By Allawi Ssemanda.
Today marks exactly 100 years since the formation of China’s ruling party – the Communist Party of China (CPC). From a humble beginning which characterised its very first national congress in the city of Shanghai, today CPC stands tall. After their 72 years at the helm, CPC has transformed the once poor and under developed country to become the world’s second economy and technology power house with a staggering GDP estimated at about $14.7 trillion as of 2020 just behind United States of America’s (U.S.A) $20.9 trillion.
With able party leadership, CPC has driven China on a steady and consistent economic growth which has seen the country carrying on the most successful poverty alleviation projects in the world’s history. For example, from 1990 to 2018, China was able to reduce extreme poverty from 66.3% to 0.3% and early February this year, Xi Jinping, the secretary general of CPC’s Central Committee announced the good news that China had completely eliminated abject poverty. United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres hailed the achievement as a huge contribution to UN’s 2030 sustainable development agenda stressing that “It also brings hope and inspiration to the international society, and shows that a campaign promise and consistent policy can make a difference in improving livelihood of the most deprived and vulnerable.”
Whereas China’s success story has been viewed by some western world with scepticism, some criticising China’s good relations with developing countries especially in the global north, one can firmly say such criticism is a result of lack of information and malice and arguably, some Western country’s libido dominandi, a latin concept meaning the argue to dominate everything.
From historical perspective, China has never been a selfish country and has always been on the side of developing countries. For example, during colonial bondage when many African countries were under colonial rule, despite her challenges at home as a developing country, China played a key role in helping African countries to snap the ugly shackles of colonial rule. In late 1960s, China set up a soft loan of about $400 million to assist in construction of the famous TAZARA railway line linking Tanzania and Zambia which helped in easing transport in East African region and beyond. China set up this fund at a time when its total per capita GDP was still low compared to Sub-Saharan Africa. For record, until 1978, Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP was about $490 while China’s averaged was about $156. Therefore, it is not new China to consider helping other developing countries at a time when Beijing seems to be in need.
Therefore, the continued good relations and development assistance from China to several African countries and the rest of global south should not be interpret as Beijing’s hidden agenda but rather, Chinese belief in promoting sprit of a shared prosperity for mankind.
Today, as CPC and People’s Republic of China in general mark 100 years of success, there are many lessons countries world over can draw from China’s governance and leadership model. Arguably, CPC is one of largest and vibrant old political parties in the world and tops the list of political parties enjoying citizen’s support. Indeed, a May 2021 study by Washington Post revealed that 98% of Chinese had trust in the national government. This was a great score compared with 2018’s Values survey which put the percentage at 95!
Perhaps the puzzle other governments should ponder at should be; how does CPC function to enjoy such huge support from not just party members but all citizens?
Looking at CPC right from the revolution time to date, it is evident that party leadership has always firmly put interest of people first whenever the government is developing policies. It is this magic that has seen the country able to provide better and functioning systems that support the country in all important sectors like health, transport, education, energy, creating employment opportunities for citizens, and ensuring security among others.
The other magic bullet CPC and Chinese government employed that can’t be under looked is creating a knowledge-based governance system. This has been achieved through party leadership’s commitment of ensuring right people with right knowledge are put in right place to ensure government policies and plans work and results are seen in given timelines. Coupled with the party’s leadership stance against corruption, when government makes a promise to people, results are delivered. It is model that embraces merit over mediocracy that has seen the country achieve set goals year after year, thereby leaving citizens contended and trusting their government.
Beijing’s decision to maintain her non- interference policy in affairs of sovereign states has left Beijing a friend to many. If looked critically, this has saved the country unnecessary expenses and costs that come with meddling in internal affairs of other countries. This means the country has enough time to plan, put to good use resources and work for her people and where necessary offer a helping hand to other countries instead of imposing their beliefs and influence in quest for global hegemony.
As we look forward to another century – a journey CPC has started today, China is proving to the world that communism with Chinese characters work best, not because Beijing forces it on other nations, but people of the world can see success in China which resonates well with their aspirations. To CPC and People’s Republic of China, congratulations for reaching this far. What China has just celebrated is by all definitions a century of success and provides countless lessons to other developing countries on how to dream big and realise such dreams.
Allawi Ssemanda is a senior research fellow at Development Watch Centre, a Foreign Policy Think Tank.