(Question from East and West) Wang Cungang: How did China break through the logic of “Western-style modernization” and move on to the Chinese road?
China News Service, Tianjin, October 21st. Title: Wang Cungang: How did China break through the logic of “Western-style modernization” and move on to the Chinese road?
Author Wang Junyan
As a latecomer to the process of world modernization, China faces the problem of path choice in its journey to modernization. How did China develop from imitating the “Western-style modernization” path to unswervingly following the Chinese path? How did China‘s road achieve a historic breakthrough in the logic of “Western-style modernization”? Wang Cungang, a professor and doctoral supervisor at the Zhou Enlai School of Government of Nankai University, recently accepted an exclusive interview with China News Agency “Ask East and West”, saying that China has been able to develop from imitating the “Western-style modernization” model to unswervingly following the Chinese road because of China The Communist Party is in power and has consciously assumed the important task of exploring new paths to modernization.
The summary of the interview record is as follows:
China News Agency reporter: What is the logic of “Western-style modernization”?
Wang Cungang:To understand the logic of “Western-style modernization”, we must first understand what “Western-style modernization” is. “Western-style modernization” was naturally formed in the West. Through the Industrial Revolution and constitutional monarchy, Britain took the first step towards modernization. Continental European countries such as France and Germany, as well as the former colony of the United States, have successively embarked on the road of modernization, and have thus become world powers. Although the modernization paths of these countries are slightly different, the basic characteristics are the same.
The so-called “Western-style modernization” logic refers to the path taken by European and American countries in the process of modernization and the regularity presented thereby. In a nutshell, the “Western-style modernization” road adopts a market economy with material interests as the fundamental driving force in the economic operation mode. The logic must be the cruel exploitation of labor by capital and the resulting class differentiation and struggle; In terms of political operation, the democratic constitutional government with representative system as the core is adopted, and its logic is bound to be fierce party competition and political polarization with the core goal of seizing and controlling the ruling power; in terms of ecological issues, it adopts first development and then development. The logic of governance strategies must be ecological degradation and the resulting deterioration of the human living environment; in terms of foreign relations, the orientation of external expansion and predatory behavior must be adopted, and the logic must be rampant power politics, frequent foreign wars, and the state. Fierce confrontation between.
Data map: The last day of operation of the Kellingley Coal Mine in Yorkshire, England.
China News Agency reporter: Why do major Western countries promote the “Western-style modernization” model in developing countries?
Wang Cungang:This is an eye-catching phenomenon on the international stage since the 1960s, and people have different interpretations. In my opinion, the reason why Western powers want to do this is related to their cognition and utilization of modernization.
On the one hand, Western powers, especially the United States, regard modernization as a new type of “destiny determined by nature”, representing their own special superiority and the so-called moral mission. This is an important reason why many Western politicians and theorists strive to promote the “Western-style modernization” model. It should be noted that this view also has a certain market in developing countries. The “Western-style modernization” model has been implemented in many developing countries, but ultimately failed.
On the other hand, Western powers, especially the United States, regard modernization theories and models as a very useful tool for international political struggle. Many Western politicians and theorists know this point well, but they try to conceal it. However, there are still some European and American scholars who have a conscience to expose this. Many years ago, an American scholar named Lei Xunma (Michael E. Latham) wrote in the book “Modernization as an Ideology”, in the 1960s, the United States promoted the “Western-style modernization” model in the third world countries. The behavior and results are described in detail and reflected deeply. He believes that modernization theory is by no means a purely academic discussion, but a certain belief that Americans have in themselves during the climax of the Cold War. In the process of the collapse of European colonial empires and the rapid spread of the Cold War battlefields to the vast number of Asian, African and Latin American countries, American policymakers increasingly used modernization theories and models as tools to compete with the then top rival, the Soviet Union, for world hegemony. This is indeed the case.
China News Agency reporter: As a latecomer to the world modernization process, how did China develop from imitating the “Western-style modernization” path to unswervingly following the Chinese path?
Wang Cungang:China is indeed a latecomer to the world modernization process. After embarking on the path of modernization, China has always faced the problem of path choice. From the Westernization Movement to the Hundred Days Reform, from the Revolution of 1911 to the Republic of China, in just one hundred years, China has made rapid attempts at almost all types of “Western-style modernization” models. This is rare in the history of world modernization. But the results are very unsatisfactory.
The reason why China has been able to move from imitating the “Western-style modernization” model to unswervingly following the Chinese road is because the Chinese Communist Party has been in power and has consciously taken on the important task of exploring a new path to modernization.
