Advance the Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation Through a Chinese Path to Modernization
In his report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held in October 2022, General Secretary Xi Jinping stated that, from this day forward, the central task of the CPC is to lead the Chinese people in a concerted effort to realize the Second Centenary Goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects and to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation through a Chinese path to modernization.
I. The significance of Chinese modernization
Based on our decades of experiments and practice since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, especially since the launch of reform and opening up in 1978, as well as the new breakthroughs made in theory and action since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, our Party has succeeded in advancing and expanding Chinese modernization. The Chinese path to modernization, which is based on self-sufficiency, accords with objective principles, and can benefit humanity, has profound theoretical and practical significance.
Our modernization has distinctly Chinese features that are based on our national conditions.
There is no one single or universal template for modernization. The diverse histories of countries require them to formulate diverse paths to development. Thus, the Chinese people must seek solutions to Chinese problems based on our own national conditions. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the CPC has led the Chinese people in proceeding from reality in all endeavors, independently forging a path forward, and striving to solve practical problems that have arisen in the course of socialist modernization. Since 1951, China has formulated and implemented 14 five-year plans, which have been instrumental in promoting socioeconomic development, raising our composite national strength, and improving our people’s standard of living, achieving the rare combination of rapid economic development and long-term social stability. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, in accordance with the overarching strategy of national rejuvenation and against the backdrop of global change on a scale unseen in a century, the CPC Central Committee, with Xi Jinping at its core, has implemented the Five-Sphere Integrated Plan and the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy, making historic achievements and developments in the cause of our Party and country. We have secured victory in the fight against poverty on schedule and built a moderately prosperous society in all respects, thereby completing the First Centenary Goal and leading to the great transformation of the Chinese nation from standing up and growing prosperous to becoming strong. The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is now on an irreversible course. The evidence shows that Chinese modernization is not a reprint of socialism in other countries, nor a duplicate of the modernization of Western countries. Rather, it is a form of modernization that has distinctly Chinese features and conforms with the realities of our country, and it is a path of great promise for advancing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
On the Pearl River estuary in Bao’an District, Shenzhen, a red sun shines over construction work on the Lingdingyang Bridge, which will form part of the Shenzhen-Zhongshan highway link, October 29, 2022. Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, China has consolidated the material foundation for modernization, making major achievements in building airports, ports, and water conservancy, energy, information, and other infrastructure. PEOPLE’S DAILY / PHOTO BY QIU XINSHENG
Our modernization conforms with the laws that underlie the development of socialism and the evolution of human society.
The Chinese path to modernization was forged in the course of adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. In various historical periods, the CPC has correctly identified China’s stage of development and the principal challenges facing our society, adjusted production relations to develop productive forces, and improved the superstructure to develop our economic foundations, thereby resolutely liberating and developing our national productive forces. During the period of socialist revolution and reconstruction from the 1950s to the 1970s, the CPC established the objectives of modernizing agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology. In the new period of reform and opening up and socialist modernization, the CPC has introduced the concept of a Chinese path to modernization and formulated a three-step strategy to achieve it. The 19th CPC National Congress held in 2017 proposed a two-step strategic plan for building China into a modern socialist country, and the 20th CPC National Congress in 2022 reiterated it: to basically realize socialist modernization from 2020 through 2035 and build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful from 2035 through the middle of this century. Throughout this process, the CPC has honed its understanding of how to build a modern socialist country, developed its strategy and gained the requisite experience for achieving this objective. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, in particular, the CPC Central Committee led by Xi Jinping, has acquired an in-depth understanding of the new requirements posed by the change in the principal challenge facing our society in the new era and strived to address unbalanced and inadequate development in China. It has solved many problems that had long gone unsolved and secured many accomplishments that hold major future significance. As a result, China’s economic, scientific and technological, and composite national strength as well as its international influence have all reached higher levels. We have demonstrated that the Chinese path to modernization is not only viable, but also a stable and successful approach. It is not only based on a correct understanding of objective economic laws, but also conforms to the development trajectory of socialism, and it has provided a fundamental approach to building China into a great modern socialist country.
The multi-colored salt lake in Yanhu Scenic Area, Yuncheng City, Shanxi Province, October 29, 2022. In the last decade, China has promoted sustainable development and pursued a sound model of development featuring improved production, higher living standards, and healthy ecosystems. PEOPLE’S DAILY / PHOTO BY XUE JUN
Our modernization offers a new approach to realizing modernization.
Many countries are currently striving to achieve modernization, but not many have been successful. The Chinese path to modernization does not rely on external help, imitate foreign models, or tread in the footsteps of other countries. It has taken us just decades for our industrialization to reach the stage that it took developed countries hundreds of years to reach. During this process, we have solved many development issues for human society, developing ourselves, benefiting the world, and providing Chinese solutions to building better social systems. In the last decade, our GDP has increased from 53.9 trillion yuan to 114.4 trillion yuan, the size of our economy as a proportion of the world economy has risen from 11.3% to 18.5%, and our average contribution to global economic growth has reached 38.6%, more than that of the G7 countries combined. In that same period, we have cemented our status as having the world’s second largest economy, second largest consumer market, largest manufacturing industry, and largest goods trade, providing countries around the world with development opportunities. China has achieved the greatest victory against poverty in human history, which has contributed significantly to reducing poverty worldwide. Since 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative has become popular with people abroad and a successful platform for international cooperation, allowing us to share the fruits of our development with people in the countries along the route. The CPC has successfully led the people of China in pioneering a Chinese path to modernization, creating a new model of human progress, and expanding the channels for developing countries to achieve modernization. It has brought Chinese insight, solutions, and strength to bear in solving issues of common concern to humanity, thereby presenting an alternative choice for countries and peoples who wish to develop more rapidly but maintain their independence.
II. The defining features and essential requirements of Chinese modernization
In his report to the 20th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi expounded the defining features and essential requirements of the Chinese path to modernization. He stated that Chinese modernization is socialist modernization pursued under the leadership of the CPC, and it contains elements that are common to the modernization processes of all countries, but it is more characterized by features that are unique to the Chinese context. He also pointed out that efforts to build China into a modern socialist country and to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation through a Chinese path to modernization must be based on a firm understanding of the defining features and essential requirements of Chinese modernization.
Ours is the modernization of a huge population.
In the last 10 years since the 18th CPC National Congress, China’s GDP per capita has swelled from US$6,301 to US$12,556, overtaking the global average. Chinese modernization is a major event of far-reaching significance for human history that is redrawing the world map of modernization. China has a huge population, so the resource constraints confronting our socioeconomic development are considerable, and we must face up to this national condition in order to advance our modernization. On the new journey ahead, we must bear China’s realities in mind as we address issues, make decisions, and take action as well as stay patient in advancing the course of history and take steady and incremental steps to sustain progress. We must step up the implementation of policies and relentlessly ensure that all tasks are completed to the letter and to a high standard.
Ours is the modernization of common prosperity.
Common prosperity is a basic tenet of Marxism, and it encapsulates the CPC’s fundamental objective of serving the people wholeheartedly. Since 2012 when the CPC held its 18th National Congress, the CPC Central Committee has prioritized the gradual realization of common prosperity for all and taken effective action to ensure and improve the people’s wellbeing. All of China’s 98.99 million rural poor have been extricated from absolute poverty, and among them, more than 9.6 million poverty-stricken people have been relocated from inhospitable areas, thereby resolving, once and for all, the problem of absolute poverty in China. In the new era, an average of 13 million urban jobs have been created each year and per capita disposable annual income has risen from 16,500 yuan to 35,100 yuan, creating a solid foundation for advancing common prosperity. On the new journey, we must continue to make meeting the people’s aspirations for a better life the immutable goal of our modernization drive, proactively bridge the gaps between regions, between urban and rural areas, and between rich and poor people, and ensure and improve the people’s wellbeing in the course of pursuing development. We must also strengthen areas of weakness and take care of matters related to public wellbeing, so that the gains of modernization benefit all our people fairly.
Ours is the modernization of material and cultural-ethical advancement.
Material want is not socialism, nor is cultural impoverishment. To advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization requires tremendous material and cultural-ethical advancement. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee has reinforced and upheld a foundational system for ensuring the guiding role of Marxism in the ideological domain, ensured that cultural programs flourish, and made overarching and fundamental changes to China’s political landscape. As a result, there is a notably stronger sense of cultural confidence and a higher level of morale among the people. On the new journey, we must continue to consolidate the material foundation for modernization, stay focused on maintaining stable and healthy economic development, and improve the material conditions for the people’s wellbeing. We must also strive to boost advanced socialist culture, develop cultural programs and the cultural sector, and promote comprehensive material abundance as well as people’s well-rounded development.
City residents and tourists shop and enjoy themselves at Haikou International Duty-Free City—the world’s largest dutyfree shopping complex—on the official opening day, October 28, 2022. Committed to its fundamental national policy of opening up, China will create new opportunities for the world with its own development. PEOPLE’S DAILY / PHOTO BY ZHANG JUNQI
Ours is the modernization of harmony between humanity and nature.
Humanity is a part of nature and in a symbiotic relationship with it. Only by observing the laws of nature can humanity avoid costly blunders in its exploitation. To advance green development, we must coordinate and integrate socioeconomic development with environmental protection and ensure harmony between people and nature. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee has acted on the idea that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets and ensured stronger ecological conservation and environmental protection across the board, in all regions, and at all times, leading to historic, transformative, and comprehensive changes in ecological and environmental protection. On the new journey, we must stay committed to the principles of prioritizing resource conservation and environmental protection and letting nature restore itself. We need to carry out coordinated industrial restructuring, pollution control, ecological conservation, and climate response. We should promote concerted efforts to cut carbon emissions, reduce pollution, expand green development, and pursue economic growth. We must also prioritize ecological protection, conserve resources and use them efficiently, and pursue green and low-carbon development.
Ours is the modernization of peaceful development.
Since the conclusion of the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee has pursued distinctly Chinese major-country diplomacy, promoted a global community of shared future, firmly protected fairness and justice on the world stage, and advocated and practiced genuine multilateralism. All this has won us widespread international recognition, and our international influence, appeal, and strength to act have risen markedly. Today, our world is changing like never before. The historical trends of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit are unstoppable. On the new journey, we must strive to safeguard world peace and development as we pursue our own development, make greater contributions to world peace and development through our own development, and promote higher-standard opening up. We must also resolutely encourage improvements to global economic governance and strive to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, and balanced so that its benefits are shared by all.
The essential requirements of Chinese modernization are to uphold the leadership of the CPC and socialism with Chinese characteristics; pursue high-quality development; develop whole-process people’s democracy; enrich the people’s cultural lives; achieve common prosperity for all; promote harmony between humanity and nature; build a global community of shared future; and create a new model of human progress. Of these essential requirements, upholding the leadership of the CPC is the most fundamental requirement. China’s success hinges on the CPC. The leadership of the CPC is the defining feature of Chinese socialism and constitutes the greatest strength of this system, and it is the path we must take in upholding and developing Chinese socialism. Upholding our Party’s leadership over all endeavors is the foundation and lifeblood of the Party and the country, and the crux upon which the interests and happiness of all Chinese people depend. Our experience has proven the necessity of upholding and strengthening the Party’s leadership and ensuring that the Party fully exerts its core role in providing overall leadership and coordinating the efforts of all sides. This is essential to ensure that our socialist modernization advances along the correct path, that we form a mighty force to overcome all difficulties with one heart and one mind, and that we constantly make new achievements in promoting national rejuvenation through a Chinese path to modernization.
III. Writing a new chapter in Chinese modernization with high-quality development
Chinese modernization is a great and arduous endeavor. In economic work, we must closely focus on the primary task involved in building a modern socialist country, which is high-quality development. We must apply the people-centered development philosophy, fully and faithfully implement the new development philosophy, and accelerate the creation of a new development dynamic. We need to deepen reform and opening up, pursue both development and security, and take proactive actions to achieve higher-quality socioeconomic development that is more efficient, equitable, sustainable, and secure.
