By John Milligan-Whyte
Editor's note: Since its founding more than 100 years ago, the Communist Party of China has led the country in making remarkable achievements at home as well as contributing to global development and peace. Combining political theory and practice to make those remarkable achievements, the CPC has set a great example for the world. Three experts share their views on the CPC's governance philosophy with China Daily.
Plato's The Republic, which is the foundation of Western political thought, is the key for foreigners to understand today's China. The republic Plato envisaged more than 2,300 years ago is somewhat similar to the People's Republic of China. China's governing party can be called the "guardian party" because of its similarities to the "Guardians" that ruled the ideal republic Plato envisaged. The Communist Party of China founded the People's Republic of China and has led China to achieve enormous social and economic progress unique in speed, size and global impact.
Xi Jinping has been the CPC's leader since 2012, and his lifelong values and goals guide the continuation of the Party's highly successful system of government that is essential for achieving China's national rejuvenation. Xi emerged as China's leader with close to four decades of experience and constant evaluation in diverse government roles in the Party's highly competitive leadership training and selection system.
It is a mark of the effectiveness of the Party leadership's selection process that Xi's personal values and goals exemplify the rare type of statesman-philosopher, as he is seeking to institutionalize the ideals and pragmatic goals that he manifested in his early articles and during his work as a minor government official and in his books as China's leader on The Governance of China in four volumes.
My new book, China in 2049: The Meaning of Xi Jinping, presents my analysis, as a Western trained lawyer, businessman and political scientist who is not Chinese, about the importance of Xi's values and formative experiences that created his goals as China's leader seeking a constructive shared future for humankind.
The book also explains why and how the economic growth and national security of the United States and China must and can be aligned to peacefully coexist. My goal is to help the policymakers of the two countries to find a constructive instead of a catastrophic shared future.
A Chinese friend once asked me what in my view, as a foreigner, is the most important change in China. The answer is: people in China have become more confident.
The Chinese people have transitioned from timidity and uncertainty about their position in the world to being confident and proud of what China has achieved in just over four decades, something which no other country has been able to do.
The Chinese people's pride in their country is justified, because the Party has propelled China to a position of global leadership, commensurate with its economic power and population, which comprises more than 20 percent of the global total.
For 38 of the last 40 centuries, China's was the world's largest and most technologically advanced economy. Then it started looking inward, which did not turn out well because the economic, technological and military advances made by other countries made China vulnerable to foreign exploitation.
But when pushed into the corner, the Chinese people produced a unique system of government that could defend the country's sovereignty and make astonishing economic and social achievements. The Party's people-centered government policies have enabled China to leap from being one of the poorest countries to becoming the world's second-largest economy.
Hence, future Chinese generations must never forget that without a stable, strong political leadership capable of formulating and implementing successful long-term economic and social planning, China's fate could easily turn out differently.
Many foreign observers used to say that China's success was temporary, because it has a political system different from that of Western countries.
In 2020 Eric Schmidt, a key US government adviser and former Google CEO, summed up China's advantage in developing and applying new technologies to industries that will control the future, saying: "China is simply too big. There are too many smart people in China."
Yet many Americans used to say China's one party-led system of government, socialism with Chinese characteristics and the Chinese economy dominated by State-owned enterprises ought to fail because China's policymakers are not doing what the US thinks they should. But China could not, would not and should not copy other countries' systems of government and economic management.
China's political and economic systems are not failing. Instead, the Party leadership is enabling China to become the world's largest economy. For many Americans, who did not expect the speed and global impact of China's success, this is a traumatic shock.
Researchers at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University released in July 2020 a landmark study examining Chinese public opinion over a 13-year period, covering the policy impact of three of China's government administrations. The study titled "Understanding CCP Resilience: Surveying Chinese Public Opinion Through Time" was the longest-running independent effort to determine Chinese citizens' satisfaction level with the government's performance.
