‘Moderately prosperous society’ is globally significant

By LI XIAOYUN / 07-29-2021 / (Chinese Social Sciences Today)

An oil painting exhibition themed “moderately prosperous society” opened at the Museum of Southwest University in November last year. Photo: Zhou Yi/CNSphoto

In his speech at the ceremony marking the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee  Xi Jinping declared that through the continued efforts of the whole Party and the entire nation, we have realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. This means that we have brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China, and we are now marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects, according to Xi. 
Goals realization 
Since the reform and opening up, the Chinese people have made unremitting efforts toward building a moderately prosperous society, and have been steadfast in finalizing the goal. 
In 2000, the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita was only $940 in China, and the number increased to $4,340 and $10,410 in 2010 and 2019 respectively. From 2011-2019, the actual incremental amount of Chinese residents’ disposal income grew by 96.6%. The battle against poverty was won by the end of 2020, when absolute poverty and regional poverty were eliminated as scheduled.
A feat in the history of the Chinese nation, the realization of a moderately prosperous society in all respects also greatly contributes to human society’s progress. In September, 2000, the United Nations Millennium Summit passed the “Millennium Development Goals,” which specified eight goals to realize before 2015. When the year 2015 came, China had realized, or basically realized, all the 15 concrete indicators (apart from one unfulfilled indicator). Five years ahead of schedule, China accomplished poverty elimination, one of the paramount indicators of the “Millennium Development Goals.”
Contributions made 
In this process, China attempted exploring the benign interactions between economic development and ecological civilization, which laid a solid foundation for pursuing common wealth and sustainable growth. On a global scale, the realization of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects offered Chinese solutions for the broad view of humanity’s economic and social development. 
By the end of 2019, the GDP per capita in 70 countries and regions across the globe exceeded $10,000, covering about 2.9 billion people, among which, 1.4 billion are Chinese people. This means that the realization of China’s moderately prosperous society in all respects led to a near doubling of the global population whose per capita income is above $10,000. Suffice it to say, the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects not only changed China, but also changed the world. Since the reform and opening up, 770 million of China’s rural population who lived below the current poverty line were lifted out of poverty, accounting for over 70% of the global concurrent total—according to the World Bank’s international poverty standard. 
Experience offered 
China’s practice in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects provides an exploratory path for other developing countries to move from poverty to wealth and achieve modernization. Since World War II, many colonial and semi-colonial countries have embarked on the path of national independence and construction. It was their aspiration to transform from impoverished former colonies or semi-colonies to modernized countries. Over a course of time spanning more than half the last century, the majority of developing countries have reaped economic and social progress to different extents. Very few of them made the leap to the level of modern economies, and some of them became emerging economies. However, some other countries collapsed into the middle-income trap, and some remain stuck in an economic growth bottleneck. China is one of the very few emerging economies with its per capita GDP surpassing the critical point of $10,000. 
Another experience is that China has dealt well with the relationship between economic development and poverty reduction. In the past 20+ years, though many developing countries possess relatively strong capabilities to pursue economic growth, the phenomena of disjointed economic growth and poverty reduction reccur frequently in some countries over time. Within some middle-income countries, serious social disparity has long existed. It thus becomes a challenge to handle the relationship between economic growth and poverty reduction. Throughout the process of building a moderately prosperous society, China has achieved an economic growth model that is beneficial to poor communities. While a high economic growth rate is maintained, it successfully attains the goal of eliminating absolute poverty. 
Li Xiaoyun is a chair professor of liberal arts at China Agricultural University and honorary dean of the College of International Development and Global Agriculture at the university.  



Edited by BAI LE