A key feature: Chinese modernization is the modernization of common prosperity for all

2023-10-16 15:13:56 | Author:Qu Qingshan

General Secretary Xi Jinping underscores this matter, for the modernization of common prosperity for all represents the “key feature” of Chinese modernization. Accurately understanding and firmly grasping this “key feature” is crucially important for effectively driving forward Chinese modernization in a practical manner.

Common prosperity for all is an intrinsic demand of socialism. Marx formulated historical materialism and the theory of surplus value, converting socialism from a utopian vision to a scientific approach. Scientific socialism has delineated the fundamental principles for building socialism and achieving communism. The quintessence of socialism lies in unleashing and developing productivity, abolishing exploitation, eradicating polarization, and ultimately realizing common prosperity.

The principle of common prosperity for all citizens mirrors the founding aspiration and mission of the CPC. The CPC, founded amid domestic and external crises, has consistently pursued the happiness of the Chinese people and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation as its fundamental mission from the outset. In the 1950s, Mao Zedong outlined development objectives, underscoring that China should witness substantial growth, wealth, and power, emphasizing that “this wealth should be collective, and this power should be shared, encompassing everyone.” At the dawn of reform and opening up, Deng Xiaoping emphasized in his policy to enrich the people that common prosperity is the “principle,” “essence,” and “goal” of socialism. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has astutely noted: “Common prosperity is intrinsically a significant objective of socialist modernization,” and “Promoting the common prosperity of all citizens is both a long-term and an immediate task, which neither can be sought after hastily nor delayed. It must be given elevated importance, approached with practicality, pursued persistently, and addressed with more dynamic and proactive efforts toward this aim.” He insisted we must both augment the “cake” and distribute it effectively. At the 19th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping solemnly declared: A solid step will have been taken toward common prosperity by 2035, and by the middle of the 21st century, common prosperity for all will have largely been achieved.

Common prosperity for all reflects the collective aspiration and fervent desire of people from all ethnic groups throughout the nation. The Chinese people have, since ancient times, harbored the aspiration for “moderate prosperity” and the dream of “universal harmony.” Confucius stated: “He is not concerned lest his people should be poor, but only lest what they have should be ill-apportioned. He is not concerned lest they should be few, but only lest they should be divided against one another.” Mencius declared: “Do reverence to the elders in your own family and extend it to those in other families; show loving care to the young in your own family and extend it to those in other families.” Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China, the introduction of the reform and opening up policy, and especially the entry into the New Era, the Party, in establishing various policies and guidelines, has accommodated both efficiency and equity. Positive progress and new results in common prosperity have been achieved, including the creation of the world’s largest systems of education, social security, and healthcare. The general level of education has experienced historical leaps, the quality of people’s lives has improved comprehensively, and citizens have increased the sense of gain, fulfillment and security.

Common prosperity for all is a fundamental differentiator between Chinese and Western modernization. Where Chinese modernization centers on people, Western approaches are capital-centered. The goal of Chinese modernization is to realize prosperity for all its citizens, whereas Western modernization tends to result in socio-economic polarization. Over several centuries, Western modernization has relegated poverty to numerous developing countries and, even domestically, its wealth distribution is significantly inequitable, further impoverishing the poor and enriching the wealthy. Pertinent data reveals that the assets of the wealthiest 1% of Americans surpass those of the bottom 90%. At the end of 2021, the assets of America’s wealthiest 1% constituted 32.2% of the nation’s wealth, a historic peak, compared to 23.5% in 1989. Concurrently, the wealth percentage owned by the bottom 90% of Americans has progressively decreased, dropping from 39.1% in 1989 to 30.2% at the close of 2021. In recent years, homelessness in the United States has notably surged. Data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development indicates that in 2022, an average of 582,500 people experienced homelessness daily in the U.S., with 40% residing in unprotected streets, abandoned buildings, or other severe conditions.

The key feature of modernization, which involves common prosperity for all, requires that during the progression of Chinese modernization, adherence to the people-centered development philosophy is paramount. The ambition to realize the people’s aspirations for a better life a must be the origination and culmination of modernization efforts, with a vigorous commitment to safeguarding and advancing social equity and justice, ardently promoting common prosperity for all, and staunchly preventing polarization.

Qu Qingshan: President of the Institute of Party History and Literature of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China