EDITORIAL: For the New China
"New China" is a name that has symbolized hope, generated deep emotion, and inspired strong passion in the hearts of generations of people. In founding and building the new China, countless heroes have left their homes behind in selfless devotion, with many giving up their lives. It has now been 70 years since the PRC was founded, and today China is flourishing like a garden in full bloom, with spectacular achievements being made across the country. Voices singing, "I love you China" can be heard echoing throughout the land as we celebrate this grand occasion, signifying the sincere pride felt by the millions upon millions of sons and daughters of our nation in the new China.
Dongjiaomin Alley is one of the longest lanes in the old city of Beijing.
In September 1901, the area was turned into an extraterritorial base for foreign aggressors through the humiliating International Protocol of 1901, and thus the Chinese people lost the right to freely enter and exit their own territory.
On February 3, 1949, the People's Liberation Army held a magnificent parade as they entered Beijing. Mao Zedong ordered that troops go through Dongjiaomin Alley, and for the first time in 48 years, Chinese forces entered this alley. The army that came into the city that day was an army of the people, made up of our own sons who had volunteered to help found the new China. Their proud and confident bearing as they marched inspired joy and excitement as well as dreams and visions for the future, because their arrival meant that imperialism had been driven away, that the reactionaries had been defeated, and that the people had been liberated.
On October 1, 1949, the grand gate tower above Tiananmen, just a stone's throw away from Dongjiaomin Alley, bore witness as the founding of the People's Republic of China was declared, its flag was flown for the first time, its national anthem was played, and its Central People's Government was inaugurated. In the People's Republic of China, the people finally had the opportunity to assume their rightful role as masters of their country.
In his opening address at the First Plenary Session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Mao Zedong said, "Fellow Delegates, we are all convinced that our work will go down in the history of humanity, demonstrating that the Chinese people, comprising one quarter of the world population, have now stood up." For the great day upon which the new China was founded, the Chinese nation had gone through immeasurable suffering and made countless sacrifices.
The new China is red, as more than 20 million revolutionary martyrs had shed blood for its founding.
The words "serve the people" inscribed on the inner wall of the Xinhua Gate at Zhongnanhai, headquarters for the central authorities. The people form the basis of the Party's governance, and public sentiment is the greatest test of political efficacy. From Mao Zedong's introduction of the motto "serve the people" in 1944 to Xi Jinping's introduction of the people-centered philosophy of development at the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the CPC has always put the people above all else, serving them wholeheartedly, and fighting for their interests and wellbeing. PHOTO BY LIU XINWU
On October 7th, 1949, when news of the PRC's founding reached the Kuomintang-operated Baigongguan concentration camp in Chongqing, the revolutionary patriots imprisoned there could not contain their excitement. Communist Party member Luo Guangbin proposed to his fellow prisoners that they make their own national flag, with which they would charge out of the prison gates. Since they did not have a knife, they used a piece of scrap metal to cut straw paper into five-pointed stars, and since they did not have glue, they used leftover grains of rice to paste the stars to a red blanket. Though the materials they used to celebrate the birth of the new China could not have been cruder, they nonetheless expressed their incomparable feeling of joy. They had given up everything to fight for this goal, and their faith in seeing it through is what kept them going as they were locked up in prison indefinitely. Sadly, most of the prisoners died not long after the new China was born, murdered at the hands of their unspeakably cruel captors. The musical Sister Jiang, which is based on the novel Red Crag, immortalizes this truly moving moment in our history, with the characters weeping tears of joy as they made the flag that the Chinese people had waited generations to behold. The flag itself is stored in the collection of the Red Crag Memorial Museum in Chongqing, with the blood and sacrifice of its creators forever woven into its every fiber.
Mao Zedong once said with deep emotion, "Countless revolutionary martyrs have laid down their lives in the interests of the people, and our hearts are filled with pain as we the living think of them." General Secretary Xi Jinping has solemnly warned the whole Party that we must not forget the struggle that led to our political system, the new China, and the happy lives that we live today, and that we must continue carrying forward the cause pioneered by our forebears.
The PRC was founded for the purpose of building a new country. In the new China, the people have built a home for themselves with the kind of selfless spirit and soaring enthusiasm that they could only have as masters of the country, and in this home, they have made too many miraculous achievements to count.
