The 19th CPC National Congress: A New Historical Milestone

The 19th CPC National Congress will usher in a new political cycle that will be marked by the celebration of the Party's 100th anniversary, in 2021.
by Evandro Menezes De Carvalho
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The press center of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) holds a group interview on "solid strides on the path of building a powerful military with Chinese characteristics" in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 22, 2017. by Wan Quan

The 19th CPC National Congress will usher in a new political cycle that will be marked by the celebration of the Party’s 100th anniversary, in 2021. Along with this festive and historic date comes the promise of reaching the first centennial goal established by the Xi Jinping government: To make China a “moderately prosperous society” that guarantees the basic needs of all citizens – both those living in cities and in rural areas. In addition, one of the objectives is the doubling of the country’s GDP and per capita of the people, taking into account the figures recorded in 2010. Considering China is a country with more than 1.3 billion people, this is a bold goal. Despite the uncertainties of the world economy and the domestic economic challenges, there is no reason to doubt that China has the right conditions to reach these goals.

Since his designation as Party General Secretary at the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, President Xi Jinping has promoted reforms in important areas to the national economy, established guidelines and prepared the country to increase its protagonism at the international level, motivated not only by national interest, but also due to the arrival of a new era in which the Chinese ascension in the world leads the country to assume greater responsibilities.

Looking back on the past five years, the CPC leadership has been steadfast in the face of the challenges it has stood up against, and has been coherent with the country’s goals. The quest for the “Chinese dream” – a concept evoked by President Xi during the early days of his tenure – mobilized the population to the realization of the desires of economic stability and improved social welfare, as well as a dream of greatness for the nation. For a people known all over the world for its pragmatism and desire for results, the “Chinese dream” was also a call for the awakening of creativity in favor of innovation. In the context of the economic new normal, where Chinese GDP stands at around 6.5%, the transformation of desire into concrete economic and social undertaking is the key to keep the economy’s engine running at full steam. There is also new dialogue between what is best in Chinese tradition and what is best in its modernity. Confucian values are revisited and adapted, young people are starting to gain interest and feel pride in Chinese culture and discover new ways to give meaning to the challenges of the present, while the elderly are becoming more familiar with the benefits of new technologies.

President Xi, as the core of the Chinese leadership and aware of these times, was right to elect the fight against corruption as one of his most prioritized policies within the Party, since the beginning of his term. It is worth remembering that during the Sixth Plenary Session of the CPC, held last year, two more stern regulations were approved in the management of political life within the Party. The fight against corruption is no longer a temporary campaign: it has become a permanent policy. Combating corrupt officials, creating mechanisms and institutions to eradicate corruption, and adopting a model of recruiting new members for the Party with a high moral standard, the CPC establishes the groundwork for a new understanding of what Chinese society should be in the future. This policy is at the source of the promotion of the rule of law in China, announcing new paradigms in the management of State and society.

The 19th CPC National Congress is also an event that has attracted the interest of the world. This is due not only to Chinese economic success, but also to how President Xi exercises his leadership. Chinese diplomacy pursues “mutual benefits”, a contrast with the history of Western diplomacy, which dealt with poor and developing countries with colonization, leaving them with a deep scar. China’s diplomatic initiatives point in the direction of concrete projects that will bring hope to many people and countries that can understand and take advantage of this new era. The Belt and Road Initiative is definitely a great project of the 21st Century. It is the most convincing expression of the Chinese government's openness to the world and, above all, its generous sharing of the benefits of the Chinese Dream to all.

In light of this, the success of the CPC in the conduct of China's economy, since its opening and reform with Deng Xiaoping, has shown the world that the Chinese governance model has its qualities and advantages. Some will say that perhaps it is a model only applied in China for historical and cultural reasons. But when I think about countries that have been colonized and adopted the colonizer’s model of governance, it is clear that political models can be transplanted. What is important is that this be done consciously and voluntarily – and, preferably, taking into account the historical and cultural characteristics of the nation in question.

China's rise requires a serious dialogue on governance models and the successes and weaknesses of capitalism and socialism, as well as its perspective of the future in the twenty-first century. The 19th CPC National Congress and the closeness of the centenary of CPC will be the perfect occasion to start this debate.

Evandro Menezes De Carvalho is head of the Nucleus for Brazil-China Studies of Getulio Vargas Foundation’s Law School (FGV Direito Rio), Coordinator of the Nucleus of Research of BRICS Countries at Fluminense Federal University (UFF), and Chief Executive Editor of the Brazilian edition of China Today.

This article is reprinted from China Today.