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Society & Culture

Secret of China’s Success: Diligence, Wisdom and Innovation

Sep 02 , 2019
  • Wang Fan

    Vice President, China Foreign Affairs University

Over the past four decades, China has made stunning achievements - its GDP has become the world’s second largest, its contribution to world economy has reached 30 percent, and the country will officially bid farewell to poverty by 2020. Following four decades of reforms, China accomplished what took the West hundreds of years. It has also attracted suspicion.

PresidentDonald Trump has acknowledged China’s amazing achievements, yet he claimed that China accomplished this by ripping the US off.

China's success went beyond western expectations, and its accomplishments were made by following a path and model different from those practiced in the West, making some westerners nervous and suspicious. So they either speculate, slander or stigmatize. In fact, China’s accomplishments are made possible largely by the Chinese people rolling up their sleeves and working hard. If there's any secret to such achievements, it is diligence, wisdom and
innovation.

First, the Chinese people are diligent with a strong belief that happiness can only be created with one’s own efforts. There are numerous transient workers in major Chinese cities, who live frugally while making outstanding contributions to their host cities. They have built magnificent buildings, high-speed rails, and airports in those cities. Chinese outbound workers are building new stadiums, hospitals and schools overseas. They work away from home and family for long periods of time, just to make sure their family can live a decent life. Many Chinese are willing to work long hours. For urban white collars, many are following the so-called "996" schedule, i.e. working six days from nine in the morning till nine at night with only Sunday off. When Chinese workers were earning 500 yuan a month, their American counterparts had already been making $1,000. Over the years, the Chinese have seen improvements in their livelihoods. Yet in comparison with other countries, per capita income in China remains very low. Of course China needs to constantly improve workers' pay and welfare. The Chinese keep working hard in earnest, and are always ready to tackle any difficulties. This is the fundamental reason why China has achieved so much.

Some Westerners are unwilling to acknowledge this reality. Instead, they have always assumed China has cut corners, and China must have stolen their intellectual property. They are reluctant to acknowledge the Chinese people’s hard work. Because diligence is exactly what is lacking in so-called welfare states in the West. The West proposed market competition, but can’t afford it when truly equal market competition comes. What they need is unequal market competition, the kind of competition where they enjoy privileged positions.

Second, like people of all other countries, the Chinese never lack wisdom, especially in the era of reform and opening up. As an ancient civilization that once contributed the “four great inventions”to the world, China has now made conspicuous achievements in science and technology. China’s space programs such as Shenzhou and moon-probing projects, deep submergence capabilities, as well as high-speed railway and Huawei’s 5G technologies are in leading positions worldwide. China has put four percent of its GDP in funding education. Every year Chinese colleges and universities graduate the most bachelors, masters and doctors worldwide. Chinese reform and opening up as well as its study-abroad programs make it possible for more students to pursue further education in many foreign countries. This guarantees a constant supply of talents for the production of Chinese wisdom. Years of investments in science and technology are bearing fruits. Chinese patents applications have been No.1 in numbers these years, though the country still trails other developed economies in terms of quality of the applications, and some technologies in hi-tech areas are not original ones. The Chinese wisdom is being revitalized is not only a blessing to China, but also to the entire humanity.

Finally, China is in a time of innovation. China's history and culture determine it has to blaze a new development path. Since reform and opening up began, the Chinese are keenly aware there is no ready path for them. The US model can’t be duplicated, and the world won’t allow two USs to co-exist. Therefore China can only find a path that fits its own national conditions and needs, is the path -- socialism with Chinese characteristics is unprecedented. After more than 40 years of development, the country is fully committed to this path. Despite various problems with the Chinese model and new challenges, China will continue to innovate and make innovation the ultimate driver for its social and economic development.

Therefore, China believes its present-day achievements were made with its people rolling up their sleeves and engaging in hard toils, rather than bestowal from other countries. The accomplishments are not a result from cheating, exploitation, or bullying. China has relied on the golden rule of win-win cooperation to have become a relatively advanced developing country. The Chinese people love their country, because this country has been built with the sweat and toil of each and every Chinese.

Some advanced countries had better shake off their biases against China, stop the practice of pressuring, and return to the track of rational, healthy and equitable competition. They should respect the spirit of science and innovation, and promote humanity’s common progress.

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