Pretoria – To understand China’s success story today, one must go back to the history of the Communist Party of China (CPC) which next week celebrates its centenary.
This is the view of the Chinese ambassador to South Africa, Chen Xiodong, who delivered the keynote at a high-level online dialogue co-hosted by the National Press Club today.
China is an ancient civilization with 5000 years of history but, in modern times it had been reduced to a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society, having suffered the invasion of Western powers, Chen said.
Various systems of government were tried and failed, until the establishment of the CPC in July 1921 as the vanguard of the working class. “As we look back at the past century, it is fair to say with pride that without the CPC’s leadership, our country and nation could not be where we are now in terms of achievements or international status,” Chen said.
When the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was founded in 1949, the CPC became the ruling party, and the practical application of its philosophy of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” had helped raise hundreds of millions out of poverty and put China on a new development path.
In fighting poverty China had developed local industries, education, science and technology, its medical field, cultural sector and favourable consumption policies.
Today, the CPC Central Committee led by President Xi Jinping, continued to “forge ahead with perseverance” to tackle difficult issues, Chen said, making reference to its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and China’s sharing of its experience of prevention, control and treatment, the provision of material assistance and 350 million vaccines to other countries.
For the future, the goal is to build a “strong, democratic, culturally-advanced, harmonious and beautiful modern socialist country by 2049 – the year which marks the centenary of the founding of the PRC – and make new and greater contributions to humankind.
China was forging forward, constantly looking for ways to improve, with General Secretary and President Xi Jinping pointing to the need for a “proper philosophy” as a key guideline for effective action, and the role of the party over all areas of endeavour and peoples in the country.
China’s successful development has been guided by 14 five-year plans since 1953 and plans for the five, 15 and 30 year periods with a strong focus on the use of innovation and technology to build a fully modern country with an economy “that shifts from high speed growth to high-quality development”, taking into account promotion of a green and low-carbon economy.
The CPC continued to enhance its ability to innovate and energy to fight through advancement in all aspects including organization, theory, self-discipline, and conduct of officials at all levels with zero tolerance for corruption, Chen said.
He also paid respect to China’s strong ties with South Africa, the ANC, Communist Party and others, with win-win relationships based on mutual understanding and strategic support.
Other speakers on the webinar, included former president Kgalema Motlanthe, Treasurer General of the ANC Paul Mashatile, Deputy Minister of Finance and Principal of OR Tambo School of Leadership of the ANC David Masondo, First Deputy General Secretary of the SACP Solly Mapaila, Deputy Director-General of DIRCO Ambassador Anil Sooklal, Chairman of Independent Media Dr Iqbal Survé, and Director of the Centre for Africa-China Studies at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Dr David Monyae.