What other countries can learn from China’s successful governance model

By Adhere Cavince Source:Global Times Published: 2019/11/17 19:58:40

Construction of Standard Gauge Railway phase 2A project linking Kenya's capital Nairobi to the resort town of Naivasha has entered the final phase with China's help, at Mai Mahiu station, Kenya on September 10, 2019.

China is a worldwide buzzword. Appearing in headlines, policy briefs, and scholarly materials covering various realms of the human experience at an unmatched speed. So, why has China become such a magnet of global conversations?

Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Beijing has metamorphosed from an inward-looking polity into a giant economic power. China has also used its economic power to amass inordinate social, political, diplomatic, and military visibility and utility. 

Leveraging its civilization edge spanning thousands of years, China has defied Western liberal democracy, becoming a global state power niche. China has shuttered the myth of monopoly of wisdom on statecraft as the model of socialism with Chinese characteristics gains worldwide traction. 

Many African capitals, for example, are looking to Beijing for lessons on how to solve persistent challenges such as poverty, or how to weave together a cohesive, united, and industrious country.  

At the same time, China's rise has caused anxiety among major powers. Power is in transition. For the first time, a non-Western state has surmounted huge odds to climb to the apex of the global economic and political structure. Many are asking what world governance will look like when China becomes number one, a measure it has achieved on many facets. 

For its part, China is utilizing both traditional and emerging platforms to share its experience with the world toward what it calls humanity's shared prosperity. Beijing is now one of the strongest supporters of multilateralism, while forging new frameworks for international engagement like the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Although China's meteoric rise has been attributed to many domestic and external factors; in my view, the biggest plus for China has been its unrivalled state competence. The ability of the Communist Party of China to design and implement policies and transform the lives of its 1.4 billion people is simply jaw-dropping. 

How did the Communist Party of China achieve this? The most important actions, perhaps, are the weaving together of a knowledge-based governance. China has proven that it helps to have knowledgeable people managing its affairs. It's a reflection of the policies developed by the government. It has also been critical in weeding out criminals who jeopardize the implementation of the new policies.

Second, taking the cue from its revolution-ridden past, the state competence has enabled China to firmly have the interest of the largest component of the population in its policy deliberations and crafting. This has resulted in the provision of wide-ranging public goods such as security, healthcare, education, transport, energy, and employment. Unlike in many Western cities, one can walk around any city in China with little worry about criminals tagging behind.

Third, Chinese state competence has enabled the country to carefully learn from the experiences of other countries; borrowing and domesticating what has worked; while eschewing the pitfalls. This has been the case in soaring industrial base, marketization, and multilateralism.

The last but not the least, the rule of law is the norm rather than exception in China. Chinese understand the basic laws governing their country and faithfully seek to abide by the law. The same cannot be said other societies where leaders or those from privileged backgrounds live above the law.

These four areas remain weak and flash points in developing countries across the world. Clientelism has often led to leaders trading critical national functions for political support. This ends up in gross state incompetence marked by corruption, favoritism, and a general lack of capacity to deliver public goods.

As Chinese government has repeatedly said, China does not seek to intervene in domestic affairs of other states. I guess the Chinese governance model will win, not because Beijing has shoved it down the throats of other countries, but because it speaks to the aspirations of so many populations around the world. There are many lessons the world can learn from China's ascension. But one lesson that should be at the core of benchmarking is China's state competence. 

The author is a scholar of China-Africa Relations & PhD Candidate in international relations at the Central China Normal University. Twitter: @Cavinceworld. WeChat: Cavinceworld. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

blog comments powered by Disqus