Although Comrade Deng Xiaoping set forth “China has its own model” in the early period of implementation of reform and opening up policy, Chinese people have never held the discourse power of China model, which could be corroborated by Ramon’s presentation of the Beijing Consensus in 2004. Some Chinese and foreigners even intentionally neglect or deny the existence of China model. Currently, the situation is changing. Presentation of some concepts and scopes, such as confidence in path, theory and system and China’s road, spirit and power, delineates the China model increasingly clearly and endows the China model with more China’s styles and manners. The China model belongs to not only China but also the world, and not only develops China but also benefits the whole world.
Several Perspectives to Understand China model
The China model can be understood from the perspectives of economic development, national governance and rejuvenation of civilization based on the socialist practice after the founding of the New China, China’s exploration of independent modernization path after the Opium Wars and the 5,000-year-old civilization history of the Chinese people.
Economic development mode. Lenin and the former Soviet Union made some explorations on how to leap over the capitalist “Kafdin Valley,” how to achieve the success of socialist revolution in the underdeveloped country and how to develop the socialism. However, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, such explorations failed finally. The world puts its focus on China to judge whether the socialist model may succeed. China didn’t only solve the historical problem of how to establish and develop a socialist country in a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society but also created a new development path of human civilization to realize the revival and rejuvenation of an ancient civilization with great efforts made by Chinese people under the CPC’s leadership after several modern movements, such as Westernization Movement and the Reform Movement of 1898. Especially over the past more than 30 years since reform and opening up, China’s economy has kept year-on-year growths of about 10% and leaped to the second place of the world, creating a miracle of the history of human development. After the international financial crisis, China’s economy revived first in contrast to a majority of Western countries who stayed mired in the quandary. In 2012, the former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez stated on the El País of Spain, “Every time I visit China, I am often stunned by its historical phenomena reflecting the new trends of the world. China is rapidly rising at an incredible speed while the Europe is struggling to avoid collapse,” and “We don’t know how to prevent the process, let alone reverse it.” Some famous Western scholars believe China is leaping over the “middle income trap” and becomes a moderately developed country, being the only successful case besides the “Four Asian Tigers” and inspiring more emerging countries to make success.
From the perspective of economic development, the connotation of China model can be summarized into “Five Integrations:” first, integration between tangible and intangible controls, which means to make the market play a decisive role in the resource allocation and give the market a bigger role under the basic system with the public ownership as the main part and supported by other ownership economies; second, integration between efficiency and fairness, which means the efficiency is demonstrated with the timeliness and effectiveness of the market in resource allocation and the fairness is emphasized not only at the starting point and during the process but also on the result, especially the common prosperity; third, integration between reform and opening up, which means to make reform and opening up facilitate each other, to have not only China open up to the world but also the world open up to China, and to not only reform China itself but also assist with the international system reform; fourth, integration between rapid development and sustainable development, which means it is not allowed to put focus on rapid development at the cost of sustainable development and meanwhile, importance is attached to sustainable development in spite of slow development speed; fifth, integration between short-term and long-term goals and partial and complete goals, which means the integration of “Five-Year Plan” and “Three-Step Development Strategy” is conducted nationwide and the diversity and flexibility of goals and methods are encouraged in different localities and sectors in order to make the whole nation stable but local areas flexible.
National governance mode. Voltaire, a leader of the French Enlightenment, described China as “the best-governed and most civilized country,” which was the earliest recognition of the China model. In the recent years, some foresighted Westerners discard the ideological bias, objectively understand the China governance mode and recognize the governance level and effectiveness of China. The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman stated in his article, “If it is actually necessary, Chinese leaders are able to revise laws and regulations, establish new standards, improve infrastructures and boost the long-term strategic development of China. However, it will take several or dozens of years for the Western countries to discuss and implement those bills.” The paragraph by Thomas Friedman confirms the national governance mode of China from the perspective of high efficiency.
From the perspective of national governance, the connotations of China model can be summarized into “four integrations:” first, integration between democracy and centralization, which means the localities and departments should appropriately delegate their power to give democracy a role and inspire the enthusiasms but the whole nation should centralize power moderately in order to ensure the whole country’s long-term and basic interests; second, integration between division and combination, which means the focus should be put on both the spirit of shouldering responsibilities and the collective leadership according to different natures and rules of issues and in implementation of duty division and collaboration in all fields of social governance; third, integration between careful explorations and top-level design, which means it is required to conclude experience and form up several small patterns through the trial and promotion, then enhance the top-level design and build up the large mode and finally test and improve the ready-made modes and create new modes; fourth, integration between gradual and leaping developments, which means the gradual development should be focused on streamlining government departments and delegating power, establishing grassroots democracy and building up judicial system and meanwhile, it is supported to make bold attempts and dauntlessly break the traditions in order to achieve the leaping development.
