In a few days, China’s ruling party, the Communist Party of China (CPC), will celebrate its centenary. You may be familiar with China’s rapid development, prosperous economy nowadays, but you may not know China’s misery a century ago.
China was then struggling for survival as a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. On one hand, foreign powers invaded China, set up settlements and concessions in cities, stationed troops, and snatched economic profits. On the other hand, numerous warlords fought against each other domestically, leading to a failing central government, and suffered Chinese people. Thus, countless patriots stepped out to explore a path of saving the country and the people from perils. Peasant uprisings, top-down reforms, constitutional monarchy, and bourgeois democratic revolution, yet all these attempts failed.
It was against this backdrop that the CPC was born in July 1921, and since then it has led the Chinese people towards the goal of people’s happiness and national rejuvenation.
By 1949, the CPC united and led the people to win the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, defeat the Kuomintang dictatorship, and founded the People’s Republic of China—the Chinese nation has stood up. By 1978, the CPC made a historic decision of reform and opening up, leading the nation on a grand journey of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
In the following 4 decades, the innovative socialist market economy has enjoyed great dynamism, and the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics has witnessed more and more success. The Chinese economy has maintained a growth rate of 9% annually on average, creating a miracle of long-term rapid growth as a developing country. Now, China has become the world’s second largest economy and the largest industrial country, contributing nearly 30% of the world’s economic growth. Its per capita GDP has increased from just US$200 in 1980 to more than US$10,000 in 2020.
It’s a century filled with blood, sweat, tears, but also courage, wisdom, and strength. In face of setbacks, members of CPC are not discouraged; when making mistakes, they resolutely correct. They tirelessly explore a right path for the Chinese nation, and persevere in seeking happiness for the people and rejuvenation for the nation.
First, the CPC has always been committed to exploring a development path suitable for China’s realities. In its initial years, the CPC simply followed the others’ model of fomenting workers’ uprising in major cities, consequently experienced a series of failures. After trials and tribulations, the CPC found the right approach to China’s revolution, that is, uniting with workers and peasants, encircling cities from revolutionary bases in rural areas and waging persistent armed struggle. During the period of socialist transformation and national construction from 1950s to 1970s, the CPC’s lack of governance experience and copying of the Soviet model again led to major setbacks in the beginning. After exploration and experimentation, following the motto of “emancipating the mind, seeking truth from facts”, the CPC decided to reform and open up, leading to the take-off of Chinese economy.
Second, the CPC always stays true to its original aspirations, and adheres to the people-centered development ideology. Development is reliant on the people, for the people, and shared by the people. The fight against poverty is a vivid example. In 2012, China declared the battle on poverty. By the end of year 2020, nearly 100 million people have been lifted out of absolute poverty (US$1.90 a day). The annual per capita disposable income of rural residents in poverty-stricken areas has more than doubled to 12588 yuan (around US$1900). 7.9 million families have moved into new and safe houses; 1.1 million kilometers of roads have been renovated, 35,000 kilometers of new railways have been constructed. Almost all people in rural areas have gained access to stable and reliable power supply. Ten years ahead of schedule, China completed the goal of poverty alleviation listed in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For the first time in its history of thousands of years, China has eliminated overall and extreme poverty.
Third, the CPC always has the world in mind and contributes to the progress of mankind. Regardless of time and conditions, the CPC has always adhered to the path of peaceful development, actively advocated the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and is committed to maintaining world’s peace, promoting common development and the building of a community with a shared future.
For instance, China provided a total of nearly 1 billion yuan (around US$ 406 million then) in interest-free loans to support the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway in the 1970s, and dispatched nearly 50,000 engineers and technicians. When the project was launched in 1970, China’s annual GDP was only around 228 billion Yuan (US$93 billion ). In recent years, China has canceled 50% of the project’s debts, and have been working with Tanzania and Zambia jointly on the renovation and upgrade of the railway.
Now facing the COVID-19 pandemic, China has supported worldwide response to the epidemic. China has provided assistance including 220 billion masks, 2.25 billion PPEs and 1.02 billion test kits, to more than 150 countries, including Rwanda, and 10 international organizations. China has mobilized its potential as much as possible to export vaccines to the world; collaboration on vaccine research, development and production is also underway in more than 10 countries.
China’s continued and sincere efforts for Africa’s development is another example. China remains Africa’s largest trading partner for 12 consecutive years, trade volume between the two exceeded US$200 billion in 2019, China’s direct investment in Africa reached US$3 billion in 2020. Despite the impact of COVID-19, more than 1,100 cooperation projects continue to move forward. So far, China and Africa have jointly build more than 6,000 kilometers of railways and highways separately, and nearly 20 ports , as well as more than 80 large-scale power facilities.
Looking back into the past, China and Rwanda have similar historical memories, witness a similar period of rapid development, and hold the same spirit of independence and self-reliance. Looking forward to the future, the ruling parties of the two countries, the Communist Party of China and the Rwanda Patriotic Front, also shoulder the same mission of national development and rejuvenation.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Rwanda. Old friends will aim for new outlooks. The two countries and two parties will continue to strengthen friendly ties, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, and bring more happiness to the two peoples. I believe that under the strong leadership of the two parties, the two countries will surely stride along the path of realizing their respective national rejuvenation!
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Rwanda