Scholars interpret Chinese modernization

By ZHA JIANGUO and CHEN LIAN / 11-10-2022 / Chinese Social Sciences Today

Farmers use machinery to sow potatoes in Lidatang Village, Mengcheng County, Anhui Province. Photo: CFP

SHANGHAI—A seminar on “Advancing the Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation on All Fronts Through a Chinese Path to Modernization” was held in Shanghai, on Oct. 25, in order to further study and implement the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). 

The Party’s overall leadership 

Chinese modernization is socialist modernization pursued under the leadership of the CPC. As General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping pointed out, “Our Party has a pivotal role in building China into a modern socialist country in all respects and in advancing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts.” Over the past 100 years, the CPC, as a Marxist party, has always taken pursuing happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation as its original aspiration. 

Wang Yonggui, a professor from the School of Marxism at Nanjing Normal University, said that Chinese modernization is not the imitation and mechanic application of any existing modernization model, but the socialist modernization where the Party leads the people to dare to go first and explores independently. Upholding the Party’s leadership is the key to the success of China’s revolution, construction, reform and opening up one after another, and to the integration of socialism and modernization on the uniquely Chinese path to modernization. The Party is the irreplaceable leadership core for achieving modernization and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. 

According to Wang Gonglong, executive director of the School of Marxism at the Shanghai Party Institute of CPC (Shanghai Administration Institute), the report to the 20th CPC National Congress formed a new thought on Chinese modernization and marked a new height in the theory of Chinese modernization. In terms of characteristics, Chinese modernization 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 perspective of connotation, Chinese modernization, with its richness and comprehensiveness of content, abandons the Western materialistic modernization path. In terms of value, it will usher in a new direction of world history. 

People-centered stances 

Striving in unity is the path the Chinese people must take to create great historic achievements, and the realization of Chinese modernization depends on the joint efforts of all the Chinese people. Chinese modernization embodies the unity of the people as those who expect, build, and enjoy modernization. Wang Zhidong, dean of the School of Marxism at Donghua University, said that the people are the creators of history and the builders of modernization. Chinese modernization takes the modernization of people as the value pursuit, and realizes the combination of subjective initiatives and the modernization development goal. Therefore, the people are not only the builders and creators of a better life, but also the people who expect and enjoy modernization. 

Chinese modernization is socialist modernization. Cao Jingwen, a professor from the School of Marxism at East China Normal University, pointed out that Chinese modernization insists on the people-centeredness as the principle throughout, and sets common prosperity as an important goal of modernization, which reflects the inevitable requirement of the lofty ideal of building a modern socialist country. To realize socialist modernization for common prosperity, the Party needs to lead the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in a concerted effort to roll up their sleeves and get down to work, opening a new chapter in building a modern socialist country in all respects. 

Global significance 

The essential requirements of Chinese modernization are “upholding the leadership of the Communist Party of China and socialism with Chinese characteristics, pursuing high-quality development, developing whole-process people’s democracy, enriching the people’s cultural lives, achieving common prosperity for all, promoting harmony between humanity and nature, building a human community with a shared future, and creating a new form of human advancement.” It has not only opened up the right path to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, but also provided a new option for the modernization of human society. 

The Congress report shows that Chinese modernization will enter a new stage with the overall goal of developing a new form of human advancement. Feng Xia, a professor from the School of Marxism at Xiamen University, said that in the course of the practice of Chinese modernization, the CPC has gained a deeper understanding of the path and methods to advance the progress of human civilization. Chinese modernization has enriched the theory of world modernization, redrawn the map of world modernization, and contributed Chinese wisdom for latecomer countries to better promote and realize their own modernization. 

The Chinese path to modernization has global significance. Yang Na, deputy dean of the School of Marxism at Hainan University, emphasized the need to understand the prospect of Chinese modernization from the macro historical view and broad vision of human civilizational development. China’s modernization is the modernization of peaceful development. China is increasingly becoming an important force in safeguarding world peace and development. Chinese modernization is not only of great significance to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, but will also play an important role in building a human community with a shared future and creating a new form of human advancement, thus creating a new order of modern civilization and guiding new development of human civilization.