DESPITE the Covid-19 pandemic and global economic stagnation in 2020, China managed to record 2.3% growth and trade volume of 4.6 trillion US dollars (RM17.69 thousand) on last year, becoming the only major economy to grow in that devastating year.
Already the world’s second-largest economy with a GDP of US $ 14.7 billion (RM 61.92 billion), it’s no surprise that China has managed to bounce back easily.
As Malaysia-China Friendship Association (PPMC) Chairman Datuk Abdul Majit Ahmad Khan said, China’s development achievements are “spectacular.”
He noted, “This is clearly demonstrated in the transformation of the country’s status from a poor nation to a moderately prosperous nation. It is a record in human history that a country has achieved so much prosperity and stability in the space of 40 years.
“From a“ closed nation ”, China is today an engine of regional and global growth. Its development model has provided opportunities for investment, trade, tourism, and China has become the global hub of supply chain, manufacturing and services in trade.
The question is whether China’s successful development model could be adopted elsewhere.
This has been the subject of debate among many analysts and was one of the talking points of a recent Friends of the Silk Road forum organized by the PPMC with the support of the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia. titled “The Global Importance of China’s Development Model”. .
Held on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of China-Asia relations, the goal of the webinar was to continue the dialogue and confidence-building over the years between Malaysia and China. It was also an opportunity to reflect on the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party as well as the transformation of China in the context of relations between Malaysia and China.
“Malaysia and the Asean region have indeed benefited enormously from China’s transformation, as evidenced by the deep and solid economic ties between the two regions,” said Abdul Majit.
Comprehensive poverty eradication
One of the areas is poverty eradication, said Dr Ge Hongliang, deputy dean of Asean College at Guangxi Nationalities University in China.
Diving into Malaysia-China relations, especially Sino-Malaysian cooperation on poverty reduction, Ge pointed out that China’s poverty eradication program is an important topic in China’s study. and Southeast Asia.
Recounting his first-hand testimony on China’s development, Wang Yuzhu, Director of Apec (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and the East Asia Cooperation Center at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said he could see China’s “economic miracle” in the course of his own life – from his humble beginnings on a farm in a rural Chinese village to a comfortable life as a civil servant.
Wang acknowledged that the republic’s comprehensive poverty eradication program is one of the important factors behind the country’s rise.
“Based on current poverty standards, 770 million rural poor in China have been lifted out of poverty since the opening of China. This represented more than 70% of the world’s population of poverty reduction over the same period by the World Bank’s international poverty standards, ”he said, referring to the white paper“ The Practice of China in the reduction of human poverty ”.
China’s Poverty Eradication Initiative was effective because it was focused, with meticulous planning such as precise project arrangements, perfect measurements as well as precise use of funds, personnel and other resources, Wang noted.
There is learning value for developing countries, including Malaysia, to achieve comprehensive poverty reduction and modernization, Ge said.
“This has undoubtedly created a useful basis for China and Malaysia to continue to strengthen cooperation on the poverty reduction program.”
Adding that additional attention should be given to rural and less developed areas, he said China and Malaysia would be able to have mutual cooperation through this, especially to develop agriculture.
Vital global role
China’s rise to power has global significance, Wang said.
With its land area and the size of its population, China is an important part of the world, he noted.
“China is also the factory of the world – its exports represent about 16% of the world’s goods. Therefore, China’s problems are not only its own problems, but also global problems. China’s development is an important part of global development.
China will also have to play an important role in protecting the environment, he noted.
“We must strive to reach peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, as proposed by the slogan ‘Green water and green mountains are mountains. of gold and mountains of silver ‘. “
Ultimately, Wang said, China and the world must develop together.
“China adheres to the policy of good neighborliness and friendship to safeguard regional and world peace. China also actively participates in regional cooperation, adheres to multilateralism and promotes regional and global economic integration, ”he said.
He added that China is also working with other countries to build “a peaceful and prosperous community with a common future for mankind” through the “Belt and Road” initiative.
However, Wang believes that China’s “development experience” is distinctly Chinese. He listed 10 points behind China’s rise, including maintaining party leadership, prioritizing the people, following the “Chinese way”, promoting a united front and maintaining commitment. towards self-reform.
An independent political analyst and honorary researcher at Perak Academy Bunn Nagara presented an in-depth and comprehensive analysis of Malaysia-China relations, as well as the impact of China’s rise and how it has continued to reshape regional geopolitical dynamics.
He also noted that China’s development model is of great interest to almost everyone, from economists to policy makers and anyone interested in political economy, strategic studies and international relations. It is also of great interest to residents of many different countries in the developing world, the developed world, former colonies and former colonial powers, and emerging markets.
“China’s development model is special and its development record is spectacular for the following reasons.
“Development is rapid, even for the large size of the country. It is essentially a hybrid endogenous model specific to China. Development does not arise from colonial conquests and the plundering of other lands.
“The size of China means that the impact on many other countries is considerable.”
But there are important caveats in examining China’s development model, he said, “First, China did not start with a single, fixed model 100 years ago for get to where it is today. It started with a set of values, principles and goals, selecting and then adapting the theory to the local conditions of the time, with what are called Chinese characteristics.
“The process is grounded in pragmatism … and is scalable, progressive and revolutionary as the need arises at each step. Periodic reflection and correction then allowed the policy to be refocused on the original values, principles and objectives.
Despite the historic hardships that China has endured, it has also been fortunate enough to be able to experiment and develop its own development model, free from the pressures and conditionalities imposed by multilateral agencies on so many developing countries, added. Nagara. Like other developed economies in East Asia, China has shown that it can overcome this trap of development dependency.
Nagara believes Malaysia and China can learn from each other.
“It is just as important for countries to avoid copying a development model from elsewhere as it is for any country to refuse to impose its model on others. China has wisely chosen not to export its development model, even if other countries can learn from it … But there is no one size fits all; we have to learn from each other – choose what works best for us.
Another Malaysian expert, Datuk Dr Irmohizam Ibrahim, who is an assistant professor at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and visiting professor at the Center of Malaysia Scholars at Huaqiao University, China, suggested ways in which Malaysia and China could working together to revive the Malaysian economy affected by the pandemic. , including considering an opening of the borders with a travel bubble.
Imohizam also stressed the importance of passing the baton to the next generation to continue to keep this ongoing bridge building work between Malaysia and China.
“We must encourage new exchanges between China and Malaysia, especially through people-to-people exchanges, especially young people,” he said.