A New Era and Broader Choice


Li wuzhou


The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) took place in Beijing from October 18 to 24. It was a vital gathering for China – the world’s second largest economy with a population of 1.3 billion – as well as for its ruling party in the crucial lead-up to the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and deciding the country’s future development path.


The congress has drawn domestic and global interest by virtue of its historical review of the CPC and summary of the Party’s experience, as presented in a remarkable transcript honoring the Party’s commitment to the people, and its declaration that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era marked by clear objectives, and strategic policy planning through to the middle of the century.


Since its founding, the CPC has stayed at the forefront in leading the people in national rejuvenation and transformation of this formerly poor and backward country into the world’s second largest economy. The CPC Central Committee with President Xi Jinping at the core has in the past five years displayed great political courage and strong responsibility in putting forward new ideas and strategies, introducing major guiding principles and policies, launching major initiatives, and resolving a number of long-term problems, thus making significant achievements.


China’s total GDP in 2016 reached US $11.2 trillion, accounting for 14.8 percent of the world’s total, while GDP per capita reached US $8,123. China’s total goods trade, foreign exchange reserves, and value added in manufacturing all ranked first in the world. According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index, China’s manufacturing competitiveness ranked a global first, as did the country’s value added of high-tech industry, exports, and export value added. China has generally transformed from an agricultural country into the world’s largest manufacturing country.


After suffering extreme hardship in the modern era, the Chinese nation, under the leadership of the CPC, achieved the giant leap from independence to abundance and prosperity. Based on reality, and changes in the current situation, the report delivered at the 19th National Congress reached the important conclusion that the main contradiction facing Chinese society in the new era has evolved into that between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. This significant conclusion is an important basis for the future policy. President Xi Jinping set down in the report China’s mid- to long-term plan through to the middle of this century: From 2020 to 2035, on the basis of building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way, socialist modernization will be fundamentally realized with a further 15 years of efforts. From 2035 to the middle of this century, on the basis of having basically achieved modernization, China will become a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful. The report also comprehensively and profoundly expounds basic issues in the new period, including the overall goals, tasks, plan and strategy; namely, the development direction, model, and driving force of development, as well as external conditions and political guarantees, so providing theoretical analyses and policy guidance with respect to the cause of the Party and the country. It fully demonstrates that China, on the premise of boosting development, will devote great energy to addressing imbalanced and inadequate development, vigorously enhance developmental quality and effect, and better meet people’s growing needs with respect to the country’s economy, politics, culture, society and ecology, with the aim of better promoting well-rounded human development and social progress.


The congress is of wide-ranging global significance. In contrast to countries that resort to the use of violence to resolve conflicts, China’s approach is to reach consensus and resolve conflicts through patient negotiations and dialogue. Whenever protectionism has prevailed, the CPC has advocated maximal openness in trade. As Xi Jinping stated in the report: “China will not close its door to the world, but only become more and more open.” While certain countries blatantly advance their own interests in international affairs, China unreservedly pursues mutual benefit and win-win results. China advocates the concept and wisdom of peaceful development and win-win cooperation as a new model of international relations, thus to promote mutual exchanges through harmony and coexistence, inclusiveness and responsibility, to lay a solid foundation for peaceful development.


The congress showcases cooperative opportunities for the world to share the benefits of China’s development. More importantly, as international scholars have observed, the CPC’s success in promoting China’s economic development demonstrates to the world the quality and strength of China’s leadership model. The successful practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics offers a new option for countries and nations of the world that seek to accelerate development while maintaining their independence.