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The Characteristics of Chinese Path to Modernization

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The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has successfully concluded. It is a very important congress held at a critical moment when CPC and China is embarking on a new journey towards the second centenary goal of building a socialist modern country in all respects. In his report at this congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping of CPC proposed to comprehensively advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization, and made a comprehensive exposition of Chinese path to modernization. As food for thought, I would like to share my understanding of Chinese path to modernization.

Firstly, Chinese path to modernization is the modernization of a huge population. China has one third of the world’s population, 56 nationalities and a vast territory, with remarkable regional differences and diversity. The complexity and difficulty of realizing modernization in such a country is conceivable. Moreover, the start-line of China’s modernization is an utterly destitute, war-torn country with a history of semi-colony in a whole century. Compared with most other countries, China’s process of modernization has been undoubtedly successful with great achievements in many aspects. This may provide a useful reference for today’s global governance. China’s modernization is making 1.4 billion people live a prosperous and dignified life, which is an important contribution to world development as well.

Secondly, Chinese path to modernization is the modernization of common prosperity for all. “The country is the people, and the people is the country” , an often-quoted golden verses by General Secretary Xi Jinping,  is a vivid expression of CPC’s people-centered governance philosophy. Departing from it, CPC makes it clear that common prosperity is the essential requirement of socialism, and the gap between rich and poor unacceptable. To leave no one behind, China launched and won a long battle against poverty, an unprecedented achievement in human history.  China puts in place the world’s largest education system, social security system, and medical and health system. The Chinese people’s sense of gain, happiness, and security keeps increasing. The CPC is not only dedicated to pursuing happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation, but also dedicated to human progress and world harmony. A series of China’s initiatives, such as the Belt and Road Initiative, the Global Development Initiative and the Forum on China Africa Cooperation, are a natural extension of the concept of common prosperity.

Thirdly, Chinese path to modernization is the modernization of material and cultural-ethical advancement. Material abundance is an important part of modernization. It serves as a foundation for China to build a great modern socialist country in all respects. But material abundance is not the whole modernization. In fact, due to one-sided emphasis on material advancement and neglect of cultural-ethical advancement, processes of modernization in some countries brought about social problems such as distortion of morality and values, and disorder of society. Chinese path to modernization pursues the coordination of material civilization and spiritual civilization, behind which is humanism and humanistic care. This is consistent with Carl Marx’s proposition on the all-round development of human beings.

Fourthly, Chinese path to modernization is the modernization of harmony between humanity and nature. An overview of the history of human modernization reveals that, the damage on ecological environment caused by industrialization and urbanization has been a common problem. China has also gone through many detours. Over the past ten years, China has undergone historic changes in environmental protection, and fundamentally curbed the destruction of ecological environment. Guided by the conviction that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, China is committed to sustainable development and making great efforts to develop a low-carbon economy, with a goal of carbon dioxide peaking and neutrality. China is integrating green development strategy into international development cooperation through initiatives such as the “the Belt and Road Green Development International Alliance”.

Fifthly, Chinese path to modernization is the modernization of peaceful development. Peaceful development is in line with China’s fundamental interests. One of the basic tasks of China’s diplomacy is to create a good external environment for its development. China advocates peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, and calls on the international community to jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind. China’s social system and culture determines that China will not follow the old path of some countries to achieve modernization through such means as war, colonization and plunder. China’s history of development testifies that peaceful development is a fully accessible path to modernization. Dedicated to peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, China will strive to safeguard world peace and development when pursuing its own development.

History is serious while interesting, and sometimes even ironic. In 1991, the Cold War ended, and western countries hailed the victory of capitalism. Some scholars claimed it’s “the end of history”, suggesting capitalism had become the ultimate form of human civilization. Over the past 30 years, China has proved with its vigorous development that history is far from over. The wheel of history will roll forward, crushing all arrogance and prejudice. Observers of international politics notice that, in recent years, the good governance of China stands in sharp contrast with widespread turmoils in the West. China has advanced reform, opening up, and socialist modernization, has written a new chapter of two miracles of fast economic growth and long-term social stability,and has now more solid foundation for pursuing development.

So it is appropriate to recall the judgment made by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the 20th National Congress of CPC. “Scientific socialism is brimming with renewed vitality in 21st-century China. Chinese modernization offers humanity a new choice for achieving modernization. The CPC and the Chinese people have provided humanity with more Chinese insight, better Chinese input, and greater Chinese strength to help solve its common challenges and have made new and greater contributions to the noble cause of human peace and development”.

Wang Xuekun Chinese Ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda

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