By Herman Tiu Laurel
The Communist Party of China (CPC) was formed a hundred years ago in 1921 promising to uplift China and its people from centuries of feudalism marked by backwardness, widespread hunger and ignorance, with scientific socialism as its guide in understanding society, its conflicts and the solutions to poverty, development and emancipation of man.
Many other communist and socialist parties have come and most have gone. Surviving communist parties other than the CPC are years younger, like the Communist Party of Vietnam or the Communist Party of Korea and nowhere near the same historical significance of the CPC today as the paramount example of a successful ruling party.
The CPC has not only withstood the test of time, it has also today proven its socialist and democratic-centralist political system to be a fitting challenger to the hitherto unrivaled capitalist and liberal-electoral-democratic system of the West and championed and pushed on the world through political and economic pressures by the U.S.A.
Without the CPC – No New China, No New World
The CPC by its unbounded dedication to the welfare of the idea of the People, its scientific socialist theory and practice of “seeking truth from facts”, its philosophy of organization leading to its power of mobilization to surmount obstacles, achieve concrete objectives and win battles – have proven beyond doubt today to be a worthy equal if not a superior system to the alternatives.
It’s characteristics as a political system disputed by the West such as “democratic centralism” or what I call “communitarian democracy” consisting of consensus building in the Party and with the government, selection and election by stages of Party and government leaders, have led to progressive stages of success that has built a new, modern, economically and technological China – The New China.
And the New China is fulfilling both its dream and promise to its Third World brethren of liberation of the poor and underdeveloped nations to finally end the 500-year era of Imperialism and neo-colonialism and rise out of poverty – not through violence but through economic infrastructure and trade development with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to create The New World.
Few are aware that the U.S. decision to act against China predates by a decade the 2017 Trump declaration of “strategic competitor” on China. In 2005 the U.S. and Australia held its inaugural exercise Talisman Sabre practicing the closure of the Malacca Straits to shipping targeting China’s trade, and in 2011 President Obama announced the “Pivot to Asia” aimed at preserving US military hegemony in Asia.
The U.S. hoped to avert the coming end of its Asian domination, China moved quickly to reclaim islands as “permanent aircraft carriers”. The U.S. demonized this as Chinese “militarization” covering up the fact that U.S. transfer of 60% of its military assets to Asia is the reason. China ensured the U.S. can no longer stir up trouble in the SCS, and only engage in megaphone aggression.
China does not want to see fires raging in the Asian neighborhood which would only threaten its own peaceful rise and the rise of Asia on which it depends for stable growth too. With Asia stable and peaceful, its outreach to the rest of the Third World continues. The pandemic came and China declared its vaccine “global public good” and helps save lives, while the U.S. continues peddling its war materiel.
CPC and China’s Mission and Promise
Asia’s trust in China has grown, and it was finally sealed with the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). South Korea declines the anti-China QUAD entanglements leaving timid Japan and blustering India to tag along with the U.S.-Aussie duo. No ASEAN country even considers the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD), not even the American assets in the Philippine bureaucracy.
China’s primary mission as it explains is to uplift its nation to become a “fully developed nation by 2049” after having achieved in 2021 a “moderately well-off society”. Unlike the U.S. which scream to the world today, as Biden says, “America is back… at the head of the table” obsessed with the fear that China will take the seat while China with BRICS seeks a round table where all are equal.
As the world’s largest creditor and economy in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) and Asia’s financial savior in the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis, while serving as crutch of the global financial system through the 2008 U.S. financial crash, China also aims to build The Community of Shared Future for Mankind, for an era of peace and prosperity. China’s 100 years track record inspires confidence that this can be achieved.
CPC members: Discipline and Sacrifice
The first thing I ask focusing on the CPC is, “What makes the CPC different from all other political parties that has withstood the test of 100 years?” My answer is, “Its leaders and cadres are trained (not armchair) intellectuals”. As such they take ideas and ideals seriously, often over and above material considerations, unlike liberal-electoral-democracy politicians valuing ambitions over everything else.
The concept of “vanguard party” and “democratic-centralism” bringing about a “one-party” governing system creates the clear advantage of “continuity” of governance and hence long-term planning, building on experience upon experience, correcting one mistake and moving onwards and upwards, nimble adaptation to changing medium term conditions, dogged tenacity and perpetuity of purpose.
Organizational discipline and, hence, effective manpower and mobilization to achieve objectives, as in China’s anti-poverty campaign where the Party mobilized 3-million of its 90-million members to reach and design a plan for every poor family. In the course of the mission over 700 Party cadres sacrificed their lives due to sickness or accident in the performance of the duties.
China’s selection and election
Contrary to the general impression China has a hierarchical electoral system whereby local People’s Congresses are directly elected, and higher levels of the People’s Congresses up to the National People’s Congress (NPC) are indirectly elected by the People’s Congress. The presence and guidance of the Party in all levels of hierarchy leaves it imprint on the selection of candidates and the elections.
In the liberal-electoral-democracy model the selection of candidates at different levels are based on ability to raise funds or find patrons for such funds, showmanship, media influence, electoral process or machinery manipulation. The political parties have no long-term goals except to win the next elections or survive until the next elections, hence long-term governance is weak or non-existent.
China and the CPC are not the only successful practitioners of the one-party, selection and election model, Vietnam has shown itself superior to its ASEAN neighbors in overall performance and even North Kore has not only survived a ruthless US embargo but even managed to progress in its defense development. Singapore is another, though a disguised one-party state.
Learning from China
Filipinos’ disgust and dissatisfaction with its own political system is clearly evident. It’s election administrator, the Comelec, is widely distrusted and ridiculed and its dependence on a proven cheating machine the Smartmatic seems unbreakable despite plentiful evidence. A freak 2016 elections broke the 30 years control of the US-controlled Philippine political faction as Duterte changed course.
Even paramount capitalist-liberal-electoral US is dissatisfied with its democracy as the 2020 Dalia democracy survey of 53 countries report that 53% of Americans say their country is not democratic while only 13% of Chinese say their country is not democratic. Even popular American social analyst John Naisbitt sees the advantage of “vertical democracy” in delivering what the people want.
When people see a track record of a ruling party delivering on short to long terms promises from the basic needs to heightened development, they will be willing to grant long-term power to a single party. China was fortunate that its historical crisis paved the way for the CPC but in the Philippines today only an incumbent can usher in a strong party state, hence the public clamor for a revolutionary government (RevGov).
The CPC’s global vision
China does not have 800 military bases outside its borders like the U.S. does, it does have only one in Djibouti as logistical facilities for resupplying its navy engaged in international anti-piracy operations.
China rejects any allegation of seeking hegemonism or expansionism. Its global intentions are summed up in the BRI and expansion of global trade.
In contrast to the U.S. and its Western allies, China’s only aggressive advocacy is its push for The Community of Shared Future for Mankind, built on the foundations of Multilateralism and the concept of a Multi-Polar World. It offers the immensity of its productive economy and rich, enormous consumer market, as the fulcrum to leverage this global community to a success.
This vision seems to me the expression of the idealistic intellectual’s vision of the Utopia, the Marxist “International” or L’Internationale that “Will be the human race” where “There are not supreme saviors, Neither God, nor Caesar, nor tribune… Producers save ourselves! Decree common salvation!…”
This anthem still makes my heart throb as it does so many of my colleagues like Manila Times’ columnist Mauro Gia Samonte, who writing a book about China curiously entitled it “The Way, The Truth and The Life.”