In the late 1950s, the first generation of Chinese Communists represented by Comrade Mao Zedong embarked on the difficult journey of independent construction of a modern China. In 1982, Comrade Deng Xiaoping made it clear for the first time to “take our own path and build socialism with Chinese characteristics.” The report of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China clearly outlined the connotation of the “road of socialism with Chinese characteristics” for the first time. In his speech at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, General Secretary Xi Jinping once again emphasized: “Going one’s own path is the basis of all theories and practices of the party, and it is the historical conclusion drawn by the party’s centuries of struggle.” In the Communist Party of China Under its leadership, China finally found the right path to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, “creating a new path of Chinese-style modernization and a new form of human civilization.”
Data map: The beautiful village of Daixi, Huzhou.Photo by He Weiwei
China News Agency reporter: How did China‘s road achieve a historic breakthrough in the logic of “Western-style modernization”?
Wang Cungang:This is a topic of widespread concern at home and abroad in recent years. I want to answer from the following aspects.
In the economic field, China has established the goal of common prosperity, put forward the new development concept of “innovation, coordination, green, openness, and sharing”, adhered to the new people-centered development concept, and implemented the rural revitalization strategy and the regional coordinated development strategy. This solves the problem that the development of a market economy will inevitably lead to social polarization.
In the political field, China has developed the whole process of people’s democracy, strived to improve the party and state’s supervision system, and actively played the important role of socialist consultative democracy. This eliminates the fierce party competition and severe political polarization that are common in Western political life.
In the field of ecology, China has established the concept of “modernization is the harmonious coexistence of man and nature”, actively promotes green development, and continuously strengthens the protection of ecosystems, and at the same time actively participates in and guides international cooperation in response to climate change. This jumps out of the vicious circle that economic development will inevitably destroy the ecological environment.
In the field of foreign relations, China holds high the banner of peace, development, cooperation, and win-win, firmly upholds the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, upholds and promotes the common values of all mankind, adheres to true multilateralism, promotes the democratization of international relations, and participates widely in the world. Governance, strive to maintain global strategic balance and stability, contribute Chinese wisdom and Chinese solutions to the resolution of major international issues and the formulation of important international rules, and promote the construction of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. This breaks the old logic of “a strong country must hegemony”.
There are of course many reasons why the “Chinese Road” can achieve a historical breakthrough in the logic of “Western-style modernization”, but the key lies in adhering to the socialist system and the leadership of the Communist Party of China.
Contemporary China has always adhered to the basic socialist system in the process of modernization, and effectively resolved the internal conflict between socialism and the market economy, and fundamentally eliminated the possibility of external expansion and hegemonic plunder. The reason why this can be achieved is not only restricted by the country’s basic system and political beliefs, but also based on careful observation and in-depth thinking of the world structure, especially the world economic system. Deng Xiaoping once said that if China does not adhere to socialism, it will eventually develop into a vassal state, and it will not even be easy to develop it.
Contemporary China‘s adherence to the basic socialist system means that it must adhere to peaceful development. After the founding of New China, Mao Zedong repeatedly stated that China most hopes for peace in order to develop itself and make new and greater contributions to mankind. Deng Xiaoping further pointed out that we are engaged in socialism with Chinese characteristics, socialism that continuously develops social productive forces, and socialism that advocates peace. General Secretary Xi Jinping repeatedly emphasized that the Chinese nation has no genes for aggression and dominance in its blood; China has always been a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of international order.
The reason why contemporary China is able to embark on a new path of peaceful development and modernization is directly related to the Communist Party of China. Especially since 1949, the Communist Party of China has led the People’s Republic of China to continue to provide assistance to other developing countries within its capacity, without any political conditions, without interfering in the internal affairs of recipients, and fully respecting the right of recipient countries to choose development paths and models. China has also actively participated in international development cooperation and played a constructive role in it. Therefore, adherence to the Chinese road and adherence to the leadership of the Communist Party of China are unified. (over)
About the interviewee:
Wang Cungang is a professor and doctoral supervisor at the Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University. Executive director of the Chinese Society of International Relations, director of the International Politics Research Committee of the Chinese Higher Education Association, and member of the International Politics Discipline of the Journal Expert Committee of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Evaluation. He has long been engaged in the research of Chinese diplomatic theory and practice, international relations theory and methods, strategic theory and strategic history. Published 5 books such as “Strategic Environment and National Strategy”, and published more than 80 papers and academic articles in authoritative Chinese journals and newspapers.