That, in a nutshell, should be the message the world should send to China as it prepares for its 60th Anniversary of the party, Communism and the founding of the country as it is known today.

The people of China, its policy-makers and the Communist Party that’s behind sort of everything in China deserve this salute. They have earned it against all odds. The peaceful rise of China is in everybody’s radar now although many took time to (deliberately) ignore it for a long time. China deserves the salute from the world for the unbelievable achievements they accomplished during the last half of these sixty years. And that benefited a vast majority of China’s nearly 1.3 billion people, and probably a significant number of the nearly 5.4 billion global non-Chinese as well. Until now.

That does in no way mean things happened in a ‘Hunky dory’ manner over the sixty years or over the last half of it. There were casualties – starting from environment to human rights to human beings. It is hard to imagine any country that today boasts of highest Internet users and usages with strict control on the ‘freedom of opinion’ – the gene of Internet. Surely the two could not have co-existed had it not been the People’s Republic of China.

Another country of similar structure would have banned Internet (progress); China allowed Internet and communication technologies, and other tools of progress to flourish. And they could still maintain the control they wanted (personally my opinion is to have no control).

That would not be possible had the policies not met with the basic expectations of the Chinese people.

The benefits far outweigh the casualties (barring environmental where time has the answer). The problem with the western media at times is their pedigree. Western media still is the best in its class without any doubt; however the same cannot be said any more about western governance or policies. They may still be, but they get increasingly questioned. Therefore media in west, though critical of its own governments and policies, cannot yet fathom that a far eastern country from the occident can achieve so much against all odds – internal and external – against so much gainsays, with communism, without human rights and freedom of speech, without transparency, with government owned business entities, etc.  China probably was the text-book opposite (to the extent possible) of what the west preached. And therefore it is hard for the media in the developed world to accept whole-heartedly that they did it better. Be it on multiple measurement criteria or be it in a comprehensive manner, China did it better. Full stop.

It’s one thing to criticize oneself, and it’s another to praise the other from the bottom of the heart for doing better.  Mirroring probably the sentiments of its significant populace which increasingly are frustrated with the forms of democracy and free-market economies; main stream media in the west now speak more about main-streets than the glamorous casino-led Wall Street or of interest groups, although the change started with alternate new-age media. Institutes affiliated with the west always watched China with a degree of suspicion, whereas the views of the western-citizens were that of disbelief. Following that tradition, views of the western mainstream media on China, though changed significantly over last two years, still remain mired in suspicion and incredulity, always looking for symptoms that could lead to a disruptive end of the China growth story.  

Rise of China is not an isolated event; it must be seen with changing geo-political and economic might that individual major powers from the rest of the world enjoy. It is Utopian to think rest all major powers of the world would remain as it was when the dragon raises its head higher and higher. However so long it’s been for good, be it economically, politically, and even probably militarily (for global peace), barring environmentally.  The question remains whether the next few decades would be extended trend line of the last three decades. What’s on top of everyone’s mind  is to know whether in near future too, along with the Chinese people, whether the rest of the world would also enjoy more benefits and suffer even lesser casualties from further rise of China. It is challenging because the expectation of Chinese people (and its minorities), the expectation of the Communist Party of China from its people and defense, and even the expectation of the rest of the world, particularly its close neighbors are changing.

Getting firm answer under those changing circumstances would surely be difficult; however experienced historians and China-watchers would doubt that the trend-line would continue.

Happy 60th Anniversary to China – From the rest of the world, for the time being.

Ranjit can be followed at Twitter @ http://twitter.com/RanjiGoswami

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