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China's rapid development through socialism with Chinese characteristics

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Col. (Rtd) Siamelie Latu

Introduction

1. I write this article to commemorate the 21st anniversary of Tonga/China diplomatic relations and the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. I would like to offer my congratulations to the Communist Party of China (CPC) on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

2. China has made remarkable achievements in the past decades, especially since the start of Reform and Opening up in 1978. These achievements obtained in such a short period of time are truly incomparable in the whole world, and hopefully to surpass the US to become the world power in 20 years.

3. The People’s Republic of China has now benefited from economic development. Once labeled as “sick man of East Asia”, China now has grown stronger like a lion waking up after a long sleep. What’s more, China differs from other countries in having maintained a “peaceful rise” stance all along. China seeks development through a socialist market economy, which is a brilliant innovation that ensures the benefits stemming from increased productivity shared by all Chinese people.

4. Since China’s Reform and Opening up, under the firm leadership of the CPC, the diligent Chinese people have created one miracle after another. China has pulled 700 million people out of poverty (Xinhua 24 Sept 2019), which is an achievement of epoch-making significance. China has set an example for other developing countries (The Party Building Press of the Public Department of the Central Committee of the CPC).

5. Measures taken by the CPC have greatly boosted the economy and improved people’s lives. Meanwhile, the Chinese government also attaches great importance to balancing development between different regions and ethnic groups. As it faces both opportunities and challenges in the process of development, the CPC can spot and address challenges in a timely manner.

6. The development of China also shows the world, especially developing countries, that development is not a mission impossible; rather, it can be achieved with proper policies in place to manage state affairs and economic development.

7. The development model chosen by China not only suits its own economic conditions well, but also may serve as a good example for other countries. However, considering that different countries have different political, economic and cultural conditions, they should choose their own development path based on the “Chinese model of development” in the following respects: maintaining domestic peace and stability, electing highly qualified leaders, guaranteeing systematic efficiency, educating law abiding citizens, and balancing power between the government and the market, in other words, perfectly combining government guidance and market mechanisms.

8. Every country has its own problems, and so does China. What matters is how its leaders have taken a very serious attitude toward the country’s social problems, and have produced effective measures to cope with those problems. In my own experience, Chinese leaders have taken a very serious attitude toward the country’s social problems. China’s development has proved to the world that socialism with Chinese characteristics is blessed with a bright future.

9. This article will focus on socialism with Chinese characteristics as the key driver to the fast economic development of China that without this scientific system and CPC, there could have been no New China. The article will also look at the 19th Central committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) during its fourth plenary session in Beijing in 2019 with the release of a communiqué concerning how to uphold and improved the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and advance the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance.

Bright Future for Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

10. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has been the focus of all the Communist Party’s theories and practice since reform and opening up began. It is the fundamental achievement of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and its people. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is the integration of the theory of scientific socialism and social development theories of Chinese history. Socialism has taken root in China as oppose to democracy has no root in the Tongan culture. It reflects the wishes of the people and meets the development needs of the country and the times. It is sure root to success in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects in the acceleration of socialist modernization, and in the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

11. The question is: which path should China follow? The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the only path to socialist modernization and a better life for its people. The theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the right theory to guide the Party and its people to realize Chinese national rejuvenation.

12. The Chinese is obliged to commemorate Deng Xiaoping for his communist ideals and unshakable belief in socialism with Chinese characteristics, which is an everlasting source of integrity for all Chinese Communists. From his long political and military experience, he learned that unity is of prime importance and that to achieve unity people must have common ideals and firm conviction, Over the past several decades China have united the people on the basis of firm convictions that enabled them to struggle for their own interests.

13. Deng Xiaoping gave priority to the status and role of the people. He once emphasized: “The masses are the source of Chinese strength and the mass viewpoint and the mass line are Chinese cherished traditions. On that note, the people’s wellbeing was his lifelong pursuit. He stressed on many occasion “…poverty is not socialism… socialism means eliminating poverty. Unless China is developing the productive forces and raising people’s living standards, one cannot say that you are building socialism.” Deng Xiaoping designed and led the reform and opening-up initiative and the modernization drive with a view to improving the wellbeing of the Chinese people (Xi Jinping The Governance of China II).

14. Chinese socialism is a path that suits China’s national conditions and reality and the requirements of the times in both theory and practice. Therefore, it has yielded and will continue to yield practical results. Deng emphasized that “if the developing countries of the Third World, like China, have no national self-respect and do not cherish their independence, they will not enjoy that independence for long”. Independence in China’s development path, theory and system is key to China’s national sovereignty, independence, and dignity.

15. Deng Xiaoping made a comment that, “China have been building socialism for only a few decades and are still in the primary stage. It will take a very long historical period to consolidate and develop the socialist system, and it will require persistent struggle by many generations.” He said, the essence of socialism is liberation and development of the productive forces, elimination of exploitation and polarization, and the ultimate achievement of prosperity for all.

