Editor’s note: On the occasion of the centenary of the Communist Party of China, China Watch Institute, a think tank powered by China Daily, has invited dozens of prominent contributors and scholars from across the world to offer their thoughts on why the CPC works in China. Here 13 scholars share their views from various perspectives including governance, poverty reduction, economic development and international relations.
(SONG CHEN / CHINA DAILY)
China’s economic success is the result of the CPC’s competent leadership and carefully thought-out development model
After passing through a series of critical tests and crises, the CPC has become even stronger and more confident in leading the Chinese people on the path to the country’s great rejuvenation.
Achieving the goals and objectives in the state-building of any country is impossible without a solid economic foundation. From 1952 to 2019, Chinese industrial production increased by almost 1,000 times with an average annual growth rate of 11 percent. Per capita income has increased by 70 times. As a result of the ongoing reforms, China’s GDP per capita has grown from less than US$200 four decades ago to more than US$11,000 today.
It must be recognized that China’s outstanding economic success is the result of the CPC’s competent leadership and a carefully thought-out development model implemented through “trial and error”. China’s leaders are well-educated and capable civil servants, many of whom have postgraduate degrees from leading universities at home and abroad.
The Chinese way of careful planning and review of the results of each five-year plan is a good example of how to achieve high development results in all areas of the nation’s socioeconomic life. The competence of China’s leaders is evidenced by their approach to economic development: a pragmatic, experimental, gradual and strong leadership style.
Vladimir Norov, secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
Under the CPC’s leadership, China is transforming itself into an ecological civilization that can inspire the world
At the time of the centenary of the CPC, we in the West should do more to understand China and dispel some widely-held myths.
China desires respect for its tremendous progress, and rightly so. But unlike the superpowers of the Cold War, China has no ideology to export to the world.
Few Chinese believe China’s millennial tradition of a strong political center based on competence and merit, now organized in the form of the CPC, can be exported to Europe or anywhere else. We in the West would do well spending a little more time improving upon our own systems of government, a bit less on criticizing the systems of others.
If geopolitics of shared humanity were to be established, we in the West would benefit from the future progress of China. China would be able to draw upon positive lessons from our achievements in the West. When working together, only the sky is the limit.
Erik Solheim, president of the Belt and Road Initiative Green Development Institute and former executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme.
Look back in wonder
Recognizing the importance of history to the CPC offers a better understanding of China’s journey
The Party has been in power during an era in which China has undergone an epic process of modernization. There have been significant challenges along the way. The simple reality is, however, that today, the Chinese people are vastly better off than they were when the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949.
With a huge number of Chinese people being better off, and with absolute poverty having been eradicated in the country, there are major achievements not just for China, but for the world as a whole.
In 2021, there will be plenty of commentary about the Party outside of China. It will be interesting however to pay attention to how much of this shows awareness of the importance of history to this organization, and how impossible it is to understand it without knowing something of this history.
Remembering how arduous the Party’s struggle has been to come to power, and the enormity of the challenges it has faced since, helps to appreciate why the achievements of China today matter so much to its story. They are things the world needs to consider more and have a broader view of. That would at least restore a little more balance to views about China in the outside world today.
Kerry Brown, professor of Chinese studies and director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College London.
Shaker and mover
Development achievements under the leadership of the CPC are more than just economic and technological
In 1949, when the founding of the People’s Republic of China was proclaimed, it has been a backward country with hundreds of millions of people living in poverty and illiteracy in a feudal regime, subjected to the colonialism of the Western powers, and with no rights for women.
As well as the economic and technological development of modern China, we should recognize its recovery of national sovereignty, the elimination of feudalism, the full incorporation of women in social and political life, and the great advances it has made in education and health.
At the same time, it has also promoted national unity, unifying the country’s numerous ethnic groups, dialects and cultures in a common project for all the people of China.
Jose Luis Centella Gomez, president of the Communist Party of Spain.
