Former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping often stated that ‘stability overrides everything.’ Without a stable environment, Deng held the view that ‘nothing could be done and even the existing accomplishments will be lost.’
He said this with an eye on a great deal of turmoil that China had experienced under the exploitation by imperialism, feudalism and numerous political movements.
It is important to recall at the outset that China was not always what it is today. To fully understand today’s China, you have to look at its past. From a historical point of view, as a result of foreign invasion, China experienced long-term political chaos and frequent wars.
This unstable political environment made it difficult for the Asian country to grow its economy and improve people’s livelihood. This was without a doubt a tragic history and it’s easy to see where Deng was coming from.
It is in the most recent decades that the Chinese people have managed to live with political stability. The economic benefits of this political stability cannot be overstated. And credit goes to the Communist Party of China, CPC, a party that will soon celebrate 100 years since its formation.
The rise of CPC ushered a new era of leadership in China. The party successfully led a revolution bringing the country’s dark past to an end, when in 1949 it established the People’s Republic of China.
CPC changed China’s leadership structure, established a new political system, and a change in national character. It also championed societal reforms in its bid to effect a complete transformation. Soon, new ideas and institutions started emerging.
The party’s foremost agenda, however, was to quickly stabilize the country. The aim was to steady Chinese politics, economy and society. Yet, the CPC leadership identified political stability as the most fundamental.
The party seemed fully aware that just like in many other countries, political instability to China would most likely lead to clamour for regime change. This way there would be no time to pursue both the economic and social development.
To succeed, the party made a decision to adapt leadership to Chinese conditions and in a manner that is logical to the people. It established a fairly sound political system that’s unique to the local situation. The system basically originates from its own environment without having to borrow from any other system in practice elsewhere.
Analyzing the situation in his country, current Chinese President Xi Jinping has repeatedly pointed out that “China’s socialist political system has proved itself feasible, efficient and has vitality because it was developed in the country’s social soil,”
This is important because, the reality is that China has a larger population of 1.4 billion. There is no other country globally with such a gigantic population. Achieving a stable political order in such an environment is not easy.
The system operates in a way that allows other political outfits to work with CPC on matters governance. It is different from multi-party-political systems that we see in other parts of the world, especially in the West. Yet, it is also not the one-party system practiced in some other countries.
It is a different form of democracy and keen political observers hold the view that it is broader and more effective. As opposed to other systems, the Chinese political system encourages multi-party cooperation and political consultation.
This ability to facilitate dialogue amongst parties on matters of great public interest makes the system well-intentioned.
The greatest attribute of the Chinese system further lies in the fact that it entrenches decentralization of decision making, both political and economic.
“China’s political system unites all political parties and people without party affiliation toward a common goal,” President Xi said
This system put in place by CPC has run continuously and effectively because it won the hearts of the people. Formed in 1921, CPC has been built into a strong ruling party with a membership now stretching beyond 90 million. Its current leadership, with President Xi Jinping at the core, is improving its ability to rule. The leadership has ensured that the party is competent enough to carry out the arduous task of governing China, the world’s second-largest economy.
For over 70 years in power now, the party has registered tremendous success largely due to its ability to respond to issues in a timely manner while also carrying out necessary reforms.
It is therefore not a coincidence that this very system has propelled the country to be the economic powerhouse it is today. One would say, if it wasn’t working, China wouldn’t be where it is today.
Under the Communist Party, the country now enjoys remarkable development. Indeed, stability has facilitated China’s rise to great-power status. China has without a doubt succeeded through the maintenance of stability.
This political stability has, above all, enabled Chinese citizens to solely focus on issues of personal and national development. And this in my view remains the greatest legacy of the CPC so far.
In a striking difference, disorder and conflicts have been a key feature in a dozen of developing countries. Due to unrest, power struggles, chaos, and civil wars, a stable political and social order have remained elusive. As a consequence, development has been hard to come by. In its place, poverty and disease reign.
Eric Biegon is a Multimedia Journalist with the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, KBC.