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Modest Prosperity

12 December 2017

A book review by K Bhana

A seminar was hosted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and the Embassy of the PRC in South Africa to launch the second Volume of the book, The Governance of China which is a collection of speeches, remarks and thoughts of President Xi Jinping on the coming of age of China, once again.

History provides much evidence of China’s splendid ingenuity and a profound understanding of the wonders of nature. Its warriors, inventors, artist and crafters and healers were open to obtaining and sharing knowledge.  They understood that by sharing true knowledge it could be improved and preserved. China’s distinct impact and influence is visible and present the world over. Many nations garnered many skills and expertise, many centuries ago, along the routes to China, as they traded goods and services, exchanged inventive ideas, and invested in the beauty of diversity as they increased the gene pool.

In 1979, four decades ago in China, during the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, the Peoples Republic embarked on a bold but coordinated research and development exercise. Its only mission was to reverse the situation of its equally unprosperous society.  With a self-belief in its more than sufficient human resource, and a character which is world renowned, China emerges, once again.

In an age of instant communication and instant gratification, the books are a statement of a return to the aesthetics with Chinese characteristics. Still photographs which capture the activities of President Xi’s interactions and engagements in print on paper has a familiar feeling. The minimalist functional design and layout speaks of a pragmatic and moderate leadership tempered in the hardship of poverty and a dream of virtuous, modest prosperity.  It re- instates a confidence in the art of print as a medium to comprehensively and definitively carry the message of The Governance China.

Forty years of planned research and development has uncovered new opportunities and discovered true potential energy, and when combined with physics, a modern socialist system with Chinese characteristics, the vision of a modestly prosperous society becomes clearer and closer to realisation.

China’s investment and focus on new energy and energy management is unprecedented, having witnessed the meteoric advances in technology and logistics during the discovery of oil and the multiplier effect it had on development. It is also now witness to the demise of oil as commodity, yet its intrinsic value is still intact. The book often refers to sharing, and mutual benefit and modest prosperity, pointing out that equal and equitable societies will be the benchmark of true sustainability.  

The book focusses on redefining prosperity, opening it up to a more inclusive interpretation, where a collective peace of mind, and shared responsibility and compassion give a holistic value on which to calculate true material value. The current affairs of South Africa make it an ideal candidate for this kind of intervention. The true wealth of South Africa lies with its people. As in China, The Communist Party of China are its’ people, and equally, its people are the Communist Party of China.

Self-moderation and supervision leads to a responsible attitude, a common respect and discipline. The joy and responsibility of employment or enterprise emanates from the satisfaction that you are able to apply your experience, skill and knowledge and be of service. This occupation is valued as a direct participation in an economy guided by modern socialist policies with Chinese characteristics.

The Governance of China has certainly been thoroughly researched and policies have been steadfastly developed and implemented. The books clearly define China’s ascendency and leaves no doubt of its intentions for a more inclusive, compassionate, connected, environmentally conscious, and deeply moral and modestly prosperous society.



March 2018






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