In an interview with Beijing Review reporter Li Nan, William Brown, Academic Director of the OneMBA program at the School of Management, Xiamen University, shared his observations on President Xi Jinping's recent declaration that China has built a moderately prosperous society in all respects. This is an edited excerpt of his views:
I think it was perfect timing—the culmination of 100 years of a Chinese dream. And though the successes President
Xi Jinping talked about would have been considered miracles—impossibilities, even—in any other country, they were, I think, foreseeable in China.
While the leadership of many countries talks about solving poverty, it's just politics and slogans. But China's leaders and people have stood united in the quest for ending poverty since 1949. Late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping said that the concept of socialism could not coexist with poverty.
The reason that China achieved targeted poverty alleviation is because it has a precision government. That's why the world's most populous nation not only defeated absolute poverty, but also achieved effective pandemic alleviation. China fought COVID-19 with science, not politics, and won. It fought poverty with science, not politics, and won.
Furthermore, the UN has recognized that China leads the world in fighting desertification, deforestation, illiteracy, and many other areas. This is because a precision government that can succeed at poverty alleviation or pandemic control can also combat any of the other modern problems that other nations have difficulties defeating.
The West often criticizes China's political party system, but in my opinion the Chinese people share one hope under the system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in which all leaders stand united for one purpose. This unity stands in contrast to the Western democratic system in which the various parties ceaselessly battle each other to preserve their political powers or to help the deep-pocketed corporations that bought TV ads to get them elected.
Xi said at a ceremony marking the CPC's centenary on July 1 the Chinese nation has "achieved the tremendous transformation from standing up and growing prosperous to becoming strong." Of course the West contends that a strong China is a threat to the world, but the West has been spouting nonsense since the First Opium War (1840-42). In 1899, the very year Britain published a book about dividing China up amongst nations to exploit its resources, the West went on to publish several books saying that China, their apparent victim, was part of the "Yellow Peril" and warned it would overwhelm the world.
Yet, as Xi said, China has never bullied, oppressed, or subjugated the people of any other country, and it never will. I believe this because history shows that the Chinese have long been the most peace-loving people on Earth—whereas the nations that warn about China have never ceased their wars and proxy wars to maintain unjust trade advantages.
China is not a threat, but a beacon of hope for peace and the alleviation of poverty. Through the Belt and Road Initiative, among other projects, China is giving hope to other nations.
Some 30 years ago, China's strategy was entitled First Roads, Then Riches. It was simple, practical, straightforward, and it worked. Through the Belt and Road Initiative, China is now helping other nations to construct the roads needed to bring them riches. If plenty of these countries choose to work with China, maybe other nations, too, can enjoy a moderately prosperous society.
Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon
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