1 October 2021
Op-ed by Chinese Ambassador to the Republic of North Macedonia Zhang Zuo on the occasion of the National Day of the People’s Republic of China
Building a moderately prosperous society in all respects carries the beautiful dream of the Chinese nation and is also a thousand-year change in China. On the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, President Xi Jinping solemnly declared to the world that we have realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and we are now marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects. Over past 100 years since the founding of the Party and past 72 years since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, the Party has united and led the Chinese people through struggle, sacrifice, and creation and finally make this great achievement. It will go down in the annals of the development of the Chinese nation and of human civilization.
Firstly, building a moderately prosperous society in all respects realized the long-cherished dream and aspiration of the Chinese people.
“The people indeed are heavily burdened, but perhaps a little ease may be got for them. Let us cherish the centre of the kingdom, to secure the repose of the four quarters of it.” This poem is from the Book of Songs with a history of over 2500 years, depicting the Chinese nation’s longing for a well-off society since ancient times. This long-cherished dream can only be realized step by step in a socialist China under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. The establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 created the fundamental political conditions for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. After the founding of New China, the establishment of the basic socialist system and the advancement of socialist construction have laid a solid foundation for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. At the beginning of reform and opening up in 1978, the strategic concept of “well-off society” was put forward. Building a well-off society has become a consistent and ambitious goal of the Chinese people, and China with relatively backward productivity at that time, has made great strides to catch up with the times.
President Xi Jinping has led China to realize its great dream. In 2012, he solemnly declared that the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects will certainly be achieved by the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. He united and led the Chinese people to promote economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological civilization construction to ensure that a moderately prosperous society in all respects not only covers all domains, but also covers all population and regions and promote the common development of urban and rural areas. China has raised the living standards of its people from bare subsistence in 72 years ago to general prosperity. China has built the world’s largest social security network including pension, medical care, subsistence allowances and housing with basic medical insurance covering 1.3 billion people, which significantly improved public health and medical security capabilities. It is a miracle that shines through the annals of history to build a moderately prosperous society with economic prosperity, political democracy, cultural development, social harmony, sound ecology, and people’s happiness on schedule amid profound changes in the world and Covid-19 pandemic.
Secondly, building a moderately prosperous society in all respects has made a great contribution to global poverty reduction.
China is the largest developing country in the world and has always been a powerful promoter of poverty reduction in the world. In 1949, just after the founding of the People’s Republic of China, then President Mao Zedong declared to the world that the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China would lead the people of the whole country to overcome all difficulties, carry out large-scale economic and cultural construction, and wipe out the poverty and ignorance to gradually improve the material and cultural life of the people. The party organized the people to become self-reliant, vigorous, and reorganized, laying a solid foundation for getting rid of poverty and improving people’s lives. After the reform and opening up in 1978, then President Deng Xiaoping repeatedly emphasized that the reason why we have been fighting for decades is to eliminate poverty. China has implemented large-scale, planned and organized poverty alleviation and development and has made unprecedented great achievements.
Poverty alleviation is the bottom-line task of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. President Xi Jinping clearly stated that the key to a well-off life lies in whether the poor villagers can get rid of poverty, and promised that we will never leave a poor area or a poor masses behind. It opened the prelude to poverty alleviation in the new era. In terms of the scale of poverty reduction, according to the World Bank’ s international poverty standard of US$1.9 per person per day, more than 800 million people in China have been lifted out of poverty since the reform and opening up, accounting for over 70% of the global poverty reduction population during the same period. In terms of the speed of poverty reduction, in the 8 years since 2012, an average of more than 10 million people have been lifted out of poverty every year. China has achieved the poverty reduction goal of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. In terms of the consolidation of poverty reduction results, by the end of 2020, all 832 poverty-stricken counties have been lifted out of poverty and nearly 100 million rural poor people have got rid of poverty according to current standards. We are continuing to effectively link poverty alleviation and rural revitalization, and improving the regular assistance mechanism for low-income population in rural areas to achieve the goal of strong agriculture industries, beautiful villages and wealthy farmers.
Thirdly, building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, writes the most beautiful chapter for the peaceful development of the world.
