TO get a better understanding of China, you have to understand the Communist Party of China (CPC). It’s the Party that led the Chinese people to achieve national independence and liberation, and established socialism. Under its leadership, China commenced its great journey of reform and opening-up, and has accomplished a series of development feats.
Over the past four decades, China has lifted more than 740 million people out of poverty, with its poverty incidence ratio dropping to 3.1 percent by the end of 2017 from 97.5 percent in 1978. This is undoubtedly one of the major achievements in the history of human development. In the process, China has risen to become the world’s second largest economy.
On December 1, 2017, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting in Beijing.
The International Department of the CPC Central Committee (IDCPC), as the functional department of the Party responsible for its external work, has been providing important platforms and channels for the outside world to understand the CPC and China by carrying out exchanges of diverse forms with various political parties of foreign countries. Currently, the CPC maintains regular and frequent exchanges with more than 400 political parties across the political spectrum from over 160 countries and regions.
Global Significance of Xi Jinping’s Proposal
In the 19th CPC National Congress convened in October 2017, the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era was incorporated into the Constitution of the CPC as a new guide to action for Party members. It was enshrined into the country’s Constitution the following year. In his speech delivered to the congress, Xi Jinping announced, “With decades of hard work, socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the threshold into a new era. This is a new historic juncture in China’s development.”
As the report states, socialism with Chinese characteristics entering a new era means the following: The Chinese nation, which since modern times began had endured so much for so long, has achieved a tremendous transformation: it has stood up, grown rich, and is becoming strong; it has come to embrace the brilliant prospects of rejuvenation. It means that scientific socialism is full of vitality in the 21st century China, and that the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics is now flying high. It means that the path, the theory, the system and the culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics have kept developing and blazing a new trail for other developing countries to achieve modernization. It offers a new option for other countries and nations which want to speed up their development while preserving their independence; and it offers Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to problems facing mankind.
Some foreign attendees at the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting visit the Party School of the CPC Central Committee on December 1, 2017.
The above is the global significance of the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. We can understand it from three levels. The first level is about the world socialist movement. Since entering a new era, socialism with Chinese characteristics is manifesting its strong vitality. Braving adversity, the CPC holds high the banner of scientific socialism. The second level is about those developing countries which want to speed up their development while preserving their independence. China provides them with a new option to achieve modernization. Many countries have basically followed the Western development model. The success of the Chinese development model has provided a new path for modernization. The third level is about humanity as a whole. It offers Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to problems facing humankind.
The CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting was held in Beijing from November 30 to December 3, 2017. Themed “Working Together Towards a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind and a Better World: Responsibilities of Political Parties,” the high-level meeting was attended by over 600 representatives from nearly 300 political parties and organizations of 120 countries.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Xi Jinping proposed four points on building a community with a shared future for mankind: build a safe world free of fear; strive to eliminate poverty and promote common prosperity; build an open and inclusive world; and build a clean and beautiful world. Xi’s proposal struck a chord with attendees. The CPC’s theory and strategy on governance of the Party, the country, and the world once again sparked heated discussion worldwide.
German scholar Florian Lupe pointed out, “One big merit of the CPC is its adherence to a pragmatic path, which has not only led to the country’s economic miracles but earned it more and more recognition in the world.”
At the meeting, president of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Romero Jucá said, “Now the world is facing complicated challenges like the refugee crisis, terrorism, and food safety issues. Political parties should play their roles in solving the challenges. Today, Brazil is trying to create its own development path. We hope to cooperate with China, and learn from Chinese experience to solve those challenges facing Brazil’s political landscape.”
Zizi Kodwa, a member of the National Executive Committee of African National Congress of South Africa and now deputy minister for state security, said that the CPC, under the leadership of General Secretary Xi Jinping, has unremittingly made progress and marched ahead. This is why it can remain relevant with the times. Kodwa said only under the leadership of a strong party, can a country have the capacity to lead the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. He further pointed out that Xi’s proposal offered political parties of other countries a new perspective to look at the world. All countries, no matter their size, should join the efforts to build a community with a shared future, as that would promote party-to-party, country-to-country and people-to-people exchanges and deepen their relationship in fields across the board, said Kodwa.