Over 70 years, China's overall national strength has grown in historic leaps. At the birth of the PRC seven decades ago, China was completely destitute and in utter disarray. The country's total economic output was little more than 60 billion yuan, with light industry made up of scant textile production and almost no heavy industry. Today, total economic output has surpassed 90 trillion yuan, with China's economy being the second largest in the world for many years running and accounting for nearly 30% of global economic growth.
Over 70 years, the lives of the Chinese people have improved dramatically. Seven decades ago, the people did not have enough food to eat or clothes to wear, and average life expectancy was just 35 years. Today, rather than simply struggling to survive, the people are working to make their life even better. Average life expectancy has reached 77 years, and the country is nearing a historic juncture at which the problem of extreme poverty, which has plagued the Chinese nation for centuries, will be thoroughly eradicated.
Over 70 years, China has completely transformed its standing on the global stage. As a result of long-standing poverty and weakness, the old China was easily bullied by other countries. At the beginning of the 20th century, less than 20,000 troops belonging to the Eight-Nation Alliance delivered a crushing defeat to the almost 2 million-strong Qing imperial army. Not long after its founding, however, the new China showed the world its strength in the War of Resistance Against the US and Aiding Korea (1950-1953). The days when imperialist powers could conquer countries and peoples in the East with just a few cannons were gone forever. For the last 70 years, China has maintained unswerving commitment to the path of peaceful development, and made important contributions to the advancement of human civilization and shared development.
Though the achievements that have been made in the 70 years since the founding of the PRC are too many to describe in proper detail, they are summed up in the following phrase: the Chinese nation has made the impressive leap from standing up and becoming better off to growing in strength, pioneered the glorious path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and brought Chinese socialism into a new era.
The heroes who fought to build the new China committed their lives so that their country could have a brighter future. Today, we can see that their legacy has been fulfilled from all the comments from young people on the Internet expressing their pride in China. Looking back on China's history and all the suffering that the Chinese people endured since the advent of modern times under the repression of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism, one can easily see that the seven decades since the founding of the PRC have been the greatest in the history of the nation. Now, in the new era, the Chinese people have happier lives and are standing with greater pride than ever before.
The great transformations that have taken place in the new China did not come from nowhere, and they did not come free; rather, they came through the practical and devoted efforts of the people performed with hard work and ingenuity under the leadership of the CPC. Not long ago, some people ridiculed the CPC, saying that it only knew how to fight wars and had no idea how to go about developing the economy. They joked it was only a matter of time before the CPC drove the country's economy into the ground. After China began to develop, they came out with absurd new theories that said China was on the brink of collapse and that China was a threat, and put great effort into blackening all of the achievements made in the new China. You can't get through to them if they refuse to listen. Those who stubbornly stick to their biases and their narrow perspective are completely unwilling to look objectively at how China has transformed, and completely incapable of understanding how meaningful and inspirational it is to the Chinese people that they have finally secured their rightful place as masters of the country.
In order to build the Sichuan-Tibet Highway, military and civilian builders carved through rock using simple tools like hammers and drills. In just over four years, they completed the 2,255 km-long road that meanders through the mountains toward the roof of the world, with thousands of them having laid to rest along the way.
In order to supply China with oil, oil workers made the determined pledge to develop the Daqing Oil Field, even though the task could shave years off of their lives. The "iron man" Wang Jinxi led his fellow crewmembers in achieving the miraculous feat of drilling 100,000 meters in one year under incredibly difficult conditions, though he later died at the age of 47 after his health deteriorated from overwork.
In order to see that the Chinese people can produce all the food they need, Yuan Longping has travelled far and wide, chasing the dream of higher yield and higher quality rice production. His successive achievements, bringing average yield per hectare from 10,000, to 13,000, and to more than 16,000 kg, represent outstanding contributions to ensuring food security in the country and increasing grain supply around the world. During the ceremony at which he was awarded the Medal of the Republic by General Secretary Xi Jinping, Yuan Longping mentioned to Xi that he was making efforts on pushing production up to 18,000 kg per hectare. A video of the ceremony was posted online, with netizens commenting that they were moved to tears as they watched.
In the war years, the CPC led the people in charging forward with the call, "For the new China, and the dominion of the people!" Today, the call has evolved, but remains the same in spirit: "For the new China, the wellbeing of the people, and the rejuvenation of the nation!"
China's past is inscribed in the annals of human history, its present is in the hands of its hundreds of millions of people, and its future will undoubtedly be even brighter. There is no force on this earth strong enough to shake our country's international position or obstruct the advance of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation.
(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 19, 2019)