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China Under the Impact of Modern Civilization

Problems for an Endogenous Developmental Model.....

 Tan Chung

This endogenous life style in Xinjiang, in other parts of China, in India, in many developing countries is being endangered by unhealthy trends of modern civilization which are being popularized by the mass media, particularly movies and television programmes. As I have alluded to earlier, television programmes will replace classroom teaching as the most important means in popularizing education. It would be dangerous if the field of television and other visual media are dominated by commercialization. Visual media induced crimes are not only a perennial feature of the USA but are on the increase in India, China, and other Asian countries. In the award-winning Chinese movie, "Red Sorghum", the hero is a rapist, and the theme song of the film is the rapist’s joyous expression when he chases the heroine of the film and rapes her in the field. Today, you go to any city or town in China, you hear the tiny tots singing this song merrily which is not only sickening, but has a dangerous impact on the healthy growth of morality in China.

One notices that in India it is the cosmetic industries which control the mass media, in China it is the food processing, brewing, and tonic medicine industries which have an upper hand. When you just watch Chinese television you may gain a misconception that Chinese are a sick race, or are deficient in healthy food in their daily diet, whereas it is just the other way round. But, they are many Chinese who are crazy for tonics, and, at one time, the free medical services of China became the back door for the distribution of tonics. Powerful cadres and respected elders still gather a huge stock of tonics as gifts that they don’t need at all. This brings us closer to the subject of AIDS (Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome). AIDS is a terrible disease which not only takes away the lives of those who, for their own indulgence in unhealthy social behaviour, have suffered its affliction, but also kills those who are entirely innocent — getting it through birth or blood transfusion. AIDS symbolizes the wrong direction which modern civilization chooses to develop. It is a punishment for the sin committed by the humankind for their obsession with materialism. It is the most materialistically oriented societies which are worst affected by such a deadly disease. Scientists have been trying hard to combat this deadly enemy of humans through laboratory research. But, in my opinion, this is not the remedial solution. In the first place in the absence of rigid monogamy and strict discipline in sexual life, AIDS cannot be eliminated even if it eventually becomes curable. In the second place, even if AIDS is eliminated, another deadly or deadlier punishment will be on its way against human obsession with materialism without the accompanying high spiritual culture as an antidote.

To go a step deeper into the problem, the occurrence of AIDS to humans is because of ACIDS, i.e. Acquired Cultural Immunity Deficiency Syndrome. We can see clearly that the phenomenon of cultural desertification which I have alluded to earlier is created by the poisonous wind from the Western world. This wind has come to Xinjiang and other parts of Asia after turning many Western communities and societies into cultural deserts. In USA, television is called the "idiot box". The new generation of America is called "Generation X" which is deeply poisoned by this Idiot Box. There are 40 odd commercial channels of American television which (except a couple of them being devoted to Christian programmes) rarely impart any moral education and spiritual culture. This X-Generation is daily poisoned by the advertisements enticing them to eat more junk food, to indulge in more luxuries, to participate in the gambling games with culture only as a disguise, to the scenes of sex and violence — but seldom telling them how to become morally healthy and spiritually noble human beings, how to choose their future careers, how to combat social evils, etc. This is the generation whose minds and souls have already undergone desertification. Since there is no strong spiritual force to combat this cultural poison in USA, the American society is already the victim of ACIDS. In fact, ACIDS and AIDS are two heads of the same monster. Just chopping off the head of AIDS it can grow again in another form. Only after chopping off the head of ACIDS will the monster be killed once for all.

AIDS is an exopathic disease. It does not grow from the endobiotic development or maldevelopment like obesity, hypertension, tumour, tuberculosis, diabetes, etc. America was AIDS-free a few decades ago, and the disease has come to the USA from Africa. ACIDS is also an exopathic disease, and modern America is one of the sources of it. Both these aspects have connections. America is a land wedded to freedom and openness. It is the greatest sanctuary for the human birds of all different ethnic features of the world to feather their own nests without restrictions and discriminations. The American way of life is not endogenous. It is a universal creation which has forged into a powerful exogenous acculturation force.

