Wonking out: Chinese-style modernity surpasses that of the West!
About the “Chinese style modernization” discourse
In the years 2000 and 2010, the strong growth of the Chinese economy became, for many observers, proof that Beijing had developed its own model of development, although Beijing publicly rejected the notion of a model for fear that it would be interpreted as imposing itself on other existing models.
On the eve of the two sessions of the Parliament convened in Beijing, the communist party mouthpiece Peoples’ Daily argues that “Chinese modernization is an unprecedented feat in the development of human society, providing a new model of modernization for the world and adding confidence for more countries to independently explore their own modernization path” (1).
Since the 20th CCP Congress last fall, several “study sessions”, especially for newly appointed senior central and provincial officials, have given “Chinese modernization” a specific status and role: “Chinese modernization has abandoned western-style modernization centered on capital, economic bipolarization, materialistic one-upmanship, and expansionism through plunder. It now provides a new alternative for humanity to modernize in turn” (2).
When China says that it does not want to export its “system” abroad, it is true, only its packaged and off-the-shelf modernization model will do, but it needs an instruction manual: Chinese law.
Good morning friends of China!
“Faced with external pressures, we must now apply our laws at home with rigor and integrate it into our foreign legal policy (…) this is our only way not to interrupt or slow down our modernization process and transfer to humanity our power, our solutions and our wisdom” (3).
To seek for a rapprochement of legal and judicial conceptions and practices is one of the preferred routes that Beijing is building to reacquire a lasting influence in global affairs and governance.
The People’s Daily doubled down in its March 9th edition, points out that “the work of the judiciary will surely provide a stronger guarantee of the rule of law for promoting Chinese-style modernization”.
February 16, two days before Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi’s speech at Munich security Conference in Berlin, a treaty-based intergovernmental international organization initiated by the PRC, namely the” International Academy (yuan) for Mediation” preparatory committee was established in Hongkong SAR.
Dedicated to resolving international disputes in a “peaceful and friendly manner”, the membership of the “Academy” – which only lacks a character in its name to become a full-fledged international court of justice – will remain “open and inclusive”, with founding members including Indonesia, Pakistan, Laos, Cambodia, Serbia, Belarus, Sudan, Algeria, Djibouti, and other countries that are “good friends with China”.
The affirmation of a Chinese theory of development and global governance has met with a favorable response in some developing countries, which are also constructing a theoretical framework that breaks with the doctrinal points of western capitalism and liberal democratic societies.
However, before going further that new Chinese path, our common sense could guide our thinking and make us wonder about the ins and outs of this so-called “unprecedented feat” of Chinese-style modernization.
(1) Extract from the People’s Daily, February 27 (2) Quoted in the report to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party, October 2022. (3) Extract from the People's Daily, 13/02/23