In a world where political forces change continuously, with right-wing, centrist and left-wing parties around the world contesting elections to govern their countries and major swings in the electors’ preferences, the Communist Party of China, which is celebrating the centenary of its founding, stands out in stark contrast for its continuity.
This is one of the most important achievements of the CPC, an institutional achievement that goes hand in hand with the social and economic achievements that it has made in its 100-year history including implementing land reforms that changed rural society and increased the incomes of the farmers, strengthening social and national cohesion, lifting about 800 million people out of extreme poverty in the last four decades, building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, comprehensively advancing rule of law and registering impressive economic growth that exceeded 100 trillion yuan ($15.45 trillion) in 2020.
Now, the CPC is set to realize the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
The CPC’s achievements are due to a mix of leadership, vision, high-level competence and excellent executive capabilities, qualities required to overcome the many challenges encountered along the way. Very likely, most other political parties would have succumbed to the many difficulties that the CPC has endured.
But the CPC has not only survived, it has also learned precious lessons from the past and continuously improved and strengthened itself.
After the People’s Republic was founded in 1949 under the leadership of Chairman Mao Zedong, the Party set about uniting the country after the chaotic period following the fall of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and implementing measures to improve the lives and livelihoods of the Chinese people who had suffered before and during World War II and in the course of the civil war.
But the real change of course came after the Third Plenum of the 11th CPC Central Committee in 1978, when former leader Deng Xiaoping adopted a new economic course of action and gradually opened up the Chinese economy to the outside world with the Party adhering to Deng Xiaoping’s principle of “crossing the river by feeling the stones”.
While former top leader Jiang Zemin built on the experience of Deng Xiaoping, his successor Hu Jintao built on the experiences of both Deng and Jiang.
Similarly, CPC Central Committee General Secretary Xi Jinping is building on the experiences of his predecessors. As Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era suggests, he is also looking at examples of success or failures outside of China to chart the future course of development of the Party and the country, in order to further improve the wellbeing of the Chinese people.
To many Western observers, the CPC may appear as a static monolithic entity based on a single doctrine. But the growing list of theoretical references, beginning with Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, and continuing with Deng Xiaoping Theory, the important thought of Three Represents and the Scientific Outlook on Development and now Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, tells a different story.
The other great sources of strength for the Party are flexibility, and the ability to adapt to the present times, and the capability to not only deal with but also anticipate new challenges.
The CPC is leading the country with the necessary foresight and is prepared to respond to any challenges that arise. The Party acts both as a strong leader of, and a patient listener to, social issues, and it is ready to fine-tune its policy and evolve with the times, and even delay the implementation of decisions, if necessary.
Since the Chinese people’s needs are met to satisfaction, in my view and contrary to what some Western observers believe, they see no need for changing the political system toward an electoral democracy.
Besides, democracy does not necessarily mean election. The word has roots in the Greek term demos kratos, meaning “power to the people”, but can also be interpreted as “power to deliver”.
And the CPC, according to both interpretations, has delivered more than Western observers would like to believe because China has chosen a model where competence of the leadership is at the core.
This competence comes from years and decades of experience before an individual can rise to the higher ranks of the Party. The Party functions on the principle of meritocracy and by doing so, it delivers.
President Xi, addressing the July 1 gathering to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, said that every country is free to choose the political system that best suits it. Judging by the facts and figures and the achievements of the CPC, I believe that China is doing the best for its people.
INSIGHT AND SOURCES
- Party vital to great achievements – Michele Geraci – chinadaily.com.cn