The rise & rise of China 

China economic powerBy S. M. Hali 

People’s Republic of China (PRC) has traversed a path akin to a roller coaster ride. Being one of the most ancient civilizations, it led the quest for development and progress. Invention of the Chinese characters several millennia ago, cerebral accomplishments in an era of great intellectual accomplishments, referred to as “the period of one hundred masters and schools of thought” and the advent of prominent thinkers such as Laozi, Confucius and Mozi, exploring a wide range of topics from the universe to the earth, and from man’s relations to nature propelled China to great heights of progress.

Unfortunately, myopic feudal rulers of the 18th and 19th centuries closed the door of China in boastful ignorance, leaving the country in a quagmire of a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. Frequent foreign invasions brought upon great social turmoil, poverty and deprivation. Following centuries of strife, the Chinese people were prompted to take their destiny in their own hands and unshackle the bonds of slavery.

The long years of servitude left indelible scars on the minds of the Chinese, who cherish not only their own freedom but also pursue a policy of peace, non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs nor tolerate others to interfere in their own affairs.

PRC has achieved success as well as committed errors in its process of development. China’s “reform and opening-up” was launched under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, whose far-reaching futuristic economic policies blazed a new trail of establishing socialism with Chinese characteristics, focusing on building a socialist market economy, democracy, an advanced culture, a harmonious society and a sound eco-system, upholding social equity and justice, promote all-round development of the people, pursue peaceful development, complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and eventually achieve modernization and ensure prosperity for all.

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These are noble goals but without grudging the rise of China, it is important to observe that PRC has reached out to the Occident as well as the Orient to build bridges and taking them along on the road to development and prosperity. Simultaneously, PRC is not oblivious to the more than 200 million Chinese people, who are still living under the poverty line set by the World Bank.

President Xi Jinping, in his first year of office has visited China’s neighbours as well as EU and the US. He is cognizant of the fact that China’s reform has entered a deep water zone, where problems crying to be resolved are all difficult ones but he has expressed resolve to move the reform forward. He has quoted a Chinese saying; we must “get ready to go into the mountain, being fully aware that there may be tigers to encounter”. This highlights the principle laid down for reform i.e. to act with courage while moving forward with steady steps. With the deepening of reform, China will continue to undergo profound changes, which not only provide strong momentum for China’s modernization drive, but also bring new development opportunities to the world.

A strategic decision was made at the Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to comprehensively deepen China’s reforms, and over 330 implementing steps covering 15 sectors were introduced. The 1.3 billion Chinese people are venturing to realize the Chinese Dream of great national renewal. While PRC pursues its own dream, it is endeavouring to take the rest of the world along in the pursuit of their individual dreams, merging them where prudent and undertaking to rebuild international economy, which took critical blows in the 2008 meltdown. Xi Jinping appears to be guided by the code that “The wise seeks common ground while the unwise clings to differences”.

The rise of China is guided by a cogent and practical top-level design complemented by a time-table and a road map, being executed with contemplation and deliberation. There have been criticism of China’s defense budget, but Xi Jinping has elaborated that the defense budget conforms to the just demands of the national defense buildup of such a major country as his but he reassures that China will never follow the path of big powers which seek hegemony once they grow strong, nor will PRC repeat its historical tragedy of being enslaved and colonized under the threat of big powers’ strong weapons after the Opium Wars. Thus China pursues a goal of developing a national defense strength that is sufficient to defend itself from external threats. Xingjian’s miscreants are being dealt with a strong hand while social uplift is affected. 

The policy of PRC towards its neighbours stems from the adage that one may choose one’s friends but has no choice on neighbours thus PRC adheres to the ideas of “affinity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness” for its relations with neighbouring countries. This is the rationale behind China’s continued rise.