2020: The ‘time of milestones for China’

Imtiaz Rafi Butt

The year 2020 holds a unique place in the history of China. In the words of Xi Jinping, 2020 is the “time of milestones for China”. This national day for China brings a revival of the sorts never seen before. First and foremost, the Chinese Government and its people have managed to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic.
The economy of the whole country is opening up. Millions of internal and external tourists are gathering up in major cities. Even Wuhan is set to light its famous Yellow Tower in felicitations. Celebrations are all around for a whole week from 1st October to the 8th. The Covid-19 infections are under 100 for the largest population country in the world. It is a commendable achievement.
The National Health Organization of China openly commented that there is no need for Covid-19 precautions as the risk of infection is minimal. China has defeated the novel Covid-19 while Europe, USA, India and many other countries are failing to come up with an effective response. Despite allegations by the United States that the Chinese Government covered up the crisis; that they allowed international flights and spread the virus across the globe-China continues to make progress and defeat the pandemic.

The WHO has rejected Washington’s view and applauded the role of China in combating the virus, providing a role model for other countries to follow. Furthermore, China has come up with one of the first vaccines “SINOVAC” for the Covid-19 which is in its phase three trials. For October, 2020, China is open for business and for the national day celebrations, well deserved indeed.
Another reason for China to celebrate its National Day is its success on the International affairs area. China and Russia are closer than ever post joint military exercises. The year 2020 has been marked as the year of Scientific and Technological co-operation between China and Russia.

Putin and Xi Jinping are set to meet several times during the year to enhance technology sharing like never before. In South Asia, China has successfully thwarted plans of an aggressive India and gave befitting reply to Hindu-Extremist Modi doctrine in the Ladkah region. The Chinese Government has been giving clear signals to all kinds of hostile moves against China or its allies. The Hong Kong and Taiwan crisis are being controlled despite all out efforts by the Western bloc countries, particularly, the United States to create complications for China.

From a historical perspective, the national day celebrations commemorate the history for the time when the Communist party launched a Cultural Revolution in 1966. Old practices in terms of religion, education and traditions were simply termed “counter-revolutionary” and were punished with severity by the Central Government. It was ruthless and cruel by all standards but it surely managed to purify and unify the Chinese society. The Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward achieved finality around 1977. After this, under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, China adopted a path to economic progress and opening up.

A report on the 30 year rule of the Communist Party accepted the ineffective practices of the Communist party and paved the way for reforms. Deng initiated special economic zones that were a hybrid between a capitalist run businesses owned by the government. Gradually, benefits of foreign investment were realized by the Communist regime and export/import sectors flourished.
By the end of 1980s China became a giant in trade and raised the living standards of millions from abject poverty to a prospering middle class. Today, due to progressive reforms and improvements, China is the fastest growing economy of the world being the world’s top exporter and second largest importer of the world. China is a nuclear armed state with the largest standing army on the planet.

A testimony to its accomplishment is the fact that from having a poverty stricken population of 64% in 1978, today the poverty in China stands at a remarkable 10%. China with its trade deals Latin America, Middle East and Africa is a proved superpower. Further, China’s human resource expansion can be gauged from the fact that the decades old one child policy has been abolished in 2015. China knows that the future of expansion and progress lies in dominance in trade and commerce.
Economic progress has been the cornerstone of Chinese success. It highlights that the vision of the founding father based on the materialistic interpretation of history still holds ground, even today. The first phase was of the Five Year Plan to lift China out of poverty came from 1953 to 1957. This model was based around similar arrangement in Soviet Russia. The policies were largely based on ownership of productive forces by the State and their strict regulation by the one party rule.
The aim was to transform the agrarian based economy to an industrial base. The second phase came in the form the Great Leap Forward from 1958-1960. The vision of Mao for rapid industrialization once again came at a massive cost. The food output was reduced and millions starved. Efforts continued to change the economic foundations of the nation.
In 1971, China opened its doors to the Western World as the United States recognized the communist as the legal authority over China. The preparation for the free market world were complete by 1978 and after that, China gained economic progress at the most impressive rates to seen in history.

China has been the fastest growing economy in the world since the 1980s with an average annual growth rate of 10% from 1978 to 2005. This transformation has been accompanied by high levels of industrialization and urbanization, a process that has influenced every aspect of China’s society, culture and economy. Around 800 million people were raised from abject poverty into respectable living standards. It is a feat that few nations have achieved in the entire human history.
China is destined to lead the world. Western powers, in particularly, the United States are logically apprehensive of the Rise of China. The tariff hikes on Chinese exports, the adverse rulings by the World Trade Organization, the raising of human rights issues in Muslim majority province in China, South China Sea dispute, Taiwan and presently, Hong Kong disruption are few of the obstacles that have been created to impede Chinese progress.

On the other hand, China continues to surprise the Rich Western nations with its own innovative ideas and alliances. As the United States under Trump pushes for Israel’s power and has vowed to attack Iran on all fronts, China announced an economic package of 400 billion dollar investment to counter the odds. When Europe and United States colluded to halt Chinese progress, the Chinese announced CPEC and OBOR which are to connect China with Eurasia in economic ties along with Pakistan, Turkey and Iran. India, United States and the International community have failed to abide by International law in occupation of Kashmir but China stands tall with Pakistan and the dynamics are set to change for the better. At this point, the people of Pakistan extend their warmest regards and felicitations on the National day of China for the year 2020. The “Iron Brotherhood” will continue to reap benefits for both nations.

The writer is the Chairman of Jinnah Rafi Foundation