Chinese modernisation is not a vision that the People’s Republic of China wants to impose on other countries, as is the case with the attempts at Westernisation which that production system tries to impose on the world at all costs.
Seeking satisfaction for the Chinese people and the rejuvenation of the nation are the basic mission of Chinese modernisation. The establishment of the People’s Republic of China has created the basic social conditions for the modernisation of the country. This is certainly not a recent topic, as the “Four Modernisations” were the first reforms officially launched by Deng Xiaoping in 1978: agriculture, science and technology, industry and national defence.
In the current reform period, the social productive forces are being freed and developed to make great strides in national construction and provide a system guarantee full of new vitality and material conditions for fast development. The era of socialism with Chinese characteristics provides a more comprehensive institutional guarantee, a more solid material basis and a more proactive spiritual force towards national modernisation.
It combines the fundamental principles of Marxism with Chinese characteristics typical of the specific reality of China and its traditional culture. The drive for modernisation, the deepening of its theoretical understanding, the continuing strategic maturation and enrichment of practice, have been advanced in a series of ideas, new insights and forward-looking conclusions, which enrich and develop modernising theories. It is a new analysis of the theories that have promoted the country’s historic achievements and changes for years.
The essential issue is to recover the “two hundred years lost” that led to the backwardness that the founders of the People’s Republic of China had to face in 1949 after the liberation. Over time a parallel process has been created between industrialisation, computerisation and IT development, urbanisation and agricultural modernisation.
The aim is to fundamentally achieve the modernisation that – formally started in 2020 – as from 2035 will aim to build a modern country, with a stable and strong defence at least from 2050. Contrary to what is hyped by some propaganda, there is no single modernisation model in the world – and even less one to be imposed by force and violence, as is often the case – nor is there a standard universal model with instruction manuals.
The analysis of Chinese modernisation theory is essentially the treatment of a country with a huge population, based on a profound synthesis of the experience and lessons of the practice and the mistakes of modernisations in other countries of the world.
Firstly, China’s population is over 1.412 billion citizens and this will soon exceed the sum of the populations of existing developed countries. The difficulty and complexity are unprecedented, and the development path and promotion method must also have their own characteristics.
Secondly, common prosperity is the prerequisite, and it is also a long-term historical process. Chinese modernisation adheres to the rationale of people-centred and not market-centred development. It consciously and proactively resolves regional disparities, urban-rural differences and disparities in income distribution. It promotes social equity and justice, gradually achieves common prosperity for all people, and resolutely prevents polarisation.
Thirdly, material and spiritual prosperity is the basic requirement of modernisation. Material poverty is not socialism – if anything, it is a prerequisite for capitalism – and spiritual poverty is not socialism, while Westernisation sees it as superfluous or at best a trend for the wealthy classes. Chinese modernisation adheres to fundamental values and strengthens the education of ideals and beliefs. It promotes traditional Chinese culture, enhances the spiritual power of people, and promotes the complete enrichment of people who use things and are not used by them, as is the case with Western homogenisation.
Fourthly, Chinese modernisation must not only create more material wealth and spiritual wealth to meet people’s growing needs for a better life, but also provide high quality ecological products to meet people’s growing needs and the healthiness of their environments. It therefore focuses on promoting the construction of material civilisation and of ecological civilisation at the same time.
Fifthly, modernisation emphasises the mutual benefit in building a community with a shared future for humanity and strives to contribute to human peace and development.
As seen in some of my previous articles, in the past and still today, some countries have taken the path of violently plundering colonies for their own interests at the expense of others’ backwardness, whereas Chinese modernisation emphasises mutual benefit and win-win outcomes.
A profound understanding of the fundamental principles that must be firmly grasped in order to advance and achieve Chinese-style modernisation, i.e. supporting and strengthening the rationale of development while persisting in deepening a reform and opening-up approach. This core principle emphasises the political guarantee, people’s viewpoint and value, and the institutional guarantees, as founding principles. They are an important part of the theory of Chinese-style modernisation and have important theoretical and practical significance. Chinese-style modernisation is a great feat which is unprecedented in history. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is the fundamental achievement of the whole people after untold hardship and at great cost. It is the right path to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Only by adhering to socialism with Chinese characteristics can China develop. Reform and opening-up are an important magic weapon for the Party and the people to take giant steps to catch up with the times. We must adhere to the fundamental principle of deepening reform and open up, support and improve the basic socialist economic system and build a high-level socialist market economic system. We must improve the distribution system; further stimulate the enthusiasm and creativity of all aspects of society; promote the high-level opening-up to the outside world; improve the linking effect of the two resources in domestic and international markets; create new advantages and opportunities in international competition, and provide strong momentum for the advancement and achievement of Chinese-style modernisation. At present, major changes in the world – never seen in a century – are accelerating and the world has entered a new period of turmoil and change. The country’s reform, development and stability are facing many profound contradictions. With determination and confidence, we can do our best to overcome all kinds of difficulties and challenges on the way forward and fight tenaciously.
General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasised: “We uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics and promote the coordinated development of material, political, spiritual, social and ecological civilisation. Let us create a new path of Chinese-style modernisation and create a new form of human civilisation”.
It is now too early to tell whether Chinese modernisation will represent a new form of human civilisation, but one thing is certain. Unlike other modernisations it does not seek to impose itself on the world through violence, but seeks to improve its own country. Only History will be able to tell us whether it will then be taken as an example by other peoples and States.
On the other hand, the modernization developed by Westernisation does not represent the past, but is a current expression of tragic eras characterized by two world wars waged by imperialism, and huge tragedies, such as the Shoah, the nuclear bombs on Japan, and the extermination of entire peoples of the Western hemisphere, to name but three emblematic examples.