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China's governance shows efficacy in solving problems

By Ong Tee Keat | China Daily | Updated: 2021-12-01 07:18

Poverty relief assistants Liu Ying (1st L) and He Changle (2nd L), and village officials help carry melons planted by villagers in Dongqin village, Congjiang county of Southwest China's Guizhou province, Nov 11, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

The recent Sixth Plenary Session of the Communist Party of China Central Committee was not a mere domestic political event charting the course of China's future. Its impact has rippled beyond the borders of the country. The session attracted global attention, not least because it issued a historical resolution only for the third time since the founding of the Party 100 years ago. Its significance is visibly pronounced to the international community as the second largest economy is now assuming an increasingly pivotal role impacting the world.

The sixth plenum adopted the "Resolution on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century" and the "Resolution on the Convocation of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China". The plenary session not only reviewed China's contemporary history but also revisited the 100-year history of the Party to identify the areas of strengths, priorities and risks in the handling of challenges ahead. In particular, the resolution sought to answer two key questions: "Why was the Party successful in the past? And how can it continue to succeed in the future?"

This is vital to a Party of more than 95 million members in leading the country to achieve the second centenary goal of developing China into a great modern socialist state that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by 2050(2049 being the centenary of the founding of the People's Republic).

From the sixth plenum's resolution, it is clear that the review of the Party's major achievements and historical experience was necessary for drafting the statecraft blueprint for the decades ahead. The resolution pledges that the Party will remain committed to people-centric policies, as was shown in the decision to achieve "common prosperity" and promote whole-process people's democracy to ensure the people run the country. Enhancement of the people's well-being in the course of development has been given due emphasis alongside efforts to promote harmony between humankind and nature.

All these factors are consistent with the Party's commitment to staying true to the vision of its founding under the core leadership of Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. This has, to a large extent, shaped Xi's principle of governance which is rooted in the core values of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Prior to the plenum, common prosperity, which signifies fair distribution of wealth to narrow the wealth gap had been abuzz across the country. Its inclusion in the resolution reaffirms the CPC's determination to basically realize the dream of common prosperity by the middle of this century. The Party's responsiveness to emerging challenges with comprehensive solutions further demonstrates to the world China's decisiveness and efficacy in solving problems, a trait that has long been misread or neglected by other countries because of ideological prejudice.

Similarly, the Chinese model of governance, too, has been vilified by some as "authoritarian". This may undergo a new round of evolutionary rejuvenation when the "whole-process people's democracy "notion is implemented. It envisions holistic participation of the people in the democratic process which signifies true public involvement in the practice of democracy.

This is in stark contrast to the "ballot box democracy" of the West, which sees public involvement only during elections, but remains generally aloof from the people's aspirations for the rest of the parliamentary tenure, notably on policy formulation matters.

In the West, democracy is largely a power game among partisan politicians, and is not necessarily representational of the people's wishes. Be that as it may, the Western-style multi-party democracy has long been trumpeted as the hallmark of "liberal democracy". Any country deemed non-compliant to it is more often than not subject to isolation and sanctions by the West. Such illiberal coercion is in effect an imposition of foreign interventionists' agenda upon the people of the victimized state. Time and again, this has been used as a convenient excuse to justify a "regime-change "manoeuvred by the West.

China, under the leadership of the CPC, has been resisting such unsolicited foreign interference in the spirit of upholding its core socialist values of governance that constitutes the choice of the Chinese people. The people's faith in the Party's rule was corroborated by a July 2020 survey report, "Understanding CCP Resilience-Chinese Opinion Survey Through Time", authored by Edward Cunningham of Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School.

Cunningham's finding has made it clear that "since the start of the survey in 2003, Chinese citizen satisfaction with government has increased virtually across the board. From the impact of broad national policies to the conduct of local town officials, Chinese citizens rate the government as more capable and effective than ever before. Interestingly, more marginalized groups in poorer, inland regions are actually comparatively more likely to report increases in satisfaction."

Statistically, the overall level of satisfaction of the Chinese people with the government was more than 90 percent. This is no fodder from the propaganda mill but a survey data signifying the high level of trust the Chinese people have in the governance of the CPC even after seven decades.

On the global front, China is now more proactively engaging with the world by embracing multilateral cooperation. And it is expected to be more contributive to the international community through its offer of public goods. Nonetheless, the sharing of China's success models internationally has never been easy in the face of impediments created by the West in pursuit of the latter's geopolitical self-interests.

The pretext of "ideological threat" is no longer tenable and justifiable. The plight and future of humankind are increasingly intertwined. Chinese expertise and wisdom, like many others, should have its rightful place in our concerted fight against global challenges. After all, the world has never been homogeneous in its governance, and the intertwined future of humankind can never be decoupled along the ideological lines.

The author is chairman of the Centre for New Inclusive Asia in Kuala Lumpur.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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