The modernization happening in China bears similarities to modernization processes seen in other countries, but with unique characteristics unique to the Chinese context. President Xi Jinping labeled this modernization effort as “a new model for human advancement,” speaking at a study session held at the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee’s Party School on Tuesday.
Contrary to the belief that “modernization equals Westernization,” President Xi’s characterization presents a different view of modernization, opening up new pathways for developing countries to achieve progress and offering a Chinese solution in the quest for a superior global social system. This dispels the myth and further emphasizes China’s impact on shaping the future of human advancement.
China’s modernization efforts are about uplifting a massive population and achieving prosperity for all, says President Xi Jinping. According to a report to the 20th CPC National Congress, this vision of common prosperity is a hallmark of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
In an article published in the Qiushi Journal, Xi emphasized the people’s importance to the CPC. “Our party exists to serve the people and always prioritizes their interests above all else,” he wrote.
This dedication to the people is reflected in China’s impressive track record of poverty reduction. In 2021, the country announced it had lifted the final 98.99 million rural residents living in poverty and removed all 832 impoverished counties and 128,000 villages from its poverty list.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has praised China’s poverty reduction efforts, calling them “the biggest contribution to dramatic poverty reduction.”
Over the past four decades, China has transformed from a largely agricultural nation to a global leader in social welfare, cutting-edge technology, and the world’s largest high-speed railway network. Its GDP has grown from 54 trillion yuan to 114 trillion yuan ($16 trillion) in the past decade and now accounts for 18.5% of the world economy, a 7.2 percentage point increase.
China remains the world’s second-largest economy and has seen its per capita GDP rise from 39,800 yuan to 81,000 yuan.
China is undergoing a comprehensive modernization push, balancing material and cultural-ethical progress while promoting economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological development. It’s embracing a new development philosophy focused on innovation, coordination, greenness, openness, and sharing.
With a deep involvement in the global industrial division of labor and cooperation, China has formed scientific and technological partnerships with over 160 countries and signed 114 intergovernmental agreements. It’s also participating in nearly 60 international “big science” research initiatives.
The country is ramping up its opening-up efforts, improving its business environment, and increasing cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. It’s advanced the creation of 21 pilot free trade zones and has signed Belt and Road cooperation agreements with 149 countries and 32 international organizations.
To further its implementation of the Belt and Road science and technology innovation action plan, China is actively promoting four action plans for scientific and cultural exchanges, joint laboratory establishment, science and technology park cooperation, and technology transfer center construction.
China has already started construction on 53 Belt and Road joint laboratories and supported over 3,500 young scientists with research opportunities in China. It’s also trained over 15,000 foreign scientific and technological personnel and provided funding for research by nearly 2,000 experts.
With a strong commitment to low-carbon development, China has set a goal to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
China’s modernization journey has been peaceful and distinct from the West. Unlike Western colonial powers who resorted to wars and aggression in the late 19th century, China has achieved its modernization through tireless effort and cooperation on the global stage.
To further this peaceful approach, China has introduced initiatives such as the Belt and Road, the Global Development Initiative, and the Global Security Initiative, all aimed at creating a future for humanity that is shared and secure.
Through this path of peaceful growth, China has emerged as a formidable economic force, driving a shift of the world’s economic center towards the east.
As President Xi noted during his address at the 22nd meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, “Peace brings prosperity, just as rain nourishes the earth.”