Chinese-Style Modernization: Evolution of the Concept

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2024-68-1-31-47
Institute of China and Contemporary Asia, Russian Academy of Sciences (ICCA RAS), 32, Nakhimovskii Prosp., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.

Received 11.08.2023. Revised 05.09.2023. Accepted 07.11.2023.

Abstract. The concept of “Chinese-style modernization” formulated in the end of the 1970s has been at the center of attention of the Chinese leadership and researchers since the beginning of this decade. The notion of primacy of national characteristics was transformed from a former reference to China’s weakness and backwardness to current focus on development success. Explanations of plans for China’s “basic socialist modernization” by 2035 formed the channel of influence of official policy on the academic discussions. The article analyzes contemporary Chinese comparisons of Chinese and Western paths of modernization along with theoretical reflections on the patterns of “Chinese-style modernization”. The determination to make China’s experience a reference point for policy decisions in developing countries is connected with studies in modernization theory. The question of the correlation between the general patterns of modernization and the specifics of the Chinese path of development has come to the fore. The emphasis on the differences between Chinese-style modernization and Western and Soviet models substantiates the theoretical possibility of a new development perspective for other countries, and encourages them to develop independent modernization strategies based on their own national specifics. Chinese researchers consider attempts by backward countries to copy the advanced institutions of developed nations as useless and even dangerous. China’s modernization is not complete, in the field of economic development there are mounting difficulties related to lagging behind in science and technology, deteriorating external environment, slowing growth, ageing population. While examining Chinese studies of Chinese-style modernization, it is appropriate to focus on the development of academic concepts, quantitative evaluation system and discursive system. Explorations in theory will be determined by practical achievements, first of all, by China’s ability to maintain sustainable balanced growth of the economy. The preliminary outcome can be assessed in the middle of the next decade, when China plans to build the foundations of modernization. The final judgement on the effectiveness of Chinese-style modernization will be made only after the results of China’s plans to become a world leader are known in the middle of this century.

Keywords: CPC, Deng Xiaoping, Xi Jinping, national characteristics, Western model, developing countries, economic reforms, modernization theory


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For citation:
Borokh O., Lomanov A. Chinese-Style Modernization: Evolution of the Concept. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2024, vol. 68, no. 1, pp. 31-47. EDN: CHMGAJ

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