In a poll published by the Washington Post in May 2021, Chinese citizens’ trust in their national government hit 98 percent. This was a five percent jump in government popularity after another survey by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government released in July 2020, revealed that the Chinese people’s overall satisfaction toward their government under the leadership of the Communist Party of China exceeded 93%.
Over the last century, the CPC has led the transformation of China from a fragmented, economically retrograde and diplomatically timid society into one of the most visible international actors of the 21st Century. Today’s China contributes over 30% of the world’s economic growth; and the second highest contributor to the United Nation’s peacekeeping budget. With CPC at the helm, China has become a strong voice of multilateralism and inclusion of the developing economies in global economic and governance systems.
While many factors can be ascribed to China’s meteoric rise, in my view, the biggest plus for China has been its unrivalled state competence, characterized by the ability of the Communist Party of China to design and implement policies that have transformed the lives of its 1.4 billion people in a jaw-dropping fashion.
How did the Communist Party of China achieve this? The most important actions, perhaps, are the weaving together of a knowledge-based governance system. China has proven that it helps to have knowledgeable people managing its affairs. With over 92 million members, the CPC has its disposal incredible talent in all sectors – making it possible for Beijing to build a knowledge-driven economy that now benefits not just China but also the rest of humanity.
Second, taking the cue from its revolution-ridden past, the state competence has enabled China to firmly place the interest of the population in its policy deliberations and implementation. This has resulted in the provision of wide-ranging public goods such as security, healthcare, education, transport, energy, and employment. Last year, China managed to eliminate extreme poverty from its borders; becoming the first developing country to achieve the foremost United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal ahead of the deadline in 2030.
The Covid-19 global pandemic has exemplified the superiority of Chinese governance model. Racing to secure the welfare of the people, the CPC pulled together monumental resources – epidemics control experience, financial, technological and human to mount the most comprehensive response against the pandemic. Barely six months after reporting the first case of the virus, China turned the tide and became the largest source of essential medical supplies needed to fight the pandemic around the world.
Third, the CPC has been very successful at learning from the experiences of other countries; borrowing and domesticating what has worked; while eschewing the pitfalls. This has been the case from soaring industrial base, marketization, to multilateralism. In maintaining a policy of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, the CPC has won friends across the globe; avoiding foreign entanglements that could have compromised its ability to deliver for its citizens.
The last yet not the least anchor of CPC in the eyes of the Chinese people, is the unflinching pursuit of the rule of law. Chinese understand the basic laws governing their country and faithfully seek to abide by the law. The same cannot be said of other societies where leaders or those from privileged backgrounds live above the law. Given the massive size and population of China, it would be impossible to govern if citizens do not feel a sense of fairness, justice and equality before the established laws.
These four areas have provided a strong foundation upon which the CPC has worked to build a moderately prosperous society. China also continues to share the proceeds of its development with the rest of the world through multilateral platforms like the Belt and Road Initiative. With over 140 countries signing up with the BRI, China is demonstrating that is can provide the much-needed global governance commensurate with the challenges afflicting today’s society.
I guess the Chinese governance model with the CPC at the helm; will win, not because Beijing has shoved it down the throats of other countries, but because it speaks to the aspirations of so many populations around the world. There are many lessons the world can learn from China’s ascension. But one lesson that should be at the core of benchmarking is China’s ruling party competence.
The writer is a scholar of international relations with a focus on China-Africa cooperation. Twitter: @Cavinceworld.