One world, one dream

By Hu Angang
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, December 4, 2013
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Hu Angang. File photo

--By Hu Angang, Director of the Center for China Studies, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Tsinghua University

The Chinese nation has historically always been a giant. She has remained a world power when thriving or declining. She has been relentlessly pursuing the Chinese Dream and the World Dream – the dream of a peaceful, fair and common world.

More than 2,000 years ago, Confucius mentioned his dream for a harmonious and prosperous society. In recent Chinese history, Kang Youwei restated and developed the concept of a "common ideal" and Sun Yat-sen stated that "the real Three Principles of the People is a harmonious world aspired by Confucius and other ancient Chinese people."[1]

Sun called for the "rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," yet suffered numerous unsuccessful attempts, and ultimately failed. At Sun’s era, China was declining more rapidly. China's share of the world's total GDP dropped from 12 percent in 1900 to 4.6 percent in 1950, its smallest share of the world total in 2,000 years, particularly in past 200 years. China was the country with the largest number of people in absolute poverty.

After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese people have discovered a path to realize the Chinese Dream. At the 8th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Mao Zedong unveiled a plan for China's steel output to surpass that of the United States in the next 50-60 years, which was part of the Chinese Dream to catch up with and overtake the United States. He also put forward the "China contribution theory," which said that China should make a relatively large contribution to human progress in the 21st century. By the end of the 1970s, the CPC had completed the process of transforming China from a traditional country into a modern one and established an independent and comprehensive economic and industrial system, laying the foundation for reform and opening up.

In 1979, Deng Xiaoping talked about his Chinese Dream for a moderately prosperous society. Details about the three strategic steps to realize this Chinese Dream were spelled out at the 13th CPC Nation Congress. Guided by these strategic ideals, the CPC has blazed a road to modernization through Socialism with Chinese characteristics and achieved its opening up and rapid development. By the end of the 20th century, China had attained the goals necessary for the first two steps: to build a strong country and let people live a moderately prosperous life.

China's GDP calculated based on market exchange rates accounted for 1.75 percent of the world total in 1978, ranking 10th. In 2000, its share rose to 3.75 percent, ranking it sixth. In 2012, the share increased further to 9.5 percent, marking a move to second place.

The nation’s purchasing power parity adjusted GDP accounted for 4.9 percent of the world total in 1978, ranking fourth. In 2000, the share rose to 7.8 percent, making it the third largest. In 2012, the share increased further to 19 percent, again putting China in second place. [2]

At the closing ceremony of the first session of the 12th National People's Congress in 2013, Xi Jinping re-emphasized the "two centennial goals" as well as the Chinese Dream to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. He reiterated that the Chinese Dream is to build a rich and strong country, achieve the rejuvenation of the people, and let people live happily. He called for people of various ethnic groups to make unremitting efforts to realize this great dream.

Over the course of the 21st century, we will realize the great Chinese Dream in three phrases. The goal for the first phase is to complete building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the CPC's centennial anniversary. Currently, we are half way through the phase and have completed more than half of the tasks. At the 18th CPC National Congress, the goal was refined to achieving economic, political, cultural, social and ecological progresses.

The goal for the second phase is to realize socialist modernization with Chinese characteristics by the centennial anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The goal for the third phase is to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation step by step through the rest of the 21st century.

These are the three phases toward realizing the Chinese Dream of a great people, a great country and a great nation. The great historical mission of the CPC is to lead billions of people to realize the great Chinese Dream.

