I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn and here’s what I’m watching – the two centenary goals – a moderately prosperous society by 2020 (2021 being the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China), and a great, modern, socialist country by 2050 (2049 being the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China). In a subtle but significant refinement, the path to mid-century is now set in two stages.
In the first stage, from 2020 to 2035, the CPC states it will build on the foundation of the moderately prosperous society so that, after “15 years of hard work,” the country will basically realize “socialist modernization.”
In the second stage, from 2035 to 2050, the CPC states it will “work hard for a further 15 years” and “develop China into a country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful.” China portrays its mid-century self as a global leader in every area of human consequence: economics and trade, science and technology, military and defense, culture and governance.
Thus, “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” would be achieved, the Chinese Dream realized. Regarding international implications, there is no need to speculate. Xi himself openly asserts that China "has become a great power in the world."
China’s global engagement is pro-active, confident and growing. Economics and trade drive China’s power, exemplified by the much-needed Belt and Road Initiative, but diplomacy, the soft power of culture and media, and the hard power of a blue-water navy projecting power are developing rapidly.
China is no longer “hiding one’s capacities and biding one’s time” (in Deng Xiaoping’s famous formulation). Xi calls it straight: “China is moving closer to center stage and making greater contributions to mankind.” Breaking with the past policy, Xi is now offering “Chinese wisdom” and “Chinese solutions” – the experiences and lessons of China’s remarkable development – to the global community, especially to the developing countries.
I marvel at China’s transformation: 60 years ago, China fomented “revolution”; today, China facilitates modernization. Xi’s grand global vision consists of eight big diplomatic concepts: a community of shared future; win-win cooperation; economic globalization; new kind of global governance; new kind of big powers relationship; expanding cooperation while managing differences; multilateralism; and people-to-people exchanges.
China’s own requirement is to protect the country’s three sacrosanct “core interests” – its political system, economic development, and national sovereignty (territorial integrity).
The two centenary goals compose an epic narrative of what China has accomplished, what China has yet to achieve, and what China must do to become a great nation. Xi Jinping, now, carries the authority; he also, now, bears the burden. I’m keeping watch. I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn.
(Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn is a CGTN anchor, a public intellectual, international corporate strategist and investment banker.)