CG Tang Zhongdong
CG Tang Zhongdong

A millenial dream, forged in a century: China’s journey to prosperity

By Opinion Time of article published Oct 18, 2021

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By CG Tang Zhongdong

The term "Xiaokang" stemmed from the ancient Chinese classic Book of Songs 2000 years ago.

It reads "The people are hard-pressed, they need some modest comfort". Since ancient times, "Xiaokang" has always been the most beautiful aspiration of the Chinese people for a prosperous and affluent life. Till now, I still have many friends who have named their children "Xiaokang".

On 28th September, the State Council Information Office of the P. R. China published the white paper of China’s Epic Journey from Poverty to Prosperity, a thrilling thing for all Chinese people.

As Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and president of China, declared solemnly at the ceremony marking the centenary of the CPC, “Thanks to the continued efforts of the whole Party and the entire nation, China had realized the First Centenary Goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects."

Led by the CPC, generations of the Chinese people have made the millennial dream a reality within a century.

Late 1970s, in the early years of reform and opening up, national leader Deng Xiaoping used the term “Xiaokang” to present his vision of China’s modernization for the first time.

“By Xiaokang, we mean a per capita GNP of US$800,” he specified.

Through perseverance and effort over these years, China achieved basic moderate prosperity at the end of the 20th century as scheduled.

In 2002, the CPC pointed out that moderate prosperity remained at a relatively low level and it was not all-inclusive and was very unbalanced. Thus the Party set the objective of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. For this purpose, in the first two decades of the 21st century, China would further develop the economy, improve democracy, advance science and education, enrich culture, foster social harmony, and upgrade the quality of life. At its 18th National Congress in 2012, the CPC announced that China would realize the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2021 when the Party would celebrate its centenary, with sustained and sound economic development, greater people’s democracy, a significant improvement in cultural soft power, higher living standards, and major progress in building a resource-conserving and environment-friendly society.

China's prosperity is an all-round development, characterized by balanced, coordinated and sustainable progress in the economic, political, cultural, social, and eco-environmental fields. Since the birth of “Xiaokang” concept, economic strength has increased significantly.

China’s GDP soared from RMB67.9 billion in 1952 to RMB101.6 trillion in 2020. As the world’s second largest economy, it accounts for over 17 percent of the global total.

With per capita GDP rising from less than US$100 in 1952 to over US$10,000 in 2020, China has achieved a historic transformation from a low-income country to an upper-middle-income country.

The Chinese people have become true masters of their country, society and future, and enjoy extensive, full and genuine democracy. People are enjoying richer cultural activities. Public cultural facilities, ranging from rural reading rooms and cultural stations to urban libraries, museums, cultural centers, and art galleries, have been steadily improved, and are mostly open to the public free of charge or at a minimal cost. Public cultural services have become more diversified, equitable and convenient.

More than 1.4 billion Chinese people’s rights to subsistence and development are well protected. They have access to childcare, education, employment, medical services, elderly care, housing and social assistance. People are favoring the concept of lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. A basic national policy of resource conservation and environmental protection has been adopted. Its endeavors have made the skies bluer, the lands greener, and the waters more lucid across the vast and beautiful landscape of the country.

China’s prosperity emphasizes a society in which all people share the fruits of development, a society where no individual, region or ethnic group is left behind, which is essential for achieving common prosperity and reflects the CPC’s commitment of serving the people wholeheartedly.

By the end of 2020, all of the 99 million rural poor, and all of the 832 counties and 128,000 villages classified as poor under China’s current poverty line, had emerged from poverty. Following decades of hard work, substantial progress has been made in coordinating the development of different regions. New regional strategies——to coordinate development in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, develop the Yangtze River Economic Belt, build the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, integrate development in the Yangtze River Delta, and strengthen eco-environmental conservation and high-quality development in the Yellow River Basin——have achieved substantial success. The strategic and institutional framework for functional zoning has improved. By the end of 2020, a total of 31.21 million people had been raised from poverty in the five autonomous regions of Inner Mongolia, Guangxi, Tibet, Ningxia and Xinjiang, and the three provinces of Guizhou, Yunnan and Qinghai, where many ethnic minorities live.

China’s prosperity is a contribution to world peace and development. Leading the world in both scale and extent, China has been the largest contributor since 2006, making an average annual contribution of more than 30 percent of world economic growth. After the outbreak of Covid-19, it was the first country to contain the virus, reopen its economy, and achieve economic expansion.

It has not only become an important force in pulling the global economy and trade recovery, but also played a positive role in maintaining the stability of the global supply system. Over the past year, China has supplied hundreds of billions of masks and more than one billion doses of vaccines to the world, strongly supporting countries in the fight against the pandemic.

As the world’s most populous and largest developing country, China’s achievement of prosperity has helped to dramatically reduce the world’s poverty-stricken population, which has boosted the confidence and strength of other peoples who are fighting to eliminate poverty.

The eradication of absolute poverty in China contributes to the realization of target set by the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. It has provided impetus, created opportunities and explored paths for the world to tackle the challenges of poverty and achieve economic recovery, and contributed to building a community with a shared future for mankind.

China’s realization of prosperity represents the fulfillment of an intermediate target on the way to modernization and national rejuvenation. Invigorated, the CPC and the Chinese people have embarked on the new journey forward.

China welcomes all African countries, including South Africa, to ride on China's development express, making progress together with China through continuously improving the living standards of their people.

China is willing to share other countries with its experience in eradicating poverty and achieving prosperity, and looks forward to providing a new path of economic development for countries and peoples around the world that wish to accelerate development while maintaining independence. In the future, China will embrace the world with a more open and inclusive pose, form a more positive interaction with the world, and work with global community to build a community with a shared future for mankind and a better world.


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