Chinese modernization inspires African nations

Source:Chinese Social Sciences Today 2023-09-23

A poster promoting the Studies on Chinese Modernization Series at the 29th Beijing International Book Fair on June 17 Photo: CFP

With its intellectual influence and unique charisma, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era has attracted an increasing number of foreign scholars and also international political leaders, who seek to delve into the theoretical and practical logic of the “China miracle.” Recently, Fred M’membe, a well-respected journalist who now serves as president of the Socialist Party of Zambia, shared with CSST his views on Xi’s thought, Chinese modernization, and its potential as a source of inspiration for African countries.

Xi's thought: An intellectual banner

As M’membe perceives, Xi’s thought holds immense value as an intellectual banner and guide for the Chinese people. As an outstanding leader who has built upon the achievements of predecessors, Xi has creatively formulated his own distinct ideas of governance, thereby providing greater clarity to China’s socialist direction. This signifies a fresh vision of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and new realm of scientific socialism worldwide.

An esteemed Marxist thinker, Xi is a political figure who has profoundly influenced China’s national destiny in the new era. “I believe that at his core, he is a revolutionary, and moreover, a revolutionary with an internationalist spirit who pays attention to the international situation and not just China.” M’membe told CSST.

M’membe noted that even during challenging periods and detours, there will always be outstanding leaders with the ability to steer China back on track. Several generations of leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC) have made pivotal decisions in their respective eras. Over the span of decades, the decisions made by these leaders have proven correct, effectively resolving China’s most critical contradictions within their respective historical periods. China’s achievements serve as evidence that key leaders can play a crucial role at significant historical junctures.

“We now live in really hard, challenging times with uncertainty. But they are not supposed to mean a situation in which things get worse and worse. It means a crossroads, a time for decisions and actions—in this case, each country should think about which way we want our human society to go. A new and complex era as this one requires new ideas and principles more than ever,” M’membe said. “In this context, Xi proposed the concept of building a ‘Human Community with a Shared Future.’ He became aware that no people or person had the right to exploit others, and that the fruits of the efforts and intelligence of each human being should reach all others.”

Success of Chinese modernization

Regarding Chinese modernization, M’membe pointed out that it has made remarkable strides across various sectors, leaving the world in awe of its achievements. As he aptly commented, Chinese modernization is a daunting task, successfully accomplished by the Chinese people through great hardship. The key factor behind China’s ability to achieve this monumental task can be largely attributed to the leadership of the CPC. For over a century, the CPC has fought steadfastly for its people, staying true to its original mission. Throughout different historical periods, it has undertaken diverse tasks such as market liberalization, economic reforms, industrial development, and anti-corruption. These tasks are intricately interconnected, and it has taken 100 years of dedicated efforts to bring China to its current level.

“The great success of Chinese modernization has inspired many third-world countries and let African people see the possibility of an alternative to the Western modernization model. There is also such a possibility that 800 million Africans can live a good life through their own efforts, without plundering others or overly damaging the ecological environment. This hope is absent in the Western-style modernization scenario,” M’membe emphasized.

He continued to say that in the past decades, Chinese modernization has successfully discovered an effective way to coexist with capital. China has not only assumed an important role in capital production but has also implemented regulations to curb the disorderly expansion of capital. In the areas closely related to people’s lives such as finance, education, and real estate, the insatiable pursuit of profit by market players is constrained, with resources instead serving the welfare of the Chinese people. This represents a very important innovation to Marxism by the CPC.

Implications for Africa

In 1992, American political theorist Francis Fukuyama proposed “the end of history.” According to his theory, there is only one path for development, and that is the Western modernization path. “However, as Africans, we all know that we cannot embark on this Western path of modernization. Europeans achieved their initial accumulation of capital by colonizing Africa, so who can we colonize? African people can only rely on themselves. Therefore, for us, ‘the end of history’ means that we will forever remain at a lower level, never able to achieve modernization, and will forever have to endure the exploitation and plunder of developed Western countries,” M’membe said.

Continuing his remarks, M’membe added, “That’s why Chinese-style modernization gives us hope. Africa currently does not have the ability to engage in 50-year or 100-year continuous struggles like this. However, at the very least, China’s achievements have given us hope to pursue dreams. We hope that China can lead us, help us, guide us, and help us carve our own path of modernization.”

“African countries need their own economic systems and industrialization plans. Africa needs to build infrastructure, power stations, highways and railways, factories, let our people produce in these factories with low cost, and then sell globally at higher prices. I believe that China will support us in taking this first step,” M’membe said.

Editor:Yu Hui

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