CPC’s contributions to progress of human civilization

By LI BAOGENG / 12-13-2021 / Chinese Social Sciences Today


Museum of the Communist Party of China, located in Beijing Photo: CFP
A hundred years ago, the Communist Party of China (CPC) emerged from turbulent old China. Making greater contributions to the progress of human civilization has always been the CPC’s pursuit. Over the past 100 years, the CPC has united and led Chinese people to work through hardships to great achievements.
Liberation and direction
In Marx’s view, the alienation of labor in capitalist society is the root cause of the proletariat’s suffering. Therefore, the elimination of private ownership, the reason for alienated labor, has become the core of Marxist theory. Marxist theory is centered on human liberation, free, and all-round development, and thus has become the theoretical guide to global proletarian revolutions.
The CPC is a proletarian party armed with Marxist theory. Since its founding, the CPC has been committed to seeking human liberation. During the new-democratic revolution, the CPC united and led the Chinese people to overthrow imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism through an “epoch-making” struggle, achieving China’s great transition from a millennia-old feudal autocracy to a people’s democracy. During the period of socialist revolution and construction, a great transformation from a poor and backward Eastern country with a large population to a socialist country has been achieved. In the new period of reform and opening up, and socialist modernization, the tremendous advance of the Chinese nation from standing up to growing prosperous was achieved. Following the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, China entered a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the Chinese nation has made great progress from becoming self-reliant to growing wealthy and becoming strong.
These four breakthroughs highly summarize the iterative progress of the CPC’s commitment to saving, revitalizing, enriching, and strengthening the country over the past century, while the CPC led the people to facilitate revolution, construction, reform, and rejuvenation.
A uniquely Chinese path
Realizing national modernization is the unswerving goal of the Chinese Communists. The first generation of Chinese Communists, with Comrade Mao Zedong as their chief representative, blazed the right revolutionary path of encircling cities from the countryside and seizing state power with military force. The victory of the new-democratic revolution put an end to China’s history as a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, to the state of disunity that existed in old China, and to all the unequal treaties imposed on our country by foreign powers and all the privileges that imperialist powers enjoyed in China, allowing the Chinese people to “stand up” and laid a solid political foundation for China’s modernization.
In the period of socialist revolution and construction, the seminal thought on the “Four Modernizations” gradually took shape. The CPC led the people to carry out large-scale economic construction, national defense, sci-tech construction, established an independent and relatively complete industrial system and national economic system, and laid an economic foundation for building socialist modernization.
Since the reform and opening up, the CPC Central Committee has shifted the focus of its work to economic construction. In 1987, the 13th CPC National Congress put forward the goal of “socialist modernization,” that is, to build China into a prosperous, strong, democratic, and civilized modern socialist country with the Three-Step development strategy. The strategy of reform and opening up was implemented, making full use of domestic and international resources and markets to boost the domestic economy. These measures provided a fundamental guarantee for the construction of socialist modernization.
Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has completed the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Through the implementation of high-quality development, China is striding towards common prosperity. Since the new era, the CPC Central Committee’s efforts to strengthen the country have made key preparations for socialist modernization.
The uniquely Chinese path created by the CPC over the past century has proved the truth of Marx’s assumptions regarding overcoming capitalist crisis in the “theory of crisis” and provided a reference for other countries in the world to explore independent development paths to modernization.
A new model for human advancement
In The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels proposed two inevitabilities: “What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, is its own grave-diggers. The demise of the bourgeoise and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.” In the Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Marx proposed another inextricable link: “No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of older society.”
Against the historical background of the coexistence of the two systems, how can socialism coexist with capitalism? This topic has a long history. After decades of exploration, on the premise of maintaining national sovereignty and independence, the CPC has carried out reform and opening up, and actively learned from the achievements of all civilizations, including capitalist ones, so as to promote the development of socialist civilizations. Over the past 40 years of reform and opening up, China has rapidly grown into the world’s second largest economy with the greatest composite national strength among the developing countries. It has successfully overcome the so-called “dilemma” of modernization, making “a great leap from standing up to growing prosperous and to becoming strong.” It solved the historical challenge of social development after overcoming the capitalist crisis.
