Shanghai, Saturday, April 22, 2023 – Imagine a country that was once so ‘impoverished’ and did not have footing and voice among the comity of nations just few decades ago, is now leading the charge of modernization. This is the extraordinary case of the Peoples Republic of China, a Country of 1.4 billion people that has metamorphosed into a cradle of hope for the rest of the developing world.
Having achieved its first centenary goal of attaining a moderately prosperous society, the government of the Peoples Republic of China, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party and with President XI Jinping at its core, has embarked on a path of Modernization.
Talk of modernization may have been common place across the world over the years, ranging from classroom lectures to rhetoric by politicians. But it seems that China is now leading the way, having found its own path towards modernization.
The Lanting Forum held in Shanghai Friday, April 21, 2023 was exactly what China needed to further sell the idea of this second centenary goal to the rest of the world, especially with the audience made of global experts, leading academics, heads of think thanks, like-minded governments and other duty bearers in International Affairs.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Foreign Minister Qin Gang emphasized how China’s journey to Modernization has been a journey of hardship and anguish, but with resilience and determination, the country is now rightfully positioned to impact the rest of the world in its modernization drive.
Qin added that Chinese modernization is a natural outcome of the laws governing human development, using some of Karl Max’s thoughts as a base to back his point.
He said “Modernization is a common cause of all humanity. Although the West enjoyed the fruits of modernization ahead of others, history will not end there. As early as 140, Karl Marx envisioned crossing the Caudine Forks of capitalism, providing a solid theoretical basis for a path of modernization different from that of the West. Through the past 100 years and more, China has found by itself a path to modernization, and created a new form of human advancement”.
He reiterated the Chinese government’s position that there is no fixed model of, or single solution to, modernization, emphasizing that any country can achieve modernization, as long as the path suits its conditions and answers the development needs of its people.
The State Councilor and Foreign Minister maintained that choosing one’s own development and modernization path is the surest way to success, rather than mechanically copying ‘ill-fitted’ foreign models which he believes are counter-productive and may even lead to catastrophic consequences.
As it is with many successful development policies of the Peoples Republic of China, Qin Gang said “as the biggest developing country, China always keeps in mind the greater good of the whole world. The Chinese path to modernization is not a one-flower show, still less for self-interest. It is a path toward development of China, through which more positive energy will be added to global peace and new opportunities created for global development”.
These development and modernization concepts seem to be resonating well with developing countries, particularly in Africa where governments are fast moving from their traditional former colonial masters and turning to China for new development pathways.
In the words of Mamadou Tangara, Foreign Minister of a small West African Country, The Gambia, the Peoples Republic of China stands as a ‘symbol of hope’ for many third world or development countries. “China has demonstrated that modernization / civilization must benefit all” the young Minister noted.
Minister Tangara lauded the dynamism and forward-thinking of the Chinese People which he believes serve as inspiration for other developing countries. Without mincing his words, the Gambian Foreign Minister pointed to Friday’s Lanting Forum as the right platform to ensure that countries of the ‘greater south’ share in common development pursuit along with China.
Dilma Rousseff, former President of Brazil is now heading the New Development Bank of the BRICS Countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. She told the opening ceremony about the crucial task of the bank in supporting the development of infrastructure and connectivity.
Dilma Rousseff stressed the New Development Bank’s preparedness to promoting green development, saying the concept of modernization being promulgated by China will have a trickledown positive effect on other countries.
The Lanting Forum was initiated by Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in December 2010 and serves as a platform for communication and exchanges betweenChina and foreign governments, businesses, academia, media and the public.
It aims to create a new channel for the facilitation of discussions on China’s foreign policies and other issues of common interest, and has become the symbol of Public Diplomacy in China.
This year was the first time the Forum has been held outside the Capital, Beijing. The Shanghai 2023 Forum was convened under theme “Chinese Modernization and the World’.