16. Since the 18thCPC National Congress convened in 2012, the CPC Central Committee has led the Chinese people in implementing the guidelines of the 18thCPC National Congress and the Third Plenary Session of the 18h CPC Central Committee held in 2013 during my tenure in Beijing. China uphold socialism with Chinese characteristics and follow the guidance of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development.

17. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is socialism and nothing else. The firm belief of the CPC is that the basic principles of scientific socialism must not be abandoned; otherwise it is not socialism. What doctrine a country may choose is based on whether it can resolve the historical problems that confront that country. Both history and reality have shown China that only socialism can save China and only socialism with Chinese characteristics can bring development to China.

CPC Leadership is paramount to Socialism with Chinese characteristics.

18. The leadership of the CPC is essential to socialism with Chinese characteristics. The People’s Republic of China is prosperous and strong. It would not exist without the CPC. The uphold of the CPC as the core of the leadership is essential to the future of the Chinese nation. The leadership of the CPC guarantees the position of the people as masters of their own affairs.

19. China remains committed to the Party’s core role in exercising overall leadership and coordinating the efforts of all, ensuring that the Party’s guidelines, principles, policies, decisions and plans are carried out comprehensively and effectively through the system of People’s Congress. China supports and safeguard the agencies of state power in carrying out their work separately yet concertedly, in accordance with the Constitution and the law.

20. CPC leadership is the common choice by the Chinese people from all political parties, people’s organizations, ethnic groups, social strata, and all walks of life. It is the primary feature of Chinese socialism and the fundamental guarantee for the progress of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

21. Moreover, CPC leadership and Socialism with Chinese characteristics has contributed to the rise of China without the involvement of wars and weapons. Not a single bullet has been fired, compared to numerous developed countries, China has risen, “in the eyes of others” without gunships and artillery. China have not misused its muscle and its military, nor coveted and colonized parts of other countries, or exploited slaves, or exported opium, crime, disaster and pollution. China have not posed itself as a human rights mentor, judge putting the world on trial, rule enforcer or universal arbitrator. China have not denounced, discriminated against, made unfair demands of, or defamed other countries.

22. The “rise” of China is a contribution, not just a retort, to the world. China’s domestic and foreign policies follow a common theme of peace abroad and harmony at home. Chinese culture calls for sharing joy misfortune together, prizing friendship more than trade, good faith more than interests, and friendship more than your own life.

23. My experience is that more and more friends from abroad appreciate the harmonious philosophy of China. I confirm that China is “willing” to establish diplomatic ties with any other country based on equality, mutual benefit and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity”. I strongly support China’s involvement in international affairs, which can improve the world’s stability and harmony.” China advocates harmony and is building a harmonious world. The world needs peace. The world needs China. China has always willingly undergone hardships and humiliations to achieve its ambitions. China sets itself standards of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, integrity, and temperate modesty. It follows the rule “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era

24. Since the 18th National Congress, changes both in and outside China have appeared on the surface of China’s development which have presented China with a profound question. The question of a new era. During the congress, a new guiding theory, labeled Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, was written into the party’s constitution. The Congress also emphasized strengthening socialism with Chinese characteristic, party-building, socialist rule of law, and setting concrete time line for achieving development goals, such as building a moderately prosperous society and achieving “socialist modernization”.

25. From the report delivered at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on 18th October, 2017, the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a new era makes the following ideologies clear:

  • that the overarching goal of upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics is to realize socialist modernization and national rejuvenation, and, that on the basis of finishing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, a two-step approach should be taken to build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of the century;
  • that the principal contradiction facing Chinese society in the new era is that between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. China therefore must continue commitment to its people-centered philosophy of development, and work to promote well-rounded human development and common prosperity for everyone;
  • that the overall plan for building socialism with Chinese characteristics is the five-sphere integrated plan, and the overall strategy is the four-pronged comprehensive strategy. It highlights the importance of fostering stronger confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics;
  • that the overall goal of deepening reform in every field is to improve and develop the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernize China’s system and capacity for governance;
  • that the overall goal of comprehensively advancing law-based governance is to establish a system of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics and build a country of socialist rule of law;
  • that the Party’s goal of building a strong military in the new era is to build the people’s forces into world-class forces that obey the Party’s command, can fight and win, and maintain excellent conduct;
  • that major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics aims to foster a new type of international relations and build a community with a shared future for mankind; and
  • that the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Communist Party of China; the greatest strength of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Communist Party of China; the Party is the highest force for political leadership. It sets forth the general requirements for Party building in the new era and underlines the importance of political work in Party building.

26. The Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era builds on and further enriches Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development. It represents the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and encapsulates the practical experience and collective wisdom of its Party and the people. It is an important component of the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and a guide to action for all its members and all the Chinese people as they strive to achieve national rejuvenation. This Thought as stated by the report must be adhered to and steadily developed on a long-term basis.

27. Everyone in the Party should develop a good grasp of the essence and rich implications of the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and fully and faithfully apply it in all its work.

New era for Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.

