What has made the Communist Party of China (CPC) survive and develop in the past 100 years? And how will it continue to survive and develop in the next 100 years? These were the questions asked by David Monyae, Co-Director of the Center for Africa-China Studies at the University of Johannesburg, at a webinar held on June 15 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC and the South African Communist Party (SACP). According to him, as a people-centered party, the CPC’s strengths come from the people. “People will never let the Party down,” he said.
One hundred years ago, the CPC and the SACP were established on July 23 and July 30, respectively, in the context of the fight for national liberation and the struggle for socialism. To celebrate the great event, ChinAfrica magazine and the Diplomatic Society of South Africa held the webinar with the theme Party Exchanges: Prospect and Perspectives. Here are the main views of some of the participants of the webinar:
Chris Matlhako, Second Deputy General Secretary of the South African Communist Party
Both the CPC and the SACP were established in July 1921. This makes these two parties almost like twins born apart in two separate settings and locations.
The settings of these two parties are similar yet different. Both were born in a “third-world setting” and in conditions of deep poverty and underdevelopment. They confronted the challenge of national liberation and socialist construction. It is our contention that these two parties have in their own separate ways contributed enormously toward theorization and further elaboration of socialist theory.
Under the leadership of the CPC, China has risen from scratch to become the world’s second largest economy. In the process, the CPC has made a huge contribution to what has been achieved to date.
In the year of the centenary of these two parties, there is still a lot to achieve for humankind. The Belt and Road Initiative, which enables the post-apartheid South African state and progressive political forces including the SACP to play an important part, is paving the road for further achievement.
Peng Yi, Co-Director of the Center for Africa-China Studies, University of Johannesburg
Under the leadership of the CPC, China has made great achievements in economic, social security, social well-being and environmental protection in the past decades. Positive comments are part of the mainstream thinking of our African friends, and even people across the world. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the CPC, research on why the CPC is so successful and what lessons can be learned is hotter than ever.
Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China has long been advancing law-based governance led by generations of leadership of the CPC. After the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, the party put forward the goal of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society. Compared with before, the CPC leadership of this period features the following characteristics: Focusing on the exercise and enforcement of law, emphasizing the leadership of the CPC in the law-based governance, and making an all-out effort to enforce strict discipline within the CPC itself.
Andile Mosha, First Deputy National Secretary of the Young Communist League (YCL) of South Africa
The YCL was established in 1922 by an SACP resolution. It is an autonomous organization but plays an instrumental role as a preparatory school for the SACP.
The YCL is trying to ensure that we champion the interests of young people, and inspire them to move toward a revolutionary course. And all of this is being done while making sure that the working class’ interests as well as their struggles are championed both in the country as well as globally.
We have dedicated our campaigns as well as our activities to make sure that the SACP assumes a better position. The CPC is by far excellent and a good example that can be followed.
Xia Qingjie, Professor in Economics, School of Economics and Institute of South-South Cooperation & Development, Peking University
One of the greatest achievements the CPC has made is that it has led the Chinese people conquer poverty. In the campaign to eliminate absolute poverty throughout the country, the CPC has called for efforts to address prominent issues to ensure rural poor people do not have to worry about food and clothing and have access to compulsory education, basic medical services and safe housing. This is the best way to help people out of poverty in a sustainable way.
In 1949, China was an agricultural country with only some handicraft industries, and was unable to produce even bicycles and sewing machines, let alone cars and aircrafts. In addition, China’s rural illiteracy rate was more than 95 percent, and the school-age children’s enrolment rate was only around 20 percent.
In the context, the CPC adopted land reform, economic reform, education reform and healthcare reform to improve human development conditions. These measures are effective and efficient. A total of about 800 million poor people have been lifted out of poverty in China over the last 40 years since the country adopted reform and opening up policy in late 1978.
David Monyae, Co-Director of the Center for Africa-China Studies, University of Johannesburg
Our understanding of the history is that China and Africa have so much in common. China and Africa went through humiliation in the past. African countries were humiliated and colonized by other powers, mainly Europeans who conquered most of African territories. China suffered more or less the same. China was humiliated after World War I, when it lost even more of its territories, even though it was on the victorious side.
What made the CPC survive and develop in the past 100 years, particularly the later years of the Cold War? What can we learn from the CPC? The answer is that it is a people-centered party. Its original mission was not just to get rid of external forces, but, more importantly, to put people at the center of its work. This is the lesson we must learn from the CPC.
Lifting people from poverty is another major lesson we are learning. The CPC never forgets its original mission of the past century: meeting people’s need of putting food on the table, assisting them to have access to sufficient health care services, building roads to schools, and improving the agricultural productivity.
China will continue its course as long as it remains focused on its people. It doesn’t matter how much noise comes from the West. It will always be there. However, its greatest strength comes from its people. The people will never let the Party down.
Kirtan Bhana, Director of the Diplomatic Society
The 100th anniversary is a significant milestone, even though both China and Africa have histories that stretch back many millennia to ancient times. The period 1921 to 2021 is the century that could be considered an epoch in technological and societal transition and transformation.
The emergence of China under the stewardship of the CPC has been profound. Early this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China has achieved its goal of lifting everyone in the country out of poverty. A goal many wealthy nations have not yet been able to achieve.
China is on the right track of fast growth in various fields as the economic reforms introduced by late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and the opening up of the country take effect.
In his books Xi Jinping: The Governance of China, President Xi comprehensively outlines the ideology of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and the ideals of moderate prosperity.
(Original Title: Source of Strength)
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