In the 165th episode of China Now, on October 31, Professor Zhang Weiwei and Professor Fan Yongpeng, Vice Dean of the China Institute of Fudan University, explained the China model of modernization, which is of great interest to the international community.
The characteristics that differentiate the China model of modernization from the Western (especially US) model.
- People-centered vs. capital-centered
- Common prosperity vs. polarization
- Synchronization of material and spiritual development vs. endless pursuit of meaningless consumerism
- Harmony between humanity and nature vs. exacerbation of the ecological crisis
- Peaceful development vs. shameless exploitation and plunder by war
The people are an essential element woven throughout the characteristics of the China model of modernization. The Communist Party of China (CPC) is a party that serves the people. Chinese culture exemplifies the ideal of treating people equally and seeking the common good for all humankind.
The development of the China model of modernization is constantly improving.
- In the 1950s, China placed special emphasis on heavy industry, including steel production and weapons development. Later, China presented a more comprehensive concept of the "four modernizations: industrial, agricultural, national defense, and science and technology.
- In the 1980s, Deng Xiaoping proposed "socialist modernization with Chinese characteristics", upgrading the original "four modernizations" to "comprehensive modernization".
- Today, China has taken a completely different path to modernization than that of western countries. Infused with China’s reality in all aspects, it has formed a comprehensive institutional and organizational structure based on practical experiences and has fully developed a model that is neither recognized nor understood by the West.
- The China model of modernization has created a global platform that fosters communication between nations by sharing experiences and deepening the understanding of their present-day challenges.
Disconnects between the theory and practice of modernization.
- There is a huge disconnect between the theory and the actualization of western modernization. The purpose of its theory is to conceal the oppression of the world by the West, the exploitation of the poor by the rich, and the destruction of nature by Western capitalism. One of its important functions is to make the non-Western world dependent on the West and to ensure modernization is a dream that is never within its reach.
- There is also a disconnect between some Chinese intellectuals’ perception of and the actual China model of modernization. While these intellectuals closely follow the theories of western modernization, they have yet to fully understand and thus contribute to China’s model. This lack of acceptance and support is not only detrimental to the Chinese people's correct understanding of themselves, but also to the world's correct understanding of China.
Lessons to be learned from the China model of modernization.
- Preventing external forces from infiltrating and manipulating the government, social movements, and important NGOs is an important step in the political construct of modernization.
- There must be a political force that is universally representative of and truly represents the people, such as the CPC in China.
- Powerful and wealthy special interest groups must not be allowed to hijack the political process. In western countries, the so-called free elections process is riddled with corruption and paid for by wealthy donors and corporations. After funding these elections, elected officials use their power to give back to these interest groups. This results in a political system unresponsive to the people and beholden to the rich.
Socialism with Chinese characteristics entered a new era after the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The Party Central Committee, with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, coordinated the implementation of the strategy to develop the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, resulting in major changes not seen in the world for a century, and promoted the Party and the state to lead these historic achievements and changes. General Secretary Xi adapts the basic principles of Marxist political economy to China’s reality and the characteristics of the times and elevates the practical experience of economic development in the new era into a systematic scientific theory. In the last 10 years, since the 18th Party Congress, Xi Jinping's economic thought has continuously evolved, and reflects the CPC's profound understanding of the laws of economic development, especially the laws of socialist economic construction.
China's economic strength has risen to a new level; economic modernization has entered a new stage
- At the end of 2022, China's GDP per capita had nearly reached the level of high-income countries. While the total output of China's economy is rapidly growing, the economic structure continues to be optimized and total labor productivity continues to increase. The structure of economic modernization is being upgraded through maintaining industrial stability and rebalancing the services industry and the agricultural sector.
- The journey of building China into a modern socialist country, in all respects, has entered a new stage. This new industrialization develops with digitization, urbanization, and agricultural modernization. It provides an alternative path for the world’s countries that wish to achieve industrialization while maintaining their independence. More than at any other time in history, China is closer to and more capable of building a strong socialist country that is rich, democratic, civilized, harmonious, and green, and is achieving the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. With the continuous improvement of the China model of modernization, the economic and social foundation is more solid, and the people are more confident in the modernization path.
In-depth implementation of the innovation-driven strategy and promotion of supply-side structural reform
- The concept of innovation-oriented development affects all areas of society, and the construction of an innovative country has made significant progress. In terms of innovation investment, the growth rate of research and development (R&D) expenditure as a percent of the GDP is generally in the double digits. The application of new technological development is world class; the number of high-tech manufacturing companies has increased significantly, and their proportion of the total industrial base has also grown.
- Facing the most prominent structural problems in China's economic development in the new era, the Party and the government are promoting supply-side structural reform as the core of their economic policies. They are implementing a series of major strategic initiatives such as the strategy of coordination of regional development, rural revitalization, and new urbanization with people at its core. In particular, through the campaign for poverty alleviation, absolute rural poverty has been eradicated. The income gap between urban and rural areas has been narrowed, and national economic development has continued to improve.
Significant effects of economic green transformation and China’s role as a global economic leader
- Lucid water and lush mountains are invaluable assets. The construction of beautiful China has become a major national policy, and the green and low-carbon economic transformation has been accelerated. The Party and the government have focused on a top-level design for this policy, actively promoted technological progress and institutional construction, and are making significant progress in these areas.
- Adhering to and improving the basic socialist economic system and continuously refining the socialist market economy system are the basis for the miracle of China's economic development. China will continue to elevate the “open economy system” to a higher level, promote the high-quality development of the "Belt and Road", and foster economic globalization in a more open, inclusive, balanced, and win-win direction.
Eliminating absolute poverty and making substantial progress towards common prosperity
- Eliminating poverty, improving people's livelihood, and gradually achieving common prosperity are the essential requirements of socialism and an important mission of the CPC. China has built the world's largest educational system and social security and health care systems and has made substantial progress towards common prosperity.
Xi Jinping's economic thought has comprehensively deepened the understanding of the principles of economic development
- The Party’s comprehensive leadership and its commitment to people-centered ideology are the core guiding economic development.
- High-quality economic development has replaced the pursuit of increased economic growth rates.
- The "active government" and "effective market" have been organically combined to make the continuing development of the productive forces consistent with the socialist relations of production.
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