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China's Example for Developing Countries to Achieve Modernization

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Author:Hu Angang & Yang Zhusong | Source:People's Daily (December 4, 2017)


Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out in his report to the 19th National Congress of the CPC that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, which means the path, the theory, the system, and the culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics have kept developing, blazing a new trail for other developing countries to achieve modernization. It offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence; and it offers Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solving the problems facing mankind. The biggest challenge facing the world today is the issue of development, and the core issue is how to enable developing countries to achieve better development. China's achievements have set a model on the fundamental issue of how to achieve development. The Chinese approach demonstrates the Chinese wisdom, and China's contribution benefits the entire world. Specifically, China provides important inspiration to developing countries in exploring the path of modernization from three aspects, namely, the "core" of development, the "strategy" of development and the "method" of development. 

"Core" of development: Commitment to our people-centered philosophy of development 

Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that the nature of a political party and of a government is determined by those whom they serve. "The position of the people is the fundamental political stance of the CPC and is a prominent symbol of distinguishing Marxist parties from other political parties." The CPC observes the fundamental purpose of wholeheartedly serving the people and adheres to the commitment to serving the public good and exercising power in the interests of the people. The CPC is committed to the principle that development is for the people, dependent on the people, and that its fruits are shared by the people. Our efforts from formulating the "three-step" strategy of modernization to putting forward the achievement of the "Two Centenary Goals" and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation all reflect the CPC's firm adherence to the people's position. 

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core has firmly adhered to the people's position and further formed and developed the people-centered philosophy of development. It has always adhered to the principle of realizing, safeguarding and developing the fundamental interests of all our people, and taken improving people's well-being and promoting people's full development as the starting point and ultimate goal of development. It strives to safeguard social fairness and justice, and guarantee people's rights of equal participation and equal development, so as to see that the gains of development benefit all our people in a fair way and achieve shared prosperity for everyone. The people-centered philosophy of development fully embodies the principal status of the people and fully reflects the CPC's value orientation of putting people first, adding the affinity to the people to China's development. Therefore, China's modernization is for the benefit of the people and greatly inspires the enthusiasm, initiative and creativity of all the people. The people offer their wisdom and efforts as they contribute to and gain from modernization. This is the fundamental reason why China's path of modernization is becoming broader and more successful. It is the most important aspect of China's modernization experience that inspires developing countries. 

"Strategy" of development: China's modernization path 

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core has proposed the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, and open development that is for everyone, bringing about profound changes in the overall development of our country and leading to the all-around upgrading of China's modernization path. The path of China's modernization mainly has the following three characteristics. 

China's modernization path pursues simultaneous development of new industrialization, informatization, urbanization and agricultural modernization. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that there are great differences between our country's modernization and Western developed countries' modernization. Western developed countries spent more than 200 years on the "tandem" and sequential development from industrialization and urbanization to agricultural modernization and informatization. We need to catch up from behind and find the "lost 200 years." Thus, our country's development must experience the "parallel" development process where industrialization, informatization, urbanization and agricultural modernization are superimposed. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, in terms of industrialization, our country has taken the initiative in seizing opportunities from a new round of technological revolution and industrial revolution in the world to vigorously implement the innovation-driven development strategy, further accelerate technological innovation and transformation, and vigorously develop advanced manufacturing, high-tech industries and strategic emerging industries, thereby forming a number of globally competitive industries and leading enterprises, and blazing a new trail for industrialization. In terms of informatization, we have actively implemented the "Internet Plus" Action Plan to drive the rise of innovation and entrepreneurship in the whole society. The proportion of information economy in China's GDP has been on the rise. New industries, new business forms and new business models are emerging. In terms of urbanization, we have vigorously promoted the new-type urbanization centered on people and focused on solving problems of the people as the key to advancing new-type urbanization. We have paid more attention to the scientific planning of urban spatial layout and industrial structure, to the increase in the urbanization rate of household registered population, to the equalization of basic public services in urban and rural areas, to the resident-friendly environment and historical heritage, and to the improvement of people's sense of fulfillment and happiness. In terms of agricultural modernization, we have always taken the solution to the "Three Rural Issues" (the issues of agriculture, rural areas and farmers) as our top priority. We have advanced agricultural modernization through new-type industrialization, informatization and urbanization, and gradually changed the urban-rural dual structure through industry nurturing agriculture, urban support for rural areas, and measures of strengthening agriculture, benefiting farmers and enriching rural areas. These efforts helped us promote the integration of urban and rural development and open up a path of agricultural modernization with Chinese characteristics. 

