EYESHENZHEN  /   Opinion

What if China had taken another path?

Writer: Wu Guangqiang  | Editor: Vincent Lin  | From: Shenzhen Daily | Updated: 2019-09-23

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is embracing her 70th birthday, an event worthy of a grand celebration, for it not only fundamentally rewrote Chinese history, but reshaped the global political and economic landscape as well.

It’s a globally recognized fact that under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China has achieved accomplishments unparalleled in human history. Yet it remains controversial and dubious for some as to what brought about the China Miracle.

Dominated by the Western discourse system, academia and media around the world have mechanically and dogmatically defined and interpreted every human phenomenon by theories and doctrines based on the histories and cultures of Western countries. Western scholars and politicians evaluate the success or failure of every nation under the sun with Western criteria.

Therefore, in their opinion, the Western democratic system is the best and the only successful political system. They love to quote Winston Churchill’s famous remark to support their claim: Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.

Yet, this rigid assumption prevents the West from acknowledging China’s unique and successful system, and instead, they prefer to call China either a state capitalist nation or a revisionist country, meaning any success must have something to do with capitalism.

Obviously, any attempt to decipher China’s peaceful rise with a set of Western codes is futile, as the Chinese political, social and economic systems are not duplicates of any other previous or existing systems, though they have been inspired and enlightened by many advanced and mature experiences from other civilizations.

China calls its own system socialism with Chinese characteristics, a term that fully reflects the nature and features of the system it enjoys.

The main features can be characterized by “One State with Four Aspects,” that is, a civilizational state and four institutional arrangements: a state political party or a party of the holistic interests, a consultative democracy, meritocracy and a mixed economy. With all these arrangements, China has successfully maintained its status as an independent, stable and ever-growing country with a sound and efficient government, a rapid and sustainable economic growth, and a well-organized and vibrant society.

Some cynics inside and outside China look at China’s accomplishments with disdain, insisting that China would be even more successful had it taken the Western-model path of development.

Supported by ample historical facts and scientific causality, we can deduce the miserable situation China would be in if China had embarked on a capitalist path as did most other countries.

Under the multi-party system, China would, like most developing countries, be bogged down by endless partisan wrangles that would delay or abort policy making and execution, stall economic growth, and divide society. It would be a catastrophe for a massive country like China.

With a private-business-dominated capitalist system, it would be impossible for China to successfully undergo the national land reform to nationalize all the land, which laid a solid foundation for rapid industrialization and the formation of the world’s largest unified market.

Most importantly, without the leadership of the CPC, or under the leadership of any other party, China would have never been able to shake off its shackle as a vassal state or a puppet of foreign powers. The pathetic performance of the Kuomintang, which ruled China before the PRC for decades and is still barely surviving in Taiwan, serves as a bad example of a selfish party.

A mere glance at ubiquitous slums in most developing countries, and even at tens of thousands of makeshift shelters occupied by homeless people in Los Angeles, will remind the world of the remarkable feat China has achieved in poverty reduction – slums were a term of the past and for the first time in history, the Chinese people have basically got rid of the scourges of hunger, cold and homelessness, an accomplishment envied by the rest of the world.

Not content with a well-off life, the Chinese people are heading for a more affluent and healthier livelihood. It’s anticipated that by the middle of the 21st century, the PRC will be among the strongest and richest countries in the world.

By then the whole world will acknowledge with admiration that China’s choice of its development path is the greatest contribution to human history.

(The author is an English tutor and freelance writer.)