The successful governance of China

2 December 2020

Having gradually opened up the Peoples Republic of China to the world over the past several decades the country has created a new dynamic in world affairs. Their ideology of solidarity and the benefit for the collective will always be the basis of a governance model that has enabled a nation to re-invent itself, adapting to circumstances and situations.

In South Africa, HE Chen Xiaodong, recently accredited Ambassador of China to South Africa, launched the 3rd edition of President Xi Jinping’s book ‘The Governance of China’. A digital seminar organized by the National Press Club and hosted by its Chairperson Val Boje with the participation of prominent and eminent persons made for an informative discussion.

According to many global indices China’s development by any standards can be described by a number of superlatives. Comparing the economic data, the country’s development and progress has been described by experts as unprecedented. At the core of this phenomenon is China’s human resource. They have blossomed through a visionary, nurturing and enabling leadership motivated and inspired by a system that inculcates discipline, tolerance, responsibility, accountability, and this structured approach leads to the rewards of a shared prosperity and an inclusive society.

In the 3rd volume of his book The Governance of China III President Xi Jinping acknowledges China’s rise and remarkable development. The numbers include gross domestic product rising from RMB54 trillion to RMB80 trillion and China’s position as the second largest economy of the world contributing 30% to global economic growth are clear indicators since the 18th National Congress.

Innovation, combining high technology, with the emerging digital economy and infrastructure development has picked up pace. Several millennia ago Chinese innovation and invention was shared via the ancient Silk Road. The Belt and Road initiative follows the example set by history as the focus on making China the centre of Science and Innovation once again.

The book further points to major breakthroughs in the rule of law, building up of institutions and the improving living standards of its people. Ecological and environmental governance has been significantly strengthened and so have efforts to conserve resources and reduce energy consumption.
Ambassador of China to South Africa, Chen Xiaodong, at the webinar (Embassy of China in South Africa)


During the webinar Ambassador Chen highlighted what he called the ‘Five P’ from the book ‘The Governance of China III’. These he said are People First, Party Leadership, New Paradigm, Shared Prosperity and Governing Proficiency.

In China the plan is to leave no one behind in achieving a moderately prosperous society, creating a healthy China and ending poverty. Ambassador Chen said that by the end of 2020 no one in China will be living in absolute poverty.

The leadership and commitment of the Chinese Communist Party, the largest political party in the world, is pivotal in the development and stability of the country. Ensuring clean governance, the country’s GDP grew this year despite the negative effects of Covid-19 on the world’s economies. In formulating this 14th 5-Year Plan deliberations and consultations were held across a broad spectrum with the aim of moving China on to a path of becoming a moderately developed economy.

With China’s market size growing President Xi’s new paradigm calls for harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature. Its new stage of development will encompass modern, innovative, green, environmentally friendly growth. In this regard Ambassador Chen pointed out that clear water and green mountains are as valuable as gold.

In its development China is opening up to the world with the goal of shared prosperity for all and an all-round beneficial, win-win strategy.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Ambassador Chen said that in building a China-Africa community with a shared future, China will strengthen exchanges and mutual learning. China will deepen anti-pandemic cooperation and support Africa in its post Covid-19 development.

Guests from the South African political and academic spheres shared their thoughts on Xi Jinping’s book and China’s development agenda.
ANC deputy-secretary general, Jessie Duarte, referred to the good relations between the ANC and the CPC. The developing world can learn from China who has seen unprecedented growth and development and was able to lift so much of its population out of poverty. No plan will be successful, she said, without the efficacy of the state, the agility of the state and discipline and cohesiveness.

China and South Africa share a mutually beneficial relationship, said Duarte, with South Africa being China’s largest trading partner in Africa and they are also partners in BRICS.

Lindiwe Zulu, the Minister of Social Development and chair of the International Relations subcommittee of the ANC, was represented by Advocate Lindiwe Maseko who said that the Governance of China III holds many lessons and insights on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics, poverty alleviation and the creation of a moderately prosperous society.

University of Johannesburg Vice Chancellor Prof Tshilidzi Marwala noted that there were over 81,000 African students currently studying in China. The University of Johannesburg was the first South African university to confer an Honorary Doctorate on Xi Jinping.

Dr Anil Sooklal, DIRCO’s Deputy Director General: Asia and Middle East, asked what lessons does South Africa draw from the remarkable rise of China, on all levels. China’s 5-Year plans began in 1953 and their practical implementation since then have had a dramatic impact on the lives of its people. The plans and their implementation also have lessons for continuity of leadership. At the end of 2020 China would have lifted its population of 1.4 billion out of poverty, one of its many remarkable achievements.

China was never a coloniser and it openly shares its blueprint for growth and development for others to learn from.

by A Pemjee and K Bhana