A REPORT delivered Sunday by Xi Jinping at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) struck Sean Slattery as “very forward-looking.”
Slattery was one of nine foreign experts invited to translate and polish the heavyweight report. All nine went out of their way to present the world with high-quality translated versions of the report in English, French, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, German, Japanese and Lao.
“The report shows great vision, but it’s very practical as well,” said the Irishman. “It’s going to have a big influence on China’s development going forward.”
“Chinese modernization” was deemed by most of the foreign experts to be one of the main messages that readers would get from Sunday’s report.
Describing Chinese modernization as “of great importance” to the world, Slattery said its special characteristics are distinctively different from the paths that other countries have chosen in the past when pursuing modernization. He said that achieving modernization for the country’s 1.4 billion people is a huge step forward for humanity.
“By pursuing its own path of modernization, China is underscoring the importance of every country pursuing modernization through a path that is suited to their own conditions and that their people will accept and support,” Slattery said.
“For other developing countries, Chinese modernization offers a new choice for achieving modernization, based on their own conditions and more international cooperation, rather than plunder, war and blood,” said Yahia Mustafa, 65, who was responsible for editing the Arabic version.
Peggy Cantave Fuyet has always wanted to know what the world’s largest socialist country looks like. The report offered her an insight.
“People,” “the environment” and “peace” were her key takeaways from the report.
For the French-language expert, the words indicate that Chinese modernization is a modernization that benefits everyone in the country instead of just a few, that China will honor its words in achieving the goals of peaking carbon emissions and gaining carbon neutrality, and that the path China has chosen is not imperialism, colonialism or hegemonism, but a path of peaceful development.
The report to the 20th CPC National Congress summarizes the great achievements over the first 10 years of the new era in China. And the great shift has been witnessed by the foreign experts themselves.
Francisco J. Ayllon from Spain has been in China for 18 years, and he has marveled at China’s feat of eliminating poverty, which saw close to 100 million rural residents lifted out of poverty in under 10 years. “This is a significant contribution to global poverty reduction.”
Russian-language expert K. Angelina observed that Chinese people now enjoy bluer skies and purer water, and have more new energy vehicles on the roads.
For V. Menzel from Germany, who has lived in China for 11 years, mobile payments, shared bikes and online platforms have brought much surprise and convenience. She has also sensed the increasingly strong sense of cultural confidence in China.
Taguchi Nao from Japan was impressed by China’s social security system, the Healthy China Initiative, and measures to address population aging.
Pongtay Chaleunsouk from Laos recently watched a live space lecture on TV, featuring interactions between Chinese astronauts aboard China’s space station and children on the ground. He said it was unforgettable.
Although starting its space program much later, China has become a leader in the space industry and is ready to expand its sci-tech cooperation with other countries, he said.
The tremendous changes in the past decade are of milestone significance, which stem from the strong leadership of the CPC and the ceaseless endeavors of the Chinese people, he added.
Understanding the CPC
Understanding China entails a good understanding of the CPC as well as its history and governing logic. This was a shared view among the foreign experts involved in the translation of the report.
Phrases and sentences in the report that they said made a big impression on them include “The people’s support is of the utmost political importance,” “a people-centered development philosophy,” and “This country is its people; the people are the country.”
“Terms like these really underscore how much the Party values its close relationship with the people, being whole-heartedly committed to making their lives better and serving them,” Slattery said.
Mustafa remembers the first time he was involved in the translation of the congress report five years ago, when the CPC vowed at its 19th national congress to secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. As that goal has been achieved as scheduled, the CPC is now leading the country on a new journey to build a modern socialist country in all respects, he said. “I believe the CPC will honor its promise again.”
The CPC, which celebrated its centenary last year, has grown from just over 50 members when it was founded to the world’s largest Marxist governing party, now boasting more than 96 million members.
Angelina, from Russia, found new content each time she translated an important CPC document. “I must keep enriching myself to deliver good translations.”
The CPC is a party with a strong capacity for research, action, innovation, and keeping pace with the times, said Cantave Fuyet, who obtained a doctorate in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context.
Chaleunsouk said that although many terms in the report are unique CPC expressions, such as “taking out tigers” and “hunting down foxes,” they are vivid and easy to understand, illustrating the CPC’s resolution to exercise full and rigorous Party self-governance and self-reform.
China’s journey, world’s opportunity
To build China into a great modern socialist country in all respects, the CPC has adopted a two-step strategic plan: basically realizing socialist modernization from 2020 through 2035, and building China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful from 2035 through the middle of this century.
“Innovation” appeared many times in the report, Menzel said, noting that she is looking forward to more cooperation between China and Germany, both innovation-driven countries.
“China needs a peaceful world in order to develop, and at the same time it hopes to contribute to world peace with its development,” said Slattery, drawing this conclusion from the goals that the CPC is trying to achieve, which are specified in the congress report.
The report stresses China’s resolve in promoting a new type of international relations, building an open global economy, and upholding true multilateralism.
China has put forward the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, and “it stands ready to work with the international community to put these two initiatives into action,” the report says.
The world is like a family that shares weal and woe, Cantave Fuyet said, noting that by promoting a community with a shared future for humanity, the CPC shows that it cares for the well-being of the whole world and that it is determined to make its great vision a reality.
Mustafa remembers that Beijing only had two subway lines more than 20 years ago, when he first came to China. Now, Beijing’s subway network extends in all directions, and the municipality has become the only city in the world to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. As the country has developed in leaps and bounds over recent decades, Mustafa said he is confident that China will achieve modernization.
“I hope to witness the great historic moment together with the Chinese people,” he said.
China's new journey a boon to world development