Appeal of China’s Theory and Practice on Governance
In our party-to-party exchanges, we found foreign political parties’ interest in China mainly converged on the following three aspects: targeted poverty alleviation, Party building, and anti-corruption efforts. This also reflects the common problems facing those countries. Among the three, targeted poverty alleviation was the topic that held the most interest.
Since General Secretary Xi Jinping first put forward the strategic thought about targeted poverty alleviation in November 2013, China has rolled out a range of targeted measures and policies to rachet up its efforts in poverty reduction with remarkable achievements made. During the period of 2014-2017, China’s rural poor population has decreased to 30.46 million from 82.49 million with the average annual reduction rate up to 15.8 percent.
In July 2018, the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting Africa Thematic Event was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with its focus on exploring development paths of African countries in line with their national conditions. However, in discussion, attendees always came back to the topic of poverty alleviation. They were intrigued by China’s practices and experience in this field, as poverty reduction is still a grim challenge facing many African countries.
On December 1, 2017, part of the group of leaders of foreign political parties attending the CPC In Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting are present at the grand exhibition introducing the past five years of hard work of China at the Beijing Exhibition Center. The Fuxing bullet train model attracts the attention of many.
When foreign delegations intended for poverty alleviation exchanges come to China, we usually first brief them on China’s policies and practices about targeted poverty alleviation. This is followed by a visit to poverty-stricken areas to see, in practice, how China lifts poor people out of poverty via targeted measures tailored for specific groups in specific regions. The 24th Wanshou Forum held in October 2018, themed “targeted poverty alleviation and China-Africa cooperation,” jointly organized by the IDCPC and Renmin University of China, drew more than 60 representatives of political parties from 12 African countries. They later came to Zhengding and Xingtang counties in north China’s Hebei Province for a fact-finding visit.
Some representatives commented that it seemed in China, every poor person had been targeted for aid. And some viewed e-commerce as a great platform to help poor people as no middle-person is involved and no big input required. They determined to take all the Chinese experience back home and also hoped to have further exchanges with China in agriculture and human resources training.
Now China is changing its approach to helping underdeveloped countries with increasing exchanges on development theories and experience in contrast to pure material aid in the past. Just as the ancient Chinese saying goes, teaching one to fish is better than giving him fish.
On the other hand, the success of the CPC in Party building and fighting against corruption is earning it more credibility internationally. While many political parties in the world are challenged by their intrinsic problems, the CPC is showing vitality thanks to its efforts to strengthen Party discipline, which has intrigued many foreign political parties.
In an exchange activity, Hlengiwe Buhle Mkhize, a member of the National Executive Committee and convener of Eastern Cape Province of African National Congress from South Africa, indicated that she was impressed by the Party’s achievement in its anti-corruption bid. “We really hope to learn from China in battling against corruption. We made a trip to a local Party school and noticed its role in educating cadres and enhancing the capacity of the ruling party. I think anti-corruption is critical to achieving a country’s development goals,” she said, expecting more bilateral exchanges in this regard.
Mkhize added that she was keen to learn from the CPC about how to strengthen the alliance and bring it closer to civil society. “And the very important lesson we got from China is to invest in poor families and communities directly and not to tolerate any embezzlement. We shouldn’t keep cadres who are failing to show integrity in the system,” Mkhize concluded.
With China’s rise in the international community, many countries are intent on strengthening their exchanges and communication with China in a bid to learn from China’s experience and share development opportunities. Meanwhile, there is still a chorus of voices doubting China’s strategic intentions. Therefore, more efforts should be made by the CPC in its external exchanges to dispel qualms and respond to concerns.
In his speech delivered at the opening ceremony of the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting held in late 2017, Xi Jinping emphasized that the CPC will neither “import” foreign models of development, nor “export” the Chinese model and ask other countries to “copy” Chinese practices. He reiterated that the CPC strives for both the well-being of the Chinese people and human progress. Therefore, besides being involved in its own development, the CPC will create more opportunities for the world, said Xi.
LUAN JIANZHANG is director-general of the Research Office of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee.