This interesting paper was presented by Guan Wei of the School of Marxism, Dalian University of Technology (DUT) at the School’s Cloud International Workshop on ‘New Forms of Human Civilisation from a World Perspective’, held October 29-31 2021.
Guan argues that: “Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern Europe, the world socialist movement has fallen to a low ebb. Through unremitting efforts, socialism with Chinese characteristics has become the mainstay of the world socialist movement in the 21st century… China has opened a new path of Chinese modernization and a new prospect for the development of world socialism.”
Thanks to the DUT Translation Team and to Professor Roland Boer for subediting.
By Guan Wei
Published on Friends of Socialist China, Nov 25, 2021
Abstract: In the “7.1” speech delivered at the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China, Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that China adheres to and develops socialism with Chinese characteristics, and has created a new road of Chinese style modernization and a new form of human civilization. This important exposition breaks through the theoretical and practical model of modernization with the West as the core, and puts forward a new path of Chinese modernization based on the practice of socialist modernization with Chinese characteristics. Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern Europe, the world socialist movement has fallen to a low ebb. Through unremitting efforts, socialism with Chinese characteristics has become the mainstay of the world socialist movement in the 21st century. Especially since the global economic crisis in 2008, China’s developmental achievements are obvious to all. With the achievements of its own development and its own practice of construction, China has opened a new path of Chinese modernization and a new prospect for the development of world socialism.
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (2012), socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, and China has opened up a new prospect for socialist development with its own developmental achievements and practice in construction. Especially since the global economic crisis in 2008, China’s development achievements are obvious to all. In his “7.1” speech, delivered at the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China, Comrade Xi Jinping pointed out that China adheres to and develops socialism with Chinese characteristics, and has created a new path of China’s modernization and new form of human civilization.
Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people have constantly conducted theoretical research and practical exploration in accordance with the changing situation, and have demonstrated the superiority of the socialist system through its brilliant achievements. The construction achievements of socialist countries represented by China reveal the vitality and influence of the socialist system.
The superiority of the socialist system and the achievements of socialist economic construction have been very well represented since the 2008 economic crisis. In order to cope with the global economic crisis, spring out of the vicious circle of capitalist economic crises, and lead the theory and practice of global economic development, the Communist Party of China has led Marxist theoretical workers to study and analyze the challenges faced by China’s economy by deploying Marxist political economy and create new conditions for China’s economy. As a socialist country, China’s practical exploration and the accumulation of theoretical insights in relation to socialist construction may point out the future direction of development for the people of the world.
The socialist countries represented by China inherit the great achievements of the October Revolution, draw lessons from the historical experience of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern Europe, combine the basic principles of Marxism with the concrete realities of specific countries, and promote the continuous improvement and development of the socialist system, so as to promote the long-term development of the country and meet the growing material and cultural needs of the people. In doing so, it has won the support and esteem of the people. The Communist Party of China has led the Chinese people in trying to find a socialist construction path suitable for their own country and national characteristics, and achieved unprecedented success. It has reestablished the prestige of socialism in the world, enriched and developed Marxist theory, and provided a practical model for the people of the world to understand, support, and strengthen their socialist ideals and beliefs.
Today’s world is still dominated by a few developed capitalist countries. By contrast, from the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the drastic changes in Eastern Europe, the world socialist movement has remained at a low ebb. However, the global economic crisis in 2008 has enabled the broad masses of people around the world to have a clearer understanding of the capitalist system, have stronger aspirations for a better human society, have higher aspirations and undertake actions to change their own capitalist systems, and pay more attention to the actual construction of socialist countries. As a result, the desire to understand Marxist theory has become stronger. At present, the theme of peace and development has not changed fundamentally, and this provides a rare historical opportunity for the development and growth of socialist forces. Socialism should give full play to its institutional advantages, promote the development of science and technology, enhance the ability of scientific and technological innovation, grasp the commanding heights of productivity and enhance the competitiveness of the system. The new road of Chinese style modernization was opened up in this process, and its superiority and historical significance will be tested in the course of the development of human society.
To strengthen socialism with Chinese characteristics, we need to “practice diligently our internal skills”: do a good job in China’s socialist construction in the new era and further consolidate the realistic foundation of the new road of Chinese style modernization. But we also need a world outlook, starting from the development and evolution of the world socialist movement and the capitalist system, further confirm the superiority of the socialist system and strengthen the ideals and beliefs of socialism.
Today’s world is undergoing great changes that have not been seen for a century. In a world undergoing major development, transformation, and adjustment, China is faced with the historic task of promoting the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The transfer of world power, the adjustment of the global pattern, and the reconstruction of global discourse, have not only brought more challenges to socialism with Chinese characteristics, but also provided more opportunities for development. The new road of Chinese style modernization is gradually becoming clear and showing its strength and influence.
The new road of Chinese style modernization is different from the modernization process centred on the West in the modern era. It is a modernization road based on the development achievements since the founding of the New China and based on the socialist development model. Since the emergence of the modern era, Western civilization has made great contributions to the world, but when humankind entered the 21st century, the disadvantages of the Western capitalist civilizational model and its road of modernization have become increasingly apparent and revealed profound internal limitations. Further, some major capitalist countries have not been able to lead the world out of these problems, but have instead become destablizing factors in the world, increasing the risks and challenges to the peaceful development of humankind. Reflecting on the road of Western modernization and its ideological and theoretical forms makes us deeply aware of its inherent limitations, that is, the hypocrisy of Western-centrism, liberalism, and the development dilemma dominated by capitalism. Western-centrism entails not only the presupposition of the master-slave relationship, but also the perspective of measuring other countries and civilizations with the West as the standard. It sets itself up as the subject and others as the object. This dualistic world outlook and mode of thinking has not only caused a serious imbalance in the standards of global evaluation, but has also made it difficult for the West itself to objectively and correctly view and understand other countries and civilizations.
Western liberalism maximizes the individual’s pursuit of his or her own interests and elevates it to a sacred and inviolable dogma. Its essence is to put the private individual above the whole and the collective, thus maximizing individual interests with far-reaching social consequences. This resolute pursuit of maximizing personal interests not only fails to promote the interests of the whole, but also leads to serious social problems, cultural difficulties, and moral hazards. The complete dominance of capital in the whole of social life also ensures that Western modernization becomes the modernization of capitalism. The social rule of capitalism controls not only social resources, but also people’s ideology. As Marx revealed, Western modernization led by capitalism cannot create a better tomorrow for humankind.
The new road of Chinese style modernization and the construction of a community with a shared future for humankind that is advocated all over the world offer new ways and new ideas to solve global problems and promote global development. The new road of Chinese style modernization is the product of the creative transformation and innovative development of China’s excellent traditional culture. China’s excellent traditional culture is not only an important product of its material civilization, but also an important achievement of human moral and ethical civilization. On ethical issues, it takes family ethics as the internal pillar, people-centredness as the national concept, and world harmony as the common ideal. The reason why the new road of Chinese modernization surpasses Western civilization is that it not only inherits China’s excellent traditional culture, but also combines Marxism with China’s reality. It takes the people as the centre and goes beyond the capitalist logic and individualism of the Western capitalist system. It transcends Western-centrism and its disadvantages by means of the community of a shared future for humankind. With the coordinated development of the five types of civilization, it goes beyond the one-way development model of liberalism.
The new path of Chinese style modernization has created a new form of human civilization. Marx once proposed the theory of the development of human society, which provides us with important theoretical resources to reflect on the development of human civilization. The new path of Chinese style modernization highlights “promoting the coordinated development of material civilization, political civilization, spiritual civilization, social civilization and ecological civilization,” thereby creating a new form of human civilization (Xi Jinping on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the CPC). In terms of a world outlook, it means understanding the world in terms of unity in diversity, pursuing the common interests of humankind through differences. From a national perspective, it advocates that each country should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of other countries, and respect the equality of its development path and opportunities. From the perspective of civilization, it advocates the exchange and mutual learning of different civilizations. In terms of development, it advocates inclusive growth and development, and so on. The new road of Chinese style modernization belongs not only to China, but also to the world, not only to today, but also to the future.
