China and the Philippines have drawn closer together under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Image: Facebook

China is dealing with a trade war with the US and slowing growth, but its economic achievements over the 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic suggest it still has a bright future. Much of China’s success lies in the reform and opening-up policies implemented by its great leaders. Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and current leader Xi Jinping have pursued the same general development path over the past 70 years. However, each of them has sought to update and upgrade the development process and pave the way for the next generation to implement original ideas that have unique Chinese characteristics.

Peaceful coexistence 

Since its founding in 1949, China has carried the banner of peaceful coexistence, which has underlined the unification of countries with different systems to ensure peaceful coexistence. In fact, this concept has been considered the bedrock of peace and development, since the principles behind it – “equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty” – constitute the core ideas that all nations seek to realize in this globalized world. The roots of this concept can be traced back to the Chinese tradition of establishing a harmonious world in order to achieve prosperity and peace . for all. Xi also puts emphasis on the principle of peaceful coexistence and its significant role in the history of global politics and the world economy. This provides an opportunity for mankind to resolve historical issues and political disputes.

Socialist modernization

Over the past 70 years, Chinese leaders have proposed different development strategies that have mainly been focused on socialist modernization with Chinese characteristics, and highlight universal peace, stability and prosperity. In this vein, President Xi has emphasized the concept of “one center, two values,” in which “one center” refers to people-oriented development and “two values” refers to “universal peace and order” and “prolonged prosperity.” Such socialist modernization mainly revolves around opening-up policies, building a prosperous society, maintaining a sustainable and healthy economy, and establishing multilateral and collaborative relations with all countries.

China has expanded its involvement in the current system of global governance and has increased its participation in international organizations

Furthermore, Chinese leaders seek to modernize the government and its capabilities in order to establish a new model for its relations with all the countries of the world, regardless of their ideology or system of governance. Chinese foreign policy is premised on the idea that human beings share a common destiny. In fact, the vision for a community of common destiny among all nations includes win-win cooperation and a common development framework that emphasizes peaceful development and non- interference policies. Furthermore, China has expanded its involvement in the current system of global governance and has increased its participation in international organizations. It also plays a significant role in maintaining global norms and enforcing rules, which suggests a clear determination to promote multilateralism rather than unilateralism in the international community.

Innovative development

Since 1949, innovative development has been ubiquitous on Chinese agendas and has accelerated economic, technological and social development. Over the past 70 years, Chinese leaders have always addressed China’s backwardness in scientific and technological spheres and have deemed it necessary to narrow the gap between China and other developing countries. In this vein, Mao noted that “we cannot insist on the ready-made principle of technology development in various countries around the world, that is, we cannot crawl behind others step by step. We must break the routine, and develop China into a great power of socialist modernization in a short historical period using advanced technology as far as possible.” However, President Xi’s agenda for innovative development not only highlights an appropriate mechanism for science and technology but also provides innovation with more profound and comprehensive concepts that cover China’s growth in economic, cultural and social spheres and could subsequently go beyond any innovative achievement in human history.

Looking at the history of China’s development over the 70 years, we recognize that China is the only state that clearly seeks to pursue win-win development and the policy of opening up to the outside world. Its commitment to maintaining and promoting friendly cooperation with all countries on the basis of peaceful coexistence principles suggests that it aims to create a peaceful, stable and prosperous world. Labeling Beijing’s development strategies as Chinese imperialism is completely unfounded. China never imposes its ideology and way of life on others and is very eager to offer any necessary assistance to all nations.

Also read: Hong Kong protests rain on China’s big parade

Behzad Abdollahpour is an MA student of North American studies at the Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran. He is interested in US-China foreign policy, comparative politics, and cultural ties between China and Iran. His research focuses particularly on China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the China’s rising role in the international arena.

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