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XU FENG: Chinese path provides new formula for development

| 2015-06-04 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)

Great changes have taken place in China over the past three decades. China’s rise is of great significance for the world and the Chinese path serves as reference and inspiration to other developing countries. However, the Chinese path has also influenced Western countries in recent years.

First, the roaring success of the Chinese path has taken the gloss off Western liberalism. During the 1980s and 1990s, neoliberalism was branded the “Washington Consensus” and promoted around the world, especially in developing countries. However, implementation of neoliberal policy proved unsuccessful in these countries. Following the outbreak of the 2008 global financial crisis, the neoliberal policy system gradually withered into obscurity.

China’s socialist market economy has made remarkable achievements over the past 20 years. The socialist market economy is based on dominant public ownership with co-development of the non-public economy. The market economy gives full play to the roles of both the market and the government, stressing both free trade and scientific macro-control.

Chinese reforms adhere to basic Marxist principles combined with China’s concrete reality. The legislative emphasis is on socialism with Chinese characteristics, rather than copying Western neoliberalism. The Chinese path has set a good example for many developing countries.

Second, internal advantages of the Chinese path have prompted Western countries’ reflection on systems and demand for reform. Despite many disadvantages, the Western multiparty political system and free-market economy have been upheld by many countries as irreplaceable. Both became more dissatisfactory after the global financial crisis broke out.

In recent years, political crises and social conflicts have frequently emerged in the West. The so-called “democracy” put into practice all around the world by the West has also been unsuccessful. This has aroused global criticism as well as a powerful wave of reflection in Western society.

In this context, Western scholars representing Western mainstream ideology, such as Francis Fukuyama, have offered deep criticisms and reflections of many Western issues, acknowledging some systematic advantages behind China’s success.

Third, remarkable achievements of the Chinese path have prompted the West to learn from China. China has accumulated precious experience in reform, opening-up and national governance in recent decades and made enormous progress in many fields. After the global financial crisis, Western countries heatedly discussed the “China pattern.” Relevant international forums, academic discussions, interviews and speeches emerged one after another about this subject.

Western political and academic circles have also focused more on system factors and cultural concepts. Many Western scholars proposed learning from China by formulating strategic planning of long-term development, macro-control and national governance systems. Additionally, a growing number of Westerners have been attracted by charming Chinese culture, with increasing China-West cultural exchanges and implementation of Chinese culture’s “going-global” strategy.

Westerners think highly of ancient Chinese civilization and hope to learn a lot from it.

China’s rise has also triggered theories about its alleged “threat,” “crisis,” “collapse” and “responsibility.” All have been proven baseless by the successful practice of the Chinese path. 

China and Western countries have different paths. The Chinese path has fully proved that the Western path is not unique and that there is no absolutely “standard” development path or pattern in the world.

China and Western countries are greatly different in basic systems and national conditions. However, this cannot hinder mutual learning between the two sides. We should not only absorb all fruits of human civilization, including those created by Western countries, but also cherish our own path with unique advantages and vigorous vitality. We believe that the Chinese path will have a profound impact on  the whole world. 


Xu Feng is from the Research Center for Overseas China Studies at Beijing Union University.