However, the world is not peaceful at present. Global economic, financial, and ecological crises occur frequently. The gap between the rich and the poor is widening. Terrorism and religious extremism are prolific, while unilateralism, protectionism, and hegemony frequently forge global unrest, disrupting world peace and development order, and posing a great challenge to global governance.
The world is experiencing profound changes unseen in a century.
General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping proposed to build a community of shared future for mankind, in accordance with the world’s profound changes and China’s national conditions. He indicated China’s direction and development goal, and provided new vision of overall situations, new values, and new methodologies for universal exchanges around the world. It provides Chinese wisdom and Chinese solutions for the progress of human civilization in a new era.
A community of shared future for mankind, as a concept beyond the logic of capital, adheres to the basic acceptance of “two inevitabilities,” objectively responds to the realistic challenges of human society described in the Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy and provides a realistic strategy of how socialism can coexist with capitalism. First, it prioritizes maintaining “a strong country without hegemony.” It not only identifies its own ethnic culture, but also respects other ethnic cultures. When pursuing its own interests, it takes into account the reasonable concerns of other countries, and addresses the current global governance challenges through peaceful ways, by following the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, to guide people towards a brighter future.
Second, it proposes that “diversified civilization” replaces single path dependence on “Western civilization,” to create a new path of exchange which highlights independence and mutual benefits. It advocates for “justified communication” to surpass the inertial thinking of “dependency on central states.” This new communication concept has independent, mutual benefits and win-win results. It is value orientated towards “humanistic logic” instead of “capital logic,” and creates a new direction of continuous civilization, in a people-oriented and harmonious coexistence.
Third, it gives a new meaning to universal communication in the world, by realizing the revolutionary shift in human communication paradigms, providing a new way to solve the current dilemma of universal communication. This communication paradigm creatively develops Marx’s world history theory to create a new path beyond the confrontation between capitalism and socialism. It has opened a new era of peaceful coexistence, for mutual benefit and common development of different civilizations and systems, transcended the metaphysical thinking of the “Thucydides Trap,” and disrupted “the clash of civilizations” and the notion of “the end of history.”
The theory of a community of shared future leads to the manifestation of Marx’s highest ideal, “an association of free men” and the Chinese goal of “great harmony for the people of the world.” The commitment provides a Chinese plan, which not only reflects Chinese characteristics and style, but also reflects the common will of the people of all countries.
In short, in the long process of development, humankind has constantly established and expanded communication practices, constantly overcome narrow regional and national foci, continuously strengthened the degree of interconnection, interdependence, cooperation, and mutual promotion of all mankind, and gradually formed a community of shared future. Adhering to the cultural spirit of “harmony among all nations,” and “harmony generates and sameness stifles vitality,” the CPC highlights the shared future of mankind, and advances hand-in-hand with all progressive forces in the world.
China has always been a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of the international order.
It has unswervingly followed the path of peaceful development, pursued a mutually beneficial opening-up strategy, worked with the people of all countries to promote the construction of a community of a shared future for mankind, and jointly created a better future for mankind.
The CPC has saved the Chinese nation from the situation where “the country endured intense humiliation, the people were subjected to great pain, and the Chinese civilization was plunged into darkness,” liberating the Chinese people from suffering.
Through reform and opening up, the CPC has “upheld and developed socialism with Chinese characteristics and driven coordinated progress in material, political, cultural-ethical, social, and ecological terms,” and “pioneered a new and uniquely Chinese path to modernization, and created a new model for human advancement.” History has proved and will continue to prove that China is a “peaceful, amiable, and civilized” nation. The more it develops, the more firmly it will become a force which promotes world peace and development, and the more it will lead and build the progress of human civilization.
Li Baogeng is a professor from the School of Marxism Studies at Ningbo University.