Strategic Government Planning is at the Root of China’s Modernisation

By Moshi Israel

The path of China to modernisation is a tale of perseverance, strategic planning, reform and whole process democracy. It is a path trodden by all the people of china with the Communist Party of China (CPC) leading the way. China’s path to modernisation should be a revered blueprint for other developing countries. It is testament to the fact that with a determined population and an organized government that appreciates its own contemporary and historical context, development can be achieved at the highest level.

Before the communist revolution in 1949, China like other impoverished countries struggled to find its identity. The country was stuck in the murky waters of constant civil wars, the opium wars, colonialism and years of humiliation. The advent of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) under Chairman Mao ushered in a new era of strategic ambition for the Chinese. Since then, the CPC has been at the forefront of efforts to turn china into a modern, developed and advanced socialist country with Chinese characteristics.

During this year’s April 21st Opening Ceremony of the Lanting Forum on Chinese Modernisation and the World in Shanghai, H.E State Councillor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang gave a keynote speech in which he uttered these immortal words that capture the spirit of China’s Modernisation path;

A towering tree grows from its roots, and a long river flows from its source. Likewise, our success in Chinese modernization was not handed down from the heaven or just emerged by itself. It has been attained step by step through determined, painstaking efforts of the Chinese people under the leadership of the CPC always staying true to its founding mission. Chinese modernization is deeply rooted in Chinese history, practices and philosophies.”

The above quote should be framed and hanged on the walls of all policy makers in all developing countries. Words are the building blocks for action. A careful study especially here in Uganda of China’s path to modernisation can yield inspiration in various forms and put the country on a similar path. This path should involve all Ugandans and should be led by a government invested in long-term strategic planning.  One avenue to study are the characteristics of China’s path to Modernisation.

The first characteristic involves the fact that china’s modernisation covers a huge population of well over a billion people (1.4b). The lifting of millions of people out of absolute poverty is not only an advantage for China but also helps the world at large. The more people out of poverty, the more the world realizes its sustainable development goals expressed through the United Nations. Also, China has over 50 nationalities and a vast territory which in most cases is a recipe for disaster. However, all these diverse peoples have been well integrated into a development program that leaves no one behind. This is not easy to achieve but should serve as an example to a country like Uganda which also boasts numerous ethnicities and tribes. Cultural diversity is a strength and not a weakness.

Secondly, China’s modernisation involves common prosperity for all. This involves the reduction and elimination of the gap between the rich and poor. China’s President Xi Jinping commonly says “The Country is the people, and the people is the country.”  No country can achieve development without involving its people. For instance, China has established the world’s largest compulsory education system, social security system and health system. This prosperity is not relegated to the Chinese people but also extended globally to include Asia, Europe, South America and Africa. Initiatives such as the Belt and Road (BRI), FOCAC and GDI are China’s embrace of prosperity with the rest of the world.

Also, another characteristic of China’s modernisation path is the modernisation of Material and Cultural-Ethical advancement. It is rooted in Karl Marx’s philosophy of all-round development of the human being. China recognises the importance of material abundance in building a modern socialist country. However, to avoid the social breakdown in some other developed countries, the Chinese also value and implement Cultural-ethical advancement that focuses on upholding morality and social values to build a well-balanced material and Spiritual state.

The fourth characteristic of china’s modernisation honours the link between humanity and nature. The world today is seemingly united in the fight against the existential crisis of climate change. China has been taking major steps in curbing its carbon emissions. It has also pushed for sustainable development and promised to achieve carbon dioxide peaking and neutrality. This is an area in which, many developing countries are facing challenges and require extensive research and investment. Fortunately, China is also looking to address this global challenge through the ‘Belt and Road Green Development International Alliance.’

Last but not least, the Chinese path to modernisation is a path of peaceful development. A world without conflicts is an ideal world for all involved. It is a safe world for development and it is especially important for developing nations. China rejects the old notions of development through war, plunder and destruction of others. Vital to Chinese interests is a peaceful world in which to conduct relations. Therefore, china advocates for mutual respect and win-win partnerships. China’s credentials as a peace advocate have been enormously boosted by the recent brokering of the Saudi-Iran peace deal that had a positive effect on conflicts in the Middle East.

It is therefore, vital for developing nations to study China’s modernisation path that elevated it from a century of humiliation to a modern economic and political power house slated to overtake the United States as the largest economy in the world.  It is important to note that when the cold war ended in 1991, western countries were jubilant and celebrated the victory of capitalism. Several scholars labelled it the ‘end of history,’ because capitalism was the sole system driving human civilization. However, China through the strategic planning of the CPC and Chinese people produced a miracle, it achieved in a few decades, a kind of development that took western countries thousands of years. China’s modernisation is proof that there is more than one way to achieve development.

The Writer is a Research Fellow with the Development Watch Centre





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