Waking up in a new, quite different China thanks to the CPC
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Waking up in Beijing today is very different to waking up in Beijing 72 years ago. Today the capital of the ‘middle country’ is bustling with activity of human development.
Seventy-two years ago, when the People’s Republic of China was founded, poverty, deprivation and inequality were hallmarks of Chinese society. Today those hallmarks are history.
Waking up in China today, poverty has been declared a thing of the past. In the face of natural catastrophes and Covid-19, the country was still able to manage to stick to its poverty alleviation goals.
According to reports from the central government, China has spent over R3 trillion across all three spheres of their governments in the last eight years, alone, on reducing poverty. By the end of 2020, nearly 20 million people, just under two percent of the population, were on social grants or the subsistence allowance system.
850 million people have been lifted out of poverty while 100 million of these were from the rural population. China is 10 years ahead of schedule of meeting the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and can rightfully boast that the eradication of poverty enables it to be a society that implements rather than just speaks on human rights.
Through the eradication of poverty, China ensures that Chinese people enjoy access not only to socio-economic rights but also to the human freedom of every Chinese person. If there is any country globally that has achieved Amartya Sen’s development as freedom, then it is China.
When visiting the exhibition “The Road to Rejuvenation” in November 2012, Chinese president, Xi Jinping said: “Everyone has an ideal, ambition and dream. We are now all talking about the Chinese dream. In my opinion, achieving the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has been the greatest dream of the Chinese people since the advent of modern times. This dream embodies the long cherished hope of several generations of the Chinese people, gives expression to the overall interests of the Chinese nation and the Chinese people, and represents the shared aspiration of all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation.”
Among other factors, the Chinese people and its government will attribute these remarkable successes within China to two factors specifically. Firstly, that China is and remains a people-centred society. The “people” always before the republic. Through this, the Chinese people have been able to build a society not centred on profit but on the progress of the poorest of the poor.
The progress of the Chinese people therefore took centre stage in China’s developmental trajectory. Emphasis was not placed on foreigners or foreign markets but rather on Chinese people themselves being able to access good and quality products and services before exporting them.
Today China is the most industrial nation on earth precisely because every single Chinese person can live comfortably and has access to manufactured goods. Alienation is down to a minimal.
Yet one of the most important factors in Chinese development has been the central role played by the Communist Party of China. This steadfast leadership has been able to ensure that industrialists are patriotic, investment is re-invested into public services and those accused of corruption are dealt with severely. But this stability and legitimacy that the CPC has brought to the fight against poverty,
in China and globally, has certainly been as a sore thumb in the neoliberal global order. Today a young Chinese person in Haidian can wake up secured of a job and a future in the building of a modern and prosperous society where poverty no longer exists. We doubt we can say the same about a young American waking up in Harlem today.
* Buyile Matiwane is the Deputy President of the South African Students Congress tasked with international affairs. He spent six months in Beijing on a study exchange programme.
** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL and Independent Media.