The rise of China

The rise of China literally from rags to riches is one of the most astonishing and illuminating stories of the 20th century. And given that the Chinese are celebrating the centenary of the foundation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) – still the ruling party in Bejing – and that both Pakistan and China are celebrating 70 years of establishing diplomatic relations, it is pertinent to dwell here on how and why the rise of China seemed like an unlikely anomaly in the 20th century, and is now an accepted fact in the 21st. At the very beginning of the 20th century China was a fragmented country divided into different dominions controlled by rival warlords. Even after the great democratic revolution of 1911, China continued being controlled by rival empires which were bent on enslaving this slumbering giant and extracting its rich resources. The May the Fourth Movement of 1919 unleashed intellectual and political energies which eventually led to the formation of the CCP. After losing the war of domination against its great rival the Kuomintang after having united with them briefly to fight off the horrific Japanese invasion, the CCP retreated to the countryside and cemented its links with the peasantry. This decision led to the legendary event known as the Long March which burnished the credentials of Mao Zedong as the undisputed leader of the Chinese; and this was confirmed in 1949 with Mao’s triumphant entry into Beijing as the undisputed leader of the Chinese Revolution. Granted that under his long tenure as the Great Helmsman produced some rather disastrous results during the Cultural Revolution and late the Great Leap Forward in really often voluntarist policies in attempts to break away with everything which was traditional and to catch up with the West. Be that as it may, Mao’s policies laid the material foundations for China’s astonishing rise in the 21st century by granting it food security and a well-fed, well-educated, well-employed and well-sheltered labour force along with miraculous strides in population control. The result was that after the death of Mao, under his successor Deng Xiaoping –  a veteran of the Long March and denounced severely during the Mao years – Chia seamlessly made the transition to capitalism, thus avoiding the catastrophe that befell its giant rival for socialist domination, the USSR in 1991. The result is that now in the 21st century, thanks to China, the workshop of the world through commodities has now firmly shifted from the West to the East, its center being Beijing.