Civilization rejuvenation mode. Francis Fukuyama, a Japanese-American scholar, stated in his book – The Origins of Political Order, China was the first modern country around the world as Liu Bang ascended the throne from a common man and succeeded in the political shift at the turn of the Qin and Han dynasties but there never appeared a king from the common man in the West. Therefore, we must understand the cultural base and national foundation of China model from the perspective of a five-thousand-year history. The rejuvenation of the Chinese civilization is composed of three parts, namely revival, shift and innovation, which indicate shifts from the traditional farming civilization to the industrial (information) civilization, from the inland civilization to the marine civilization and from the regional civilization to the global civilization. Certainly, the shift of civilization doesn’t mean forgetting or denying the past but should inherit and innovate in the traditional civilization. Those are the connotations of times of the civilization rejuvenation mode.
From the perspective of civilization rejuvenation, the connotations of China model may be summarized into “four integrations:” first, integration between inheritance and rejuvenation, which means as a civilized country, China’s development mode and governance mode are also the civilization rejuvenation mode and of the integration between inheritance and rejuvenation of civilization; second, integration between opening up and inclusiveness, which means the China model is an open model, China’s opening up is the all-round one and the China model results from assimilating and borrowing the outstanding civilization fruits of the human; integration between shift and innovation, which means it is aimed to not only realize the shift of old civilization but also achieve the innovation of traditional civilization in order to continue freeing the vitality of civilization; integration between following and transcending, which means the Chinese civilization is not aimed at following the Western civilization but is dedicated to creating a new human civilization that will transcend both China-centered ideology or West-centered ideology.
World Significance of China Model
The China model doesn’t only have distinct Chinese features but also demonstrates the world significance during the process of development and improvement.
Restoration of the world diversity. The China model, as a kind of development mode and civilization rejuvenation mode, is restoring the diversities of development modes and cultures and civilizations. Many foresighted Western scholars recognize the China model enriches the development mode of the human. Considering the idea of “globalization equaling to Americanization,” some European friends said thanks to the EU and China models, the world is not too Americanized as other countries’ development modes are too limited to those countries themselves or those regions or don’t succeed. Therefore, only EU and China models can produce the world effect. As a result, as same as the EU model, the China model is restoring the diversity of the world.
Enlightenment for the Western development modes. After breakout of international financial crisis, the China model became the global hot topic once again. The Western political circles, academia and media began to seriously discuss the China model and ask why China could become of prominence. The former German chancellor Schmidt indicated the continuously successful development of China doesn’t only solve China’s own problems but also provides the inspiration for the West to get it out of the quandary. The China model is also a way to get rid of the five-hundred-year-old West-centered ideology. Thus, the British historian Toynbee stated in A Study of History, “In the future, the country that may unify the world is probably not one of Western countries or Westernized countries but may be China. Furthermore, as China has such a sign to undertake the future political tasks, today’s China is enjoying such stunning prestige in the world.”
Inspiration for developing countries to overtake developed ones. The China model doesn’t only succeed in enhancing China’s confidence in and self-consciousness of modernization drive but also inspires more and more developing countries to discard their superstitions for the West’s development modes, create the development roads suitable for their own conditions and finally achieve modernization. The Israeli president Shimon Peres said China has developed a China’s path from poverty to independence and from poverty to prosperity to make the Chinese dream come true. China’s unique development mode has the positive inspiration for the Middle East to solve problems of poverty, unemployment, underdeveloped education and science and technology, and others. Recently, some people badmouth the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) so the China model undertakes duties to justify the development modes of emerging countries.
Those closely involved can’t see as clearly as those outside. When some Chinese people are still eulogizing the Western model, some foresighted Westerners have began to reflect on themselves and put great aspirations into China. The phenomenon should be noticed. Half a century ago, Mao Zedong stated in his article – Commemorating Mr. Sun Yat-sen, “China should make relatively great contributions to the human.” In the view of current situations, the China model is an important part of the contributions and also the foundation of soft power to strengthen our “three confidences.” Although China doesn’t intend to export its own development mode subjectively, we must understand the China model is not only a successful path for China’s own development but also exerts increasingly profound influences on the regional and global governance. In a word, the China model doesn’t only develop China but also benefits the world. It is the conclusion we got from the practice.
(Writer’s organization: Research Center of Theoretical System of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics of the Ministry of Education)