Looking beyond China's four decades of reforms

By Sajjad Malik
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, December 25, 2018
Adjust font size:
The night view of Shanghai on Nov. 1, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

As China officially celebrates the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up, the entire world is mesmerized by its unique economic miracle. The last four decades have truly been marvelous, as China has galloped along a path to glory by tackling domestic socio-economic issues and building a global reputation.

Only one word – revolution – can truly capture the magnitude of changes ushered in since the process of opening up started in 1978. However, it is a different kind of revolution than is generally understood by the word. 

China embarked on economic revitalization due to momentous policy changes. It unleashed great constructive energies that changed the landscape of the country. Thus, unlike other revolutions, it created and built instead of destruction and demolition.   

There are two aspects I would like to emphasize regarding the achievements China has made.

First, it bid farewell to the problems that had plagued its people for thousands of years, including hunger, shortage and poverty. 

An aerial photo of greenhouses for watermelons in Jinlingzhai village, Xuan'en county of central China's Hubei province on April 12, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

A noble parameter to determine the greatness of any achievement is whether it helped to overcome the basic problems faced by the common and vulnerable people. The post-1978 development shows it addressed joblessness, poverty, homelessness, illiteracy, diseases and other such issues. 

Second, China is committed to playing a role of a peacemaker in the world. This approach is vastly different from the centuries-old tradition when nations wanting more power would try to expand it at the cost of other nations. Trying to promote peace and harmony despite odds is another noble achievement. 

China undoubtedly has achieved a lot. However, the big question for many China watchers is: What next? People ask if it will build on the economic gains and continue the pace of progress in coming decades or flounder somewhere in the middle due to global tensions. 

I think China's hugely conscious of its new found place in the world. It also well understands the price of backwardness which it paid in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. 

In fact, the efforts made to carve out the special status and the perils of losing it should prompt China to make more sustained efforts in the coming years to continue moving on the road towards peace and progress. 

Visitors view exhibits at a major exhibition to commemorate the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up held at the National Museum of China in Beijing on Dec. 20, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

China is apparently united to sustain the economic progress it achieved after great struggles. Its people know they are close to a historical moment to become the greatest economic power. If the opportunity is allowed to slip away, then it may take decades and perhaps centuries to again come to this stage. 

However, until China emerges as top economic power, its race will be only half run. It means it should go through another decade or two working tirelessly before it could claim the top notch in the global order. 

The good news is that China is a brand that sells well around the world; the hard part is that a successful brand thrives only on innovation and newness. It would continue to face tough challenges, but only the best amongst all would survive to excel. 

Sajjad Malik is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit:


Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter