Chinese path to modernization inspires development of Global South countries
Published: Dec 13, 2022 05:23 PM Updated: Dec 13, 2022 05:22 PM

A scene of Beijing Photo: VCG

A scene of Beijing Photo: VCG

Editor's Note:

For Chinese people, the past decade has been epic and inspirational. The country, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, has made great endeavors in boosting its economy, deepening reforms, improving the rights of its people and acting as a responsible global power.

The 20th CPC National Congress has made important policy arrangements for the next five years. Under the governance of the CPC, the consistency and continuity of policies are in stark contrast to the intense partisanship in US politics. What do the different governance concepts of China and the US mean to the rest of the world, especially Global South countries? How does socialism with Chinese characteristics affect the international socialist movement? Deborah Veneziale (Veneziale), an American journalist based in Italy, discusses these issues with Global Times (GT) reporter Wang Wenwen.

This is the 33rd article of the Global Times series about this special decade.

GT: In your article, you pointed out that after the end of the Cold War, the driving force behind the US foreign strategy was not only the containment of communism, but the pursuit of unquestionable and permanent military and economic hegemony. This dangerous drive makes the world increasingly threatened by a major war. In the short and medium-to-long term, how do you see the consequences of the US containment strategy against China to the world?

Veneziale: In the long run, I am optimistic and think a new international order will emerge. The US ruling class faces many internal contradictions and do not control everything. They are not omnipotent. Things happen they cannot plan for.

Trump's presidency weakened the US Empire in several subtle ways. Outside the US, many people finally lost their illusion that the USwas a well-run civilized state and society. The US showed its hypocrisy and ugly racial nationalism in a very direct manner.

With the foreign policy alignment of both US political parties, the attacks against China have intensified. Militarily, the US is using Taiwan as a pretense to provoke military conflict. Economically, they are pushing forward sanctions and decoupling from China. The US uses blackmail, its currency hegemony, and military dominance to force many countries to participate in US imposed sanctions. Full national sovereignty does not exist for many countries. The US has become addicted to sanctions as a foreign policy tool.

In the medium term (3-5 years), I think the Republicans could win the next presidential election. In terms of foreign policy, the Republicans could possibly lower their pressure on Russia and focus mainly on China.

Regardless of which party wins, Taiwan will likely become more of a global geopolitical hotspot. Henry Kissinger recently warned again of the dangerous consequences of a continued US confrontation with China and called on the Biden administration to reverse its policy toward China. But Kissinger has lost his influence within the US and is ridiculed by the current diplomatic elite.

The countries of the Global South cannot survive in a world decoupled from Russia and China. Many countries are dependent on food and energy imports from Russia and the highly advanced manufacturing capacity from China.

Back to the long run. A multilateralist international order and a United Front against Western Hegemony has become a necessity. With the election of Lula as president of Brazil, an expanded "BRICS 2.0," although currently without an exact organizational structure, could be reinvigorated as a bigger platform for international economic cooperation. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is clearly needed for international security cooperation.

GT:What do you think the different governance concepts of China and the US mean to the rest of the world?

Veneziale:If you are the leader of a Global South country, you may have already realized that the Western so-called democratic system has failed. Many non-left-wing Global South political and economic elites are gradually losing faith in the Western model of governance. Human rights, freedom of expression, environmental protection ... words that sound well-intentioned, are clearly not truly respected in the West but have become weapons in the Western system. Today China, Cuba, and others are facing US sanctions, lawfare, and encirclement. But tomorrow it could be Turkey, India, or Brazil.

The Chinese model of governance offers an opportunity, and a real alternative to the Global South. China has done a good job of balancing epidemic prevention and control, economic development, and national security, which requires a very high level of practical governance. Countries in the Global South are eager to learn how China has done all this.

GT:The CPC put forward the concept of Chinese modernization. There are obvious differences between Chinese modernization and Western modernization. What do you think of Chinese modernization? Is Chinese modernization a better choice for the world to get out of the development and security dilemma?

Veneziale: First of all, I insist on the correct English translation of the Chinese as the "China Model of Modernization." I do not agree with the translation of "Chinese modernization." First, China does present a new model of modernization, rather than simply achieving modernization as defined by the West. Therefore, the subject of our discussion should be the "China Model," not just using "Chinese" as a modifier for modernization.

Second, the China Model is something that other countries can learn from, while "Chinese modernization" implies that it is only the Chinese who have modernized, and that people of other races or ethnic groups cannot learn from it because they are not Chinese. In many instances, in the West, the word "Chinese" has an implicitly racist connotation. For example, many Western media keep translating the term "Communist Party of China" (CPC) as "Chinese Communist Party" (CCP), not because they don't know the official translation, but because they try to use the word "Chinese" as a racial term to evoke racist feelings in their audience.

The modernization model, as defined by the West, has not given the countries of the South a choice. Western modernization was based upon brutal plunder, colonization, and the slave trade, and to this day, for example, the West continues to plunder Africa's people through the neoliberal economic system.

So, if African countries today want to modernize, can they plunder other countries as the West has done? This option is not only immoral, but it simply no longer exists. The Western modernization narrative has implicitly concluded that many - if not all - countries of the Global South cannot modernize.

The China Model of Modernization redefines and de-stigmatizes the concept of "modernization" from a socialist perspective. It is a sustainable modernization that involves and benefits the entire Chinese population. It values not only economic development, but also the spiritual and moral development of the people; and it does not plunder other countries or nature.

The China Model of Modernization cannot be copied in a mechanical way. But others can learn from its fundamental features and adopt them based on their own indigenous needs.

GT:You said in a recent article that by 2022 it is increasingly clear that only China can save socialism. How does socialism with Chinese characteristics affect the international socialist movement?

Veneziale: Outside of China, many left parties and popular movements have suffered a long period of defeat since the collapse of the Soviet Union. There were important exceptions, mainly in Latin America. This overall decline, however, has left a heavy historical debt. Sadly, some progressive forces weakened their ties to China and now have a serious lack of understanding of the country. Beginning with the reform and opening-up, some socialists in the Global South began to wonder: Has China strayed from its socialist course?

The decade of General Secretary Xi Jinping's leadership has gradually helped dispel these doubts. By eliminating absolute poverty, promoting rural revitalization, cracking down on corruption, regulating the disorderly expansion of capital, advocating educational equity, protecting the ecological environment ... and other concrete initiatives, China has allowed the Global South to reclaim its imagination of the possibilities of a socialist world.

The achievements of socialism with Chinese characteristics have shown socialists in the Global South that it is possible to build a much better society. This will inspire a new generation of socialist leaders to explore better indigenous solutions. The reconnection of China with socialists in the Global South will be a long-term process, one that has already started to germinate.

In an interview with Chinese journalists, Brazilian President Lula once said that China achieved greatness because of the Communist Party and leaders like Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping. A revolution can only succeed under the leadership of a politically conscious political party, and revolutionary leaders are a precious treasure of history. How to build and maintain the ideological progressiveness of political parties and how to train and select excellent leaders are things that the Global South can learn from China.