From October 16 to 22, the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was successfully held in Beijing. The Congress elected the Central Committee’s new leadership, and elected Comrade Xi Jinping to continue to serve as the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee; three resolutions were passed, namely: the resolution on the report of the 19th CPC Central Committee, the work report of the Party’s 19th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, and an amendment to the Party Constitution.
General Secretary Xi Jinping delivered an important report at the opening session of the 20th National Congress of the CPC, summarizing the major achievements of the Chinese people led by the CPC in the past five years and the historical achievements and reforms of the Party and the State in the past 10 years. The past ten years marked three major historical achievements: We embraced the centenary of the CPC; we ushered in a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics; and we eradicated absolute poverty and finished building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, thus completing the First Centenary Goal.
From this day forward, the central task of the CPC will be to lead the Chinese people of all ethnic groups 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 on all fronts through Chinese modernization. The report of the 20th National Congress of the CPC outlines a two-stage general strategic arrangement: to realize socialist modernization in the first stage from 2020 to 2035 and then develop China into a “great modern socialist country” that is “prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful” after another 15 years.
Since the opening of the 20th National Congress of the CPC, “Chinese modernization” has become a buzzword in the global community and has also aroused widespread discussions among Filipino friends. What does “Chinese modernization” mean for China’s future development? What new opportunities will it bring to the Philippines and China-Philippines relations? I would like to share my understanding of “Chinese modernization.”
Chinese modernization, simply put, is the socialist modernization led by the CPC, which not only has the common characteristics of modernization of all countries but also has Chinese characteristics based on its national conditions. Chinese modernization is the modernization of a huge population, of common prosperity for all, of material and cultural-ethical advancement, of harmony between humanity and nature, and of peaceful development.
Based on these five features, the report of the 20th National Congress of the CPC has clarified that the essential requirements of Chinese modernization are as follows: upholding the leadership of the CPC and socialism with Chinese characteristics, pursuing high-quality development, developing whole-process people’s democracy, enriching the people’s cultural lives, achieving common prosperity for all, promoting harmony between humanity and nature, building a human community with a shared future, and creating a new form of human advancement. To understand it better, we need to focus on the following:
One is self-determination. Adhering to the leadership of the CPC is the essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the primary requirement for Chinese modernization. Over the past century, the CPC has always practiced its original mission of seeking welfare for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. Countless people with lofty ideals have made continuous struggles and explorations. On the premise that there is no precedent to follow and no ready-made path to take, they finally found a unique development path in line with China’s national conditions from scratch. Throughout the history of human modernization, Western countries have long held a dominant position. However, there is neither a one-size-fits-all modernization model nor a standard, but rather more than one road to modernization. Chinese modernization differentiates from the capital-centered, expanded materialism, and pollution-first-governance-second Western modernization model. Chinese modernization takes root in China, is in line with China’s reality, and has distinctive Chinese characteristics. It expands the route for developing countries to modernize and has reference significance for other developing countries.
The second is openness. In the practice and exploration of China’s modernization, reform and opening up is the key move determining China’s destiny. It is the inexhaustible driving force for the construction of modernization. Over the past 40 years, China’s rapid economic growth and comprehensive social progress have depended on reform and opening up, and so will the high-quality economic development and comprehensive modernization in the future. Nowadays, China has become the world’s largest trader of goods, the second largest trader of services, and a major trading partner of more than 140 countries and regions. In the past decade, China’s average annual contribution to world economic growth has exceeded 30%, the largest engine driving world economic growth. China’s door to opening up will not be closed but will only open wider and wider. We will adhere to the fundamental national policy of opening up to the outside world, insist on promoting reform, development, and innovation through opening up, and continue promoting a higher level of opening up.
The third is people-centeredness. Serving the people is the principle of the CPC. The background of what China now faces comprises the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. Chinese modernization will adhere to the people-centered development philosophy and continuously realize development for the people and by the people so that the fruits of modernization will reach all people more equitably. We have eradicated absolute poverty and are promoting rural revitalization in a comprehensive and in-depth manner, making continuous progress toward the goal of common prosperity. China strives to achieve high-quality development and accelerate the construction of a new development pattern with the domestic cycle as the mainstay and the domestic and international dual cycles mutually reinforcing. In this process, we pay more attention to the coordination of material and cultural-ethical advancement, the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature, green and low-carbon development, and the quality of people’s lives.
