Since opening up and reforms initiated in 1978, modernization was a dream of the Chinese people. But, during the last ten years, the drive for modernization was more focused, more intense, and more specific.
Recently concluded the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), held on 16-22 October 2022, in Beijing, has defined the road map of its modernization.
Onward, the central task of the Communist Party of China will be to lead the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in a concerted effort to realize the Second Centenary Goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects and to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization.
Based on decades of exploration and practice since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, especially since the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, as well as the new breakthroughs made in theory and practice since the 18th National Congress, we have succeeded in advancing and expanding Chinese modernization.
Chinese modernization is socialist modernization pursued under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. It contains elements that are common to the modernization processes of all countries, but it is more characterized by features that are unique to the Chinese context.
—It is the modernization of a huge population. China is working to achieve modernization for more than 1.4 billion people, a number larger than the combined population of all developed countries in the world today. This is a task of unparalleled difficulty and complexity; it inevitably means that our pathways of development and methods of advancement will be unique. It will, as always, bear China’s realities in mind as it addresses issues, make decisions, and take action. It will neither pursue grandiose goals nor go by the rulebook. It will stay patient in advancing the course of history and take steady and incremental steps to sustain progress.
—It is the modernization of common prosperity for all. Achieving common prosperity is a defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics and involves a long historical process. The immutable goal of our modernization drive is to meet the people’s aspirations for a better life. We will endeavor to maintain and promote social fairness and justice, bring prosperity to all, and prevent polarization.
—It is the modernization of material and cultural-ethical advancement. Material abundance and cultural-ethical enrichment are fundamental goals of socialist modernization. Material want is not socialism, nor is cultural impoverishment. While continuing to consolidate the material foundation for modernization and improve the material conditions for people’s well-being, we will strive to develop advanced socialist culture, foster strong ideals and convictions, and carry forward China’s cultural heritage. It will thus promote all-around material abundance as well as people’s well-rounded development.
—It is the modernization of harmony between humanity and nature. Humanity and nature make up a community of life. If we extract from nature without limit or inflict damage on it, we are bound to face its retaliation. China is committed to sustainable development and to the principles of prioritizing resource conservation and environmental protection and letting nature restore itself. We will protect nature and the environment as we do our own lives. We will continue to pursue a model of sound development featuring improved production, higher living standards, and healthy ecosystems to ensure the sustainable development of the Chinese nation.
—It is the modernization of peaceful development. In pursuing modernization, China will not tread the old path of war, colonization, and plunder taken by some countries. That brutal and blood-stained path of enrichment at the expense of others caused great suffering for the people of developing countries. We will stand firmly on the right side of history and on the side of human progress. Dedicated to peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, we will strive to safeguard world peace and development as we pursue our own development, and we will make greater contributions to world peace and development through our own development.
The essential requirements of Chinese modernization are as follows: upholding the leadership of the Communist Party of China and socialism with Chinese characteristics, pursuing high-quality development, developing whole-process people’s democracy, enriching the people’s cultural lives, achieving common prosperity for all, promoting harmony between humanity and nature, building a human community with a shared future, and creating a new form of human advancement.
To build China into a great modern socialist country in all respects, we have adopted a two-step strategic plan:
Basically realize socialist modernization from 2020 through 2035
Build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful from 2035 through the middle of this century
China’s overall development objectives for the year 2035 are as follows:
Significantly increase economic strength, scientific and technological capabilities, and composite national strength; substantially grow the per capita GDP to be on par with that of a mid-level developed country
Join the ranks of the world’s most innovative countries, with great self-reliance and strength in science and technology
Build a modernized economy; form a new pattern of development; basically achieve new industrialization, informatization, urbanization, and agricultural modernization
Basically, modernize the system and capacity for governance; improve the system for whole-process people’s democracy; build a law-based country, government, and society
Become a leading country in education, science and technology, talent, culture, sports, and health; significantly enhance national soft power
Ensure that the people are leading better and happier lives; bring per capita disposable income to new heights; substantially grow the middle-income group as a share of the total population; guarantee equitable access to basic public services; ensure modern standards of living in rural areas; achieve long-term social stability; make more notable and substantive progress in promoting the people’s well-rounded development and prosperity for all
Broadly establish eco-friendly ways of work and life; steadily lower carbon emissions after reaching a peak; fundamentally improve the environment; largely accomplish the goal of building a Beautiful China
Comprehensively strengthen the national security system and national security capabilities; achieve basic modernization of national defense and the armed forces
After basically realizing modernization, we will continue to work hard and build China into a great modern socialist country that leads the world in terms of composite national strength and international influence by the middle of the century.
The next five years will be crucial for getting our efforts to build a modern socialist country in all respects off to a good start. Our main objectives and tasks for this period are as follows:
Make breakthroughs in promoting high-quality economic development; achieve greater self-reliance and strength in science and technology; make major progress in creating a new pattern of development and building a modernized economy
Make new strides in reform and opening up; make further progress in modernizing China’s system and capacity for governance; further, improve the socialist market economy; put in place new systems for a higher-standard open economy
Further enhance the institutions, standards, and procedures of whole-process people’s democracy; improve the system of socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics
Enrich the intellectual and cultural lives of our people; enhance the cohesion of the Chinese nation and the appeal of Chinese culture
Ensure personal income grows basically in step with economic growth and pay rises in tandem with increases in productivity; ensure much more equitable access to basic public services; develop a better multi-tiered social security system
Substantially improve urban and rural living environments; make notable progress in building a Beautiful China
Further, consolidate national security; fulfill the goals for the centenary of the People’s Liberation Army in 2027; make solid progress in building a Peaceful China
Further, increase China’s international standing and influence; enabling China to play a greater role in global governance
Building a modern socialist country in all respects is a great and arduous endeavor. Our future is bright, but we still have a long way to go. At present, momentous changes not seen in a century are accelerating across the world. A new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation is well underway, and a significant shift is taking place in the international balance of power, presenting China with new strategic opportunities in pursuing development. At the same time, however, the once-in-a-century pandemic has had far-reaching effects; a backlash against globalization is rising, and unilateralism and protectionism are mounting. The global economic recovery is sluggish, regional conflicts and disturbances are frequent, and global issues are becoming more acute. The world has entered a new period of turbulence and change.
At home, we face many deep-seated problems regarding reform, development, and stability that cannot be avoided or bypassed. In our efforts to strengthen the Party, and especially to improve conduct, build integrity, and combat corruption, we are confronted with many stubborn and recurrent problems. External attempts to suppress and contain China may escalate at any time.
Our country has entered a period of development in which strategic opportunities, risks, and challenges are concurrent and uncertainties and unforeseen factors are rising. Various “black swan” and “gray rhino” events may occur at any time. We must therefore be more mindful of potential dangers, be prepared to deal with worst-case scenarios, and be ready to withstand high winds, choppy waters, and even dangerous storms. On the journey ahead, we must firmly adhere to the following major principles.
China’s Modernization is beneficial for the people of China, as well as, for the rest of the world, especially the neighboring nations, friendly countries, and the developing world. China has been sharing its experience, extending assistance, and transferring technology to many countries around the globe for their modernization. Chinese assistance carries no extra stings or harsh conditions, yet is more flexible and fruitful. Chinese modernization is a ray of hope for many other nations and a source of inspiration.