The 1st of July 2021 marks the Communist Party of China’s (CPC’s) 100th Anniversary. China’s Opening Up and Reform, ‘Gaige Kaifang,’ as fondly called in Chinese, started from 1978. Since then it has been a roller coaster of development and international engagements.
How the Communist Party has managed to keep it all together ruling China Politically, culturally and economically is still a wonder.
A Jean Monnet chair professor, director of the Institute of International Affairs, and director of the Centre for European Studies at Renmin University of China, Professor Wang Yiwei, in an interview explains how the CPC has in its hundred years, managed to succeed.
“I think it is because the Communist Party of China adapt to the Chinese conditions mainly for the 5000 years of civilisation. For instance people eccentric culture and society. And China has been a united country for 2000 years.”
In a chat with Senior Correspondent of China Daily and a Recipient of the China Friendship Award in 2019, Andrew Moody, he notes in terms of CPC’s international impact that the Party has, during its time, seen Africa’s development as crucial.
“ It played a leading role in the Bandung Conference, held in 1955, in Indonesia which brought African and Asian economies together,” he points out.
Moody mentions that CPC was supportive in financing the Tanzam railway in the 1970s, despite only being a developing country itself.
“In recent years we have seen the development of FOCAC, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and major investment in infrastructure, which can obviously be seen in Nigeria. By being the world’s second -largest economy, China is clearly also influential on the international stage while still being an emerging economy.”
On the famous Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), Moody says that Europe remains one of the most exciting aspects of the Initiative, as it recreates the ancient Silk routes but with a modern purpose.
“Better links with Europe enables China to open up its largely landlocked West and free it from being reliant on the South China Sea. Europe, on the other hand, gets land access to the biggest consumer market in the world.”
In terms of what other countries can learn from China’s political system, the 2019 Recipient of the China Friendship Award indicates, “Unlike the former Soviet Union, China does not attempt to proselytise its system. This can be seen in Africa as clearly as anywhere else. Instead it sees its system as being unique to itself and not really a model.”
Regarding China’s impact across the globe, a senior journalist with China Media Group (CMG) and a senior researcher Xu Qinduo says “For nearly all Asian countries, China has become the most important trading partner. It’s the largest trading partner of Japan as well as many Southeast Asian countries. The pandemic makes the trend even faster, as China was the only major economy registering an economic growth in 2020.”
He gave an example of South Korea, whose trade volume with China is larger than its trade with the US and Japan combined. He states that worldwide, the BRI is connecting Asian countries, countries in Africa as well as Latin America.
On CPC’s success as a Party, Xu discloses, “The CPC is not a party as seen in many other countries. It’s THE PARTY that enjoys tremendous power but at the same time takes on full responsibility for the entire nation.
“In my opinion, I think that the mission to serve the people and to focus on nation building has led the CPC to overcome many challenges including its own mistakes. It’s also such an unwavering political will that has directed the party to follow pragmatism – as represented by Deng Xiaoping’s famous saying: ‘white cat or black cat, it doesn’t matter as long as they catch the mouse’. As long as it helps the nation develop, the government needs to embrace it, be it a certain practice from a socialist or capitalist country.”
And while the CPC raises a glass to the journey of a hundred years, the Party’s success continues to astonish the world, as China it seems, will remain at the centre stage for years to come.