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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion
No traps will entrap China
    2017-December-25  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Wu Guangqiang

jw368@163.com

AT the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), President Xi Jinping outlined a splendid blueprint for the next 30 years for transforming China into a basically modern socialist country by 2035 and into a powerful, modern socialist country by 2050.

The Chinese people have been accustomed to CPC’s earnestly designed and strictly implemented plans being announced at each congress, all of which have been successfully achieved since the country began to reform and open up. But the vision set at the 19th Congress will be of especially historical significance, as its implementation will not only fulfill the Chinese nation’s dream for national rejuvenation, but will prove to the world that a non-Western model of social development can be as successful as, if not more successful than, the Western model.

The last time we saw an ambitious blueprint declared was in the 1980s, when Deng Xiaoping set out to build a xiaokang society. Quoted from Confucius, xiaokang means a society in which people lead a well-off life in an orderly way. Deng set an interim goal of reaching US$800-1,000 annual per capita income by the year 2000. In 1980, Chinese per capita income was US$220. A fourfold increase seemed over-aggressive indeed then.

It turned out that all the ambitious goals set at the previous party congresses have been accomplished, and mostly ahead of schedule. Today, as the most powerful economic engine in the world, China sees its per capita income approaching US$10,000. The people of China have never been so confident that the vision set by President Xi at the 19th Congress will be achieved successfully.

Yet skeptics and naysayers have never been absent. Some Western media would rather bring discredit on themselves by continuing to make erroneous predictions on “troubles,” “crisis” and “failures” China would experience than readjust their own prejudice and hostility toward China. Some Chinese are also dubious.

Should there be some justification for their skepticism, it would be the fact that there is no precedent for any non-market economy-based nation that has successfully transiting into a highly developed and high-income country without encountering major setbacks and failure, not to mention an attempt by the most populous country in the world. Such a case doesn’t sit well with any theory or doctrine in classic books on human development.

By common assumption, China would fall into one trap or another as did many other nations. After all, even Homer sometimes nods and traps loom ahead all the time.

That’s why Chinese media have repeatedly cautioned against three traps: Tacitus Trap, Thucydides’ Trap and the middle-income trap.

Of the three traps, the middle-income trap has been most discussed as it is most likely to snare a nation in transition from a middle-income country to a high-income country. It is believed that such factors as rising production costs, the failure to upgrade economic structures and the inability to address social woes such as corruption, pollution and the rich-poor gap, will eventually prevent middle-income countries from ascending into rich countries. As a result, newly industrialized economies such as South Africa and Brazil have not, for decades, left what the World Bank defines as the “middle-income range” since their per capita GNP has remained between US$1,000 to US$12,000 at constant (2011) prices.

Thucydides’ Trap refers to a situation where a rising power rivals a ruling power and their struggle for dominance may eventually end in a war.

Tacitus Trap was purportedly quoted from Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus, a senator and historian of the Roman Empire, which warns that when a government or organization loses credibility, whatever is said or done by such an entity will be viewed negatively. Though the authenticity of the quote is disputable, the CPC and the Chinese Government take credibility seriously.

Whatever traps in terminology, the bottom line is that all the issues arising during China’s development, however seemingly insignificant, must be addressed with great care, or a tiny problem may evolve into a catastrophe.

China doesn’t seek benefits at others’ expense, so Thucydides’ Trap is avoidable. China is capable of maintaining sustainable growth, so the middle-income trap is preventable. China will steer away from Tacitus Trap because CPC will never divorce from the people, out of which it was born.

(The author is an English tutor and freelance writer.)

 

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