> Opinion

China pursues common development amid complex situations

ISHIDA Ryuji | 2022-11-25 | Hits:
Chinese Social Sciences Today

The report to the 20th CPC National Congress is mainly about China’s domestic affairs, and it also provides unique solutions to various difficulties and challenges facing the world. In the report, there is much innovative content that goes beyond a single country’s framework.

Upholding peace despite difficulties

The report mentions the issue of peace in sections such as: “Upholding and Improving the Policy of One Country, Two Systems and Promoting National Reunification”, “Promoting World Peace and Development and Building a Human Community with a Shared Future.” According to the report, the difficulties China has faced in the past five years primarily include the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, sharp changes in international situations, and so on. Although external difficulties may affect China’s future development, China has neither cut itself off from the outside world nor succumbed to hegemonic powers. Instead, China insists on equality, openness, and cooperation, and is committed to promoting common development, which is regarded as its key foreign policy principle. Policies such as One Country, Two Systems and A Human Community with a Shared Future are both derived from the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, multilateralism, and other concepts that China advocates. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese government has always maintained an interest in seeking common ground while putting differences aside and drawing on each other’s merits, to the largest extent. 

Different from systems from any other country or region in the world, the system design of One Country, Two Systems is an innovative initiative that reflects China’s basic understanding of an evolving historical process—that the socialist system and the capitalist system will coexist for many years to come. This is in sharp contrast to the containment policy that Europe, the US, and Japan have long pursued, with binary opposition as the logic after World War II. 

Today, the “China threat theory” voiced by some countries is a continuation of this containment policy. In the past five years, China had encountered interference in its internal affairs and obstruction of its economic development by external forces. Even so, the report reiterates its commitment to building A Human Community with a Shared Future, which highlights China’s stance in cherishing peace and its ability to defend it. Similarly, the Belt and Road Initiative aims to cooperate with neighboring countries with different economic and political systems, as well as cultural and religious backgrounds, for common development.

The world today is under great tension. Will the world be ruled by the logic and rules of hegemony, or will it achieve common development based on the symbiotic principle of mutual respect for each country regardless of its size or strength? Humans are at a crossroad. Unlike some Western countries, which tackle international relations by excluding or dictating to other countries using forceful methods, China has never advocated resolving conflicts through coercion, decoupling, or refusal to negotiate. Judging from the key words in the report such as “fostering a new type of international relations” “deepening and expanding global partnerships based on equality, openness and cooperation” and “true multilateralism,” it is not difficult to see that China is adopting dialectic thinking to perceive things as unities of contradictions and opposites, while striving for common development in a complex situational context. 

Prioritizing both economy and ecology

China’s economic development has attracted worldwide attention and expectations. The report’s statement on economic issues is in parallel with discussions of education, people’s livelihoods, and environment, which is under a spotlight. Admittedly, in the early days of reform and opening up, giving priority to economic growth could drive overall social development. However, the report shows that China is actively addressing the negative impacts of economic growth with new approaches, which will surely bring about comprehensive social development and prosperity—beyond the economic level.

Throughout the industrialization process, since the early modern times, fossil energy was mostly used. As a result, global problems such as the wealth gap and environmental pollution inevitably arose with economic growth. In Europe, America, and Japan, the widening wealth gap persists as a serious social problem. One solution is to improve the overall economic level of society through economic growth. However, such an economic growth model, based on the expansion of production scale and consumption, cannot be sustained. As human society has now  entered a stage where it can no longer pursue economic growth while ignoring problems that arise regarding the environment and resources—the world today faces great challenges.

The substantial and sustained economic growth in the past five years has been summarized, and other key points in the report include: winning the battle against poverty; putting agricultural and rural development first; increasing the incomes of low-income earners; doing more to help those in difficulty find employment and meet their basic needs.

China vigorously regulates income redistribution. In addition, China puts into practice alternative development models for the economy, such as “accelerating the transition to a model of green development” and “promoting green and low-carbon ways of production and life,” for harmony between humanity and nature. According to the report, these measures will continue to be taken in the future.

We have seen that China, as a developing country, does not blindly pursue economic growth, but takes qualitative leaps in development as its mission while it is also a major player in global environmental protection. There is no doubt that China is at the forefront of the world regarding technologies and program implementation in sectors of carbon peaking, carbon neutrality, new energy, and desert greening. It is no easy task. Reviewing the explorations made by Marx and Engels, to solve the inherent contradictions and limitations within capitalism, we can say that China is on the right path of integrating the basic principles of Marxism with its reality. 

Different from the outdated economic development approaches adopted by some Western countries, such as aggression, colonization, plunder, and exploitation at home and abroad, China seeks a new mode of peaceful development that prioritizes cooperation, equality and the environment, and that considers improving the quality of people’s lives as the ultimate goal. Through innovation, China has made great contributions to the world. 

ISHIDA Ryuji is an associate research fellow from the Research Institute of War Crimes Trials and World Peace at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. This article was edited based on an exclusive interview on ISHIDA Ryuji by CSST.



Edited by BAI LE