China creates and nurtures the Chinese Dream
23 Oct 2017 - 23:29
Mukesh Sharma from Beijing / The Peninsula
At the world’s largest solar farm in the world, 10,000 panels float on a lake of the size of 160 American football fields. The facility in Huainan City in China’s Anhui Province is one instance of the country’s growing industrial prowess and the result of a vision proposed by the Communist Party of China to keep the economic engine of the second largest economy up and running.
That vision was put into words by President Xi Jinping through a speech that kept the nation riveted for more than three hours at the opening of the Party’s 19th Congress in Beijing. As we journalists from all around the globe congregated at the Great Hall of the People — the Chinese Paliament — the wait seemed endless. The long queue for the translated version of the Chinese leader’s words had media representatives from as far as Nigeria and Egypt and as near as North Korea and Russia.
I had got into the Chinese Parliament after passing by numerous cops and security barriers that dotted the Tiananmen Square on a rain-soaked morning, wondering if wet weather before an auspicious event was taken as a good omen in Chinese culture.
Inside ParIiament, I was awed by the gilded hallway ceilings held up by gargantuan pillars. Young Party workers positioned at vantage points stare at me with blank expressions — a result of schooling in the Communist Party system.
The topmost gallery inside the Parliament put the congregation of the Party in perspective, albeit in a slightly miniaturised way. There was President Xi at the lectern on a giant stage. As television cameras zoomed in on delegates seated in rows, Xi spoke of the last five years and the coming time — plans of how the Party looked at the coming half decade.
The world’s eyes and ears were straining themselves on the leader who commands a country that has upended two leading systems — capitalism and Marxism — to carve out a niche within which to grow under the banner of ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics.’ Probably the only nation to have slipped through the vacuum created by the fall of its Communist ally — the Soviet Union, China has led with spectacular progress since the 1980s. Now it has given shape to a global infrastructure dream moulded into the Belt and Road Initiative.
The Belt and Road, commonly abbreviated as B&R, reaches out to countries as diverse as Pakistan and Kenya to set up a network of logistical hubs for trade and commerce, akin to the ancient Silk Road along which Chinese traders moved in the days of yore.
That China makes, but does not create has been bandied about by the West after the country started opening up and challenged the long-held industrial might characteristic of the western hemisphere. When the Industrial Revolution gave a major push to mechanization — the East was still dealing with its monarchs and feudal warlords out to extract every penny from a helpless population.
China breaks notions when you visit it. What has prevented a giant nation from highlighting its numerous strengths to the world amid some weaknesses that are always in the spotlight, I thought? Probably, it kept looking inward for a longer time than needed.
An ancient civilisation marked by a rich history and deep cultural roots, it transcended many challenges of the times. Besides, the Great Wall of China that was built largely to ward off attacks by the Mongols, a moat that runs around Beijing tells you how the Chinese protected themselves from external assaults. Our Chinese guide who is close to becoming a Party member tells me that there was a wall erected by a Chinese emperor to protect the capital where the second Ring Road in Beijing stands.
It is not the China portrayed by noisy toys and food scandals that stands out. It is a country that manages 31 provinces housing close to 1.5 billion people belonging to 56 ethnicities or ‘nationalities’ as the Chinese prefer to call them.
Chung-yue Chang, who teaches philosophy at Montclair State University in the United States, has this tale about a Chinese to chronicle in ‘Plain talk and People First Style’: A new crop of future leaders is being developed this way. Today there are tens of thousands of college graduates who voluntarily work as village party chiefs in poor areas. We do not hear much about them because their choice us normal and typical for young people with public service aspirations.
Chung-yue goes on to say in his 2013 article: We do hear from the media about atypical cases. In 2011 Qin Yufei, a media-shy 27-year-old from Chongqing, who is a graduate of Yale University, decided to enter public service as an entry level assistant in poor-remote Hejiashan village in Hunan province. Thus far he has raised 800,000 Yuna for the village, procured 700 tablet computers for students, and through a Yale-alumni connection received a nursing home blueprint from a design company for free. Villagers fondly call him “Brother Yale.” He is working hard and learning fast to become a village Party chief someday.
This is the new and future China style of leadership, Chung-yue says.