Interview: Chinese path to modernization to benefit developing countries, says South African scholar

Updated: March 6, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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JOHANNESBURG, March 4 (Xinhua) -- As China has embarked on a new journey of building a modern socialist country through a Chinese path to modernization, developing countries in Africa and beyond ought to take advantage presented by China's localized type of modernization, a South African scholar has said.

"The rise of China into a global economic powerhouse came to offset a long held notion that Western modernization was the epitome of global pursuits," David Monyae, director of the Center for Africa-China Studies at the University of Johannesburg, told Xinhua.

China's modernization has the means to galvanize and effect modernization elsewhere in the world, especially among the developing nations, he said.

Each nation has its own historical and local conditions to be considered in regard to practices geared towards modernization. Such an approach determines how modernization is carried out and how its gains are distributed and shared within and beyond local societies, according to Monyae, a renowned researcher on China-Africa relations.

"It is paramount that China adheres to a type of modernization that is suitable and true to its national conditions," he said.

Chinese modernization not only has the common characteristics of modernization of all countries, but also Chinese characteristics based on its own national conditions. It will not be amiss to regard Chinese characteristics as a definition of local rules of practice and frames of reference of local population that include both historical and social conditions, he said.

Chinese characteristics may be defined as the act of letting local value systems and traditions determine implementation and development of modernization, Monyae said. "It is a case where tradition subdues modernity into serving the people, instead of the other way around. It is a case where development and modernity rely on a people-centered approach, not modernization for modernization's sake."

Monyae said he has been impressed by China's achievements on poverty eradication and economic development in recent years.

Deeming China's eradication of poverty as a feat instead of an isolated event, Monyae highlighted the fact that China achieved the 1st Sustainable Development Goal of the United Nations Agenda 2030 a decade in advance.

He also pointed out that developing nations ought to gain courage and engage in a type of modernization suited to local, historical, social and economic conditions.

"Tendencies towards 'one size fits all' and straight-jacket type of modernization ought to be opposed at all cost" if the future of building a community with shared future for mankind is to be secured, he said.

Editor: Yang Yifan