Setting out on the Great Rejuvenation
China Today (English)|August 2021
THE centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was marked by a grand gathering held on July 1 at Beijing’s Tian’anmen Square.
ZHANG HUI

General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping, who is also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, declared in his speech at the ceremony that China had realized its first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and that the nation is now heading toward its second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects.

This avowal was greeted with a massive wave of applause and cheers that swept the square. Among the hundreds of thousands present at the Tian’anmen Square ceremony were Xu Jing and her colleagues from the Office of Beijing Municipal Leading Group for Poverty Reduction Cooperation and Assistance, their faces wreathed in jubilant smiles. “I’m so thrilled to be here. Under the Party’s leadership our country has made incredible achievements. As a CPC member, this makes me feel very proud,” Xu told China Today. The people’s confidence in and wholehearted support for the Party was palpable throughout the square. In Xu’s words, “The reason is clear. Everything our Party has done has been with the sole aim of serving the people and improving their lives.”

Historic Achievements

General Secretary Xi observed in his speech, “We established the Party’s basic line for the primary stage of socialism, resolutely advanced reform and opening up, overcame risks and challenges from every direction, and founded, upheld, safeguarded, and developed socialism with Chinese characteristics, thus bringing about a major turn with far-reaching significance in the history of the Party since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. This enabled China to transform itself from a highly centralized planned economy to a socialist market economy brimming with vitality, and from a country that was largely isolated to one that is open to the outside world across the board. It also enabled China to achieve the historic leap from a country with relatively backward productive forces to the world’s second-largest economy, and to make the historic transformation of raising the living standards of its people from bare subsistence to an overall level of moderate prosperity, and then ultimately to moderate prosperity in all respects.”

Under the leadership of the CPC, China has achieved remarkable progress on many fronts. Han Wenxiu, an official with the Central Committee for Financial and Economic Affairs, remarked at a press conference on June 28 that, in stark comparison to the few dozen dollars the country had upon its founding in 1949, China’s per capita GDP now exceeds US $10,000. Over the same period the average life expectancy of Chinese people increased from 35 years to 77.3 years and infant mortality dropped from 200 per 1,000 to 5.6 per 1,000.

The white paper The Communist Party of China and Human Rights Protection – A 100-Year Quest, released last June by the State Council Information Office, states that China has put in place the world’s largest social security system, encompassing pensions, medical and health care, and social assistance, expanding coverage and improving protection. In 2020, the basic medical insurance scheme covered 1.36 billion people. As of April 2021, around one billion people had subscribed to basic old-age insurance. The right to education is guaranteed. The white paper states that free compulsory education is available across the country. In 2020, the completion rate of its free nine-year compulsory education was 95.2 percent — equal to the average in high-income countries. There was also a 91.2 percent gross enrollment in China’s senior secondary education — higher than the average in upper-middle-income countries. In 2020 about 9.7 million undergraduate students and 1.1 million postgraduates enrolled in colleges and universities.

While on an inspection tour of Peking University on May 2, 2018, Xi Jinping emphasized that China must hold firm to self-reliance and independent innovation in the drive toward major sci-tech achievements that should be considered a strategic support for national development. As regards technological innovation, China’s historic and outstanding holistic changes have vaulted the country to an upper global ranking in the field. Among the country’s recent achievements in major science and technology innovations are the deep-sea manned submersible Jiaolong, the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope, the Dark Matter Particle Explorer (DAMPE), and the Micius quantum experiment satellite, as well as a range of breakthroughs in the aeronautics and space exploration field. Science and technology indeed play an ever more important role in the country’s social and economic development.

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