Chinese modernization, since being written into the report to the 20th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress in October 2022, has become a widely discussed topic. The CPC National Congress, held every five years, and the Central Committee elected during the congress are the highest leading bodies of the Party. The concept's inclusion in the report shows how it has become a policy priority of the Party and an important guideline for China's development.
But what exactly is Chinese modernization? What are the traits that may be of interest to international observers?
At its core, Chinese modernization is socialist modernization pursued under the leadership of the CPC. To understand China today, one must understand the CPC, the country's ruling Party. Beginning in the mid-19th century, China, a country that had played a significant role in human advancement, lost its former glory in the wake of foreign aggression and domestic turmoil. Since its founding in 1921, the CPC has taken working for the people's wellbeing and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation as its main missions. It has won popular support with its progressive political stance—Marxism integrated with China's actual conditions and the best of traditional Chinese culture—coupled with the achievements it has delivered.
Chinese modernization is the Party's approach to advancing national rejuvenation, that is, enabling the ancient civilization to reach its full potential in the modern world. The Party exercises its leadership from within and going forward, the inseparable relationship between Party and people that it represents is poised to grow.
Socialist modernization means that China, while sharing elements common to the modernization processes of all countries, has done away with many downsides of capital-centered modernization, which puts material profits before anything else. It thereby is antithetical to wealth polarization, environmental degradation and the "law of the jungle," where might is right, in international relations. Instead, China upholds a people-centered development philosophy, advocates harmony between humanity and nature, and champions global governance based on extensive consultation, joint contributions and shared benefits.
A Chinese path to modernization does not mean alienating China from the rest of the world or "putting China first." Instead, in the process of modernizing itself, China will create more opportunities for global development.