President Xi Jinping’s book is ‘golden key’ to understanding China’s success
Pretoria - Volume III of the writings of Chinese President Xi Jinping on the Governance of China and the achievements of the recent Fifth Plenary Session of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee was celebrated at a webinar hosted in Pretoria yesterday.
In a wide-ranging keynote address, China’s new ambassador to South Africa, His Excellency Chen Xiaodong, reflected on the CPC Plenary Session held at the end of October, China’s achievements over the past five years and the next five-year plan for national economic and social development, and 15-year objectives.
At the same time, he welcomed the publication of the book (available in English) which spells out the philosophies, visions and strategies of the CPC expounded on by President Xi through reports and speeches between 2017 and early this year, covering a range of topics.
Both the Fifth Plenary Session and Xi Jinping’s book serve as “golden keys” to better understand and interpret China’s development story in the new era, said Chen.
He highlighted five P-words which he said represent leadership in China, namely “people first, party leadership, the new paradigm, shared prosperity and governing proficiency”.
President Xi Jinping’s people-first philosophy and commitment that no one should be left behind on the journey towards “building a moderately prosperous society” had seen the country take incredible strides in the battle against poverty.
Between 2012 and the end of last year, 93 million Chinese were lifted out of poverty and, by the end of 2020 – 10 years ahead of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – nobody in China would fall below the level of absolute poverty, Chen said.
When it comes to party leadership, China’s success lay in the leadership commitment of the CPC, the largest political party in the world, which had ensured the rapid economic development in recent decades and ensured the long-term social stability of China.
Chen told the webinar that a study by the Kennedy School of Harvard University had shown the CPC and the Chinese government enjoyed a 93% satisfaction and support rate among Chinese people, something unrivalled in the world.
Leading such a large party has its demands with President Xi advocating high levels of discipline, co-ordination, and clean governance to safeguard the authority and leadership of the CPC Central Committee in advancing “socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics” and improving scientific and democratic decision-making.
Chen summarised the next (14th) 5-Year Plan as “Four times deliberations and consultations”, a process to ensure that the plan struck a balance between top-level design making and soliciting opinions of the general public represented by various sectors.
To this end, the new plan on the path to becoming a moderately developed economy received over 1 million comments, including more than 1 000 opinions and suggestions, a record in terms of scope and participation.
President Xi’s new paradigm refers to modern, innovative, co-ordinated, green, open, shared high-quality development as China’s strategic choice as it enters its next stage of development and responds to changes in the domestic and external environment.
“In recent years, China has risen to the 14th place in the world in terms of innovation capability, and scientific and technological progress, and remains committed to innovation in the modernisation drive, green, low-carbon and sustainable development,” said Chen.
The goal was to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060 and contribute to the global fight against climate change. President Xi had also called for a complete ban on illegal trade of wildlife and for stronger exchanges and co-operation on the protection of wild fauna and flora.
While domestic demand was a strategic focus, China was opening up wider to the outside world and would pursue high-quality development for itself and others, in initiatives such as the Belt and Road co-operation which stood to benefit other countries and regions, including Africa.
The fourth ideal, “shared prosperity” with China, is linked to the policy of opening up to the world, pursuing development with China’s doors open and upholding a mutually beneficial “win-win strategy”.
This recognises that China is part of the world and cannot develop in isolation to it, but also that the rest of the world needs China for its prosperity.
At the opening of the third China International Import Expo, President Xi proposed that the China market become a market for the world, one shared by all, and accessible to all.
At the latest expo, South African companies and their Chinese partners had reached intended deals of more than $200m (R3bn), Chen said, referring also to extensive collaboration and support in the global fight against Covid-19.
* Boje is Editor of the Pretoria News