America is the best specimen of modern civilization, while the harmful part of modern civilization is the worst endopathic disease for pre-modern societies. Modern civilization is strong in modern science, but weak in philosophy, in moral values, in spiritual enlightenment. Modern science has achieved wonders in examining the exterior of the universe, getting the true picture of the twinkle twinkle little stars which exist light years away from the humankind. However, modern science still gropes in the dark about human body’s own internal rhythms and functioning. The more modern the gadgets that subject the human body to echographic or radiographic examinations, the more confused are the pictures that appear. This is because a human is 50 per cent material and 50 per cent spirit. To find out the dynamics of human spirit we have to design different research methods and laboratories.

The best defence against AIDS and ACIDS is to emphasize the endogenous development of a country, a community, a society. In the Chinese context, this means combating Commercialism and Mammonism which has not yet become an important agenda in China’s developmental strategy. There is a Chinese saying: "Ren wei cai si, niao wei shi wang." (As the birds die in the quest for food, humans die in the quest for money). If this saying becomes a universal truth, the "economic animal" which a human being is will be reduced to a slave of Mammon. This was a theme which Jiang Zemin, the Chairman of the PRC, advocated against at an all China conference on mass media in January, 1995.22

Commercialism is a complex subject which a non-economist like me may not be able to do justice with. The dilemma of China today is that while the leadership has tasted the forbidden fruit of commercialization and marketization and want them to take China to a higher level of economic development, it has also noticed the danger of the inundation of Commercialism and Mammonism. There is a dichotomy in the situation concerning the socio-economic development of China today.

I seem to have said too many bad things about commercialization, and about the USA which exemplifies commercialization. But, I am not blind to the virtues of the USA and the US model of commercialization. See the facelift which commercialization has brought about in China. In the Mao era when commercialization was frowned upon life was dull, and the developmental front was a drab scene. In the last 15 years, China seems to have suddenly awakened from a monotonous slumber, and every body, everywhere is crying for development. So many high rise buildings, flyovers, factories, motor cars and motor cycles, etc. — as if all have suddenly appeared from nowhere. It is commercialization which has created such a developmental explosion. USA is no doubt a benign model for China to leap forward to a higher stage of economic development.

However, there is no denying the fact that Commercialism and Mammonism erode all spiritual values, and degenerate the cultural fabrics of a society. At the root of Commercialism is the paramountcy of self-interest of the individual. In the USA and other capitalist countries self-interest is balanced with the norms of a civil society, with civic courtesy and civic ethics harmonizing the social life. China under the Mao regime had made hundreds of millions of bird-cages to keep the bird of egotism in place. In the post-Mao era the cages are open, and individual egotism flies all over. Without the civic norms, they fight each other without any law of games, and some birds become vultures. People with better resources abuse the political power to advance in fortune seeking. A few talented reach to the top relying on their own merits, but few of them can avoid greasing the palms of the checkposts by compromising their conscience. Many others who don’t have the means to get rich through proper channels resort to cheating, counterfeiting and other unethical means towards the goal of personal prosperity. China, in the last 15 years, has suddenly become a classical example of "every road leads to Rome" — never mind the immorality along the roads. While counterfeit drugs kill the lives of human beings, counterfeit fertilizer and insecticide damage the crops.

Whereas in the USA such things can’t easily happen it takes time for the Chinese authorities to regulate industrial production and commercial behaviour. During the Mao era, China was miraculously honest with almost no theft. Today, petty theft is rampant, pickpockets have a field day, gangs of robbers operate in crowded trains. How is it that overnight a puritan society has suddenly become so outrageous? The sudden liberalization of egotism which I have just alluded to is, no doubt, at the root of the change. But, there are other factors — the absence of rule of law, the want of civic ethics, etc. In a word, it will take a few decades, if not longer, for China to build up a civil society like that functioning in the USA and other advanced countries. But, even in the USA, Japan, Italy, frauds, hoaxes, and economic crimes are not infrequent occurrences. Individualism, selfishness and indifference to collective interest and to the affairs of fellow human beings are the fatal weakness of a capitalist society, no matter how perfect is its civic order. Capitalism, essentially, is a moral disease. By emulating capitalism, China has contracted this disease in no small measure.

