China’s incredible journey of reform

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  • Upholding and advancing socialism with Chinese characteristics

China, while commemorating the 40th anniversary of Opening Up and Reforms, has sent a direct but distinct message to the world not to dictate terms on Beijing as the Chinese have a 5,000 year-old civilisation and they are capable of choosing a path of their own.

Reforms and Opening Up has become a Chinese characteristic itself. A review of the past several thousand years shows that reform and opening-up remains the norm throughout China’s history.

Since ancient times, China has seen numerous movements aimed at strengthening the nation through reform, and the Chinese nation has engaged in interactions and cultural exchanges with foreign nations in a confident and broad-minded manner.

Such profound historical and cultural heritage has dictated that the Chinese nation will continue to embrace the future through reform and opening-up.

“There is no textbook of golden rules to follow for reform and development in China, a country with over 5,000 years of civilisation and more than 1.3 billion people. No one is in a position to dictate to the Chinese people what should or should not be done,” said Chinese visionary, President Xi Jinping while addressing a grand gathering of China’s most powerful and key leaders at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The celebration started with all participants rising to sing the national anthem and was largely attended. Premier Li Keqiang presided over the meeting while Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng and Wang Qishan were also among the participants.

Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, read a decision to award the personnel who have made outstanding contributions to the country’s reform and opening-up.

The people are “the creators of the great wonder of reform and opening-up” and “the source of power” to drive the campaign started 40 years ago, Wang said.

There is a need for striking a balance between reform, development and stability by maintaining the worldview and methodology of dialectical and historical materialism.

President Xi – who also is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) – the soul behind China’s phenomenal rise at the world arena against all odds, said Chinese reform and opening-up is a great revolution in the history of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation that propelled a quantum leap forward in the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Reform and opening-up is a great revolution that has changed the destiny of the Chinese nation and also influenced the world. The reform and opening-up is a great reawakening of the Communist Party of China, nurturing great creativity in both theory and practice for the CPC.

The pursuit of reform and opening-up and socialism with Chinese characteristics is a milestone in realising the Chinese nation’s rejuvenation. The founding of the Communist Party of China and the founding of the People’s Republic of China were also the milestones on the way toward the great national rejuvenation in the modern times.

Since ancient times, China has seen numerous movements aimed at strengthening the nation through reform

They represented three historic events taking place after the May Fourth Movement in 1919. China keeps improving people’s well-being over past 40 years and 740 million people have been lifted out of poverty in the 40 years, reducing the poverty headcount ratio by 94.4 percentage points.

China has bid farewell to the problems that plagued its people for thousands of years, including hunger, shortage and poverty. The Chinese nation has built the world’s largest social security system, with the basic old-age pension covering more than 900 million people and medical insurance covering over 1.3 billion people.

The ratio of permanent urban residents in total population rose 40.6 percentage points to 58.52 percent during the period. The country has maintained its social stability over a long period, making it one of the countries that provide the greatest sense of safety in the world.

China’s development over the past 40 years has effectively served the cause of world peace and development. The development process in China has provided successful experience and offered a bright prospect for other developing countries as they strive for modernisation, representing a great contribution of the Chinese nation to the progress of human civilisation.

CPC leadership needs to work while calling for constantly enhancing and improving the Party’s way of leadership. The reform and opening-up in the past four decades has shown that leadership of the Party is the most essential attribute of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the greatest strength of this system.

It is by upholding the centralised, unified leadership of the Party that we have been able to achieve the historic transformation, usher in a new era of reform and opening-up, and embark on a new journey of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

No success of reform and opening-up comes easily. In the years to come, risks and challenges of all sorts are inevitable. The CPC must guide the overall situation and coordinate the work of all sides, remain committed to practicing scientific, democratic, and law-based governance and see that China’s ship of reform and opening up will break waves and sail on the right course.

The people-oriented approach must be adhered to and efforts should be made to keep delivering on the people’s aspirations for a better life. The practices over the past 40 years have shown that seeking happiness for the Chinese people and striving for rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is the founding aspiration and mission of the CPC, and those of the reform and opening-up endeavour.

In considering and introducing a policy, we must first and foremost ensure the backing, approval and endorsement of the people. The wishes the people express, the best practices they create, the rights they are entitled to and the role they play must be respected who demanded efforts to fully stimulate and unlock the people’s creativity.

What has been achieved in economic, political, cultural, social and ecological fields must be shared among all the people. It must be ensured that the people have a stronger sense of fulfillment and greater happiness, and feel safer and more secure in a more direct and tangible manner.

The practices over the past 40 years have shown that innovation is the lifeline of reform and opening-up. Xi also called for continued efforts to take development as the top priority and enhance China’s composite national strength.

Continued efforts should be made to improve and develop the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics to harness and enhance the advantages of China’s system.

As the reform and opening-up in the past four decades has shown, the Chinese system is of fundamental and overarching significance for the long-term stability and development of all endeavors of the Party and the country.

Xi has also underlined China’s commitment to opening up wider to the world and promoting joint efforts to build a community with a shared future for humanity.

The practice of reform and opening-up over the past 40 years has shown that openness brings progress, while seclusion leads to backwardness.

China cannot develop itself in isolation from the world, and the world needs China for global prosperity. Continued efforts should be made to exercise full and rigorous governance over the Communist Party of China to strengthen its capacity to innovate, power to unite, and energy to fight, said Xi. He stresses adhering to path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

All the theories and practice of the Communist Party of China in the past 40 years of reform and opening-up are based on the theme of upholding and advancing socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Socialism with Chinese characteristics provides a broad pathway for China to advance with the times and steer the course of development today, Xi said. “We will resolutely reform what should and can be reformed, and make no change where there should not and can’t be any reform,” he said.

Chinese reforms have set a new model for the developing nations to keep moving on right direction. Countries of South Asia including Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Bhutan and Nepal need to learn from the Chinese model of opening up and reform, keeping their own domestic characteristics intact.

It is a welcome sign that China is offering a helping hand through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to all its neighbours and beyond to work jointly to defeat poverty and embrace development. Now it is up to the leaders of South Asia to take the offer. Else, future generations would never forgive them for rejecting a blessing.