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China's path to modernization hailed as right choice

By ZHANG ZHOUXIANG and LUAN RUIYING | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-11-13 14:59

Scholars discuss the developing nations' paths towards modernization at the fourth Think Tank Forum on National Governance in Developing Countries in the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (China National Academy of Governance) on Nov 7. [FENG YONGBIN/CHINA DAILY]

With the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation taking place last month followed by the 16th China-Latin America and the Caribbean Business Summit on Nov 2 and 3 in Beijing, the world is more and more focusing on new forms of modernization, said a former senior official from Brazil.

"The Chinese path to modernization indicates the direction of China's future development," said Alessandro Golombiewski Teixeira, former tourism minister of Brazil. "While its modernization process contains elements that are common to the modernization processes of developed countries, it is characterized by features that are unique to the Chinese context and can provide signposts for other countries around the world that are also pursuing modernization."

Teixeira, who is now a professor at Tsinghua University's School of Public Policy and Management, made the remarks in an exclusive interview on Tuesday with China Daily on the sidelines of the fourth Think Tank Forum on National Governance in Developing Countries.

Quoting a famous Chinese saying, Teixeira said that China "crossed the river by feeling the stones" while carrying out reform and opening-up. China has made the right choice by finding the way that fits its own situation best instead of blindly following the West, he added.

By doing so, China has avoided falling into the trap of Western modernization theory, a central argument of which, as Teixeira pointed out, is that developing countries need to follow the same path as the West to develop, and that "they (developing nations) must adapt to Western cultures and values and industrialize their economies".

Each nation has its own river to cross, and the stones beneath the water's surface of each river vary from each other, he added. More importantly, the rivers that developing nations must cross today are far different from the ones that China crossed in the late 1970s and 1980s.

"At that time, we didn't have the impact of climate change, we didn't have such fragmentation of the value chains, and we didn't have innovation as the central theme," he said. "The water is now moving faster, so each step needs to be firmer than before."

Teixeira stressed that "it's a global river that we face today, and the challenges facing China and the world are the same". For example, climate change, natural disasters and low reproduction rates are all issues that the world must face and solve together.

Teixeira believes that the solution lies in improving global governance.

"We also live in a time where we need to rethink what is the future of our society. So, when China advocates enhancing common prosperity and building a community with a shared future for mankind, it is addressing common issues from a global perspective," he said. "We need to act locally, but address the issues globally."

With the theme of "Paths to Modernization in Developing Countries", the fourth Think Tank Forum on National Governance in Developing Countries was held by the Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (National Academy of Governance), the Institute of Party History and Literature of the CPC Central Committee, Peking University and China Daily.

Government officials, renowned experts and scholars from countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Ethiopia, as well as more than 100 observers from top domestic think tanks, attended the meeting.

Jin Yiling contributed to this story.

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