Another irritating phenomenon in China today is the absence of courtesy. Even foreign tourists can’t tolerate the arrogant attitude of some of the public service personnel although they generally treat foreigners far more courteously than they do their fellow countrymen. Not that Chinese are arrogant as a race. Individual Chinese do impress their foreign friends as most amiable and modest. The arrogance is the residue of the traditional heritage — a tradition of "officers rule the roost", as alluded to earlier. The concept of "public servant" is alien to Chinese culture although the slogan of "wei renmin fuwu" (service before self) was the loudest slogan during the Mao era. Placed in any tiny position like a sales person at a counter a Chinese instantly feels his or her importance which generates arrogance. Another factor contributory to this arrogance is PRC’s cadre system. All those who have been cadres, big or small, have a sense of pride of belonging to a revolutionary organization which rules over China. In Indian traditional parlance, they are a kind of "Brahmins", while those who are outside the cadre are called "qunzhong" (the masses) — a term which also connotes "those who are less revolutionary conscious", thus in an inferior status. Although the revolutionary spirit among the cadres is much diluted today, the arrogance attached to it has not totally disappeared. There is also the phenomenon of an "in-group" scenario which exists in all countries but particularly in China. There is an "in-group" affinity which is the source of affection, cooperation, courtesy, and even self-sacrifice — all not available for others who are not included in the "group". In China, so also in India, one generally gets things done through "guanxi" (literally "relationship", in reality "connections") and avoids the toil of standing in the long queue as well as the irritation at the public counters. In this way, the public counters are for the "mass", i.e. those who have no "guanxi" — no strings to pull. Naturally, they have to be the recipients of arrogance of the "in-group" oriented Chinese service personnel. In other words, where there is no "guanxi" there is arrogance and the accompanying irritation. If China can Americanize in this respect as fast as possible, half of her social tension will disappear.

Superstition smacks of ignorance, but superstition brandished in Commercialism makes it look more ridiculous. In China, like in India, people can spend money to get their favourite numbers of the allotted telephones. The people of Guangdong province which is full of nouveaux riches would spend money to get number "8" and to avoid number "4". This is because, in their dialect (the Cantonese), the sound "fa" for "eight" is homonymous to the word for "getting rich", while the sound "si" for "four" is homonymous to that for "to die". In the past, the ancient Chinese used to burn some paper symbolically for the dead, wishing that the departed souls would not be short of money to spend in Heaven or hell — a custom which must have spread from India to China. Now, people spend enormous sums to ask the Buddhist temples or individual suppliers to make paper-made houses, motor cars, refrigerators, sofas, etc. and burn them during the funeral. This is the custom which has prevailed in Hong Kong for many decades, and is now getting widely spread in neighbouring Guangdong province. This custom has completely lost its original touch of symbolism, but becomes a stupid indulgence in superstition and pomp and show. Here is another example of how the development of material culture can pollute the spiritual culture.

Tackling "poverty" has become an increasingly important universal subject. The general approach is to increase growth coupled with some forcible measures of equitable distribution of soicial wealth. The world developmental strategists first fix an arbitrary criterion of US $ 300 as the "poverty line", and, then, try to mobilize resources to help those segments to increase their annual income to cross this line. So far, such a strategy has not achieved much success. Those who live under the "poverty line" are on the increase year after year. Out of 5 billion people of the humankind, 1.3 billion are living below the poverty line.23 This is a problem which cannot be solved by the modern culture of development.

We must first understand the nature of the problem. World-wise, humans today have increased social wealth many times more than the increase in world population. During pre-modern times people might have been poor, but there was no "poverty" problem. "Poverty" is a modern institution — the legitimate child of modern civilization. For instance, the poor people in ancient India and China ate very little food, and dressed very shabbily according to modern standard. Their hygienic conditions were bad in comparison with modern standard. Yet, poverty was not such a glaring problem as it is today. To begin with, people, rich or poor, were living on the same scale and mode of material consumption. The difference between the rich and poor lay only in the quantity and quality — eating the same kind of food, using the same means of transport, i.e. their own legs. Today, the affluent segments of humankind travel by jet planes while those who live below the poverty line can’t even get near the airport to look at the exterior of the planes. And, so much food is thrown away from the air services that could feed many who cannot even get such luxurious leftovers. And the paper used up by an international flight can be enough stationery for a rural school for a whole year. Some of such rural schools in India and China don’t even have blackboards and slates, let alone paper for the students to write. In eating, the dog food for the pets of the rich is more than luxurious delicacies for poor human beings. In China, before 1979, a household had an income of only few hundred yuan for a year. Then, in the beginning of 1980s, there was the new phenomenon of the nouveaux riche called "wanyuanhu" (Ten thousand yuan households) which made headline news. In recent years, there has been a phenomenon called "wanyuangou" (Ten thousand yuan dogs). Some of the nouveaux riches in China now spend ten thousand yuans or more to buy famous European species of pet dogs, while there are several tens of million of Chinese today whose annual income is below 400 yuan. This is the true nature of "poverty"! Today, in certain Chinese circles where Commercialism and Mammonism have become people’s deities, "Ten thousand yuan households" no longer arouse admiration and excitement, but "Ten thousand yuan dogs" do. In other words, in a section of Chinese society, the rapid economic development has made human dignity below that of the dogs. What a degeneration!

