A view of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2022. (Photo/ Xinhua)
The Communist Party of China (CPC) in the 20th century successfully led China, the world’s most populous country, to free itself from the oppression of colonialism, feudalism, and bureaucratic capitalist monopolism and established a socialist system, making outstanding contributions to the liberation of people all over the world, especially those living in the developing world. The reform and opening up initiative marked another giant leap forward for the CPC, transforming China from backwardness to the second largest economy in the world. China was also the first developing country to wage a decisive battle against and eradicated absolute poverty–over the years, numerous development miracles of the country have stunned the world.
While celebrating these glorious achievements, it’s important to note that since entering the 21st century, and especially since the second decade, the changing dynamic of the CPC, China and the world has posed new governance requirements for the CPC. At the same time, to continue China’s development miracles, the Chinese people must continue emancipating their mind, seeking truth from fact, and exploring new governance approaches from its own realities.
The 18th CPC National Congress in 2012 was a landmark congress as it sorted out the real challenges China faced and drew the blueprint of governance for the next stage, kicking off a new decade for the CPC. After the Congress, under the leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the CPC has made remarkable achievements in many areas, including strengthening internal discipline, boosting high-quality socio-economic development, and promoting the democratization of international relations, which highlighted the importance of the CPC’s scientific and democratic governance to China’s modernization and to world peace and development. In this process, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era was formed, as a fundamental guideline, it has reflected the CPC’s exploration in modernizing its governance system and capacity at home on the one hand, and actively participating in global governance on the other. It is for this reason that the Thought was established as the guiding ideology of the entire Party at the 19th CPC National Congress, and the new compass for the CPC in governing the country.
Discipline within the Party is the prerequisite for China’s governance reforms in the new era. History has shown with countless cases that any person or political party that sits on the laurel its achievement in the past will eventually be abandoned. Some African political parties that led the African people to victory in their struggle against imperialism and colonialism lost their ruling positions because their ideas or organizations degenerated and were eventually phased out over the course of Africa’s transformation and development after the Cold War. As the leading core of China’s modernization drive, the corrupt and privileged few within the CPC must be promptly eliminated so as to enhance the Party’s credibility in the society. After the 18th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has vigorously intensified the self-discipline of the Party and addressed this issue through “self-revolution”. By removing disciplinary offenders from the leadership ranks, Party organizations at all levels have been strengthened. The CPC has demonstrated to the world its courage to face problems head-on, its determination to solve them and its wisdom to reflect on them, and that’s how the firm foundation is reconsolidated for the CPC to lead the nation forward. Changes within the Party helped match the Party’s governance capacity and system with the requirement of China’s development, which has also set the stage for greater development in other critical areas.
China’s sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development demonstrates its strong resilience in the new era. Eradicating absolute poverty is not only a common challenge for developing countries, but also an important target of the UNSDGs. Although many developing countries, including some in Africa, have been able to maintain relatively stable economic growth, there is a serious disconnect between growth and development and a weak resistance to risks, which highlights the need for sustainable and inclusive development. One of the key transformations powered by the 18th CPC National Congress was that high economic growth was geared towards high quality growth. Under the new development model, economic growth is synchronized with livelihood improvement, environmental protection, social equity and justice, as well as coordinated regional development. Inclusive development has enabled every individual, group and region to become a witness, participant and beneficiary of socio-economic progress, and that’s why China managed to build a moderately prosperous society in all aspects. The sustainability of development has enhanced China’s ability to withstand and manage internal and external risks. China’s steady socio-economic growth was not halted by either the unilateralist actions of some western countries, or the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Quite on the contrary, China’s achievements are bound to inject more momentum to global recovery in the post-Covid era and contribute to the human quest for peace and development.
China’s win-win approach in global governance demonstrates the image of China as a responsible power in a changing world. At present, western powers are wielding the stick of unilateralism and protectionism for geopolitical gains, and Covid-19, climate change, terrorism and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have added to the uncertainty of the world. The conventional global governance system has increasingly proven to be unfriendly to developing countries. As the world stands at the crossroads, President Xi Jinping described the changing dynamic as “unprecedented changes of the century” and has introduced the cure of the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) and the Global Development Initiative (GDI) in building a community of shared future for all. Unlike the western thinking of competition, confrontation and zero-sum games, China’s proposals are centered on equality and win-win cooperation, which embody the traditional Chinese philosophy of peace and benevolence. The fact that China’s proposals have been welcomed and supported by Africa and the developing world highlights the significance of Chinese wisdom in promoting South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue.
Contributed by Charles Onunaiju, Director of the Center for China Studies (CCS) in Nigeria