The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China set two centenary goals: build a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2021, or the centenary of the CPC; and build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by 2049, or the centenary of the People’s Republic of China. The 20th Party Congress, which is to open on Sunday, is a momentous assembly as it marks the occasion when the country is marching toward the second centenary goal after achieving the first one.
The realization of the first centenary goal was made possible by attaining shining achievements in socioeconomic development over the past few decades, especially during the past 10 years. China’s economic aggregate more than doubled over the past 10 years, rising to 114.4 trillion yuan ($15.95 trillion) in 2021 from 53.9 trillion yuan in 2012, or accounting for 18 percent and 11.3 percent of the world economy respectively. And the country’s GDP per capita has also risen from $6,300 to more than $12,000 in the same period. The country has become the second-largest economy in the world after sustaining high growth over the past decade, boasting the strongest industrial base, the largest trade volume and the biggest foreign exchange reserves. Over the years, China’s economy has contributed approximately 30 percent to global economic growth, standing out as a key engine for global economic growth.
The exceptional national achievements in the past decade, including those in the scientific and technological fronts, have fully demonstrated the enormous institutional strengths of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. President Xi Jinping has repeatedly pointed out that the greatest strength of China’s socialist system lies in its ability to concentrate resources to do great things. His words demystify China’s success in simple terms. Indeed, the socialist system allows the central authorities to mobilize resources and manpower from all over the country to strive for a specific goal. Known as the “whole nation” system on the Chinese mainland, this mechanism explains China’s incredible speed of development and achievements.
For instance, the subway systems in New York City and London pale in comparison with China’s high-speed rail and urban subway systems, which will offer a brand-new experience for anyone who has the chance to take a ride. This would not have been made possible without the “whole nation” system, which allows the country to promptly gather all the necessary resources for major undertakings, arduous tasks, and emergency responses.
These achievements are the result of the central government’s vision, plus meticulous planning and pooling of resources for the development of the key areas. This model has allowed for the creation of competitive advantages and vibrant development momentum in a trice
China has accomplished a number of stunning scientific and technological feats one after another over the past decade, such as the lunar exploration mission of the Chang’e spacecraft, the Mars mission of the Tianwen 1 spacecraft, the manned space mission of the Shenzhou spacecraft, the successful test run of its self-developed C919 airliner, the commencement of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project, the launch of the world’s biggest radio telescope (the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope, or FAST), etc, which are all awe-inspiring engineering projects that have helped China ascend from 35th in 2013 to 12th in 2021 in the Global Innovation Index. Hong Kong residents have also felt the pulse and benefited from the State’s “whole-nation” system. With the opening of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the concept of a “one-hour living circle” between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao has become a reality.
These achievements are the result of the central government’s vision, plus meticulous planning and pooling of resources for the development of the key areas. This model has allowed for the creation of competitive advantages and vibrant development momentum in a trice.
Since the 18th Party Congress, the advantage of pooling resources to accomplish major tasks has come into full play as a result of the CPC’s commitment to putting the people in first place, which has garnered firm support from the people across the country.
Some critics, however, still regard the socialist system on the mainland as a dogmatic and rigid system, which was a perception dating back to 40 years ago. After the launch of the reform and opening-up process, “Chinese characteristics” has become an integral part of the socialism that China practices, which has unleashed endless vitality and remarkably enhanced its inclusiveness. And by virtue of this inclusiveness, China has been able to work wonders along the way.
“Socialism with Chinese characteristics” has four major features. First, the National People’s Congress aligns the Party’s propositions with the aspirations of the people and the cause of the country via the mechanism of democratic elections and legislation. Second, the system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC makes consensus-building much easier and effectively puts collective wisdom into full play for attaining the greatest common good. Third, the system of regional ethnic autonomy has forged a strong sense of belonging to the Chinese nation among various ethnicities as well as enhancing the cohesion of the nation. Fourth, the system of community-level self-governance allows members of the local communities or villages to form their self-governing committees through direct elections, which are tasked with managing the affairs, serving the needs, and supervising the running of the community or village.
For any political party or country, success never comes by chance. It could only be achieved through relentless endeavors underpinned by an effective system and mechanism. The fact that the CPC has led more than 1.4 billion Chinese people on the path to success corroborates its prowess in governance as well as the strength of the “socialist system with Chinese characteristics”.
The author is a Hong Kong member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and chairman of the Hong Kong New Era Development Thinktank.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.