by Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan
China is an old civilization and has been passing through various ups and downs throughout history. Which is very much rational and the natural cycle of human history. There was a time when Romans were at the peak, but today they stand nowhere, British and French colonialized half of the world, but today squeezed to a small state only. Ottoman Empire in Turkey was in control of parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe, but today is a small developing nation. Every peak has to pass through fall, it is a natural cycle in the history of nations. But China, the last 200 years have been suffering due to the colonializations, imperialism, and expansionism of Western World. Either it was opium war I or II or War of resistance, the Chinese suffered a lot. But with the establishment of the “The People’s Republic of China on the 1st of October 1949, China liberated finally. However, it did not end the Western world’s aggression against China. It was the economic blockade of China or war against communism threat, China was the victim in the early 1950s, 1960, and 1970s.
China spent almost 3 decades on internal reforms with a focus on ideology, unity, and change of mindset during the period 1949-1978, under the great leadership of Chairman Mao. Fight against feudalism and imperialism was at the top of the agenda. Equality was promoted, the farmers, workers, and soldiers were treated equally. In the eyes of the state, everyone was equal irrespective of its nature of job, profession, social status or qualification. It gave a lot of courage to people of China and hope for a bright future, which was a motivational force for them to struggle for a better life. As a net achievement of political reforms, the whole nation became united and stands on one page with the Government.
After having great success on the political front, China entered into a new phase of Economic Reforms, under the visionary leadership of Comrade Deng Xiao Ping, since 1978. During the last 4 decades, Chinese common man persistently worked hard, the visionary leadership has provided the incentive-based right policies and the Government has provided enabling environments. China made huge progress on the economic front, it has surpassed the German Economy in 2006, surpassed the Japanese Economy in 2010, and expected to surpass American Economy in 2026. Currently, China has gained the status of the second-largest economy just behind the USA only.
One of China’s major victories is on the “Poverty Elimination front”. Just within 4 decades, China has lifted around 750 million people from the line of poverty. No other nation or collectively whole world has not shown such huge achievements. It was a goal set up in the Millennium Development Goals by the UN and China has contributed a lot. In fact, China’s contribution to fighting against poverty worldwide has been recognized. Many nations are beneficiary of Chinese assistance to fight against poverty and hunger. Some of the nations are following the Chinese path to address the issue of poverty in their own countries and are successful to some extent.
The life of a common man in China has been improved to a huge extent. From the shortage of food and the basic necessities of life, China has turned into an abundance of food and a luxury lifestyle. I lived in China for 7 years in the 1980s and eye witness to the use of coupons and rationing of food and daily consumer products. Buying a bicycle, washing machine, electric fans were considered luxury and faced many difficulties. New clothes and shoes were purchased at festivals, especially on Chinese “New Year” only. Living standards and public transport were rather poor in condition. As a result of Economic Reforms, China has emerged as a net exporter of its excessive production and earning a huge amount of foreign exchange. Spiritual life for Chinese citizens has also witnessed a big change, entertainment Industry, Tourism, and luxury life has been witnessed in width and length of China.
Chinese people enjoy more freedom of expression and access to information as compared to 4 decades ago. Law and order situation has been ranked as one of the best in the global arena. Curse of Terrorism is a very common phenomenon all around the world, but in China, it is comparatively safe and under control. The legal system inside China has improved a lot and people feel more safe and secure inside China. Openness and modernity are very much visible on the streets of all big cities in China. Prosperity is prevailing and sense of comfort is visible from the faces of the common man.
The third phase of China is globalization which is currently prevailing in China, under the great leadership of President Xi Jin Ping.
Chinese progress in Agriculture and the Industrial sector has changed the whole world’s trading pattern and become a hope for developing nations. China’s trade surplus with the rest of world, especially with the developed world has set an example for all developing nations. Today, no other country compete in China in the price and surrendered its market to China.
With the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has been engaged in developing Infrastructure and connectivity among the BRI states. Today, there are more than 150 countries, regions and international organizations, recognizes BRI and most of them are beneficiaries of BRI fruits. BRI is a model for the future development of economy and trade. As a matter of fact, BRI has changed the whole pattern of geopolitics.