28. Since China’s 18th National Congress, changes both in and outside China, and the progress made in all areas of China’s endeavors, have presented China with a profound question-the question of a new era. China’s answer is a systematic combination of theory and practice and must address what kind of socialism with Chinese characteristics the new era requires China to uphold and develop, and how they should go about doing it. The new era will be an era of building on past successes to further advance China’s cause, and of continuing in a new historical context to strive for the success of socialism with the Chinese characteristics. It will be an era of securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and of moving on to all-out effort to build a great modern socialist country. It will be an era for the Chinese people of all ethnic groups to work together and work hard to create a better life for themselves and ultimately achieve common prosperity for everyone. It will be an era for all of the Chinese, sons, and daughters of the Chinese nation, to strive with one heart to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation. It will be an era that sees China moving closer to center stage and making greater contributions to mankind.

29. This involves fundamental issues like the overarching objectives, tasks, plan, and strategy for upholding and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era; like the direction, model, and driving force of development, and the strategic steps, external conditions, and political guarantees, to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics. China shall base on new practice, undertake theoretical analysis and produce policy guidance on the economy, political affairs, rule of law, science and technology, culture, education, the wellbeing of its people, ethnic and religious affairs, social development, ecological conservation, national security, defense and the armed forces, the principle of “one country, two systems,” and national reunification, the united front, foreign affairs, and Party building.

Development of democracy and the rule of law in the new era.

30. The needs to be met for the people to live better lives are increasingly broad. Not only their material and cultural needs grown; their demands for democracy, rule of law, fairness and justice, security, and a better environment are increasing.

31. China have actively developed socialist democracy and advanced law-based governance. They have stepped up institution building across the board to make integrated advances in Party leadership, the running of the country by the people, and law-based governance; and they have continuously improved the institutions and mechanisms by which the Party exercises leadership. Steady progress has been made in enhancing socialist democracy; intraparty democracy has been expanded, and socialist consultative democracy is flourishing. The patriotic united front has been consolidated and developed, and new approaches have been adopted for work related to ethnic and religious affairs. Further progress has been made in ensuring its legislation is sound, law enforcement is strict, the administration of justice is impartial, and the law is observed by everyone. 32. Its efforts to build a country, government, and society based on the rule of law have been mutually reinforcing; the system of distinctively Chinese socialist rule of law has been steadily improved; and public awareness of the rule of law has risen markedly. Good progress has been made in piloting the reform of the national supervision system, and effective measures have been taken to reform the system of government administration and the judicial system, and to develop systems to apply checks and oversight over the exercise of power.

Progress in China’s diplomacy with Chinese characteristics.

33. China have made all-round efforts in the pursuit of major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, thus advancing China’s diplomatic agenda in a comprehensive, multilevel, multifaceted way and creating a favorable external environment for China’s development. China have jointly pursued the Belt and Road Initiative, initiated the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, set up the Silk Road Fund, and hosted the First Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, the G20 2016 Summit in Hangzhou, the BRICS Summit in Xiamen, and the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. China champions the development of a community with a shared future for mankind, and has encouraged the evolution of the global governance system. With this, it has seen a further rise in China’s international influence, ability to inspire, and power to shape; and China has made great new contributions to global peace and development.

Principle of “one country, two systems” with Chinese characteristics

34. “One Country, Two Systems” is a fundamental state policy formulated by Deng Xiaoping to accomplish the peaceful reunification of China by resolving the sovereignty questions of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan arising from a complicated historical background.

35. Maintaining lasting prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macao and achieving China’s full reunification are essential to realizing national rejuvenation. As stated by the report delivered at the 19th National Congress, China must ensure both the central government’s overall jurisdiction over the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and a high degree of autonomy in the two regions. It should ensure that the principle of “one country, two systems” remains unchanged, is unwaveringly upheld, and in practice is not bent or distorted. China is upholding the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, promote the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, deepen economic cooperation and cultural exchange between the two sides of the Straits, and encourage fellow Chinese on both sides to oppose all separatist activities and work together to realize Chinese national rejuvenation.

Conclusion

36. Brooding over China’s history, China had undergone radical, enormous changes in its development whether it be political, social or economic. From an outsider’s viewpoint, these developments are mostly internal, yet China still remain intact and strong both internally and at the international level. There is a Chinese proverb that states: “Read thousands of books, and travel thousands of miles”. Seeing is believing. As I presented my credentials to the then President Hu Jintao to officiate the commencement of my tenure in Beijing, he advised: Do not keep to big cities only such as Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai, but be sure to visit other rural places in China. Subsequently, upon visiting many provinces and cities, I have witnessed China’s huge progress, and gained a better perspective of China’s extraordinary achievements.

37. China’s fast development has shown that socialism with Chinese characteristic is blessed with a bright future. The bright future of a new era. The new era will be an era of building on past successes to further advance its cause, and of continuing in a new historical context to strive for the success of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It will be an era of securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, move onto basically realizing modernization, and then turn to making China a great modern socialist country in every dimension.