We see here clearly that "poverty" is not a phenomenon of want. It is a social disease. We must first cure such human disease before we can tackle the problem of "poverty". I am glad to see that some municipal governments in China, like Beijing, have started administrative measures to discourage the development of this "dog culture". However, such a "dog culture" is only the symptom, not the pathogenesis of the disease. The pathogenesis lies in the deficiency of spiritual culture. All what we have discussed earlier — cultural desertification, ACIDS and "dog culture" — are from the same root cause. The other side of the coin is Commercialism and Mammonism. Commercialism and Mammonism are the cancer-causing agents for our cultural body. They are worse than narcotics.

China’s national minorities suffer a good deal in the development of globalization. As the Nagas in India resist strongly the building up of a railway through their territory, minorities have their rights to live according to their own liking. In China, no minority community can resist the wheel of modernization which has rolled into all the remote nooks and corners of the country. Natural economy does not survive anywhere in China now. But, the demolition of the self-sufficiency economy does not necessarily mean an improvement of economic conditions in the minority areas. The main difficulty is that many minority communities can’t establish modern economic enterprises on their own after their rights of self-sufficiency were taken away from them. There is the need of capital, technology, personnel, infrastructure and transportation and other services all of which have to depend upon exogenous aid. Destruction of the endogenous economic system in the minority areas without exogenous aid is a mockery of modern development. As a result, some minority areas in China can’t even survive without urgent relief measures. In 1994, half of the minority families of the Baise Zhuang Autonomous Perfecture in Guangxi province had no food, nor warm clothing to pass the winter. The central government, provincial government, and prefecture government had to rush 9 million kilograms of foodgrains, 550,000 pieces of quilts and cotton quilted coats for their survival, in addition to 1.48 million yuan (about 6-7 million rupees) for them to invest in various production projects.24 Here is an instance of both the PRC’s efficiency in its protection of the minority communities as well as its failure in developing all the minority areas into prosperous modern societies.


I should conclude now by returning to the theme of endogenous development for China’s future. I have dwelt much upon the fact that China’s national development is symbiotic with the development of modern civilization of the world. By attempting an endogenous development, China, or any nation, can’t get away from the exogenous influences — be they exopathic diseases or exophilic blessings. Yet, it is in the context of globalization that there is the need for emphasis on endogenous development. The fundamental logic behind endogenous development is to recognize the heterogeneity of modern civilization. It is wrong to think that west or USA is the sole origin of modernity. Modern civilization is the joint contribution of all the peoples, of the first or second or third world. However, there is also the unmistakable tendency of some nations trying to impose their own value judgements on other nations in the name of modernization. Emphasizing endogenous development bears relevance to a resistance against such hegemonic tendency of modern development.

Globalization is a subject of much controversy among academic circles. We might detect two different developing trends in globalization. The first trend is what I have just now alluded to: the hegemonic behaviour of certain great powers to monopolize the world market, to dominate world developmental trends, to impose their own value judgements on the weaker nations. The second trend is the genuine demand of all the nations, peoples, ethnic and cultural communities to come closer towards one another, and build up a Jambudvipa (universe) of co-prosperity, amity, and harmony. Obviously, no one in the developing world would vote for the first move, but everyone would try to contribute to the healthy development of the second dynamism.

