China has achieved remarkable accomplishments unseen in all of human history
Published: Jul 06, 2021 10:32 AM
Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

When I consider the momentous occasion and remarkable achievements as we recognize the centennial of the Communist Party of China (CPC), I remember the day I unexpectedly arrived in China for the first time. It was 1999 and my friend in Los Angeles was from Chongqing. He had unexpectedly invited me and I am not exaggerating when I say I was clueless about China.  Up to that time, I had only known Western propaganda, that it was a mysterious place, that its government was not nice, that is was behind a "great thick wall" and finally, that it was "Communist," a "dirty" word, an "inferior" idea. 

Of course, intelligent, reasonable people know this is nonsense rooted in childish while powerful, political rhetoric. Bad things have happened under countries which have "Communist" governments, while bad things have also happened under countries which have a "democracy" or "socialism" or a "monarchy" or any other form of government. And that's because when government is run by bad leaders, bad things happen, and the people, the society, the county all suffer. 

As a foreigner very familiar with the past 20 years of China's development, I ask myself whether or not China has done a good job? Isn't it a rather remarkable level of achievement for so many people, which has never before been seen in all of human history? Did I witness these 20 years a country in trouble, in conflict, or at war? No. This is a country that has blossomed, learned well from its past mistakes, created a vibrant new middle class, raised over 800 million people out of absolute poverty, and a country with the state-of-the-art modern cities, industries and infrastructure.  

As they say here in China, the vision of xiaokang, or a moderately prosperous society, has been achieved, and how in heavens can I not admire it? Yet, is there much more work to do? There are at least 600 million more people who still need opportunities to raise up their income and lifestyle. I see a government with its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) still working, still focusing, still pushing to achieve such goals.   

And what more does any citizen hope its government to do? Perhaps keep us safe when calamity strikes, such as a pandemic? Did the Chinese government and its people come together quickly and decisively to defeat and manage the COVID-19 pandemic better than any other country in the world?  Yes, they did. I know it because I was here every single day from the first to today. My family was in lockdown together with the other 1.4 billion Chinese citizens here. Many months later, I think about all the other foreigners I know who made the mistake of leaving China during this past 18 months, and easily understand why 90 percent of them are still trying to figure out how and when they can come back to their life in China as quickly as possible. 

During this entire 40-year period of growth and prosperity, China never resorted to war. At the end of 2020, I was asked to play General MacArthur in the TV series Crossing the Yalu River. My research for that important role increased my appreciation for China's commitment to prosper and grow as a peaceful country. 

As a guest on a recent TV talk show, I declared that China is in the sweet spot. In the past, Europe expanded and then it was the US, and now it is China's time in the Sun. This is what I think about on the occasion of the CPC's centenary celebration.   

The author is CEO of M Communications Group and a senior fellow of the Center for China & Globalization. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn