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China has no model, only its own path
By Xu Kangning (Global Times)
15:58, August 15, 2011
Following the remarkable improvement in China's national strength, more and more people in the international community have recognized China's development achievements and many domestic experts and scholars have researched and summarized China's experiences. They like to use the term "China model" to summarize China's achievements. The terms of China model and Chinese path seem similar, but their essential meanings and influence are greatly different.
Model first refers to a philosophical conception that is the summary of the universal law concerning the development of things. The frequent reoccurrences of things in the physical world must come with models. In terms of political economy, model refers to a sample and a good example that can be copied by others. It is also considered a type of paragon of development with standard values.
China's development success is associated with not only its historical context and external environment, but also a path of development that the country has explored based on the sufficient understanding and appropriate handling of its national conditions. Many of China's successful experiences have evident Chinese characteristics and are not suitable for all other countries.
Even countries with similar histories and cultures probably will not have a similar development mode because their external environments and national conditions are different. South Korea, China and Vietnam are all eastern countries and have similar histories and cultures, but the successful experience of the South Korea is not suitable for China, and China’s successful experience is also not fully suitable for Vietnam probably.
In fact, all of the three countries are walking on their own paths toward development and do not have an identical or similar development mode. In addition, some practices do not have successful modes in the world to follow at all, and countries need to make innovations.
As long as the practices could help development, they are good practices. For example, when China was carrying out its rural economic reform, China did not have any successful experience to use as a reference, but China invented the contract system with remuneration linked to output, which is still be used to this day.
Somebody believes that the Chinese mode means socialist construction with Chinese characteristics. This viewpoint seems reasonable, but it is actually untenable, because it has generalized the meaning of the word "mode." The socialism with Chinese characteristics is a kind of development road, and it is incorrect to regard it as a kind of development mode.
Although China has achieved rapid development, it is still far from setting a model for other countries. The Chinese economy has developed fast, but its growth pattern is still in difficult transition from an extensive pattern to a more efficient one. China has undergone rapid and profound social transformations. Its social development has lagged behind economic growth and many social problems persist. Furthermore, the country has just embarked on the road of reforms, with many far-reaching reforms just implemented or waiting to be implemented. If the above problems are not solved, it will be impossible for China to develop a complete model for development.
It is unreasonable to overstate China's development path as the China model, and too much talking of the China model will not help China deal with complex international relations. China's rising clout has profound and subtle effects on the international political and economic situation.
Certain countries are happy to enjoy new opportunities brought about by China's rise. At the same time, they are worried and even scared to see a powerful China. Due to many complex factors, such as ideologies, geopolitics and historical disputes, the so-called China model does not apply to all countries, especially certain developing countries. If the term "China model" is overused, certain countries may worry that China will export its development model, causing unnecessary trouble for the handling of certain sensitive international affairs.
China should stay calm and treat overly high international praise with a modest and peaceful mind. After all, it is the China path, not the China model.