Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), General Secretary of CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping has made a series of important remarks on development, connecting it closely to the realization of the Chinese Dream. In an article published on People's Daily, Li Wei, Director of the State Council's Development Research Center, said that the foundation for the great revitalization of the Chinese nation has been laid. Edited Excerpts follow:
History proves that while economic development is a decisive factor in a country's prosperity, it is not the only condition that matters. General Secretary of CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping said that socialism with Chinese characteristics is based on all-round development. On the basis of continuous economic growth, coordinated development in other areas should also be promoted.
Historically, economic development is a decisive condition for national prosperity and strength, as in Britain, the United States, Germany, Japan and so on. But, economic growth is not equal to a country's growth and power, let alone its lasting stability and success. Countries that failed in competition tend to be those that are rich, but not strong. In retrospect, China's economic aggregate long surpassed that of Europe, and until 1870, it was still the world's largest economy. However, this did not prevent China from being invaded by Western powers.
In more recent times, the former Soviet Union, Eastern European countries as well as Iran, Argentina and Libya, all slipped into recession when they stepped into the middle-income country club, with some having witnessed the overthrow of regimes, social disorder and state disintegration.
History tells us that, apart from an economic foundation, many factors are important to a country's lasting stability and prosperity, including profound reform and innovation within the political, livelihood, military, science and technology as well as cultural fields.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, by producing a series of social relief and security policies, the United States managed to relieve class conflict and revitalize the capitalist system. After the World War II, in the face of an unprecedented social crisis, Britain, Sweden and other European countries set up state welfare systems, which greatly helped relieve social conflict, restore economic growth and consolidate political foundations.
Today, China particularly needs to strengthen its construction of social security systems on the basis of economic development, so as to promote social progress and harmony.
Xi said that the CPC always puts forward goals in accordance with the people's will. Based on new challenges at home and abroad, and in line with China's economic and social development as well as people's expectations, the goal of building a well-off society was further enriched during the 18th CPC National Congress. More detailed policies have been suggested to cope with difficulties in the process of development and better serving the people's will.
During the early days of the People's Republic of China, the Chinese economy was centered on agriculture, with its industrial base quite weak. In the face of Western economic pressure and the threat of military attack, China's industrialization could only give priority to heavy industry. Within a short period of time, China managed to set up a relatively well-developed industrial and national economic system. However, such a mode of industrialization comes at a price. In particular, living conditions among people in both rural and urban areas have improved very slowly. During the early years of reform and opening up that started in the late 1970s, China still had more than 250 million people living in absolute poverty. At a time when the people fervently expected rapid improvement in living conditions and China's relationship with major Western powers seemed to improve, China has entered a new stage of development, which has created a number of miracles.
China is now the second largest economy in the world, but it still has some conditions for further development, such as a strong and consolidated government, which provides a basic and stable social environment for development; expanding industrialization and urbanization as well as underdeveloped central and western regions, which will be a huge driving force for economic growth. Various problems arising in the process of development are undergoing extensive and deep changes, posing severe challenges.
On one hand, Western countries hope to see stability and development in China, so that they can share the development fruits. On the other hand, they are not so willing to see a strong and prosperous China, and thus use obvious or hidden measures to contain China. Meanwhile, when a big country begins to enjoy more rights in the world, it takes on more responsibilities. This is a new and severe challenge facing China.