Illustration: Chen Xia/GT
As one Chinese saying goes, "Peaches and plums do not talk, yet a path is formed beneath them." This is apropos to the Communist Party of China (CPC) at 100 years.
More and more countries are attaching growing significance to, and learning from, the CPC due to its strong vitality and successful experience.
The three volumes of Xi Jinping: The Governance of China have been distributed in more than 160 countries and regions, selling several million copies. Concepts such as "Belt and Road Initiative" and "a community with a shared future for mankind" have been recognized by most developing countries, and were written into the official documents of the UN and many international organizations. The CPC-founded schools and training systems for all Party cadres have been followed, as an example, by political parties in quite a few developing countries. The CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting, held in 2017, witnessed the participation of more than 600 delegates representing nearly 300 political parties.
Various signs indicate that CPC's global significance and charm has gradually expanded over time. On the other hand, however, this has caused unprecedented anxiety and panic among some Western political elites in recent years. Some conservative politicians, right-wing media outlets and scholars have been holding wrong perspectives of China. For example, Gordon G. Chang, a Chinese-American lawyer, published the book The Coming Collapse of China in 2001. Another US scholar, David Shambaugh, published an article entitled, "The Coming Chinese Crackup," in 2015. The theories were later promoted by former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his adviser on China, Yu Maochun, known as Miles Yu in the US. Both have hyped-up the "CPC threat theory" in an attempt to reconstruct the US policy toward China.
The COVID-19 hit the world hard in 2020. In the wake of this catastrophe, the CPC has united and led Chinese people of all ethnic groups to fight against the pandemic, and has achieved major strategic achievements after arduous efforts. In the early stage of its epidemic, China spared no time to produce a large number of masks, ventilators, test kits and relevant medical equipment for the world. China shared the coronavirus strains' genome sequences at the earliest time possible. It has been providing vaccines to developing countries.
In the minds of the Chinese people, China has made huge sacrifices and major contributions in the global fight against the virus. This is worthy of appreciation. Yet the situation is opposite. A study released by Pew Research Center in March showed that roughly nine-in-ten US adults (89 percent) consider China a competitor or enemy and 48 percent think limiting China's power and influence should be a top foreign policy priority for the US. Americans are having the worst impression of China since 1979.
An important reason for the free-fall drop of the US impression of China is that some Western forces have sensationalized the so-called CPC threat theory. They have fabricated the "lab leak" lie, and taken advantage of some non-governmental organizations and law firms to make claims against China. They have also conceited false narratives that the CPC used the epidemic to rule with an iron fist and violate human rights. They also repeatedly stir up troubles with issues relating Hong Kong and Xinjiang. This shapes people's wrong impressions of the CPC.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC and it is necessary to expose some US forces' wrong logic of the so-called CPC threat theory.
The first is authoritarianism. This refers to the principle that the ruling party requires people to absolutely obey its authority, and then form an absolute suppression of individuals' thoughts and actions. Such discrimination of authoritarianism has existed for a long time. It was used to analyze the political status of the Philippines in the middle of the 20th century, as well as Russia and other countries since the 21st century. Now, it has been applied to China, forming a baseless criticism, discrediting and even denying China's success. This is malicious. Tarnishing the CPC for so-called authoritarianism completely ignores people's spontaneous support and love of it due to the progress of the country.
The second is digital control. This means that the ruling party uses digital technology to control and infringe on all citizens and makes it unable to realize the protection of human rights. But this is completely misleading, ignoring the complex and innovative nature of governments and individuals. Under the CPC's leadership, Chinese governments at all levels have turned to innovative methods such as promoting QR health codes, vaccine passports and establishing joint prevention and control mechanisms. This is not suppressing personal freedom. It is, instead, achieving greater social freedom by tracking and suppressing the contagion of the coronavirus.
Facts prove that China is one of the countries with the lowest COVID-19 infection and death rates per million people. The tremendous progress in fighting against the plague proves the perfect combination of social governance and digital technology under the CPC leadership in the new era. It also shows Chinese people's profound tradition of benevolence, and the CPC's pursuit of people-centered values.
The promotion of the global significance of the CPC's 100 years experience in the era of "intelligentization" is about China's social governance, human rights protection, infrastructure construction, people's living standards, and urban security have been taking strides forward. It made the West, which tends to claim itself as the benchmark of modernization, feel humiliated, but also subverted the framework and traditional cognition of Western social sciences for more than 200 years.
The so-called CPC threat theory is an international distortion of the CPC system, and also a deliberate denial of China's development. The Chinese people are proud of the global significance embodied in the 100th anniversary of the Party. But they need to be highly vigilant against the anxiety and panic of some Western forces.
The author is professor and executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.