Expert Talk: Chinese Modernization
Feb 17,2023

[About the Expert]

Chu Xia, chief expert in Liaoning Province Party Building Research Base.

Q: Good morning, Professor Chu, welcome to Liaoning International Communication Center. Recently, Chinese modernization has become a “buzzword” of global concern. Could you explain it to us?

A: Friends at home and abroad, good morning! I’m Chu Xia. The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China outlines a grand blueprint to advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization, and theoretically summarizes the connotation and essential requirements of Chinese modernization. Let’s start with the concept of “modernization”. Modernization is an important symbol of human development and advancement. It refers to the profound changes that have taken place in human society since the Industrial Revolution, including the transformations from traditional to modern economy, from traditional to modern society, from traditional to modern politics, and from traditional to modern civilization.

In our country, back to 1950s and 1960s, Chairman Mao Zedong and other revolutionaries of the older generation put forward the Four Modernizations: the modernization of industry, agriculture, national defense, and science and technology. At that time, people’s understanding of modern life was “living in a tall building with electric lights and telephones”. After the launch of reform and opening up, we have seen the prosperity of foreign modernization and the gap in between, thus it becomes particularly urgent to catch up. In the early 1980s, Comrade Deng Xiaoping proposed, “The modernization we are engaged in is Chinese-style modernization.” In other words, different national conditions, different starting points for development, and different stages and tasks determine that China cannot copy the path taken by other countries, and we must take a new path of our own to modernization.

The report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC points out that “based on our decades of exploration and practice since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, especially since the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, as well as the new breakthroughs made in theory and practice since the 18th National Congress, we have succeeded in advancing and expanding Chinese modernization.”

Q: Chinese modernization contains elements that are common to the modernization processes of all countries, but it is more characterized by features that are unique to the Chinese context. So, what features does Chinese modernization entail?

A: The report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC summarizes the characteristics of Chinese modernization in five aspects. It is the modernization of a huge population, of common prosperity for all, of material and cultural-ethical advancement, of harmony between humanity and nature, and of peaceful development.

From the summary of these five features, we can see that Chinese modernization means that more than 1.4 billion people step into a modern society and achieve common prosperity for all. As we all know, modernization is the common pursuit of all countries in the world. “Prosperity” is the goal that all countries pursue in their modernization development which embodies efficiency. And “common prosperity” is a distinctive feature of Chinese modernization, which reflects fairness. At the same time, the material and cultural-ethical advancement means to promote the comprehensive enrichment of material and the all-round development of human beings. The harmony between humanity and nature refers to the relationship between human and nature and the idea that “lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets” proposed by General Secretary Xi Jinping has become widely known in China today. Taking the path of peaceful development demonstrates China’s broad mind to the world and its willingness to pursue win-win cooperation with other countries in the course of development and make contributions to world peace and development.

Q: How will China realize modernization in the future?

A: The report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC sets the goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects and gives a “timetable” of it. Basically realize socialist modernization from 2020 through 2035 and build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful from 2035 through the middle of this century. In order to achieve this goal, the report puts forward five major principles that must be followed on the journey ahead, namely, upholding and strengthening the Party’s overall leadership, following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, applying a people-centered development philosophy, remaining committed to deepening reform and opening up and carrying forward our fighting spirit.

In a word, Chinese modernization is a development path that the Communist Party of China has explored according to China’s realities, which is different from the western modernization mode. This path has provided a new choice for mankind to achieve modernization, reflected Chinese wisdom, and created a new form of human advancement.

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