In cricket, scoring a hundred is a major feat while at 99 the batsman is apprehensive about scoring the single which will enable him to cross the threshold. This year the Communist Party of China (CPC) completed 99 years but is going strong to go beyond one hundred. It has come a long way since its inception under humble circumstances at Shanghai. This scribe was invited as the only journalist from Pakistan to witness the 18th National Congress during which Xi Jinping was nominated as the Chairman of CPC and President of China.
On this occasion we also visited the location of the first congress that took place at Shanghai on July 23, 1921. This ominous date set the future course for the PRC and marked the birth date for the party that led downtrodden China from the clutches of foreign occupiers to freedom. The meeting was interrupted by the police, forcing the members to scatter but meet again aboard a boat on the South Lake. The first National Congress of the CPC adopted the party’s program, passed the resolutions and elected the leading organ of the central bureau of the Party, thus proclaiming the founding of the CPC.
The nascent party had an uphill task, to remould an inchoate mass of humanity, subjugated by imperialist forces, war worn and hungry. At the end of the Second World War, while the other nations celebrated victory, China was still in the shackles of conflict and chaos. CPC’s founding fathers, led by Chairman Mao Zedong, had to combat the Kuomintang (KMT), who held sway.
After a bitter struggle of four long and weary years, the Kuomintang were beaten and Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) became a reality. When the KMT fled mainland China in 1949, it looted the national treasury, leaving behind a cash-strapped economy ravaged by the bedlam of war. To add salt to the wound, the Occident recognized Taiwan, where Chiang Kai Shek and KMT had sought refuge, as Republic of China, ignoring the 541 million residents of mainland China. Neither the newly established UN nor any other humanitarian organization would come to the aid of the Chinese nation, badly in need of nutrition, medicines and other essentials.
The founding fathers of PRC, weathered the storms of the postnatal period, steadied the ship and put it on the course of development. CPC provided the platform to rally the masses to fight poverty, malnutrition, disease, drought, famine and lack of resources worsened by international embargos and rise to their true potential. Initial mistakes were made but the CPC believed in self-analysis and course correction. The cultural revolution and great leap forward left scars but CPC made amends and continued the march onward.
The Occident finally ended the isolation of PRC in 1972 and after remaining in oblivion for over two decades, PRC took its rightful place in the comity of nations. Hua Guofeng took up the mantle of Chairman of CPC after the demise of Mao in 1976. Deng Xiaoping introduced far-reaching market-economy reforms and the opening up of PRC, which led to massive financial progress. Within three decades, PRC became the second largest economy in the world.
Subsequent CPC leaders have introduced reforms, which have revisited the policies adopting decisions more suitable to the changing environment thus progress and reform go hand in glove with each other.
The Occident has been critical of the One-Party Rule of the CPC without understanding it. This scribe has studied the system adopted by PRC. CPC may be unicameral, but it is based on grassroots democratic norms. People at the lower echelons elect their representatives and as the tier goes higher, the process of election progresses upwards. The uppermost tier comprises the National Congress. It is a style of democracy well suited to the people of China, who have adopted it wholeheartedly and the result is for the world to see.
According to the party constitution, the CPC adheres to Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Three Represents, the Scientific Outlook on Development and Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
CPC is the most popular party in the world. At the last count, its membership boasted of over 93 million members. CPC is not just a political party or an elitist club. It exists to serve the masses and has achieved tremendous results for example President Xi Jinping’s resolve of eradicating poverty from China and turning it into a moderate society. Joining the CPC is no easy matter.
Incumbents aspiring to become members have to apply formally, undergo strenuous examinations, interviews and a battery of tests before they are admitted. Training at CPC school prepares members to take up the challenges. Interestingly, the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, invites foreign political parties for familiarizing them with the Chinese system of governance. Such endeavours will go a long way in enabling other systems of governance to stop their undue criticism and appreciate the structure being followed by PRC.
CPC is determined to see the fruition of the Chinese Dream and take the Chinese masses out of poverty and build a moderate society able to lead a reasonable standard of living in peace and harmony while simultaneously lending a helping hand to China’s neighbours and other countries through mega projects like the Belt and Road Initiative. CPC’s century goal is alleviating poverty from China. May it see a hundred years and many more of service to humankind.