Communist Party General Secretary Dew Gunasekara recalled the arduous journey of China since the 1949 revolution to become the number two economy in the world against all odds through sheer determination and hard work, as the People’s Republic marked its 70th anniversary at Kingsbury Colombo recently.
Following are excerpts of Gunasekera’s address: The Chinese people are blessed with a long and proud history of over 3600 years. In its recorded history, China is now entering its golden period with its gigantic achievements.
The new China had its first turning point in the revolutionary year of 1949 under Chairman Mao. The first 31 years represent a period of international challenges and domestic turmoil, despite its socio-economic changes. The drawn-out Korean and Vietnamese wars with US aggression were formidable obstacles to development. China was prevented from occupying its role in the United nations for 22 long years. The US Government recognized the new China only as late as 1971. She was isolated from the international community. Sanctions, blockades and embargoes against her were the order of the day. Despite negative developments, Chinese Revolution moved on.
China’s second turning point was in 1978 under Deng Xiaoping, the Architect of the modern China. China thus embarked upon a new economic strategy with "reforms and opening-ups". China took into account experiences of the developed capitalist countries, socialist countries and developing countries in the task of drawing up to new economic strategy. It also took into account the historical conditions of China. It had a self-critical assessment of its own negative domestic developments of the preceding period. China drew up its own path towards socialism with Chinese characteristics. China recognized its stage of primary socialist development. Thus it embarked upon an accelerated pace of development with a twin engine of growth (public sector and private sector) under the triple strategy of planning, market and government intervention. It recorded an uninterrupted growth rate of 8% to 10%. By 2010, China became the second economic power in the world.
Today, China is the largest manufacturing nation in the world. It is the biggest importer and exporter. It has the largest reserve of foreign exchange amounting $4 Trillion. Its GDP is in the region of $15 Trillion, just behind US’s GDP of $20 Trillion. It has the largest rate of 50% national savings. Foreign Development Investments continue to flow into China. China’s strength is its workforce of 900 million people, equipped with education, vocational training and technology, thus the largest consumer market in the world with a 300 Million middle class of higher purchasing power.
So, China’s real strength is its labour and not capital.
Deng Xiaoping economic strategy had two main striking features, in my view, namely the human resources development and infra-structure development. Deng took a bold decision of sending 10,000 students abroad for higher education. This ground-breaking strategic decision opened China for faster modernization of its economy.
China’s third turning point in its post-development history was in 2013, under President Xi Jinping. Its strategic decision was aimed at embarking upon the latest Belt and Road Initiative in co-operation with over 70 countries of Asia, Africa and Europe. It was the massive development project of international dimension ever undertaken in economic history.
It is a win-win project for all the partners. Emergence of the new continent of Euro-Asia, as the latest economic zone will change the face of the world.
Look back at the recent history of Chinese of accelerated economic development; I believe it was this decisive factor which made Asia, the vanguard of the world economy. This is dynamism of history.
So, the Chinese Revolution moves on regardless of all road blocks. Chinese Government’s ability to lift 800 million people out of poverty is an unprecedented achievement. China will emerge as a nation free from poverty, a record unprecedented in human history.
China, we have no doubt, will emerge as a prosperous nation, a modern socialist nation by 2050, as planned.
I shall end my speech, with a quotation from V.I. Lenin’s last theoretical contribution before his death in 1924. He said "The Socialism in the Soviet Union can be assured only if Chinese revolution takes place". However, contrary to his expectations, Chinese Revolution took place only in 1949, 25 years later. History would otherwise have been different. History has no highways.
I pose the question to you, ending my speech, what would have been world today if there had been no Chinese Revolution or if China was not a new economic power today?