China is committed to the path of peaceful development, has built a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and has made major contributions to the peaceful development of the world. China succeeds in feeding almost 20 percent of the global population with only 9 percent of the planet’s arable land. While working to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, China is making great efforts to strengthen environmental governance and has fulfilled its international commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 2020 ahead of schedule. In addition, it has pledged to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. The projects, such as the Tiangong Space lab, the deep-sea exploration, the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, the Tianyan telescope (FAST), the airliner C919 and the world’s largest 5G operation network, have injected new momentum for the innovation and economic growth of the world. China has improved its level of opening up to the world, and has become trading partners with more than 130 countries. The Belt and Road Initiative has brought new development opportunities for all countries, promoted exchanges and mutual learning between different civilizations and peaceful development of the world.
Building a moderately prosperous society will benefit all countries in the world. President Xi Jinping proposed and promoted the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. The development of China is not a copy of the rise of a traditional great power, nor is it a reprint of the hegemony of a strong nation. It is a benefit for both China and the world. Since the founding of the People’s Republic China 72 years ago, China has never provoked a war or occupied an inch of others’ land. China is committed to advocating mutually beneficial and win-win development. In face of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, China achieved major strategic results in epidemic prevention. China has provided anti-epidemic supplies to more than 150 countries and provided vaccines to more than 100 countries and international organizations. China was the only major economy to register positive growth in 2020. China has been the largest contributor to world economic growth for 15 consecutive years since 2006. China’s GDP has jumped from 67.91 billion RMB in 1952 to 101.6 trillion RMB in 2020, which account for 17% of the total GDP of the world. The development of China is providing new opportunities for the development of the world.
Fourthly, building a moderately prosperous society in all respects expands the new path of human social development.
Building a moderately prosperous society in all respects is a great contribution to human society. After the founding of New China, from a large agricultural country with a large population and backward economic development, it began the process of industrialization, gradually leaping from a low-income country to a middle-income country and then to a upper-middle-income country, completing in a few decades the industrialization process that developed countries have gone through for hundreds of years, and increasing its per capita GDP from a few tens of dollars in the early days of New China to more than 10,000 US dollars in 2020. As a large developing country which accounts for nearly one-fifth of the world’s population, China has realized moderate prosperity and begun to move toward the goal of becoming a modernized power, blazing a new trail for human society to achieve modernization. It offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence.
Building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, creates a new realm of democratic political construction. People’s rights to existence and development are well protected, contributing to common respect for and protection of human rights, which demonstrates that the paths to happiness are not all the same and that all peoples have the right to choose their own development paths and political systems. China has implemented democratic elections, consultations, decision-making, management, and oversight in accordance with law, adhering to whole-process democracy. China has written “respect for and protection of human rights” into its constitution and “whole-process democracy” into law. China actively engages in international human rights undertakings, and has signed 26 international human rights instruments. China carries forward the shared human values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom. It pursues cooperation rather than confrontation, opening up rather than isolation, and mutual benefits rather than the zero-sum game. It opposes hegemony and power politics, and promotes the development of democracy suitable to its national conditions.
Fifthly, building a moderately prosperous society in all respects opens up a bright future of common prosperity.
The Chinese nation is a great nation. After the Opium War of 1840, however, China found itself plunged into a semi-feudal and semi-colonial society, and suffered unprecedented hardships. Since its founding, the Communist Party of China has taken up the historic mission to achieve national rejuvenation. Since the founding of New China, especially since the reform and opening up, it has focused on meeting people’s basic needs, realizing moderate prosperity and modernization, and has led the progress of national development and modernization. When the people’s lives were generally decent, China set the goal of building a moderately prosperous society by the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, and building a modern socialist country by the 100th anniversary of the founding of New China, which are the two centenary goals.
In his statement at the General Debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Xi Jinping emphasized that “China has always worked to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development, preserve international order, and provide public goods”. The Chinese nation has transformed itself from “withering” to thriving and great rejuvenation. As China has upheld and developed socialism with Chinese characteristics and driven coordinated progress in material, political, cultural-ethical, social, and ecological terms, we have pioneered a new and uniquely Chinese path to modernization, and created a new model for human advancement. By embarking on a journey to fully build a modern socialist country and promoting common prosperity with high-quality development, China will realize socialist modernization by 2035, and develop into a great and modern socialist country by the middle of the 21st century. For the future, the Communist Party of China will lead the Chinese people towards even more ambitious goals, making greater contributions to working together to build a community with a shared future for mankind and a better world for all.