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China provides an alternative for modernization

Source: China Daily | 2022-10-20
China provides an alternative for modernization

This photo taken on Oct 16, 2022 shows the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. [Photo/Xinhua]

By Khalid Rahman 

The emergence of China as a key player in global governance and its trajectory of development have attracted much attention worldwide. The ongoing 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is being followed by the world, because it could be a trendsetter for China and the rest of the world.

In his report delivered to the 20th National Congress of the CPC, Xi Jinping highlighted the huge achievements made over the past decade in poverty alleviation, fighting corruption, and safeguarding national security. He said the central task of the CPC will be to lead the Chinese people to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts following the Chinese path to modernization.

For outside observers, questions such as what are the long-term goals of China, or how does China view the international system, or will there be any shift in China's domestic governance, or will there be any change in its vision and policies are important. The report to the 20th Party Congress has made known to the world China's priorities in this context.

It has also been mentioned in the report that it will be the modernization of a huge population. The goal is to achieve common prosperity, material and cultural-ethical advancement, harmony between humankind and nature, and peaceful development.

Therefore modernization of agriculture and industry, urbanization, and innovation-driven development will be some of the priorities in the economic sphere. But despite the already significant progress in these areas, "unbalanced and inadequate" growth is still a major challenge for China.

For many outsiders, "greater assertiveness" can be cited as one of the hallmarks of China's policy during the past decade. But it's apparently a misunderstanding. It's not that China has become increasingly conservative but some powers are not used to seeing a rising China that seeks a fairer world order. In the report Xi said China pursues major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics on all fronts, and that China stands firm in protecting international fairness and justice.

A farmer harvests wheat in Zouping City, east China's Shandong Province, June 19, 2021. [Photo by Dong Naide/Xinhua]

This can be attributed not only to the shifting power equations, with China playing a major role, but also seen as a natural response to the changing strategic environment and the increasing void in global governance when some other big countries are trying to shirk their due international responsibilities.

China's presence in and contribution to international institutions have increased. Today, it is the largest contributor (12 percent) to the regular United Nations budget, after the United States. On the other hand, the establishment of institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank and the BRICS New Development Bank have also increased its global status. China's enhanced role in global governance appears to be also focused on areas such as global health, development finance, climate change, and internet governance.

As has been the approach in the past, development under the vision of shared future will continue to be China's agenda in the future. While during the last decade it resonated in the form of the Belt and Road Initiative, the Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative, too, help promote the development of a human community with a shared future.

Addressing the UN General Assembly via video link last year, Xi explained that the Global Development Initiative is aimed at accelerating the momentum to "steer global development toward a new stage of balanced, coordinated and inclusive growth". And he stressed that priority areas for the Global Development Initiative include "poverty alleviation, food security, financing for development, climate change and green development, industrialization, digital economy, and connectivity".

No doubt, it's a commendable though formidable agenda. One hopes the Chinese leadership is able to successfully move things in the right direction. Global governance needs an alternative paradigm and China certainly has something to offer in this regard.

Just as Xi said in the report, Chinese modernization offers humankind a new choice for modernization. The CPC and the Chinese people have provided humankind with more Chinese insight, better Chinese input and greater Chinese strength to help solve the common challenges.

The author is chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad.