Developing countries to benefit from China’s peaceful rise
Published: Oct 21, 2022 05:00 PM
Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) kicked off on October 16, bringing together over 2,200 Party delegates to discuss the goals toward China's future. Yet, at the same time, it would be wrong to categorize this historic monument as only relevant to China, as the CPC, the governing party of the world's second-largest economy and largest nation by population in the world, has ascended to global relevance. 

China's importance for the global economy, international diplomacy, world culture and heritage, and the CPC's central role in guiding the Chinese nation means that the Party's 20th National Congress is an important moment in humanity's shared history. That goes for both the developing and the developed world. 

For starters, let's look at what China has accomplished and what it seeks looking forward. One of the most historic achievements that the Party entered this latest iteration of the National Congress with is its accomplishment of the first centenary goal of xiaokang, a moderately prosperous society in all respects. China was able to achieve this goal in 2021. 

Under the CPC's leadership, China also eradicated extreme poverty in 2021 despite pressing global challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and attendant economic issues. Now, the Party will embark on paving a path forward for its second centenary and establishing new goals, namely transforming China into a modern socialist country by 2049, which will be rooted in fulfilling socialist modernization by 2035. 

Given China's success so far, under the leadership of the CPC, we can expect these goals to be accomplished as a whole - and perhaps ahead of schedule no matter what circumstances may lay ahead. This will have profound effects on humanity's shared future, not least because it will mark the transformation of the largest country by population from a backward agrarian civilization just decades ago to a full-fledged modern and prosperous socialist state. 

More importantly, I believe this will be consequential because China's success and prosperity will be brought about without plundering other nations. It will be brought about because of peaceful development. 

It cannot be overstated how much of a paradigm shift this is. At the time of its ascendance as a modern socialist state mid-way through this century, China will be the only major country to have achieved widespread prosperity without attendant detriments to other countries, for example, through colonialism or imperialism. That this will have happened will break away from the myth that the only state of affairs in our world is zero-sum thinking. It will prove once and for all that win-win cooperation is both possible and desirable. 

Of course, developing countries, with their unfortunate histories mired by exploitation and subjugation, will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this paradigm shift. China is aware of where it stands in the course of history, seeing itself still as a developing country and fully aware of its relationship within the context of colonialism - and the anti-colonial struggle. This is why China stresses South-South cooperation and sees itself as a pillar within the Global South, leading the charge in sustainable development through, for example, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). 

Yet, at the same time, this does not imply necessary conflict with developed countries that have been the historical beneficiaries of the colonial era. Far from it, the burgeoning Chinese middle class is abound with opportunities for developed countries. This is, for example, why China is intent on seeing through the passage of the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) to further open up to European companies. In terms of the hugely important, US-China relationship, China does not seek conflict but instead seeks mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. 

China's consumer spending is set to rival that of the large US market within the next decade, which means more and more opportunities for global companies in tandem with Beijing's continued commitment to reform and opening-up. It is no exaggeration to say that the Chinese people's success and prosperity mean the same for people around the world.

The author is a Prague-based American journalist, columnist and political commentator. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn