Editorial: Advancing Toward Modernization
2020 was an extraordinary year.
Last year, amid the immense pressures posed by a highly complex international situation, arduous tasks related to domestic reform, development, and stability, and particularly the repercussions of Covid-19, the CPC Central Committee, with President Xi Jinping at its core, took stock of the situation and adopted a long-term view. With great wisdom and courage as well as excellent judgment, decision-making, and execution, they led the whole Party, whole military, and the people of all ethnic groups in bravely confronting difficulties, proving their mettle to the people and the world in a manner that will go down in history and that depicted China in an immensely positive light. China was the only major economy in the world to achieve positive economic growth in 2020. It also won a decisive victory in its objective to eradicate extreme poverty and completed the historic project of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. All in all, the Chinese nation took a giant step toward becoming a modern socialist country.
2021 is a year of particular importance.
This is the first year of implementing the 14th Five-Year Plan and the start of a new journey to build a modern socialist country. It is also the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. Standing at a fresh historic starting point and marching toward the Second Centenary Goal, the Chinese people are full of confidence and pride.
The pioneering CPC has united and led the people in blazing a trail through dedicated work and amid extreme difficulties, passing historic milestones and performing miracles in China's modernization.
In the past, the CPC led the people in completing the New Democratic Revolution, establishing the People's Republic, and achieving national independence and liberation of the people, which were fundamental prerequisites for China's modernization.
The Party led the people through the socialist revolution and in establishing a basic socialist system, which laid the political and institutional foundations for the progress and development made in contemporary China. It proposed the Four Modernizations and created a blueprint for modernization. And on the foundations of a destitute country, the Party built an independent and robust industrial and national economic structure, which was a vital step in achieving modernization.
The CPC led the people in pioneering the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, formulated the three-step strategy for modernization, carried out reform and opening up, eradicated food and clothing shortages, and achieved moderate prosperity in all respects, continuously making new, impressive achievements in modernization.
Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, the entire Party and the people of different ethnic groups have taken responsibility for socialist modernization
and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and they have accelerated China's trajectory toward modernization, resulting in the Chinese nation's great leaps from standing up, to growing prosperous, to becoming strong.
Eye-catching figures highlight the Party's achievements. Total economic volume is expected to reach 100 trillion yuan; per capita GDP has exceeded US$10,000; economic strength, scientific and technological strength, and comprehensive national strength have reached new levels; and China has built the world's largest social security system, with nearly 1 billion people covered by the basic old-age pension system. All of this has given the public greater financial stability and the needy more comfortable lives, making substantial progress in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
Major reforms have created new momentum. The socialist market economic system has been continuously improved; a system of river and lake superintendents has been established; the separation of
three rights, namely rural land ownership, contracting rights, and management rights, has been implemented; and major reforms and innovations have created useful foundations that will support comprehensive reforms at higher levels. A range of major strategies are also reshaping China's development and lending impetus to its modernization, including the integrated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, building of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, advancement of reform and opening up in Hainan, revitalization of the northeast region, integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta, ecological protection and high-quality development of the Yellow River Basin, and development of the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone.
China continues to achieve remarkable feats. A number of major projects have been completed in recent years, including the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, Beijing Daxing International Airport and the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway, and major scientific and technological achievements have spurred China's modernization, including the Shenzhou spacecraft, the Beidou Navigation Satellite System, Chang'e 5 lunar exploration mission, Jiaolong deep-sea research submersible, Tianyan 500m-aperture spherical telescope (FAST), and Jiuzhang quantum computer.
Successive accomplishments have taken China to new heights. Nearly 100 million rural poor people have been lifted out of extreme poverty. There have been dramatic changes to former poverty-stricken areas, and historic achievements have been made in solving the absolute poverty that plagued China for thousands of years and burdened the people, marking the start of a new era. China is striving for high-quality development to create new prospects despite facing great difficulties, and it is on the cusp of securing a landmark victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
Plans have been brought to fruition in the course of large-scale and globally beneficial socialist modernization, which has helped a more confident China emerge in the East. China's momentous modernization has deviated from the path dependency of Western modernization, presenting an alternative for developing countries to modernize and for countries and peoples wishing to develop more rapidly but maintain their independence. This is an important contribution to the development of human civilization.
Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era is a navigational aid, and President Xi Jinping is firmly at the helm of China's intrepid voyage toward modernization.
Confronted with once-in-a-century changes, President Xi has taken a long-term and big-picture view to map out the fulfillment of the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, using the Two Centenary Goals for national advancement as coordinates and incorporating the Five-pronged Overall Plan, the Four Comprehensives Strategy," and the new development concept to achieve high-quality development.
Faced with an unprecedented battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, President Xi, putting the people and their health first, personally directed and deployed countermeasures, and led the people in composing a magnificent heroic epic, demonstrating his role at the core of the CPC Central Committee and his value to the whole Party.
In response to people's yearning for a better life and based on a belief that no ethnic group and no individual should be left behind, President Xi has waged a decisive battle against poverty and to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, producing a miracle in the history of poverty alleviation around the world; courageously governed according to the maxim that "the interests of a few thousand people cannot supersede those of 1.3 billion"; tightened discipline and improved conduct within the Party; and promoted production and living practices that will protect China's blue skies, clear waters, and clean lands for future generations.
The leadership of China's century-old Party is strong. It is guided by rational concepts, and it has a material foundation built by Party members and the public over time that is stronger than it has ever been. The advantages of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics are striking, China's national ethos is noble and powerful, and the Chinese people are determinedly advancing toward the magnificent dream of building a great modern socialist country.
(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, No. 1, 2021)