To return to China’s development, we also see the existence of binary opposites. The opposites are not unrelated to the opposite dynamics which I have just stated. On the one hand, there is a strong desire on the part of China to march hand in hand with other developing countries to build up a millennium of universal co -prosperity. On the other hand, she has to struggle against the imposition of other nation’s will on her developmental course. There is a new dimension: if China becomes a world power (which is very likely) would she also behave like a hegemonist in the international affairs? Right now, of course, China has a large share of the world’s population below the poverty line. So, from the viewpoint of the entire Chinese nation, it is in her interest to march hand in hand with other developing nations — otherwise she will never achieve her national salvation from backwardness and want.

One important issue concerning the dichotomy between endogenous development of China and the exogenous influences of modern civilization is how to modernize China’s vast rural areas and bring modern civilization to Chinese peasants who comprise 80 per cent of China’s population. Europe never had such a problem in its modernization process. In the 18th and 19th centuries, England could afford to destroy her primary industry — agriculture — because she had colonies to supply plenty of agricultural products. America started its agriculture as an industrial enterprise, and never has had a large portion of its population solely dependent on agricultural income. Only India and other Asian countries have acute problems of developing agriculture, and uplifting the living standard of the peasants.

There is a slogan in China that "Agriculture is a strategic industry. Foodgrain is a strategic material." It is now realized that China’s 1.2 billion mouths have to be fed by the yield from Chinese fields. If China’s countryside is poor, 900 million of her population are sufferers. On top of it, China is a country famous for peasant rebellions. In the last four decades, Chinese peasants have been strong supporters of the PRC because the Chinese communist movement, particularly its armed wing, essentially belonged to Chinese peasantry. The majority of PRC’s leaders and cadres at all levels in the past were peasants, and the majority of the membership of CPC are still peasants.

In the last few years, Chinese peasants have been very unhappy for many reasons. First, the new changes take place mostly along the sea coast while peasants in the interior are still as poor as before. Secondly, modernization is always a trend in favour of the secondary and tertiary industries. Industrial products, commercial profits, and service charges are all more lucrative than the toiling in plantation. The country’s reforms, particularly the price reform, leave all products in the jungle of market competition where agricultural products always have a disadvantage. The result of the reforms is the hike of prices of fertilizer, insecticide, and agricultural implements much higher than the increase of prices of agricultural products. Peasants have found it unprofitable to produce. Disparity between rural and urban incomes which has been reduced for some years is again being increased, and has reached as high as 1:2.53 (urban population earning two and half times of the income of the rural population) according to 1993 statistics. To add injustice to injury, the state planning has proportionally reduced its rural input. Investment in agriculture which was 10.69 per cent of China’s total investment in 1978 has occupied only a poor 2.2 per cent in 1993. In the last two years, the government has been trying to mobilize more resource onto agriculture, and adopt all possible measures to stabilize the enthusiasm of the farmers, particularly the grain and cotton growers. But, how to carry the huge peasantry of China to future prosperity remains a serious problem in China’s development.

India, too, has a similar problem. Both the Chinese and Indian peasants share the worry that globalization would ultimately mean their marginalization from the mainstream of the country’s development. In other words, modernization has its innate dynamism against the agricultural society which China and India have inherited for three thousand years. Endogenous development in China (also in India) means to protect the majority of her population from the onslaught of the anti-agricultural exogenous force of modern civilization. To do this and still embrace modernization is like having the cake and eating it.

Another exogenous tendency carried by modernization to China (also India) is to erase the characteristics of national minorities which have existed in China for more than a thousand years. If the minority culture is merely backwardness, there is no need of even crocodile tears for its extinction. But, China has always been a collective of diverse nationalities and cultures. Minority cultures have played an important role in enriching Chinese cultural life. The Manchu culture, for instance, has contributed greatly to the development of the Beijing dialect (which is the standard language of China today) and the Beijing Opera. Today, the popularity of Beijing Opera has been overtaken by Jazz in Beijing itself because of modernization. Incidentally, Jazz itself was and still is the cultural asset of the minority — the African Americans. This community has the most awkward fate in the USA today. On the one hand, almost all the great singers and athletes who have won glory for America are "blacks" and many of them are heroes of millions of American "whites", while one-fourth and more of African American youths are languishing in jail. The latter phenomenon is the marginalization of the minority society due to the Social-Darwinist force of modernization — Survival of the fittest. In China, this force of Survival of the fittest is being patted by the authorities which leads to many state-owned enterprises going bankrupt, causing problems to hundreds of thousands of their workers. If the majority nationality cannot protect itself from the onslaught of marginalization, how can the minorities in a much weaker position protect themselves. China should prevent her minorities to go the direction of the African Americans. Otherwise, there will be no endogenous model in her development.

