The Chinese Communist Party albeit not the oldest party in the history of world politics and democratization waves as enunciated by Huntington, the party has emerged with the most felt impact in its magnitude and influence not only in China but allover around the world. It is this significant influence that has allowed the party to assume prominence and increase in followership to be one of the world’s political parties with the largest followership. It has about 91 million members which is more than twice the membership of the American Republican Party with 36,132,743. The membership of the Communist Party of China is also almost twice the membership of the American Democratic Party, nine times the Pakistan Movement for Justice Party and eight times the Turkish Justice and Development Party among others.
Just like the political bandwagon that produced the African National Congress (ANC) in January 1912 by John Langalibalele and Isaka Seme Sol Plaatje, the Communist Party of China born in July 1921, was founded by a group of Chinese revolutionaries who fought against the Kuomintang imperialist subjugation and for the liberation of the Chinese people. Those who midwifed the CPC are: Mao Zedong, Li Dazhao, Chen Duxiu, Chen Gongbo, Tan Pingshan, Zhang Guotao, He Mengxiong, Lou Zhanglong, Deng Zhongxia, Dong Biwu, Li Hanjun, Li Da, Chen Tanqiu, Liu Renjing, Zhou Fohai, He Shuheng and Deng Enming.
The birth of the Communist Party was directed towards serving the people (masses) and paved a way for a popular coinage of the People’s Republic, People’s Liberation Army, People’s Bank and so many other things in China signifying everything belongs to the people. The Communist Party under the leadership of the legendary Chairman Mao embarked on the Cultural Revolution that was positively aimed at moving the country forward using the cultural way. The CPC leaders adopted the best development model; the most rapid, fast and efficient in changing the Chinese socio-economic conditions. This was not unconnected with the dynamics of Den Xiaoping who adopted the policy of reform and opening up in 1978. With such reforms, China was able to quickly move from an agrarian society to an industrial society and allowing foreign investors to domicile portfolios in the mainland. Den Xiaoping’s legacy was upheld and continued by Jiang Zenmin who opened up another developmental process under the leadership of the Communist Party to drive the country to an enviable position within the world stage.
The political theory and policy as ratified by the CPC under Jiang Zenmin, contained the Three Represents for the 2003 revision of the party’s constitution, as a “guiding ideology” to encourage the party to represent “advanced productive forces, the progressive course of China’s culture and the fundamental interests of the people.” The theory legitimized the entry of private business owners and bourgeois elements into the party. Hu Jintao, Jiang Zemin’s successor as general secretary, took office in 2002. Hu introduced two main ideological concepts: the Scientific Outlook on Development and Harmonious Socialist Society.
Every societal purpose is development. As Dudley seers believes that development takes place when a country experiences a reduction or elimination of poverty, inequality and unemployment. The CPC has been focusing on fighting unemployment, raising standard of living and workers wages. It is in line with the above that looking at the trajectories of unemployment statistics in advanced societies for example the United States having 6.2%, United Kingdom with 7.5%, France having 7.9% and only China with the least unemployment record despite its huge population just at 5.3%. This shows that the Communist Party of China should be given some accolades in its relentless efforts in dealing with unemployment in China, which shows that the country is progressing.
The development of a country is also considered looking at the level of income inequality among the citizenry. Considering the Gini Coefficients of income inequality, the United States has 41.4% records of inequality while China has 38.5%. This shows that there is perfect equality in China and perfect inequality in the U.S. based on the Gini Coefficients.
On poverty reduction, Over the 4 decades, China has been able to lift more than 700 million people out of poverty, contributing more than 70 per cent of global poverty reduction. By the end of 2020 nearly 100 million impoverished rural dwellers have escaped poverty since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, and all 832 national level poverty stricken countries had shaken off poverty. Despite the COVID -19 impacts in 2020, China succeeded in removing the remaining 52 countries in South Western China and western regions from poverty list as scheduled in 2020.
The coming of President Xi Jinping as the General Secretary of the CPC and Core of the Communist Party many reforms have taken place and China has been promised prosperity. Xi upheld the principles of reform in his ‘Four Comprehensives’ (SI GE QUAN MAIN) of: making China a moderately prosperous society, deepening reform, party discipline and deepening rule of law. These principles are foundations upon which all civilized societies should consider in building a prosperous society and with the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), China will primarily realize the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, which is the first of the two centenary goals laid down to mark the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee convened in Beijing during October, 26-29 2020, was therefore a milestone meeting that took decisions on the next five-year plan for economic and social development and also set more long-distance targets till 2035. The blueprint of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) decided on at the plenum sets forth the concepts, principles and tasks to guide the country’s economic and social development in the next five years. Additionally, it will pave the way for the Second Centenary goal of building a modern socialist country to mark 100 years of the People’s Republic of China, which was founded on October 1, 1949.
In 2017, the 19th CPC National Congress drew up a two-stage long-term development plan. In the first stage from 2020 to 2035, the task is to build on the foundation created by a moderately prosperous society with 15 more years of efforts to ensure socialist modernization is basically realized. In the second stage from 2035 to 2050, having basically achieved socialist modernization, the task is to ensure that in another 15 years China becomes a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful. Therefore the plenum also charted out the goals for the next 15 years that will be the first of the two stages in China’s new journey to socialist modernization.
The innovations decided on at the plenum will help to break down deep-seated institutional barriers and deepen reform in important areas with greater courage and more measures. In the new development pattern, the domestic and international markets will boost each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay. In the future, China will open up further and contribute to international development in a more inclusive manner. The development achieved by the CPC is unprecedented and uncountable in human development, science and technology, economic and social fields and ultimately democratic development.
Ibrahim is an Associate Professor Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Abuja and Director,
Institute for Legislative Studies, University of Abuja
email: [email protected]