China will continue to provide an example for other developing economies that seek a way forward
The Communist Party of China is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, a historic event not only for China, but also for the rest of the world. For more than 70 out of its 100 years, the CPC has been China’s ruling party, which is a record in itself.
The CPC as the main and ruling party determines the key directions, the development model and the value priorities. Its performance in these areas can be measured by the achievements the country has already made and the identifying of the next tasks and how they are to be successfully completed.
These tasks are to make the country a major world power, with a modern developed economy, an influential social sphere and with a role as one of the main participants in the formulation of the world and regional agendas.
The strength of China’s example as a successful and strong socialist power is also important, not only for the left-wing forces and the forces of socialism throughout the world, but also for other countries, especially emerging economies, that are looking to form their own models of socioeconomic development. China, under the guidance of the CPC, will continue to look ahead and develop confidently.
Vladimir Petrovsky, chief academic researcher with the Institute of Far Eastern Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Foresight and guidance have enabled and will enable China to achieve a series of long-term objectives
The elimination of extreme poverty in China is conclusive proof of the country’s successful planning. This is very important, not only because China has defeated extreme poverty — an achievement that very few countries in the world can claim — but it has achieved it as a developing economy.
And that, for me, is its main virtue. Even with many problems to solve, China has achieved a success that almost no other economy in the world has been able to achieve, and it is an important incentive for those countries which still face the serious problems of underdevelopment and its socioeconomic consequences.
The Chinese experience can be very useful for developing economies to the extent that they work together in enriching the spirit of interregional relations, which China has been upholding in face of the neglect, almost contempt, of other important economies.
China has raised the flag in defense of multilateralism and the global governance system, reaffirming a position in which it finds Latin America and the Caribbean, in general, by its side.
Gustavo A. Girado, professor at the National University of Lanus in Argentina and the author of How did the Chinese do it?
Diligence and bravura
The CPC has delivered on its promise to eradicate absolute poverty, thanks to the vision and resolve of its leadership
With the strong political base created by the CPC, China has been able to have its policies emplaced and implemented with clear prioritization and commitment from not only the CPC but also the government and overall community as a whole. Since its inception, the CPC has remained devoted to nation building.
Over all these years, the CPC has contributed immensely toward the improvement of people’s lives through the focus on the eradication of poverty, better access to healthcare and education, industrialization of the economy, transformation of agriculture and effective use of new technologies, thus making comprehensive overall progress.
The goal has been fulfilled that China will eliminate extreme poverty by 2020 and create a moderately prosperous society in all respects ahead of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the CPC.
The CPC leadership has developed models and road maps for poverty alleviation that have produced best practices and helped transform the administration and governance of the rural areas. Apart from these policies, other programs and actions rolled out by the CPC have focused on curbing corruption, improving rural education and healthcare systems, and ensuring clean drinking water and technologies.
Muhammad Asif Noor, director of the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies, Islamabad.
Points of reference
Latin America can draw several lessons from China’s development journey and its experiences
In February, President Xi Jinping announced the eradication of extreme poverty in China, thanks to the success of a long-term program implemented by the State.
In a matter of eight years, a specialized campaign of targeted poverty alleviation substantially improved the standard of living of the last 100 million people who were still extremely poor in China. In doing so, the campaign has also completed work of the previous four decades that had lifted no less than 800 million Chinese out of abject poverty.
China has made available to the world a model capable of promoting a decent standard of living for people born in poverty. How can Latin America get back onto a positive path and what lessons can it draw from the Chinese experience? The first one is stability. Frequent changes of political model display a lack of consensus and an inability to implement long-term policies. The second is the state’s political will. Without this, nothing is possible because the government’s commitment is essential.
Antonio Zapata Velasco, distinguished professor at the Center for Latin American Studies at Shanghai University and doctor of Latin American History at Columbia University.
Choice of the people
Chinese governance system has some qualities that surpass the Western political model
The Communist Party of China is celebrating its centenary. Its long journey, with setbacks and successes, has promoted the realization of the economic and social development that the Chinese people have long aspired to.
