Wang Yiming: The Significance and Impact of China’s Path to Modernization are Unprecedented
Oct 27th , 2022; Economic Daily App,
The 20th National Congress of the CPC put forward that from now on, the central task of the CPC is to unite and lead the people of all ethnic groups in building a modern socialist strong country comprehensively and to realize the second centenary goal, thus promoting the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation through China's path to modernization.
On October 26th, during the 157th "Economic Monthly Talk" held at the China Center gor International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE), Wang Yiming, Vice Chairman of CCIEE, stated that China's path to modernization answers the questions of what kind of modernization China wants to achieve and how to achieve it. The 20th National Congress report of CPC elucidates the Chinese characteristics and essential requirements of China's path to modernization, establishes the overall strategic arrangement and general objectives for comprehensively building a modern socialist strong country, and highlights the major principles that must be firmly grasped. The report provided strategic plans for the Party and the country in the coming period, all of which revolve around the comprehensive construction of a modern socialist nation.
The 20th National Congress report of CPC pointed out that based on the long-term exploration and practice since the establishment of the People's Republic of China, especially the reform and opening-up, and through innovative breakthroughs in theory and practice since the 18th National Congress, our Party has successfully promoted and expanded China's path to modernization. "China's path to modernization is a significant theoretical and practical achievement that our Party has made through long-term exploration, practice, and innovative breakthroughs in building a modern socialist country, taking into account our own national conditions," said Wang Yiming.
Wang Yiming stated that at the beginning of the establishment of the People's Republic of China, our country had a very weak economic foundation and was in need of comprehensive development. As Comrade Mao Zedong pointed out, "What can we produce now? We can produce tables and chairs, teacups and teapots, grow crops, grind them into flour, and make paper. But we cannot produce cars, airplanes, tanks, or tractors." To change this situation, our Party put forward the task of achieving national industrialization and transforming our backward agricultural country into a industrial socialist nation. Due to the lack of experience in socialist construction, China's industrialization started with learning from the Soviet model. After completing the task of economic recovery, the first Five-Year Plan was implemented in 1953, which established the guiding principle of prioritizing the development of heavy industry. As the plan was implemented, the shortcomings of the Soviet model also became apparent. Comrade Mao Zedong proposed to learn from the lessons of the Soviet experience and independently explore a socialist development path suitable for China's national conditions. In 1956, after conducting extensive and meticulous research, Comrade Mao Zedong formulated "On the Ten Major Relationships," which had guiding significance for China's socialist construction, marking the beginning of our Party's exploration of China's path to modernization that suited our national conditions. Although this phase of exploration experienced twists and hardships, it still achieved inspiring accomplishments. Our country initially established an independent and relatively complete industrial system and national economic system, transforming from an agricultural country to a moderately industrialized nation. This provided valuable experience and material foundation for promoting socialist modernization after the reform and opening-up.
The Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the CPC, held in 1978, initiated a new historical process of reform, opening up, and modernization in China. The Party led the people in a new great revolution of reform and opening up, greatly inspiring the enthusiasm, initiative, and creativity of the masses, and successfully embarked on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Based on a scientific analysis of the international and domestic situation and a profound summary of historical experience and lessons, the Party made new arrangements for China's socialist modernization. In August 1987, on the eve of the 13th National Congress of the CPC, Comrade Deng Xiaoping clearly expounded the "Three-Step" strategy: our country's economic development takes three steps. In this century, we aim to achieve the goals of ensuring a relatively comfortable life and achieving moderate prosperity. In the next century, we will take another 30 to 50 years to reach the level of moderately developed countries. Our Party creatively used the concept of "xiaokang" (moderate prosperity), which fully absorbed the essence of Chinese traditional culture, to interpret China's path to modernization, which is of great significance in promoting China’s path to modernization. In this phase, China's economic development entered the fast lane, and our country's GDP surpassed that of Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan, becoming the world's second-largest economy. This historical breakthrough, from relative backwardness in productivity to leaping to the second-largest economy in the world in terms of total economic output, provided a dynamic institutional guarantee and a rapid material basis for advancing China’s path to modernization.
Wang Yiming expressed that since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. The Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core has responded to the new requirements of China's economic and social development and the new expectations of the people, proposing the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects by 2020, with the doubling of GDP and per capita income of urban and rural residents compared to 2010. The 19th National Congress of theCPC established a two-step strategic plan for modernization. On July 1, 2021, General Secretary Xi Jinping solemnly announced at the ceremony celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC: "After sustained efforts by the entire Party and the people of all ethnic groups in the country, we have achieved the first centenary goal and built a moderately prosperous society in all respects on the Chinese land." This marks a significant step forward in China’s path to modernization and is a milestone in the process of building a modern socialist country. Building on the foundation of a moderately prosperous society, the 20th National Congress of CPC has outlined a grand blueprint to comprehensively build a modern socialist country and achieve the second centenary goal.
The report of the 20th National Congress of the CPC pointed out that China’s path to modernization refers to the socialist modernization led by the CPC. It shares common characteristics with modernization in other countries while also embodying the distinctive features of China based on its own national conditions.