The great rejuvenation of China is in essence the rejuvenation of its culture and civilization. Chinese people believe in self-discipline and social commitment, seeking truth from facts, and seeking common ground while putting aside differences. Blending both traditional and modern elements, Chinese culture in the 21st century is an important part of international culture. The great rejuvenation of the Chinese people is an all-rounded rejuvenation, which is rare in human history. China is to make unprecedented economic, political, cultural, social and ecological progresses. We predict that by 2020, China's market exchange rate adjusted GDP will surpass that of the United States. With GDP equaling to 1-1.7 times that of the United States, China will reach the top of the world, a place that the United States has occupied for more than 100 years. By 2030, China's GDP, regardless of the computation methods, will be tantamount to about two times that of the United States. By that year, China's consumer market will be 1.7-1.9 times that of the United States and Chinese World 500 firms will greatly outnumber U.S. ones. [3]

What exactly is the Chinese Dream in the 21st century? In one phrase, it is to have a "common world." Nowadays, 7 billion people of thousands of ethnic groups live in 239 countries and regions in the world. We live on the same earth and under the same sky, so we have a shared interest: to build a beautiful and forever peaceful world rather than a world ruptured by wars and turmoil, an equal and prosperous world rather than a world of yawning disparity, a green world rather than a world haunted by environment disasters. This is not only the dream of Chinese people, but also that of people in other countries of the world.

In the following two decades, the world is going to see the collective rise of developing countries, and the end of developed countries' dominancy in the past two countries. During the period, the ratio of developing countries' economic scale to that of developed countries will change from the current 50:50 to 70:30, and the ratio of their trade volume will change from the current 60:40 to 70:30. Developing countries will become the major destinations of foreign investment and export. Their share of the world economy will be close to their share of the world population. The world will become more balanced and more equal. [4]

A "common world" is neither a Utopia nor beyond reach. It is a "mutually beneficial" proposition put forward by Chinese leaders. It has five connotations:

First, economically, countries should cooperate and complement each other in order to achieve common development through mutually beneficial means. They should jointly push forward economic globalization, and make the world a more equal, just and balanced place. They should fundamentally reverse the polarization trend in the past two centuries and promote both developing and developed countries to seek common prosperity and progress.

Second, politically, countries should respect each other, consult each other equally, peacefully coexist and work together to create a more democratic, equal and balanced world. Developing countries should be given greater say and voting right in regional and world affairs. For a long time, developed countries have monopolized speaking and decision-making rights in world affairs, which should be fundamentally changed. Countries should handle world affairs together through consultations and take common responsibilities.

Third, in terms of security, countries should not infringe upon or interfere with each other. They should respect each other's rights in handling safety affairs independently, and oppose sabotaging legitimate governments or interfering with or threatening others with violence. They should fundamentally change the long-term hegemony and dominance of developed countries, and promote multiple forms of multilateral safety, cooperative safety and collective safety. They should actively respond to various global and regional traditional and untraditional safety challenges, so as to maintain world peace.

Fourth, culturally, countries should communicate with and learn from each other, and protect and promote cultural diversity and uniqueness. They should be encouraged to keep their cultures open and inclusive, and transmit traditional cultures and be creative. Developed countries' persisting cultural and media dominancy should be shattered so that world cultures will be more colorful.

Fifth, ecologically, countries should help each other and work together to cope with global ecological and environment crises, including global climate change. They should build a world where people and nature are in harmony. They should take green development paths, take care of the nature and build a green world together.

The great rejuvenation of Chinese people will promote world harmony. China and the world are on the same boat. Chinese people and other people across the world should aspire for common prosperity and care about the nature together. Chinese people's World Dream is to make more, bigger and more important contributions to the development of the human kind. In the 21st century, China will be committed to maintaining world peace, promoting the common prosperity of human kind, constructing harmonious international order, and making greater contribution to the world.

[1] Sun Wen: The Three Principles of the People, Han Civilization Hall, 1924

[2] Data of 1978 and 2000 are from Angus Maddison, World Population, GDP and Per Capita GDP, 1-2008 AD, 2010,, Data of 2012 was computed by author.

[3] Hu, Angang, Yilong Yan and Xing Wei, China in 2030, toward Common Prosperity, China Renmin University Press, 2011

[4] Hu, Angang, Yilong Yan and Xing Wei, China in 2030, toward Common Prosperity, China Renmin University Press, 2011

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