The fourth is peacefulness. The CPC leads the Chinese people to firmly explore a new path to achieve national development and rejuvenation through peaceful means. This is a road of modernization that not only develops itself but also benefits the world. It has made significant contributions to human modernization and provided new options. As a responsible major country, China actively and comprehensively participates in and supports economic globalization. It combines the genes of peace in its own culture with the development needs of modern international relations and has proposed the “Belt and Road” Initiative, the Global Development Initiative (GDI), and the Global Security Initiative (GSI), among other significant initiatives. We sincerely call on all countries to promote the common values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom for all humankind, foster mutual understanding among people of all countries, jointly tackle various global challenges, and pursue the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind.
As the Chinese proverb goes, “Even though one has reached great heights of success, one should still strive to improve oneself.” In the face of changes in the world and history, China’s determination to take the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics will not change, its determination to learn from others and achieve win-win cooperation with other countries will not change, and its determination to walk hand in hand with the world will not change. The CPC has provided a clear sense of direction and certainty not only for China but also for the world. The vital process of Chinese modernization will also have a profound impact on the world and benefit humankind. In exploring the path of modernization, China and the Philippines will go hand in hand and benefit from each other. For a long time, developing countries, including China and the Philippines, have made unremitting efforts to explore a development path that suits their national conditions, realizes economic and social modernization, and achieves remarkable results. China and the Philippines have similar development concepts, compatible development interests, complementary development advantages, and broad prospects for cooperation. China’s journey towards Chinese modernization will have far-reaching implications for the Philippines. Both sides need to focus on the future and grasp new opportunities for cooperation.
■ China’s development path will provide a new reference and choice for the vast number of developing countries. In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Marcos specifically put forward the goals and measures to realize the modernization of the Philippines. We believe that China and the Philippines can learn from each other, and draw wisdom and courage from each other. We must firmly grasp the destiny of development and progress in our own hands and take the path of modernization that suits our own national conditions.
■ China’s opening to the outside world will open up new major opportunities for neighboring countries and regions. China is the Philippines’ largest trading partner and a major source of foreign capital. In the future, we will focus on the new development pattern of dual circulation, continue to open up the country, boost trade, and encourage more Chinese companies to make the Philippines their first investment destination. Philippine companies are also welcome to fully tap the potential of China as a global supermarket.
■ China’s inclusive development will further promote China-Philippines cooperation and improve the quality of life of the two peoples. Since the new Philippine government took office, promoting the economy and improving people’s livelihood has become the primary direction of governance, which also coincides with the development concept of Chinese modernization. We should earnestly implement the spirit of the consensus reached by the two heads of state and further promote cooperation in the four key areas of agriculture, infrastructure, energy, and humanities so that the dividends of development can continuously enhance the sense of gain, happiness, and security of the two peoples.
■ China’s peaceful development will promote China and the Philippines’ efforts to jointly maintain peace and stability in the region. China and the Philippines are good neighbors, good relatives, and good partners, with a long history of traditional friendship. What China has brought to the Philippines is not colonization and war, but cooperation and friendship. At the same time, as neighbors, it is normal for China and the Philippines to have differences. The key is to place differences in the proper position of China-Philippines relations, and not let them affect or even sabotage the overall situation of the relations between the two countries.
At present, the Philippines has entered a new stage of development and is also facing new strategic choices. Experience tells us that development is of overriding importance and the key to solving all problems. China and the Philippines are both developing countries and must rely on modernization to accomplish many arduous tasks, such as economic development and social progress. Asia is the place where we live and thrive. With the joint efforts of countries in the region, today’s Asia has become a highland of development and a hot spot for cooperation. As many insightful people have realized, we are currently living in the “Asian Century,” and the focus of global economic development is shifting to Asia. This also proves once again that our future is deeply rooted in our own national construction and development, in the surrounding environment of good neighborliness and friendship, and in the Asian family of peace, stability, and common prosperity. The prospect of symbiosis and a win-win between China and the Philippines is broad. I believe that the express train of Chinese modernization will surely bring more dividends and opportunities for further deepening mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries and provide new powerful momentum for the overall development of China and the Philippines. We have reason to believe that Chinese modernization will create new opportunities for the new “Golden Era” of China-Philippines relations. Let us work together to create a brighter future for China-Philippines relations!