The extraordinary rise of China as the global economic superpower has been the defining story of this century. In the course of time, the country’s economy has grown to be the world’s second-largest only behind the United States.
Since its founding, China has transformed from a feudal society into a modern economy.
Yet there is little disputing that this milestone has by and large been achieved under the direction of the Communist Party whose leadership has over the years instituted reforms that brought the country out of economic isolation.
This is a party that is the world’s second-largest with a primary membership of more than 90 million members after Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP, from India with an estimated 180 million members.
Yet the question of the legitimacy of the Communist Party of China comes up almost every time, especially in the West. To the critics, the party has superintended over autocratic regimes.
But the political system entrenched by CPC according to the party adherents provides the best and most fitting governance structure for China. The party insists that its mandate has been strengthened by the country’s rising global stature, economic growth and domestic stability.
It is also an open secret that CPC has also steered the country into a consensus rule or collective leadership. This shift from the rule of a man to the rule of the party has been credited with bringing political stability and economic development to China.
The country’s fortunes appear to have taken a turn immediately after the Communist Party’s meeting of 1978 that re-established a fresh ideological line that shifted focus to economic development. This laid the foundation for reform and opening-up.
In charting a new destiny for the country, the Communist Party drew and openly committed itself to fulfil the Two Centenary Goals. The first Centenary Goal and which solely lies in the hands of CPC is to “build a moderately prosperous society in all respects” by next year when the party celebrates its 100th anniversary after its founding in 1921.
This essentially means the realization of a stronger economy, greater democracy, more advanced science and education, thriving culture, greater social harmony, and a better quality of life.
This has been the greatest mission for any leader given the mandate by the party to govern the country ever since the birth of the People’s Republic of China more than 70 years ago.
From Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and now Xi Jinping, the leadership has ensured that the country’s economy has kept growing steadily, the society remains harmonious and stable, and that various reforms have been carried out to offer an impetus for China’s sustainable development.
Away from home, China is also a major driver of global growth. The country’s leaders are asserting greater influence on the international stage. Whether in Asia, Africa or in Latin America, China’s footprints have been conspicuous.
The Belt and Road Initiative, a brainchild of current President Xi Jinping, and which is now enshrined in the party’s constitution, for instance, is bringing together countries from various continents with the sole purpose of boosting infrastructure construction, financial cooperation, and cultural exchanges.
Back home the ruling party has successfully mobilized its citizens to reject corruption and the thirst to amass personal fortunes and instead commit to the realization of the Chinese Dream, which is about the realization of national rejuvenation
Throughout its existence, the Communist Party of China has been promoting the concept of “Serving the People”, alongside other slogans such as “Never benefit oneself, always benefit others” and “Tireless struggle.” These slogans have become the guiding principles of the party and its members.
To date, the Communist Party is responsible for the formulation of policies while the government ensures its day-to-day execution. It will be remembered that due to these policies, China became the first developing country to meet the Millennium Development Goals especially by lifting millions of people from poverty.
More people in poverty-stricken regions have enjoyed better houses, cheap electricity, clean water, improved medical services, and education.
It is also worth noting that unlike in other parts of the world, CPC developed a unique form of checks and balances where at every level of jurisdiction in China, a government leader serves alongside a person at the level of a party secretary.
These party officials are commonplace in various organizations such as in state-owned enterprises, private companies, foreign-owned companies, universities, hospitals, as well as other institutions of the state.
Where these party officials superintend, they ensure that the agenda of the government in place is being implemented to the latter. Moreover, the CPC has more than 4.6 million primary-level organizations spread across the country at hand to respond to matters that require urgent government intervention.
With President Xi Jinping at the core, the CPC has implemented a development concept and adopted an overall approach for economic, political, cultural, social and ecological progress. Since assuming power in 2012, he has introduced far-reaching measures to ensure the country’s stability and well-being.
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson described the Chinese leader as “the kind of guy who knows how to get things over the goal line.”
Xi, who is also the General Secretary of CPC, for instance, launched 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. This has helped curb wastage and embezzlement of public resources.
Without question, the party continues to legitimize its own rule by providing political, economic, and social stability to the Chinese. Yet, the task of meeting its own set centenary goals remains a challenge.
But with the party’s guiding principles, China appears ready to make significant contributions in dealing with these challenges.