The growing recognition of BRI is witnessed around the world, many more countries have shown interest in joining BRI initiatives. As a matter of fact, China is the only country, having an excessive amount of foreign exchange and expertise in the development of Infrastructures. China is at the top position in the world in the field of Infrastructure development. For example, High-Speed Trains, China has built the longest and largest network inside China, especially its High-Speed Train to Tibet, in the high mountains, at an elevation of 4500 meters above the sea level is not less than a miracle. Motorways, High ways, Tunnels and Bridges all across the country are visible proof of China’s lead in the world. Many developing countries are inspired and impressed with the Chinese achievements and are willing to cooperate with China to replicate their experiences with them. High Rise buildings and architectures in China witness its strength.
Chinese companies are engaged in many countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe to develop infrastructure projects. The money and experience gained by China are useful for many developing nations. In fact, the Chinese model is one of the most successful models of developments in the current prevailing systems of governance in the world. It has produced much more than the Western Democratic model. It is time for the rest of the world to learn the best things from the Chinese-Governance model. I believe any system, which makes people prosper, society stable and safe, access to justice and freedom of expression, is a good model of governance.
BRI is a message of peace, harmony, and development. It promotes people to people contact, promotes mutual understandings, and promotes trade and tourism. Based on mutual understandings, relations among nations can be established more durable and beneficial. At least, it can eliminate misunderstanding to huge extent.
The growing number of Chinese Universities, among the top 500 Universities of the world is a good indicator of Chinese leadership in the Education sector. The increasing trend of R&D in China has made its leader in Telecommunication, IT, Artificial Intelligence, and many emerging technologies in the world. Chinese culture is dominant in the western world, many people are learning the Chinese language around the world, Chinese culture, movies, and dresses are getting more popularity globally. Chinese soft power has recognized as a force behind its success.
With the rise of China as a global power, China is equally contributing to world peace and proactively participating in international affairs positively. China understands its responsibilities and contributing its due share in geopolitics positively. China has not fought any war during the last four decades. Although there were many occasions, where the war was inevitable, China, played “Big Country Diplomacy” and averted t war. In 2017, when there was border stand-off between India and China at Doklam, it was China, who observed restrains and normalized the situation through diplomacy. Current, the situation in Hong Kong, is proof of continuity of China’s policy of openness, tolerance, and democracy (Chinese characteristic of Socialism). No one can imagine, in Socialist country, where the communist party enjoys full authority, allows its citizens to launch such violent and prolonged protests. In a matter of fact, regaining sovereignty of China over Hong Kong and Macao, was a big achievement of China, as without firing a single bullet or killing any one person, just with peaceful negotiation, China gained this victory of regaining sovereignty of its lost parts from Britain and Portugal after one hundred years.
China enjoys supremacy over the South China Sea, but never exercised its military hegemony. Instead, it always offered its doors of negotiations with any one of the stakeholders. In spite of interference from far away nations, China observed restrains and averted any war-like situation. China has the power to gain control over “Diao Yu Dao” disputed islands between China and Japan but prefers peaceful negotiation as a mode of resolving this issue too.
Regarding trade war with the USA, China always observed restrains and showed maximum tolerance, even in case of reciprocity, offered a mild response only. Many aggressive statements from the President Trump are on the record, but, Chinese side did not pass any derogatory remarks. China has the capacity and capability, but deliberately, as per its own policy, is not stretching its muscles.
As a civilizations of several thousand years, having experiences of wide variety, China has emerged as a mature, wise and tolerant nation. China has learned that wars and egos, may not solve the issues permanently, that is why, China has focused on its internal developments and overcame any possibility of war. China’s peaceful rise may be a role model for the rest of world to be followed. Chinese influence is visible around the globe and may increase in future too.
China will celebrate the 71st anniversary of its liberation on the 1st of October 2019. Preparations are underway and a massive program of celebration has been chalked out. Chinese Embassies in all world capitals will also celebrate this occasion. Chinese communities in various countries are also prepared well to enjoy the festivity of “National Day”. Please join me in congratulation the Chinese people and Government in the happiness of National Day.
Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomate), Academician, Researcher, Peace-activist, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), Islamabad, Pakistan. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)