Western powers are not in a position to tell China what governance model the Chinese people should have. The Chinese people have already chosen.
According to a survey published last year by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, China’s central government has a 93.1 percent approval rating from its people. The Chinese have been saved. Or rather, the CPC has saved China.
Evandro Menezes De Carvalho, professor of international law and head of the Center for Brazil-China Studies at the Law School at Getulio Vargas Foundation and professor of international law at Fluminense Federal University.
A good time to reflect on solidarity
The CPC, under the leadership of Xi Jinping, is striving for improvement in the international order
It is fitting to congratulate the Communist Party of China on the 100th anniversary of its founding. The Party has been the key pillar for building modern China and for all the significant achievements made by China and the Chinese people over this period.
The current international order is not perfect, but it does not need to be destroyed to build a new one. It needs to be reformed and improved.
President Xi Jinping has called on all nations to shoulder their responsibilities, initiate constructive dialogue, uphold the principle of seeking common ground while allowing the existence of differences, and contribute more positive energy to building a community with a shared future for mankind.
All countries need to coordinate their efforts to counter the risks and challenges and transform the global governance system so that it is fairer and more reasonable.
Zlatko Lagumdzija, a former prime minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Belt and Road Initiative offers countries a practical way to overcome the pressing challenge of poverty
Through the struggles waged by the Chinese people to eliminate extreme poverty and pursue social and economic development, historical experience has been accumulated by China, and there are important lessons, which can be learned by other countries.
Naturally, in the battle to overcome poverty there can be no one-size-fits-all formula. Nor can the Chinese experience be slavishly replicated in other countries, since the local conditions and peculiarities will be completely different.
China has provided assistance to developing countries and international organizations participating in the Belt and Road Initiative for projects to improve people’s lives. Funds from the Chinese government for poverty-alleviation, housing, public health and rehabilitation projects via the BRI should also be welcomed by governments in developing countries as means to help them alleviate poverty.
Clement J. Rohee, former foreign minister of Guyana.
100 years of achievements
The CPC has steadfastly led the Chinese people toward the dream of national rejuvenation
Few countries in Asia and Africa that were under the domination of European imperialism managed to regain their status as a great power as in the past. Among these few is China.
Few countries have managed to overcome scientific and technological backwardness and match the world’s greatest powers. Few countries that have suffered from imperialism and colonialism have managed to organize strategies to eliminate extreme poverty.
When looking for the reasons for China’s success, two answers can be found: the determination and resilience of the Chinese people and the organizational capacity of the Communist Party of China.
Marcos Cordeiro Pires, a professor at the Sao Paulo State University (UNESP) in Brazil.
A century of progress
The CPC’s achievements and the rise of China have had far-reaching implications for African countries
One of the most important lessons African countries can learn from China and the CPC is the centrality of historical continuity in the success of economic and social policies.
In its development process, while it learned from foreign models and experiences, China did not just transplant these ideas. Instead, its economic policies were largely informed by and tailored to meet the country’s historical, cultural, geographical and political conditions.
China has also shown that pragmatism and not dogmatism should govern the choice of policies. As Africa struggles to eradicate poverty, it can learn from the CPC’s poverty reduction strategies which have helped eliminate extreme poverty in China.
Moreover, China’s political model is something Africa can learn from: Democracy at the grassroots level ensures that people have a say in the decisions that affect their lives; meritocracy at the higher level ensures that China is governed by competent individuals with a firm grasp of economics, international relations and science and technology, so as to be able to make the correct decisions for the country.
Most importantly, it also ensures continuity in politics which is good for policy consistency. Partly as a result of meritocratic recruitment, China has been able to deal with the problem of corruption, a vice which continues to afflict Africa to devastating effect.
David Monyae, director of the Centre for Africa-China Studies at the University of Johannesburg; and Sizo Nkala, a postdoctoral research fellow at the same institute.
Reporting was contributed by Liu Yi, Bu Yingna and Wang Jing.
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