Academics hail Chinese path to modernization and GDI

By DUAN DANJIE and ZHU WENBO / 08-15-2022 / Chinese Social Sciences Today

A China-Europe freight train departs from the China-Kazakhstan (Lianyungang) Logistics Cooperation base in Jiangsu Province on Aug 7. The China-Europe freight train has been acknowledged for uplifting world economic development. Photo: CFP

On July 28, the International Symposium on the Chinese Path to Modernization and Global Development Initiative was held in Beijing. Two reports, entitled “Keywords to Understand the Chinese Path to Modernization” and “Keywords to Understand the Global Development Initiative,” respectively, were released in Chinese and English at the symposium. 

Organized through “keywords,” the first report comprehensively explains the core ideas, Chinese practices, and the global significance of the Chinese path to modernization in an internationally understandable fashion, while the second expounds on the Global Development Initiative (GDI)’s key concepts and international expressions, aiming to help the international community deeply understand them.
Complementing each other
Development is the eternal theme of human society and an important gauge of progress. In his statement delivered via video at the United Nations General Assembly 76th session general debate in September 2021, Chinese President Xi Jinping put forward the GDI for the first time. Placing development within a global macro framework, the initiative provides stronger and more targeted support for developing countries, and points a direction for promoting cooperation in international development to advance global progress.
Since the PRC’s founding, the CPC has united and led the people of the whole country to create two miracles—rapid economic development and long-term social stability—pioneered a uniquely Chinese path to modernization, and created a new model for human advancement, providing a Chinese approach to solving global development problems. Comprehensively interpreting the practice and characteristics of the uniquely Chinese path to modernization and helping the international community to understand China further are issues worthy of constant discussion in academia.
Gao Anming, vice president and editor-in-chief of China Foreign Languages Publishing Administration, said that the Chinese path to modernization and the GDI focus on China and the world, respectively, providing systematic answers to major questions such as why, for whom, and how to develop. The Chinese path to modernization is a practical example of how the GDI can be implemented in contemporary China, and the GDI shares the goal and vision of the Chinese path to modernization to promote global development. The two complement and enhance each other, showing the world that China has contributed unique strength, wisdom, and approaches to improving global governance and advancing world processes by creating a new model for human advancement.
Chinese path to modernization
Zhang Weiwei, director of the China Institute at Fudan University, said that the Chinese path to modernization, led by a party that represents the people’s overall interests, adheres to the political philosophy of seeking truth from facts. The Party has established a system for the people’s democracy that reflects popular will, and upholds the people-centered development philosophy. It strikes a balance of political, social, and capital forces that benefits the vast majority of the population, and thus achieves modernization at a globally unprecedented speed and scale.
According to Suisheng Zhao, a professor from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver in the United States, the Chinese path to modernization has three characteristics: it is driven by economic pragmatism, dominated by development-oriented state systems, and it critically absorbed the Western neoliberal model. It emphasizes both economic growth and political stability, and reconciles market orientations and the government’s role. 
“The Chinese path to modernization has achieved remarkable economic development, with no political strings attached in foreign exchanges. It is a successful modernization model that can be used for reference, and worth learning from and imitating in developing countries and even Western countries,” Zhao said.
Mustafa Hyder Sayed, executive director of the Pakistan-China Institute, said that the Chinese path to modernization is people-centered modernization, which perfectly coordinates the people’s interests and economic development. It is modernization that emphasizes opening-up, advocates multilateral cooperation, and opposes a “zero-sum game” mentality. Pakistan and many other developing countries will follow China’s example, and learn from its modernization model to promote rapid economic and social development.
Jointly boosting global development
At present, promoting global development has become a major issue facing humanity.
In a congratulatory letter to a forum on global development in Beijing in July, Xi said that China stands ready to work with other countries in upholding the people-centered approach, and pursuing inclusiveness and benefits for all, innovation-driven development, and harmony between human and nature.
The country is also willing to push for putting development front and center on the international agenda, accelerate the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and promote a stronger, greener, and healthier global development, Xi said.
Annette Nijs, former Cabinet Minister for Education, Culture, and Science in the Netherlands, noted that given this era’s diversified international order, the GDI is a proposal that no country can afford to refuse. China has taken practical actions to encourage all countries to actively respond to global cooperation, so that dialogue and cooperation among countries does not depend on value systems, but the world is jointly committed to the well-being of all mankind and the prosperity of the world.
Zheng Yongnian, a professor from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, held that the GDI is an important public good provided by China to the international community, and can especially help developing countries address global issues, such as de-globalization, public health crises, and climate change.