LONDON. — The “new era” underway in China will have an impact way beyond its borders and contribute not only to global growth but also drastically alter the perception of the country, said Stephen Perry, chairman of Britain’s 48 Group Club.
“A new era in China is a new era for the world,” said Perry in a recent interview with Xinhua. In a report delivered at the opening of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) National Congress held on Oct. 18-24 in Beijing, Xi Jinping, who was re-elected General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, said socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered “a new era.”
Perry said “a new era” indicates the fact that China has succeeded in lifting 700 million people out of poverty over the past 35 years, building a basic industrial capability, establishing a services industry that didn’t exist before and boosting agricultural output from a much smaller population due to mass production.
“What is now going to happen is a modern economy and a modern society is going to be built,” said the chairman of the 48 Group Club, an independent business network committed to promoting positive links with China.
Perry said many countries have been bewildered as to how best to develop. They’re going to spend more time studying the Chinese way after witnessing the Asian giant’s rise. In his report, Xi draws up a two-stage development plan to build China into a “great modern socialist country” by mid century, around the centennial of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
The best opportunities for world economic growth are believed to largely lie in the continuation of growth in China, which accounts for over 30 percent of global growth, the implementation of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and an industrial revolution in Africa. The West has been stuck at around 2 percent growth since 2007 and the growth picture doesn’t look good due to a large amount of money stuck in quantitative easing and a lack of new consumer demand because of the scale of consumer debt, said Perry.
“It is China that is going to be the stimulus for growth, for the benefit of the West,” he said.
The Belt and Road Initiative is one of the most significant global initiatives ever contemplated, said Perry. The initiative, proposed by Xi in 2013, aims to create greater trade, infrastructure and people-to-people links between Asia, Europe and Africa by reviving and expanding the ancient Silk Trade routes. The modern version comprises an overland Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
The opportunities for the West and growth for the world lie not only in the building of infrastructure along the ancient trade routes but the urbanization that comes after that, said Perry.
“The West holds a lot of the key technologies for urbanisation ….Sensible western companies are focused on BRI (the Belt and Road Initiative) as their growth opportunity for the next twenty, thirty years,” said Perry, noting that China welcomes Western technologies in the process of urbanization such as high rise lifts.
Meanwhile, the “new era,” is essentially about trying to get countries to work together to create sustainable development and solve problems through negotiation and diplomacy rather than through aggression and war.
“That’s a very new challenge for the world to change its way of thinking from a world which for 3,000 years has been based on empires …to resisting empires for a multipolar world working together to try and solve tensions and create sustainable development. Moreover, the notion of “new era” will also change people’s perception of China as they become more familiar with the country, said Perry.
“I think the ‘new era’ speaks of China being more proud as it should be, of its history, its civilization and what has achieved… China will,in the ‘new era’, project itself more on the world stage,” he said.
On Xi’s re-election as General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, the 48 Group Club chairman said strong leadership is crucial in a China undergoing profound change. Perry said China is now transitioning into a highly developed economy and “very clear leadership is required in order to make the changes suitable and keep it on the track of socialism.”
Perry noted that some in the West have made up their minds about the CPC congress and its decision-making methods without understanding where China is headed.
“It’s good for any country when they embark on a period of major changes to have very clear strong leadership,” said Perry. “And that’s what the congress has achieved, a very clear strong leadership.” – Xinhua