being extensively explored. Yantai's "Party-led cooperative" (党组织领办合作社 dǎng zǔzhī lǐng bàn hézuòshè ) is one of the most popular types. However, some scholars have questioned this model as a backtracking exercise and have argued that the party leadership would impact the peasants' autonomy. Jiang Yu points out five differences between the new rural cooperatives and those of the early years after the founding of a new China in 1949 and those in the Western cooperative system. He argues that the new rural cooperatives are not "going backwards", but rather making better use of the advantages of the public ownership system.
- Rural cooperatives, run by individuals or enterprises, have a role to play in economic development, but the fragmentation of the rural business structure makes it difficult for them to expand. Moreover, the bulk of the proceeds from such cooperatives remains in the hands of a few people or go to enterprises, which is a deviation from the goal of common prosperity. These problems, however, have been solved by the Yantai's Party branch-led cooperatives.
- Since the pilot project in 11 villages in 2017, 3,245 party branches in Yantai have set up cooperatives, accounting for 52 percent of all villages, and have developed a new way to strengthen villages and enrich people. For example, in 2019, villagers in Dong Yuantou Village received a dividend of 5,050 yuan per mu of land, while villagers in Liang Ming Village received a dividend of more than 300 yuan and 600 yuan per 1,000 yuan of capital stock in the past two years, both much higher than the income from simply transferring the land.
- Thanks to the high-level development of secondary and tertiary industries, China's agricultural industry has shifted from focusing on grain production, as in the early years of New China, to pursuing comprehensive benefits. And therefore, new forms of collective economy can liberate farmers from the primary industry and improve efficiency.
- Rural communities used to support the development of cities. The situation, however, has changed, as rural areas are attracting urban resources. Guided by the collective economic policy, idle rural assets, scattered workforce, resources and land can be better organized and urban surplus resource assets can be transferred to rural areas, thus achieving integrated urban-rural development.
- The "clear waters and green mountains" vision has helped turn a previously disregarded environment into invaluable assets. In the context of China entering a period of high ecological risk and a bottleneck in urbanization, the collective economy, led by the Party, village, and community, can most effectively develop and protect the ecological spatial resources of the countryside.
- Under the socialist market economic system, the new cooperatives, led by the Party, boost peasant's motivation and encourage members to participate in democratic management. This helps to eliminate any inadequate management in cooperatives under the planned economy.
The author argues that the West tends to have cooperatives led by private ownership and keep apart from governments and political parties. China's rural cooperatives must adhere to the Party's leadership. This is because the vast developing countryside is subject to exploitation by both global and national industrial and commercial capital. Only a "Party-led cooperative" can prevent rural gains from being controlled by a few and can truly organize the peasants and move towards common prosperity.
During the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1937-1945), the Chinese Communists, represented by Mao Zedong, combined the Marxist theory of the United Front with the strategic principles of the Anti-Japanese National United Front, and developed the idea of the International United Front Against Fascism. Tang Zhengmang and Li Guoliang elaborate on these ideas and principles proposed by Mao, which are still useful today.
- First, the need for broad unity and differentiated treatment. During the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, Mao pointed out that anyone who opposed Japanese fascism could be included in the united front. After the outbreak of the Great Patriotic War against German fascism, Mao proposed that "regardless of whether they were imperialist countries or bourgeois, all those who opposed fascism, Germany, Italy, and Japan, and aided the Soviet Union and China were righteous." In 1938, Mao recognized that the united front should be adjusted according to the circumstances, and that fascist governments and their peoples should be treated differently. Also socialist countries and capitalist countries should occupy different positions in the united front.
- Second, seeking unity through struggle. Before the outbreak of the Pacific War (or the Asia–Pacific War, 1941-1945), Mao was resolute in his criticism and struggled against the appeasement policy pursued by the United Kingdom and the US. After the South Anhui Incident, Mao was impressed by the United States' mediation of the conflicts between the CPC and Kuomintang and therefore worked more closely with the United States.
- Third, never compromise on principled issues involving national interests, while the rest can be handled with flexibility. For example, in 1944, the then US ambassador to China, Mr Hurley, and Mao drew up the draft Yan'an Agreement and reached consensus on a number of issues. But when Hurley tried to persuade the CPC to hand over its army and power, Mao objected unequivocally.
- Fourth, standing on self-reliance and striving for foreign aid. The Kuomintang imagined that it would rely on foreign aid to win the war, but Mao insisted "on self-reliance, while not giving up all possible foreign aid."
- Fifth, insisting on internationalism as the basis of patriotism and opposing narrow nationalism and chauvinism of the great powers. Mao pointed out that "The Chinese Communists must combine patriotism and internationalism. Only when the nation is liberated will it be possible to liberate the proletariat and the working people. Defeating the imperialists that invade China is also helping the peoples of foreign countries."
The indivisibility of world peace is the basis of Mao's ideology of the International United Front Against Fascism. During the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, Mao skillfully combined the Anti-Japanese National United Front with the International United Front Against Fascism. He understood that the stronger the international united front was, the closer the ties between the anti-fascist allies would be. This eventually contributed to China's consolidation of the Anti-Japanese National United Front, which was an important component of the ultimate victory in the war against Japan.
(Chinese Voices will continue to interpret the historical context and developmental logic of Marxism's Sinicization)
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