Delegates attend the 19th CPC National Congress in Beijing on October 18 (XINHUA)
In a report delivered by Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), on the first day of the weeklong 19th CPC National Congress held in Beijing on October 18-24, he revealed that the nation's socialism with Chinese characteristics is entering a new era. Xi unveiled a blueprint for China's development in the future, and launched the start of building China into a modern socialist country in an all-round manner.
Achieving national rejuvenation has been a great dream of the Chinese nation since modern times. In the process of realizing the dream, China has undergone a modernization phase, which started in 1840, when Western powers used military force to coerce China to open up. It was also the time when many patriotic people with lofty ideals began their endeavors to catch up with Western developed countries. However, China's modernization process progressed slowly despite a series of patriotic and salvation movements such as the Westernization Movement (1861-94), the Hundred Days' Reform (June 11-September 21, 1898) and the Revolution of 1911.
Fortunately, since the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, the nation has begun large-scale development of industrialization and modernization under the leadership of the CPC. But, in the long process of building a modernized society, the CPC has experienced numerous hardships and paid a heavy price. Due to China's realities, the goal of realizing modernization of agriculture, industry, national defense and science and technology by 2000 was not met. Nonetheless, the endeavor left the Chinese people with the necessary material foundations and capabilities for further development.
The Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee was held in December 1978, when the Party put forward a three-step strategy of realizing modernization based on historical lessons and a practical and realistic attitude. This opened a path to developing modern socialism with Chinese characteristics through reform and opening up.
Thanks to the hard work of the entire nation, the goals of providing all the people with adequate food and clothing and building a well-off society on the whole were attained. Based on this, the Party proposed the Two Centenary Goals—to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects by the time the CPC celebrates its centenary in 2021; and to turn China into a modern socialist nation that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful by the time the PRC celebrates its centenary in 2049.
Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, China has made tremendous progress in reform and opening up and modernization. The Chinese nation has not only taken the historic leap from standing up to becoming better off, but has also gotten stronger. The country's rejuvenation is on the horizon.
The 19th National Congress has charted a new blueprint for China's development in a new era. Xi pointed out that the period between now and 2020 will be decisive in finishing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects, and the period between the 19th and the 20th CPC National Congresses is when the timeframes of the Two Centenary Goals converge.
Moreover, China has drawn up a two-stage development plan for the period from 2020 to the middle of this century. In the first stage, from 2020 to 2035, the plan is to build on the foundation created by the moderately prosperous society with a further 15 years of hard work to see that socialist modernization is realized. In the second stage, from 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, the aim is to develop into a great modern socialist nation that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful. The new plan will exert profound influence on not only China, but also the rest of the world.
By the end of the second stage, new heights will be reached in every dimension of material, political, cultural, ethical, social and ecological advancement; modernization of China's system and capacity for governance will be achieved; and the nation will become a front runner in terms of comprehensive national strength and international influence. By that time it is expected that common prosperity for all the people will be basically achieved, and the Chinese people will enjoy happier, safer and healthier lives. The nation also seeks to continue being a proud and active member of the community of nations. The great advantages of socialism with Chinese characteristics will show themselves. The CPC and the Chinese people's confidence in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics will be strengthened. The people will be more motivated to make continuous progress.
By the middle of this century, China will offer more Chinese wisdom and a Chinese approach to solve the problems facing mankind. Modernization originated in European capitalism. Some Western scholars believe that building an industrial society through industrial revolution is the only way of development and any other alternative is either flawed or wrong. Even Karl Marx said in Capital: Critique of Political Economy that "The country that is more developed industrially only shows to the less developed the image of its own future."
But besides showing economic progress, such economically developed countries can also be trapped by many disadvantages, conflicts and social problems. Some nations have tried to explore other ways, but they rarely succeeded. Even the Soviet Union model was left half complete.
Different from previous trials, China, under the leadership of the CPC, rose to become the world's second largest economy in only around three decades while developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. It enjoys bright prospects. China's success can serve as a reference to other nations, and it has injected and will continue to inject fresh vitality into the socialist cause around the world.
China will also be a staunch force safeguarding world peace and advancing common development, which has been the nation's constant position. Pursuing a path of peaceful development is not a strategic response to the so-called "China threat theory," but what the Chinese people want from the bottom of their hearts and where the fundamental interests of people all over the world lie.
China has assisted underdeveloped countries even at the time when its own economy was faltering decades ago. Over the past nearly 40 years, instead of posing a threat to the rest of the world, the rapid development of China has markedly contributed to world peace and development.
The nation has participated in a number of UN peacekeeping operations in recent years, receiving much recognition from the UN and host countries. China's contribution to the world economy also ranks among the highest globally. It has also made impressive contributions, especially to poverty alleviation. From 1978 to 2014, the number of people in China living under the poverty line was reduced by 700 million, and the prevalence of poverty declined by 90.3 percent. The rate of the nation's contribution to global poverty alleviation is over 70 percent.
In addition, China is the very first developing country to realize the UN's Millennium Development Goals. It has grown from being the largest nation in poverty to being a role model in poverty reduction, which is itself an important precondition for and element in maintaining world peace.
The author is Executive Dean at the School of Marxism at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee
Copyedited by Chris Surtees
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