Source: China State Council Information Office
The historic significance of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is growing clearer with every passing year.
When the Chinese people and the Communist Party of China (CPC) triumphed in 1949, the impact in Britain and many other countries was not as great as we might imagine.
Few political, business and intellectual leaders of advanced industrial countries in 1949 thought that the PRC would become the world’s second-biggest economy by the time of its 70th anniversary.
More than that, the PRC is close to fulfilling the aim of the CPC to become a moderately prosperous and harmonious society by the year 2020.
On its website, the World Bank summarizes China’s enormous economic and social progress over the past four decades as follows: “GDP growth has averaged nearly 10% a year – the fastest sustained expansion by a major economy in history – and more than 850 million people have lifted themselves out of poverty. China reached all the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and made a major contribution to the achievement of the MDGs globally.”
Since its founding, the PRC has made ongoing efforts of its own to identify, study and understand its stunning progress. Over seven decades of development, the country has achieved phenomenal advances in material wealth, nutrition, health, education, gender equality and environmental sustainability.
On my visits to China, I have often said to political and trade union leaders that we in the West are in no position to lecture our Chinese comrades on how to build socialism. But we do have long experience of dealing with monopoly capitalism, its giant corporations and their drive to maximize profit through control of workers, markets, consumers and governments.
Our countries can still learn much from one another, which is why the international links between us must be extended and deepened.
This is also necessary because the policy of reform and opening up has created significant new relationships between the people of China and those of other countries.
In Britain, for example, the number of Chinese students has more than doubled over the past decade to almost 107,000, to the mutual advantage of Britain’s universities and China’s future economic and social development. Moreover, Chinese transnational corporations are providing more of the investment needed in productive industry and technology in Britain.
In developing countries in Africa and elsewhere, Chinese investment is bringing not only employment and technology, but new health, education and communications infrastructure as well.
Now we are witnessing the rolling-out of the Belt and Road Initiative across China, the Asian sub-continent, the northern Middle East, north-eastern Africa and into eastern and central Europe. Mobilizing Chinese and global capital for investment in a vast range of industrial, technological, transport and environmental projects, the BRI has the potential to transform the lives of hundreds of millions of people fundamentally for the better.
Britain needs to understand the job-creating potential of expanding exports to a country of 1.4 billion people, and of closer involvement in the BRI.
Amid today’s strife-ridden global political and economic climate, China’s vision of “working together to build a community with a shared future for humanity” is more than a noble ideal – it is a necessity, and an urgent one.
Robert Griffiths is a former Senior Lecturer in Political Economy and History at the University of Wales and currently the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Britain.
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