China's modernization path relies on infrastructure revolution to stride over the "development gap." Poor infrastructure hinders the development of many developing countries and is a "development gap" many developing countries find difficult to stride over. Since the reform and opening up, China has vigorously carried out infrastructure construction and realized the revolution in infrastructure. In 1950, the total mileage of China's railways was only 21,800 kilometers, and the mileage of expressways was zero. By the end of 2016, the total mileage of railways in China reached 124,000 kilometers, of which more than 22,000 kilometers were high-speed railways, equivalent to two thirds of the total mileage of high-speed railways in the world. High-speed railways have become the new symbol for China's independent innovation and the going global of Made in China. By the end of 2014, the total mileage of expressways in China exceeded 110,000 kilometers, ranking No. 1 in the world by surpassing the United States; it increased to 131,000 kilometers by the end of 2016. The total container throughput of major Chinese ports has also ranked first in the world for many years. China has also built a large number of major high-level transport hub projects to form a multi-node, grid-shaped and fully-covered integrated transport infrastructure network. Transport infrastructure has played a key role in supporting economic and social development, as opposed to hindering the development at the beginning of reform and opening up. In the Internet age, information infrastructure is also important. In recent years, China has increasingly prominent advantages in the Internet field. The digital economy has become an important new growth point for the Chinese economy. The Internet penetration rate in China was only 1.8% in 2000, and it reached 54.3% in June 2017, surpassing the global average level by 4.6 percentage points. China's online retail market has become the largest in the world. The digital economic aggregate reached RMB22.6 trillion at the end of 2016, accounting for 30.3% of GDP, thus becoming an important part of the national economy. China has continued for decades to promote the construction of the world's largest transport and information infrastructure and promoted the expansion and further integration of regional and national markets, in order to narrow the gap in economic and social development among different Chinese regions and accelerate the modernization process. "If you want to get rich, build a road." The important experience viewing the infrastructure revolution as a driving force for development is exhibiting growing positive externalities. China has set infrastructure connectivity as the key point in the Belt and Road Initiative and provided the vast number of developing countries with infrastructure construction experience, technical equipment, funds and talents, helping them catch up with others on the path of modernization. 

China's modernization path is aimed at improving people's livelihood and promoting people's modernization in an all-round way. The fundamental purpose of our Party in leading the people to carry out the reform and opening up and socialist modernization is to continuously raise the material and cultural living standards of the people and promote the full development of the people through the development of social productive forces. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that the effectiveness of all our work ultimately depends on whether the people really benefit from it, whether the people's life has really been improved, and whether the people's rights and interests have really been protected. China's modernization is also the modernization of human beings. China has always insisted on finding motivation for development from the people, relying on the people for promoting development, and making development benefit the people. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, we have been making every effort to offer education to the people's satisfaction. The share of government financial expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP has remained above 4% for five consecutive years. The popularization rate of compulsory education has exceeded the average level of high-income countries. The gross enrollment rates of secondary education and higher education have both exceeded the average levels of high-income countries. We have sped up the building of healthy China, and the residents' health level has generally reached the level of middle- and high-income countries. We have continued to expand employment as a priority target for sustained and sound economic development and improvement of people's livelihood. We have given priority to employment and implemented a more positive employment policy. The average annual new employment has registered more than 13 million people in urban areas. We have continued to deepen the reform of the social security system and further strengthened the social security network covering urban and rural areas. We have upheld the vision that protecting the ecological environment is protecting the productive forces and improving the ecological environment is developing the productive forces. We have vigorously promoted the building of ecological civilization and more consciously advanced the green development. We have worked hard to fight against poverty and adhered to the basic strategy of targeted poverty alleviation, in order to ensure that by the year 2020, all rural residents living below the current poverty line will be lifted out of poverty and that poverty will be eliminated in all poor counties and regions, and to set an example for developing countries in the reduction and elimination of poverty. China's modernization has comprehensively improved the people's living quality, improved the people's development ability, stimulated the people's creativity, and promoted the full development of the people and the all-round progress of society. 

"Method" of development: Methodology of China's modernization path 

On the modernization path, China has succeeded in rapidly catching up with the Western countries. The important reason lies in the scientific methodology for China's modernization. 

We have formed a staunch core of leadership that can unite the people throughout the country. The key to finding the right modernization path lies in the correct leadership of the Communist Party of China. As Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out, the CPC "fundamentally changed the direction and progress of the Chinese nation's development in modern times, fundamentally changed the future and destiny of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation, and fundamentally changed the trend and pattern of world development." Only by forming a staunch core of leadership can we unite the people across the country, boost our national spirit, and bring together the powerful forces to achieve modernization. 

We have practically chosen and adhered to the development path in line with our national conditions. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that only the one wearing the shoes can know whether they fit or not. The path of socialism is a solemn choice made by the Chinese people in the tremendous changes of the times and the only correct choice for gradually embarking on the path of modernization under the conditions of the old semi-colonial and semi-feudal China. As different countries have different national conditions, the path suited to their own national conditions is the only correct one. Once the right path has been chosen, we must unswervingly go forward without hesitating or tossing and work hard for it generation by generation. 

We are brave and good at promoting self-innovation and maintaining the vitality of the system. Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out, "Reform and opening up are the key choices for determining the fate of contemporary China and an important magic weapon for the Party and people's cause to catch up with the times with great strides." It is through the reform that the Chinese system has always maintained its vitality and the great changes have taken place in China. Reform is an innovation project that eliminates disadvantages of the system and exerts its advantages, so that the institutional system can always maintain its adaptability to environmental changes. Reform is a systematic project which requires systematic thinking to advance the reform in a scientific and orderly manner. Reform is a long-term project with different goals and priorities in different stages, but there is no end to the cause of the reform. 

We have understood both the domestic and international situations and built a community with shared future for mankind in mutual benefit and win-win results. Comrade Xi Jinping creatively proposed the major vision of building a community with shared future for mankind, led the major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, and actively promoted the reform of the global governance system, in order to make China's modernization follow the trend of peace, development, cooperation and win-win results, and build the great-nation image of China with responsibility and global leadership among the world. China has adhered to the path of peaceful development by actively seeking the peaceful international environment for its own development and promoting world peace by its own development, in order to let the world share opportunities in China, inject strong and positive energy into the world development, and benefit the people of all countries and all mankind. 

(Author's affiliation: Institute of Contemporary China Study, Tsinghua University)

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