NEXT week, October 1st, the Peoples Republic of China will celebrate its 68th year of its founding with Socialism as its foundation stone under the leadership of the Communist Party of China.
Although China itself does not sing and dance about its development in spite of its impressive global landmark, its leadership still considers its basic and primary role as that of eradicating poverty in the midst of its 1.3 billion people.
According to its authorities, China is bent on its ambitious goal of achieving an “all-round well-off society” or a moderately prosperous society in all aspects with its GDP and per capital income double the figure of 2010 when the year 2020 dawns.
The other day, going through China feature articles, I was struck by an interesting analogy depicting the life of a 44-year old peasant from Guizhou, one of China’s poorest provinces.
The poor peasant named Long Tianbao, when confronted with the necessity to move elsewhere from the spot he lived with his wife was wondering what his three kilograms of rice, his only food reserve then, would do in the event he moved to a new place.
Like a Tanzanian peasant whose only resource is physical fitness to till the land, the Chinese peasant was quoted as asking himself: How can I make ends meet in a town with high expenditure level where, I am supposed to move to? He went on: “If me and my wife, find a job before we have eaten up the rice now in my reserve, we will stay on. If not, we will go back to the mountain and never move out…”
To the surprise of this Chinese peasant, when he moved to the new place with his wife, they both found a job in a brick company the following day! According to a Chinese Features report, the peasant and his wife now live in an apartment only three kilometers from their factory.
They earn 6000 Yuan (900 US dollars) per month roughly equivalent to their annual household income in the past. The Chinese peasant, who had never ridden a bike before, now rides a motorbike and has even a license for electrical welding.
So, in one sense, this is what is happening in China today in creating an “all-round well-off society” grounded on Socialism with the baseline task of lifting all Chinese people out of poverty.
According to reports, China had 770 million poor residents in rural areas, or 97.5 of its rural population, when it started the reform of opening up drive more than 30 years ago. Over 700 million have shaken off poverty ever since, accounting to over 70 percent of global poverty reduction – making China capable of meeting the United Nations goal of wiping poverty in all its forms 10 years ahead of 2030 deadline.
These figures have prompted the Economist, the well-known global magazine to describe China as the “hero of the world’s poverty-reduction efforts.” As eluded earlier in this perspective, what is making China move forward is not a grandiose super power mentality, but its constant description of itself, not as a supper power, but a developing country.
As we saw in recent years, there were global news reports that China had loaned the United States money, but this was done with humility by China. China never sang and danced about it!
Actually the high level of development in terms of infrastructural development in that country, and the maximum utilization of land for the benefit of the people both in urban and rural areas highly impress people who have been in China.
In practical in all every major Chinese towns, there are tall buildings which make the famous New York “sky-crappers” nothing spectacular, not to speak of first class residential buildings, not for senior Chinese officials, but for ordinary people, among whom peasants I have described in the first leg of this perspective.
And China is currently building what has been described as the world’s most challenging railway to heighten even higher its travel infrastructural development. The Sichuan-Tibet Railway is a key project for China’s 13th FiveYear Development Plan from 2016 to 2020.
According to a report, “it will climb from the Sichuan Basin several hundred meters above the sea level to the ‘roof of the world’ – at an attitude of more than 4,400 meters.” If I am mentioning this railway line at all it is because of its breathtaking scenery and breathtaking dangers both of which will face Chinese engineers as they embark on building the world’s most difficult railway, according to reports.
The line will go through the Southeast of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, one of the world’s geologically active areas. If I am mentioning this project at all it is just a reflection of what the Chinese have contributed to the development of my country to link it up with landlocked countries in Southern Africa, the famous TAZARA railway during the struggle against colonialism and minority rule in Southern Africa.
This is just one among many internationalist projects the Chinese people have done elsewhere outside their country. But of Chinese leaders after the founding father of the Chinese nation, Chairman Mao Tse Dong, the current one, President Xi Jinping has been most dedicated for the lot of his people, in so far as poverty eradication is concerned.
“Achieving an allround well off society is not a game of figures or speed,” President Xi Jinping has said. President Jinping has identified three battles that must be won to ensure the goal is achieved on schedule: presenting and defusing major risks, precision in poverty eradication and pollution and prevention control.
Accordingly, his government has allocated 282.2 billion Yuan for poverty relief from the central budget with a focus on socialism with Chinese characteristics. Therefore, China’s growth model and the country’s governance style offer an inspiration to other countries in the developing world.