Edward Cunningham, director of the Ash Center's China Programs said: "Since the start of the survey in 2003 to its conclusion in 2016, Ash Center researchers found that Chinese citizen satisfaction with government has increased virtually across the board. From the impact of broad national policies to the conduct of local town officials, Chinese citizens rate the government as more capable and effective than ever before. These strong satisfaction rates counter the argument that as China's economy continued to expand and economic inequality increased, citizen satisfaction levels would drop as their relative demands increased."
Many Americans cannot understand or accept China's success, because they unrealistically assumed that China would copy non-Chinese models of government and economic management.
But the reality is that China's century-old party rapidly adapts to changing circumstances, and is capable of formulating and implementing successful long-term economic, social and national security policies. The CPC has enabled the country to implement socialism with Chinese characteristics and increase China's per capita income from $50 to more than $10,000 and lifted close to 800 million people out of abject poverty. These achievements underpin the legitimacy of the Party.
China has a population of over 1.4 billion and the US 334 million. So the US' economic stability and national security depend on Americans accepting and understanding the reality of the CPC's success and US policymakers reciprocating the CPC's policy of peaceful coexistence.
The author is chairman of the America China Partnership Foundation.
The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
Vanguard behind the country's achievements
By Song Xiongwei
The past century has witnessed the Communist Party of China leading a revolution, founding the People's Republic and relentlessly pursuing economic development and social change for the better. The Chinese people have changed their fate, made great contributions to humankind, and are now on way to realizing national rejuvenation.
With its membership growing from just over 50 when it was established in 1921 to more than 96 million, the Party today is leading a country of more than 1.4 billion people and has become the world's largest governing party with significant global influence.
As Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, addressed a ceremony marking the centenary of the founding of the Party on July 1, 2021, the image China presented to the world was one of a thriving country that is advancing toward national rejuvenation.
In its more than 100-year history, the Party has made extraordinary historic achievements on behalf of the people. Today, it is leading the people on a new journey toward realizing the second centenary goal of developing China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, and beautiful.
Under the Party's leadership, China has made milestone economic and social achievements, consolidated its position as the world's second-largest economy and realized its first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
The Party's governing principle is based on Marxism, and it has implemented scientific theories to develop the country and strengthen inner-Party democracy. A key reason why the Party has been able to fulfill enormous tasks, inconceivable for any other political force, is its adherence to Marxism. So upholding the Party's scientific theories can further develop socialism with Chinese characteristics, and modernize China's governance system and capacity.
However, it is also important to uphold the Party's centralized and unified leadership, guarantee political stability, and ensure that the country follows the socialist path.
The Party has a materialistic worldview, and works for the betterment of the people. It views the people as the fundamental force behind the advance of history, regards itself as a tool for realizing the people's interests, and takes the mass line as the fundamental guideline for its work. Since its founding in 1921, the Party has always followed the people-first principle. In contrast to many Western political parties, the original aspiration and the mission of the CPC are to achieve national rejuvenation and bring happiness to the Chinese people.
The past decade has seen the Party making even more remarkable achievements in terms of improving people's living standards, eradicating absolute poverty, strengthening the education system, and improving healthcare services and disease control.
The Party has fought to establish its leadership, and has been striving to consolidate the people's support. One of the party's valuable historical experiences is to follow an independent path. According to the "Resolution of the CPC Central Committee on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century" released last year, the Party has always followed an independent path, relied on its own efforts to drive forward the country's development, and firmly believed that China's affairs should be managed by the Chinese people.
No wonder China's governance system, long derided in the West, has proved more effective in advancing the country's development and offers more choices than Western democracy. Also, unlike developed countries which took several centuries to industrialize, China has completed the process in a matter of decades, achieving the twin miracles of rapid economic growth and enduring social stability, thanks to the Party's leadership.
The CPC has always attached great importance to fostering high-caliber Party officials. With the CPC's political guidelines clearly defined, how officials perform their duties makes a great difference to the overall performance of the Party.
