When I visited the People’s Republic of China for the second time with a group of eminent African scholars from different universities in 2019, we were awestruck by many places that we visited that exuded the Chinese dream – the Chinese spirt of the advancement to humanity.
Some of the places we toured included the majestic Great Wall of China, the amazing Forbidden City, the mystical Terracota warriors and the symbolic Liangjiahe village in Shaanxi province. It was at the rustic Liangjiahe village where young Xi Jinping spent his formative years imbibing the doctrines of the Communist Party of China, the vanguard and backbone of the Chinese nation. Little did young Xi know at that time that he was being prepared to lead the Communist Party of China and the People’s Republic of China in future.
For starters, Xi Jinping is the current President of the Communist Party of China and the People’s Republic of China. It was interesting to trace the life young Xi and others lived, and the day-to-day activities they undertook during those days in the past. It would not be proper if I do not mention the visit to the historic caved houses in the mountains in Yan’an, from where the legendary and great strategist Chairman Mao Zedong, the Father of the Chinese nation, waged his struggle. Without delving into the controversies of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution, the feeling that one gets by touring these and other sites is that of inspiration.
Reflecting on the subject of this article, understanding the Chinese dream, one can better comprehend this dream through studying Xi Jinping’s 92 speeches, compiled in the third volume of the book Xi Jinping – The Governance of China. When I read all these speeches, my thinking about China as a country improved a great deal, and most of the misunderstandings I had about it vanished. With its mantra ‘Socialism with Chinese Characteristics’ in the new era, China has been able to advance its dream of creating a moderately prosperous society by eliminating poverty to a great extent.
The Communist Party of China prides itself by putting people first, making them masters of their country, “the solid base of our republic, and the foundation of a well-built party and a prosperous nation.”
What is impressive is the critical role state-owned enterprises play in poverty elimination in poor villages.
Using the principles of scientific socialism, the Communist Party of China’s government has succeeded in building a solid base for the socio-economic and political development of the country. Here is a country that has succeeded “to apply Marxism to analyse and resolve practical problems and utilise scientific theories to guide in addressing major challenges… and to strengthen the belief in Marxism and the ideals of communism”.
What strikes the reader more is that the Manifesto of the Communist Party, a document that was published 170 years ago, has kept the Chinese dream intact – over a long period, “during which time earthshaking changes have occurred in human society”.
As one reads through the pages of the book, it becomes apparent that it has been possible for China to carry or pass the Chinese dream from generation to generation through the Communist Party of China, with members and officials religiously and assiduously following Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development, and the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the new era.
Thus, the doctrinaire approach to the theories and philosophies of socialism, as enshrined in the Manifesto of the Communist Party, has enabled the Communist Party of China’s government to focus on executing the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation in all facets of life without distractions or prevarications.
In addition, it is through maximising the institutional strength of the Communist Party of China at all levels of governance that makes state institutions and other bodies uphold the aspirations of the nation without deviation.
All this is aimed at creating a better life for all people in China with the government’s acknowledgement of people as the greatest source of strength in governance. In other words, for governance to succeed and for the Chinese dream to come true over the years, the Communist Party of China advocates for the maxims “Always Put People First” and “Never Fail the People”.
What is pleasing to note is that there is clear evidence that these are not just empty slogans aimed at short-circuiting the people’s thinking into supporting the Communist Party of China. In contrast, it is not the kind of electioneering that we witness in some African political parties that have not fulfilled the promises they made to the people many decades after the attainment of independence.
On the international scene, China plays a critical role under the BRICS formation in building a global community of a shared future. Its relationship with Africa and Asia is also explained as a win-win relationship that will witness massive investments, mainly in infrastructure. One such Chinese venture is the Road and Belt Initiative in the Middle East, the modern version or extension of the ancient Silk Road civilisation.
As the book ends, Xi Jinping calls on the Chinese people to remain true to the original aspirations and founding mission, guided by the “development of a Marxist party with a Chinese context”. He reminds them of Mao Zedong’s words: “Therefore, ideological education is the key link to be grasped in uniting the whole party for great political struggles”.
This is a book that must find itself on the shelves of libraries of political parties in Africa and elsewhere in the world. All liberation movements that were guided by Marxism-Leninism should appraise their performances by getting back to the basics as presented in this book.