Celebrating the founding of the People’s Republic of China
by Nalin Aponso
In January 1940, the founder of the People’s Republic of China, Mao Zedong, in an essay made some very important comments about the new democracy. “For many years, we communists have struggled for a cultural revolution as well as a political and economic revolution. Our goal is to build a new society and a new state for the Chinese nation. The new society and the new state will have not only new politics, and a new economy, but also a new culture. In short, we want to build a new China. Our goal in the cultural field is to build a new Chinese national culture,” he outlined. In conclusion, Mao Zedong explained the true meaning of the new democracy and said, “a national, scientific and mass culture–such is the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal culture of the people, the culture of New Democracy, the new culture of the Chinese nation.” China has been on this new path since 1949 and has become a great power in the world.
While some countries in the West misused democracy as a tool to oppress and humiliate other countries, China was careful to use the values of this political principle in a way that suited its country and people. As a result, China became the main operating vigour in the world economy. It became a country where poverty was eradicated within a short period of time. It is against this backdrop that we celebrate the founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China this year.
Undoubtedly, the Chinese nation is a great nation. With more than 5000 years of history, China has made an ineradicable contribution to the progress of human civilization. However, after the Opium War of 1840, China gradually became a semi-colonial, semi-feudal society and suffered greater destruction than ever before. China was humiliated by various parties. Chinese civilization was plunged into darkness, causing great suffering to the people. Since then, national rejuvenation has been the biggest dream of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation. They worked day and night for that.
The establishment of the Communist Party of China is a historical event that has ushered in an era that has completely changed the course of modern Chinese history, transformed the future of the Chinese people and nation, and changed the landscape of world development. From the day the party was founded, the party has made it its ambition and mission to provide the true freedom that the Chinese people have longed for and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. All the struggles, sacrifices and creations that the Party has brought together and led the Chinese people over the past decades are tied together by one final theme, togetherness. The great revival of the Chinese nation was due to that unity.
That harmony was not accidental. Changing the attitudes of people in a society is a complex mission. All the liberationists including Mao understood it very well. In October 1947, Mao Zedong reiterated the basic principles that all participants in the freedom movement should follow. There he published a short memorandum entitled ‘Reissue of Three Rules and Eight Points for Attention, which reminded the Red Army of their obligations to civilians:
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s three main laws of discipline and eight points of attention had been in place for many years. Mao’s three main rules were; to obey orders in all your actions, don’t take a single needle or piece of thread from the masses, and turn in everything captured.
Also, the eight points for attention that all members of the army must follow were; speak politely, pay fairly for what you buy, return everything you borrow, pay for anything you damage, don’t hit or swear at people, don’t damage crops, don’t take liberties with women, don’t ill-treat captives.” These three main rules and eight points for attention were well defended by the Chinese people and worked hard for true liberation.
The exemplary manner in which China has followed these principles in moving toward its development goals over the past few decades can be clearly observed. The most important feature that can be considered here is the appropriate application of these principles in national and international affairs for the advancement of human civilization. Attributes of these principles are still present in China today and are seen to be well taken into account in the state’s policy decisions.
That is why it is important to pay attention to the basic points emphasized by the current Chinese President Xi Jinping at the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) recently in Samarkand in Uzbekistan. The President referred to the two founding documents, the SCO Charter and the Agreement on Long-Term Good Neighbourhood, Friendship and Cooperation between the SCO Member States, and drew attention to several principles on which they are based.
Win-win cooperation; China will accommodate each other’s needs, stay true to the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits, enhance cooperation between China’s respective development strategies, and keep on the path of win-win cooperation for common prosperity.
Equality among nations; China is committed to the principle of equality among all countries regardless of their size, consensus-based decision-making and problem-solving through friendly consultation while rejecting any form of oppression.
Openness and inclusion; China stand for harmonious coexistence and mutual learning between different countries, races and cultures, dialogue between civilizations and the search for common ground, eliminating differences. China is always open to establishing partnerships and developing win-win cooperation with other countries and international organizations that share its vision.
Equity and justice; China is committed to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter; China tackle major international and regional issues on the basis of their merits and opposes the pursuit of one’s own agenda at the expense of other countries’ legitimate rights and interests.
As President Xi correctly mentioned, “long as the journey is, we will surely reach our destination when we stay the course.” SCO is changing the landscape of international organizations and working toward the Asian Century. On the other hand, sustainable economic initiatives such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) engineered by Xi’s China are attracting more partners. In this context, the largest development project in the history of mankind, the Belt and Road Initiative, has become a necklace worn not only by every Asian, African and Latin American, but also by Europeans, and has given high value to human civilization.
In Conclusion, the point to be made here is the importance of strong principles and follows them sincerely. In China, I believe, it is the secret behind its incredible success.
Long live the People’s Republic of China!
[Nalin Aponso is the President of the Sri Lanka China Journalists Forum.]