The People’s Republic of China celebrated its 70th anniversary on October 1 this year. Mao Zedong established the regime of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on this day in 1949.
China went through many changes in the system of state affairs, including its economy, in the last seven decades. Starting off as a war-ravaged and least developed country, it went through various ups and downs to emerge as a super power at the outset of the twenty first century.
The 'socialist market economy' adopted by successive leaders after Mao Zedong played a significant role in the process of China's emergence as a super power. The 'socialist market economy' is based on the predominance of public ownership and state-owned enterprises within a market economy.
It was first introduced by Jiang Zemin in 1992 as a definitive goal of China's economic reforms. Jiang Zemin's reforms paid off, but the West took this move as an opportunity to belittle China's 'socialist' status. The West accused China of being 'a capitalist country but governed by the communists'.
In response to the Western definition of Chinese governance, Noam Chomsky said in a book titled On Western Terrorism: From Hiroshima to Drone Warfare that, "A lot of propaganda in the West presents China as more capitalist than capitalist countries, a perception with which I totally disagree… It dedicates huge funds and planning to its social development."
In a discussion with Noam Chomsky, famous filmmaker and investigative journalist Andre Vltchek also points out that, "Nobody could convince me after what I saw, that China is a capitalist country. I think it is exactly what the government calls it: "Chinese-style socialism."
Mahmud Ali, an adjunct professor at the Institute of China Studies of the University of Malaya, Malaysia, believes that "It depends on how socialism is defined or what socialism actually means."
Ali said in an interview with BBC Bangla that, "The way common people's kismet has changed under the CPC regime is noticeable. Over the last 30 to 35 years, 80 crore people in China have come out of poverty. So many people coming out of poverty is rare in history."
China went through multiple reforms from the outset, some of which paid off and some didn't. Mao Zedong adopted various policies and campaigns such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution which resulted in the deaths of thousands of people.
In the face of such adversity, Deng Xiaoping came up with some economic reforms in 1978. Deng Xiaoping had ideas to develop the fate of the Chinese population. He initiated many changes in the pursuit of drastic economic growth, including reducing state control over the economy.
Xiaoping introduced a way for common people to determine their own destiny through far-reaching market-economy reforms. As the part of these changes, he introduced a mixed economy, a system that combines structures of both capitalism and socialism.
Deng Xiaoping, the "architect of modern China", opened up China to foreign investment and the global market. His policies are credited for transforming China into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. He also raised the living standard of hundreds of millions of people.
Reflecting on the Chinese miracle of economic progress defying the initial failure of the CPC regime, Keyu Jin, Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, writes in an article for the Project Syndicate that "The first 30 years of rule by the Communist Party of China (CPC) are judged harshly, owing to the disastrous Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. But these were not lost decades. On the contrary, major strides were made in modernising China: local and national power grids were established, industrial capacity was strengthened, and human capital rapidly improved."
In the context of diplomatic issues, however, the world now notices a ceaseless competition between China and America to occupy the world market. This confrontation sometimes gets so intense and heats up the global political spectrum that many political analysts warn the word of a potential confrontation between China and the US.
Now, what waits for China next? Can the Chinese miracle continue to roar in the face of the odds it faces from the US?
Mahmud Ali believes that it depends on how efficiently Chinese leaders deal with the West. He said, "Due to the rapid rise of China, countries in North America and Europe are in fear of losing their dominance because the Chinese system and its rise in the global order as a super power is portraying it as an alternative to the West'.
If developing countries in Africa, Latin America, South America and Asia follow the Chinese development model and take it as standard, western countries have much to worry about. The present US-China conflict can thus be attributed to these apprehensions.
But defying all odds, China is now the second largest economy in the world. Once a least developed country, China is now full of millionaires and billionaires. The lives of the common people have also improved.
Under the shade of the dazzling figures of development, however, it is true that nearly 3 crore people in China are still living below the poverty line. But China's efforts to improve the lives of these underprivileged and poor people are also noticeable.