We will improve the system of macroeconomic governance.
We will improve and make innovations in macro regulation. We must formulate sound annual plans for economic and social development, and continue to implement the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) and the strategic plan to expand domestic demand. We must strengthen coordination between objectives and policies and seamlessly coordinate cross-cycle design and countercyclical regulatory capacity. We need to better leverage the fundamental role of consumption in stimulating economic growth. We will unlock consumption potential by expanding consumption of commodities such as housing and vehicles, expand new types of consumption, and develop the consumption of services. We will cultivate multiple tiers of consumer centers, promote spending during holidays and festivals, and continue to expand and upgrade consumption. We will better utilize the key role of investment in improving the supply structure. We will ensure that projects follow plans and funding and factors of production serve the progress of projects and that the 102 major projects outlined in the 14th Five-Year Plan are implemented effectively. We shall deepen reform of the systems and mechanisms of finance and investment, continue to optimize the investment structure of the central government budget, properly utilize local government special bonds, and encourage and guide private investment toward projects aimed at addressing areas of weakness.
We will build a high-standard socialist market economy.
We need to uphold and improve China’s basic socialist economic systems. We will unswervingly consolidate and develop the public sector and encourage, support, and guide the development of the non-public sector. We will work to see that the market plays the decisive role in resource allocation and that the government better plays its role. We shall firmly deepen market-oriented reforms, advance reforms in key areas, and further improve the socialist market economy. We will deepen institutional reforms in key fields. We will construct a national unified market, advance reforms for the market-based allocation of production factors, and put in place a high-standard market system. We shall refine the systems underpinning the market economy, such as those for property rights protection, market access, fair competition, and social credit. We shall support the exploration and innovation of major reform pilot areas and reform pilot demonstration areas. We will deepen the reform of the system and mechanisms for supervision of grain purchases and sales. We will promote the market-oriented reform of competitive links in industries including energy, railways, telecommunications, and public utilities, and we will energize all market entities. We will deepen reform of state-owned capital and state-owned enterprises (SOEs), accelerate efforts to improve the layout of the state-owned sector and adjust its structure, and steadily deepen mixed-ownership reform of SOEs. We will provide an enabling environment for private enterprises and protect their property rights and the rights and interests of entrepreneurs in accordance with the law. We will deepen reforms of key aspects of our business environment, and make it more market-oriented, law-based, and international so that SOEs have the confidence to act, private enterprises have the confidence to move ahead, and foreign enterprises have the confidence to invest.
We will implement the innovation-driven development strategy.
We will boost China’s strength in strategic science and technology. We must quickly build high-standard innovation platforms and regional innovation hubs and adopt an appropriate degree of forward planning for major national science and technology infrastructure. We will reinforce the principal role of enterprises in innovation, promote closer enterprise-led collaboration between industries, universities, and research institutes, and encourage the industrial applications of scientific and technological advances at a higher level. We will strive to develop new drivers of economic growth and press ahead with projects to develop strategic emerging industry clusters. We will cultivate new growth engines, such as next-generation information technology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, new energy, new materials, high-end equipment, and green industry. We will accelerate the development of the digital economy, including improving the policies, establishing a national pilot zone to boost the innovation-driven development of the digital economy, and implementing digital transformation pilots, in order to create internationally competitive digital industry clusters. We will accelerate the construction and applications of new infrastructure and promote efforts to upgrade traditional infrastructure with digital and smart technologies. We need to accelerate industrial transformation and upgrading. We will advance new industrialization and move the manufacturing sector toward higher-end, smarter, and greener production. We will promote energy-saving and carbon-reducing technologies as well as green development in key industries, promote further integration of modern services with advanced manufacturing and modern agriculture, and urge the high-quality development of producer services.
We will promote integrated development of urban and rural areas.