Socialism with Chinese characteristics has become the mainstay of world socialism in the 21st century. The new road of Chinese style modernization is not only of great significance to people all over the world who are eager to care about and understand the socialist road, but also provides a reference point and resources for the people all over the world to find a way out of their practical difficulties.
The new road of Chinese style modernization is based on China and serves the world. The construction achievements of socialist countries represented by China have, to a certain extent, provided realistic conditions for replacing capitalism, and so prove that the law of socialism replacing capitalism is still effective. In particular (and as mentioned earlier), in order to cope with the global economic crisis, spring out of the vicious circle of capitalist economic crises, and lead the theory and practice of global economic development, the Communist Party of China has led Marxist theorists to study and analyze the challenges faced by China’s economy by deploying Marxist political economy, which not only created new conditions for China’s economy, but also made great contributions to the rapid recovery of the global economy. At the same time, the economic crisis poses a great challenge to human development and peace, raising a new opportunity for people worldwide to reflect on the future and destiny of human society and transcend the real plight of the capitalist system. The practical difficulties faced by human society require socialist forces to promote the development of human society, re-examine the realistic foundation and development prospects of world socialism in the face of new problems and new situations, and build a new development model to lead world socialism. The creation of a new path of Chinese style modernization is conducive to the unity and cooperation of progressive forces around the world. The new road of Chinese style modernization is not only rooted in the great achievements of socialism with Chinese characteristics, but also firmly expresses – from a long-term perspective – China’s assessment and pursuit of the prospects for the peaceful development of humankind, as well as the direction of the development of human society. In this way, it helps in further coordinating and promoting the thoughts and actions of the progressive forces of human society. The new path of Chinese style modernization is not only China’s, but also the world’s.
The new road of Chinese style modernization serves not only the Chinese people, but also the peaceful development of the world. As mentioned earlier, the systemic crises of capitalism have led to the broad masses of people around the world have a clearer understanding of the capitalist system, strengthened their desire for a better human society, increased their desire for action to change the capitalist system, led them to pay more attention to the actual construction of socialist countries, and encouraged them to develop a stronger desire to understand Marxist theory. At the same time, with terrorism, regional protectionism, local conflicts and war clouds all over the world, there is an urgent need for a new discourse, a unity of thought and action, so as to guide people out of the maze and achieve peaceful development. From a worldwide perspective, the construction achievements of socialist countries provide a realistic ground for these countries to showcase their own advantages.
However, the difficulties and challenges faced by socialism are also unprecedented – not only in terms of facing the problems of self-construction and development, but also the low tide of the world socialist movement, the problems produced by the international political and economic pattern dominated by capitalism, and so on. In 2018, Comrade Xi Jinping asked: “Where is the future of human society in the face of complex changes? Where is the future of Asia? I think, in answering these questions in these times, we should not be afraid of clouds covering our eyes. Instead, we must be adept at seeing the sun through the clouds, grasp the laws of history and have a clear understanding of the trend of the world.” This trend is the peaceful development of human society. This general trend not only provides a rare historical opportunity for the development and expansion of socialist forces, but also lays a solid foundation for the peaceful development of human society. The new road of Chinese style modernization proposed by Comrade Xi Jinping has not only given expression to China’s confidence, but has also taken a worldwide view so as to further recognize the superiority of the socialist system and confirm the direction of development and progress of human society.
Finally, the world’s socialist forces have always been a progressive force for promoting the peaceful development of human society. The new road of Chinese style modernization will help lead the world’s socialist forces to promote jointly the development and progress of a new human society. The new road of Chinese style modernization adheres to the value ideal of promoting people’s all-round development, which is in line with the common interests and pursuits of the people of the world.
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