The task of national governance hinges on having the right people for the job. Over the past hundred years, the CPC has always insisted that its members have both the integrity and the ability to deliver, giving priority to the former, and has appointed officials based on merit. Dismissing cronyism and clique culture, the Party has brought together people from different walks of life to fight for just causes and improve the well-being of all the Chinese people.
It has reformed the official selection system, in order to build a contingent of competent and professional Party officials who are honest and upright, firm in their ideals and conviction, willing to serve the people, diligent in their work, and ready to take on responsibilities.
The Party is capable of responding to the risks and challenges faced by China. It is also good at rectifying its mistakes and reforming, improving and purifying itself. It has no special interests of its own, nor does it represent any interest group. And it has always advanced people's interests.
The world is undergoing unprecedented changes as China moves toward realizing national rejuvenation. And the Party is prepared to meet the people's needs for a better life and ensure the country can overcome any challenges and withstand any tests.
The author is a professor of politics and law at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.
The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
Leadership has improved China's global standing
By Wael Khalil Yassine
China is facing the most immoral and unprecedented attacks from myriad quarters because of its ability to remove the obstacles to its economic growth at a time when almost all other countries are encountering economic downturn, which began with the global financial crisis.
Victorious over the fiercest enemy of humankind, "poverty", and having largely contained the spread of the novel coronavirus, China is progressing on the development path following the "people-first" principle, which is considered ideal for governance and global leadership, because it builds mutual trust among countries and promotes beneficial interactions between them instead of sowing the seeds of division and using threat and coercion.
This is how the Chinese leadership devised the country's realistic and ethical policy and made it strategically credible. Equally important, its leadership's quality does not come from manipulation of rules and principles; it has developed through appropriately handling bilateral, multilateral and international affairs. No wonder the Chinese leadership has been fulfilling its promises and commitments toward not only friendly partner countries but also those with which it doesn't have very good relations.
This is the way to prompt countries to work together and shoulder their respective responsibility in cooperative endeavors, and move forward together on the path of development, peace and prosperity.
The Chinese concept of cooperation is based on mutual trust and mutual understanding, which is different from the Western concept of "implicit threat of force".
China's focus on leadership quality highlights the importance of choice and the ability to use opportunities in a way that it leads to peace and prosperity, rather than frictions and war. The Chinese leadership also aims to improve the country's position on the global stage through political means and reforms, and bolster national strength as part of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
That's why Chinese leaders have been seeking to expand the circle of China's partners who support its development concept.
China supports its partner countries, and backs decisions that safeguard and promote the rights of the people while rejecting and denouncing the US-led West's decisions and moves, including imposing sanctions on other countries and using long-arm jurisdiction, aimed at reinforcing the hegemony of the major powers.
China has helped establish regional and international institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which do not necessarily fully comply with the international rules and criteria set by the US-led West. In this way, the Chinese leadership maintains its moral character without trying to overhaul the existing international order.
China's leadership has always (and continues to) put people's interests first and deal with other countries based on the principle of mutual benefit, which is in contrast to what the Western, especially US, leaders do. In fact, drunk on the spirit of "dominance and expansion", many US and other Western leaders rarely, if ever, take people's interests into account.
China's concept of nation building stems from its adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law.
As President Xi Jinping has said, the achievement of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects has put higher demands on governance in accordance with the law. Hence, the need to push forward scientific legislation, better implement the rule of law, ensure fair justice and deliver good governance.
The Chinese leadership realized early that when a political system is based on the principle of hegemony and expansion and does not put people's interests first, the failure of policies and people's anger and indignation against the leaders would be the final harvest. And when it puts the interests of the people at the forefront and deals with other countries with respect and on an equal footing, people's support and diplomatic success will surely follow.
The author is chairman of the Middle East Studies and Development Center, an independent think tank in Lebanon.
The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.