100 years of Communist Party of China; Legacy of economic revolution

Written By: Eric Biegon

The Communist Party of China has been in leadership since 1949. COURTESY/GETTY IMAGES

China’s rise from a poor developing country to a major economic power has been spectacular. Indeed, many have described China’s economic performance over the last couple of decades as a great miracle.

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To fully comprehend this turn of the tide, one has to take a trip down memory lane and appreciate what China was before it became what it is today.

The reality is the Chinese economy was very poor, stagnant, inefficient, and relatively isolated from the global economy. This was a war-ravaged, semi-feudal nation laden with impoverished populations.

The Communist Party of China which had seized control of the country needed to act differently if China was to achieve the status of its neighbors. The truth is when CPC came into power, China was very poor. This is a country that didn’t have trading partners or diplomatic relationships. The struggling nation was relying on self-sufficiency.

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The challenge was huge in every aspect. The party’s greatest mission was perhaps to beat poverty. If its leaders thought this was mission impossible, then China would have remained just another developing country.

But the party had a plan. Having learned from past blunders, it introduced a series of reforms to open up the economy, especially trade and investment as seen during the reign of Deng Xiaoping and slowly catapulted China back from isolation and economic ruins.

Ultimately, the country surpassed its neighbors, growing the economy by double digits. This would translate to hundreds of millions of people being pulled out of poverty. It is worth noting that the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to reduce the world’s poverty rate by half, between 1990 and 2015, was met by China ahead of schedule.

Thanks to CPC, China is today bursting with skyscrapers, hi-tech megacities connected by brand new highways, and the world’s largest high-speed rail network.

The East Asian country will soon celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. With the benefit of hindsight, the ruling outfit has not just outlived thousands of other parties, but it has without a doubt transformed China. Analyzing the complexity of the inherited problems, its performance can be considered extremely impressive.

There is a common saying in China, that ‘the one who wins the hearts of the people, wins an empire.’ Perhaps this correctly explains the rise of the Communist Party in China.

Without question, the party continues to legitimize its own rule by providing political, social, and most importantly, the economic stability that the Chinese nation craved for many years.

Yet, to develop the economy, the successive CPC-led regimes have had to work towards a clean and organized government. The party has always made it known that this is what sustainable development requires. Clean governance according to CPC is a product of the integrity of the party and government officials.

Another popular saying goes; ‘if a thing doesn’t belong to us, we don’t dare take a hair of it.’

War on corruption

To deal with anything that could jeopardize the economy and to further curb wastage and embezzlement of public resources, the current Chinese leader Xi Jinping has spearheaded a successful anti-corruption campaign that has seen a purge of both low-level and high-ranking members of the society, including some within the ruling party.

Since his ascendancy to the country’s leadership, Xi has not allowed corruption to creep up and spread. He has always maintained the tradition of a government free from impunity. Investigating graft and bribery cases, and punishing culprits has defined his regime to date.

“We must continually strengthen our self-discipline for clean government and honest public service.” Xi has religiously reiterated

Xi has been categorical that if Communist Party officials do not set a good example, they will never have the moral authority to speak against ills or rectify others.

“Fighting corruption is bound to involve specific people. If it involves our friends, former schoolmates, or relatives, will we be upright, plain spoken and impartial and incorruptible?” or will we be lenient, trivialize large matters, and make small ones go away? If so, if we abandon our principles for one person, we will lose the trust of tens of millions of people!’ he said in his book, ‘Up and Out of Poverty,’

Many argue that China enjoys unrivaled economic growth because it has had to deal with corruption breeding grounds like no other country has done. Abuse of power in China comes with a huge cost.   Most importantly, ruling party officials are forever reminded that power is given to them by the people and they can easily take it away.

A lot has been said about the Communist Party of China. But the party’s performance must be judged in comparison with what China was before its entry to the scene.

It’s easy to see why under its leadership, China’s annual contribution rate to world economic growth is close to 30 percent, and its contribution rate to global poverty reduction is more than 70 percent.

Observers have noted on varied occasions that the success of the Communist Party of China is not only of great significance to the Chinese people and the Chinese nation but also of realistic and far-reaching world significance.

China’s influence globally is not about to wane. This country is the only major economy to see positive growth in 2020 following the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. What’s more, a recent survey shows that the Chinese economy will surpass that of the United States in 2028, five years earlier than previously forecast.

This is perhaps the greatest demonstration of strong leadership by CPC.

Eric Biegon is a Multimedia Journalist with the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, KBC.

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