We need to advance rural revitalization across the board. We will consolidate and expand our achievements in poverty alleviation, offer follow-up support to poor households relocated from inhospitable areas, and help areas and people that have just shaken off poverty build their own momentum for growth. We will foster rural industries with local features, expand new rural collective economies, cultivate new types of agribusiness and commercial agricultural services, and integrate primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors in rural areas. We will develop infrastructure and public services in rural areas in a well-planned and coordinated way, improve the rural living environment, and build a beautiful and harmonious countryside that is desirable to live and work in. We will pursue integrated development of urban and rural areas and facilitate flows of production factors between them. We shall advance people-centered new urbanization, promote implementation of national plans on new-type urbanization, and grant permanent urban residency more quickly to eligible people who move from rural to urban areas. We will leverage the role of city clusters and metropolitan areas to promote coordinated development of large, medium, and small cities, move ahead with urbanization that is centered on county seats, and increase the overall capacity of county seats. We will move faster to change the development models of super-large and mega cities and improve urban infrastructure to make cities more livable, resilient, and smart.
We will promote coordinated regional development.
We will implement the coordinated regional development strategy. We will make further progress in the large-scale development of the western region, achieve new breakthroughs in the full revitalization of the northeast region, accelerate the rise of the central region, and encourage the eastern region to modernize more quickly. We need to support the development of special regions and promote high-quality development of areas with large ethnic minority populations. We will develop a high-standard marine economy. We will continue to implement major regional strategies. We shall accelerate the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, steadily decentralize functions away from Beijing that are not essential to its role as the capital, apply high standards in the construction of the Xiong’an New Area, and develop Beijing’s municipal administrative center in its Tongzhou District. We will promote the high-quality development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, carry out projects for treating urban sewage and garbage as well as addressing pollution from industries, non-point agricultural sources, shipping, and tailings ponds along the river, and build a comprehensive transportation system along the Yangtze River. We will advance the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, quickly build the area into an international center of scientific and technological innovation, and steadily promote the area’s market integration. We will promote the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta, deepen integrated development of scientific innovation and industry, and promote more integrated development in key areas, such as infrastructure, the environment, and public services. We will support ecological conservation and high-quality development in the Yellow River basin, organize the preservation and restoration of grasslands and wetlands, and advance the comprehensive management of primary waterways and floodplains along the Yellow River.
We will promote high-standard opening up.
We will promote the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative, deepen cooperation with key countries and on major projects, and improve risk prevention and control systems related to the Belt and Road Initiative. We will promote infrastructure connectivity, deepen international cooperation on production capacity, and expand third-market cooperation. We will capitalize upon the good development momentum of the China-Europe freight trains and promote the development of new land-sea transit routes for the western region. We shall accelerate China’s transformation into a great trading nation. We will upgrade trade in goods, develop new mechanisms for trade in services, and promote digital trade. We will work faster to develop the Hainan Free Trade Port and upgrade pilot free trade zones. We will expand the development of cross-border e-commerce, market purchase trade, and other new business models and accelerate the construction of overseas warehouses. We shall support the capacity-upgrading of national-level new areas, inland pilot zones for fostering an open economy, and key experimental zones for development and opening up in border areas. We will raise the level of utilized foreign investment and the gains from our overseas investment. We will make appropriate reductions to the negative list for foreign investment and periodically revise the catalog of industries in which foreign investment is encouraged. We will implement our policy on national treatment for foreign-invested enterprises, protect the rights and interests of foreign investors in accordance with the law, and promote the speedy implementation of major foreign investment projects. We shall continue to conduct thorough reviews of these projects. We will improve the overseas investment services, regulation, and risk prevention and control systems.
City residents exercise and have fun at the multi-functional sports complex in Susu Industrial Park, Suqian City, Jiangsu Province, October 15, 2022. The immutable goal of Chinese modernization is to meet the people’s aspirations for a better life. PEOPLE’S DAILY / PHOTO BY CHEN HONG
We will improve the people’s wellbeing.
