Voltaire and Leibnitz believed that China had perfected ‘moral science’, and that Chinese statecraft was a model for the West to emulate if it wanted to develop into an enlightened civilization. Unfortunately at the time, the ruling elites of Japan and the West saw Chinese civilisation differently; from their imperialist, profit driven perspective. Hence over the past 200 years China and its people having made huge sacrifices to overcome great adversity is once again becoming a valuable exemplar of statecraft. My storying of contemporary China is that of a place and people morphing into what I refer to as a ‘Middle Kin-dom on Earth’; a re-emerging more down to earth ‘motherland’, a stronger, more unified, smarter, safer and thereby happier people than they ever were during a ‘Middle Kingdom under heaven’; albeit much admired by great European philosophers, a relatively advanced and less aggressive 18th century Chinese civilisation was always vulnerable to being invaded and plundered by foreign imperialist rulers. The Chinese system of meritocratic government was and still is deeply troubling to a ruling elite built on stratified class privilege. A civilization without hereditary aristocrats was unfathomable and terrifying to the 18th century Western ruling class.
An important tradition underlying the governance of modern China is that of ‘seeking truth from facts’. The fact that the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has overcome centuries of adversity to now be consistently improving the livelihood of about 20% of the world population reveals a pertinent truth about ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’; namely that it works. Knowing how to make socialism work for a population of 1.4 billion> people over decades is no mean feat, knowing if it could work just as well indefinitely for 7 billion> people is well worth considering. Why? Because –
‘The world has once again reached a crossroads, and humanity faces a choice between two paths. One advances into brightness; the other retreats into darkness. The profound changes we face, on a scale unseen in a century, and the raging Covid-19 pandemic are interlinked. Cold War thinking and the zero-sum game mindset are resurgent. Unilateralism, hegemony and power politics are on the rise. Economic globalization is battling against headwinds. The global arms race is escalating. Conventional and non-conventional security issues, such as climate change, terrorism, cyber-attacks, biosecurity challenges, and major infectious diseases, together pose a severe threat to global and regional security.
The beautiful planet on which all humans live is experiencing a tremendous crisis, one caused by humanity itself. Confronted by this level of change, and other difficulties and problems hindering development and governance, there is an urgent need for human society to seek out a new philosophy and make the international system and order fairer and more reasonable. The CPC has proposed building a global community of shared future, with the goal of creating an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity’.
(The CPC – ‘Mission and Contributions’ 2021)
The – ‘global community’ – should take serious note of the CPC’s proposal, especially where it refers to – ‘an urgent need for human society to seek out a new philosophy and make the international system and order fairer and more reasonable’. – The existing dominant philosophy and world order is designed first and foremost to maintain the privately owned wealth, power and influence of a minority ruling elite, which it does by exploiting the vast majority of – ‘human society’ – using an inherently unfair and unreasonable – ‘international system’ – driven by capitalism.
A minority ruling elite dominates human society and will stop at nothing to defend their privately owned wealth, power and influence over world affairs and the rest of human society. Imperialism, conquest, colonisation and the exploitation of nature and human labour is how todays ruling elite came into being and it is how this ruling elite will do its utmost to maintain its domination over human society.
The above CPC proposal is a profound summary of what is now at stake and what is required if human society as a whole is ever going to achieve – ‘a global community of shared future, with the goal of creating an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity’. – The CPC and the PRC is in the early stages of its own brand of socialism, a brand that could in theory at least help other nation states aspiring to participate in – ‘a global community of shared future’. The CPC/PRC has deliberately chosen to enter into trading partnerships with other nation states, particularly the so called developing nation states. In this regard relatively user friendly trading partnerships such as those within the CPC/PRC’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) makes a lot more sense than the military alliances being entered into by the US and its allies such as NATO, the Quad, the Five Eyes and the more recently formed AUKUS treaty.
When considering imperialism as an almost inevitable advanced stage of capitalism in decline, the forming of military alliances among the so called advanced, wealthier nation states is understandable and predictable. Nevertheless, military alliances by definition are not a pathway toward – ‘lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity’. – On the other hand, user friendly, so called win win trading partnerships such as those signing up to China’s BRI at least has the potential for nation states to work toward the outcomes expressed in the above CPC proposal.
The facts revealing the truth that Socialism with Chinese characteristics is working for the PRC, are a timely exemplar for all nation states that socialism with national characteristics can enable socio-economic forms of governance and productivity that place the social and cultural needs of people first and foremost, that demonstrates respect for ethnic and cultural diversity while striving to develop a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
Lenin put it this way –
‘All nations will arrive at socialism—this is inevitable, but all will do so in not exactly the same way, each will contribute something of its own to some form of democracy, to some variety of the dictatorship of the proletariat, to the varying rate of socialist transformations in the different aspects of social life. There is nothing more primitive from the viewpoint of theory, or more ridiculous from that of practice, than to paint, ‘in the name of historical materialism’, this aspect of the future in a monotonous grey.’
The contemporary Peoples Republic of China (PRC) is certainly not ‘a monotonous grey’, on the contrary it is a newly emerging dynamic ‘Middle Kin-dom’ a place and people with a brand of socialism that has its own unique Chinese characteristics, a modern exemplar of statecraft at its best.