"Understanding the common features and Chinese characteristics requires observing China’s path to modernization in the context of the global landscape," said Wang Yiming. "The 'Great Geographical Discoveries,' especially after the Western Industrial Revolution, led to the involvement of countries and nations worldwide in the capitalist civilization system through colonial expansion by Western capitalist forces. Western countries, being the pioneers of modernization based on industrial revolution, have often been equated with Westernization and industrialization as synonymous with modernization. However, as pointed out by Marx, the path and process of modernization for a nation depend entirely on the specific social conditions and historical environment in which it finds itself. The universality of modernization can only be realized through the particularity of each nation's social history. Different countries and nations have different historical positions in the process of modernization, and thus modernization should have different models and standards. The choice of modernization model for a country or nation ultimately depends on whether it is in line with its own reality and whether it can address the prominent issues faced in the process of modernization."
Wang Yiming emphasized that China’s path to modernization is unfolded under specific historical conditions and is led by the CPCa in the context of socialist modernization. China’s path to modernization not only creates fundamental premises for China's development and prosperity, but also breaks the conventional thinking that equates modernization with Westernization. It has challenged the long-held dominance of the Western modernization model in the global landscape and demonstrated the diversity of modernization patterns worldwide. China’s path to modernization has provided broad prospects for the diversified development of modernization around the world.
Wang Yiming pointed out that emphasizing China’s path to modernization does not deny the general laws and common features of modernization. He stated that the general features of modernization can be understood from several perspectives. Firstly, social productive forces and economic development need to reach an advanced level. The report of the 20th National Congress of the CPC set the goal of achieving a new level of per capita GDP and reaching the level of moderately developed countries by 2035. The level of moderately developed countries is dynamic, and it requires us to adhere to the development as the absolute principle, prioritize economic construction, and ensure that the Chinese economy grows at a faster pace than the current moderately developed countries. Secondly, science and technology are the primary productive forces, and the modernization of technology is certainly a universal feature of modernization. According to the Global Innovation Index 2022 released by the World Intellectual Property Organization, China has risen from the 34th position ten years ago to the 11th position, entering the ranks of innovative countries. To achieve basic modernization by 2035 and enter the forefront of innovative countries, investment in scientific research and technological progress should also grow at a faster pace than the top 10 Western economies. In addition, modernization should also lead to more harmonious social relations among people. These are all general features of modernization.
"The report of the 20th National Congress of CPC emphasized the Chinese characteristics of China’s path to modernization, which include modernization with a large population, modernization with shared prosperity for all people, modernization with coordinated material and spiritual civilization, modernization with harmonious coexistence between humans and nature, and modernization through a path of peaceful development." Wang Yiming mentioned.
China’s path to modernization is modernization with a large population. Wang Yiming stated that China has a population of over 1.4 billion, making it the most populous developing country in the world. Achieving modernization with such a massive population has no precedents in the world. Its magnitude and complexity are unprecedented, which means that China’s path to modernization cannot simply replicate foreign models. It must have its own characteristics in terms of development approaches and advancement methods. The significance and impact of China’s path to modernization are also unprecedented. With over 1.4 billion people in China embarking on modernization, it will reshape the global map of modernization and redefine the global pattern of modernization.
China’s path to modernization means achieving common prosperity for all the people. Wang Yiming stated that the essence of socialism with Chinese characteristics is to achieve common prosperity and avoid polarization. However, achieving common prosperity is a long-term historical process and cannot be achieved overnight. Common prosperity is not about equal distribution or taking from the rich to the poor; rather, it is a historical process where the Rich First Pushing Those Being Rich Later.
China’s path to modernization is the harmonious development of material civilization and spiritual civilization. Wang Yiming stated that this is a distinctive feature of China’s path to modernization. Modernization is not only the accumulation of material wealth but also the development of spiritual civilization. We should strive for both material abundance and spiritual enrichment, promote comprehensive human development, continuously enhance people's spiritual strength, and achieve mutual promotion and complementarity between material civilization and spiritual civilization.
China’s path to modernization is the harmonious coexistence between human beings and nature. Wang Yiming stated that this is a defining characteristic of China’s path to modernization in the current era. The harmonious coexistence between human beings and nature represents a transcendence of traditional models of modernization and embodies the concept of sustainable developmentChina’s path to modernization aims to promote comprehensive green transformation in economic and social development, establish green development patterns and lifestyles, firmly pursue a path of civilized development that encompasses productive growth, material prosperity, and ecological well-being, and strive to build a beautiful China. It seeks to create a favorable environment for the people's production and livelihood, and contribute to global ecological security.
China’s path to modernization is a modernization of peace and development. Wang Yiming stated that China will not follow the old path of Western countries achieving modernization through war, colonization, and plunder.China’s path to modernization has diverged from the colonial expansion inherent in the Western model of modernization. China adheres to cooperation and win-win relationships with countries around the world, promotes the establishment of a more just and equitable global governance system, and advocates for the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. China's new development provides new opportunities for the world.
"The essence of modernization is the modernization of people." Wang Yiming stated that the material foundation and institutional system of modernization require the participation of modernized individuals. The achievements of modernization will ultimately transform into comprehensive improvements in people's qualities, capabilities, thinking patterns, and behaviors. The report of the 20th National Congress of the CPC emphasized the goal of achieving basic modernization by 2035, highlighting the "significant substantive progress in comprehensive human development and common prosperity for all people." "Comprehensive human development" will create conditions for the common prosperity of all people.