We will achieve solid progress in promoting common prosperity. We shall uphold the income distribution system centered on labor while allowing other forms of distribution to coexist and build an institutional framework under which primary, secondary, and third distribution are well coordinated and mutually complementary. We will ensure more pay for more work and encourage people to achieve prosperity through hard work. We will promote equality of opportunity, increase the incomes of low-income earners, and expand the size of the middle-income group. We will continue to give high priority to the development of education. We will accelerate high-quality, balanced development and urban-rural integration in compulsory education, better allocate educational resources across regions, and deploy national-level innovative platforms for integrating industry and education. We will better guide and regulate the development of private schools. We shall implement the employment-first strategy. We will make macro-control more focused on employment and expand market-based employment channels. We will integrate the urban and rural employment policy systems and do more to help those in difficulty find employment and meet their basic needs. We shall promote quality and effective vocational skills training. We will improve the basic public services system so that public services are inclusive, meet essential needs, and ensure basic living standards for people in difficulty. We will further improve the multi-tiered social security system that covers the entire population in urban and rural areas and ensure that it is fair, unified, reliable, well-regulated, and sustainable. We shall provide high-quality and efficient medical and health services, expand the availability of quality medical resources, and ensure that they are better distributed among regions. We shall establish a policy system to boost birth rate and promote balanced, long-term population development. We will implement a proactive national strategy in response to population aging.
We will pursue green development.
We will accelerate the transition to a model of environmentally friendly development. We must work faster to adjust and improve the industrial structure, the energy mix, and the composition of the transportation sector. We will improve the system of green technology innovations and promote green and low-carbon production methods and lifestyles. We will implement a comprehensive conservation strategy and intensify pollution prevention and control. We shall coordinate management of water resources and water environments and step up the prevention and control of plastic pollution at every link in the chain. We shall upgrade environmental infrastructure, modernize the environmental governance system, and enhance the diversity, stability, and sustainability of our ecosystems. We shall persist with our holistic and systematic approach to conserving and improving mountain, water, forest, farmland, grassland, and desert ecosystems, with relevant major projects carried out more quickly. We will step up development of national ecological conservation pilot zones. We will work actively yet prudently toward the goals of reaching peak carbon emissions and carbon neutrality and continuously improve the“1+N” policy framework for achieving China’s dual carbon goals. We will improve regulation of the total volume and intensity of energy consumption and transition gradually toward controlling the volume and intensity of carbon emissions. We will promote cleaner and more efficient use of coal, speed up the planning and development of a system for new energy sources, and build large wind and solar power bases in deserts.
We will pursue development while safeguarding security.
We shall reinforce the foundations for food security on all fronts. We will ensure that China’s total area of farmland does not fall below the redline of 120 million hectares, implement the project to protect chernozem soil, and maintain a firm focus on grain production. We will adopt an all-encompassing approach to food and improve systems for guaranteeing the supply of important agricultural products as well as systems for the production, purchasing, storage, processing, and sale of grain. We will invigorate the seed industry and support the development of agricultural science, technology, and equipment. We will actively pursue international cooperation related to important agricultural products and work to conserve food and reduce food waste. We will implement our energy and resource security strategy. We will fully leverage the key role of coal and the basic regulating role of coal-based power generation as well as strengthen oil and gas exploration and exploitation to consolidate domestic production. We need to develop energy security monitoring and early warning capabilities, bolster power supply guarantees for key cities and users, and reinforce protective measures for major energy facilities and networks. We shall make China’s industrial and supply chains more resilient and secure. We shall consolidate our leading position in industries where we excel, work faster to shore up weaknesses in sectors vital to China’s development security, implement the project to integrate industrial and supply chains, and strengthen our control over them. We will adopt mechanisms to select the best candidates to undertake key research projects as well as to create an environment for healthy competition, in order to make breakthroughs in core technologies in key fields. We will build a modern infrastructure system and ensure the security of our key infrastructure. We shall coordinate the development of our economy with building our national defense. We will also promote positive interplay between high-quality development and high-level security to provide a firm guarantee for building a modern socialist China in all respects.
(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 23, 2022)