Meeting at a quiet coffee shop at Peking University, the university professor being interviewed was an expert on Sino-South African relations. As we sat down, she requested that she be excused at some stage because she had to attend the local branch meeting of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
When the time came, she reminded me with the words: hopefully you’ll understand how important these branch meetings are.
It was one of the many moments that one came face to face with the confidence and legitimacy that ordinary and extraordinary Chinese people have in the Communist Party.
My friends and I once asked a DiDi driver, the equivalent of Uber in China, why Chinese people respected President Xi Jinping so much. The Didi driver’s answer was simple: for one man to direct a nation of 1.2 billion people in the same direction of the Chinese dream earns deep respect.
It is because of the Communist Party that there is social cohesion in China and that all Chinese, despite their individual dreams, can move in the one direction of realising the Chinese dream.
Speaking to representatives attending the Seventh Conference of Friendship of Overseas Chinese Associations in 2014, President Xi Jinping said: “For Chinese people both at home and abroad, a united Chinese nation is our shared root, the profound Chinese culture is our shared soul, and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is our shared dream.”
Emerging from imperialism and colonialism, the CPC has been able to lead the Chinese people in this rejuvenation of the Chinese nation since 1949. Even though it was founded in 1921, the CPC has been able to give consistent leadership to the country since liberation and the founding of the New China.
As early as 1945, it was Chairman Mao Zedong who said: “Without the efforts of the Chinese Communist Party, without the Chinese Communists as the mainstay of the Chinese people, China can never achieve independence and liberation, or industrialisation and the modernisation of her agriculture.”
As the CPC celebrates its centenary on July 1, the party with the Chinese people have much to celebrate. Today China is the most industrialised country in the world. Poverty has been defeated by among others ensuring food security through a modernised agricultural sector. Today China continues to build on its liberation and independence.
One is sure that members of the CPC could not have asked for a better way to celebrate the centenary.
Yet Chinese thinking and practice also believes that China is not in competition with other countries but rather ensures that other countries are also developed. The destiny of humanity is part of this Chinese dream.
As a result, China, led by the CPC, has contributed 70% of the global reduction in poverty while the Belt and Road Initiative itself, under the leadership of secretary-general, Xi Jinping, is estimated to have lifted nearly 40 million people out of poverty around the world.
There should be little doubt that the attacks on China and its sovereignty emanate precisely from those quarters who thought that they had defeated socialism over 30 years ago. China has proven the ideological imperialists wrong.
We must congratulate the CPC on its ability to have indigenised Marxist-Leninism with the introduction of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the success of this thinking is undeniable. African political parties can learn much from the CPC.
If anything, the legitimacy of the CPC remains firmly intact because the party enjoys the full confidence of the people of China.
To another 100 years for the CPC.
* Wesley Seale completed his PhD in Chinese foreign policy in Beijing.