There is a theory anticipating China to break up after the exit of the supreme leader, Deng Xiaoping. Minority areas, particularly Tibet and Xinjiang, figure in this hypothesis. I think there is no likelihood that this will happen. China will hold, and will be in a strong position after the return of Hong Kong and Macau to the motherland. Then, mainland China will be in an even stronger position to get Taiwan closer to its orbit. Taiwan’s independence and China’s break-up are supposed to be linked up. I think both can be avoided if the PRC leadership plays its cards tactfully and attains success in developing the economy and enhancing the living standard of all its nationalities.

If everything goes well, many models will develop inside China. Right now, there are two distinguishing themselves. One is the Guangdong model, and another the Su’nan model. The first is exogenous in nature and tilted towards private enterprises, while the second is endogenous in nature and tilted towards collective developmental programmes.

Guangdong province is situated in the Pearl River Delta which is now one of China’s golden triangles. Guangdong is the homeland of the majority of overseas Chinese in Southeast Asia as well as other continents. As blood is thicker than water, when the Chinese diaspora enthusiastically responded to Deng Xiaoping’s new economic policy to invest in China, they naturally put most of their eggs in the Guangdong basket. Guangdong also has an important linkage with the developed world, i.e. Hong Kong. From the early 1980s onwards, Guangdong and Hong Kong have started merging into one integral economic zone with the Hong Kong capitalists and transnational companies dominating the scene. Today, virtually all the chimney-smoking industries of Hong Kong have moved to Guangdong, making Hong Kong a city of office premises, and the nerve-centre controlling the next door industrial bases at Guandong. The Hong Kong-China border immigration posts are now overlooking the heaviest road traffic of the world, and most of the trucks bear both the Hong Kong and PRC Guangdong registration plates (one white and another black for easy differentiation). Hong Kong has not waited for 1997 to integrate with the motherland. It is already inseparable with Guangdong now. People are saying that Guangdong is the 5th "small tiger" of the Asia-Pacific region (after South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore), which is not an exaggeration. There is a delicate relationship between Beijing and Guangdong. On the one hand, the central government has purposely allowed Guangdong to go a step ahead to stimulate a rapid economic growth of the entire country. On the other hand, there are reports about the semi-independent attitude on the part of Guangdong province in carrying out the central government’s decisions. In this relationship there is the scenario of a spoiled favourite child. Right now, there is no sign of rebellion of the child who is still a favourite bathing in the affection of a joint family.

The Su’nan (southern Jiangsu province) model is made up of ten odd counties under the jurisdiction of three cities, Suzhou, Wuxi, and Changzhou. There are some similarities of Su’nan with Guangdong. It is situated in the Yangtse River Delta (another golden triangle of China) with China’s biggest city, Shanghai, as its neighbourhood. Su’nan has, from history, been the most prosperous countryside of China. Cotton textile industry was first established here in the 14th century. It has since become China’s textile centres specializing in both cotton and silk fabric productions. It was because of Su’nan that Shanghai became China’s textile centre in the 19th and 20th centuries. Su’nan was one of the first Chinese countryside to respond to Deng Xiaoping’s new economic policy. The peasants there initially pooled their savings and started establishing industries in the villages. They gathered information about the international markets, designed suitable consumer goods, imported latest machines, and produced garments, knitwear, shoes and other light industrial products for the overseas market. They employed foreign experts (many of them Chinese), and even went abroad to start new ventures. With such epoch-making enterprises, Su’nan has 2-3,000 village factories enjoying international reputation. They form an important foreign exchange earning sector of China’s small-scale industries. An additional feature of the Su’nan model is the protection of agriculture by its new rising industry. Because of the collective ownership of assets, the local leadership see to it that adequate funds are allocated to the development of agriculture so that there is ample supply of food and raw material. As I have said earlier that agriculture is the mainstay of endogenous development in China, the Su’an model ensures this endogenous interest. Perhaps, it is in the Su’nan model that we can ultimately find the solution of modernizing China’s countryside without first destroying China’s agriculture. If every Chinese province can be developed like Su’nan, China will succeed in carrying her 80 per cent of peasant population to the modernized future without making them suffer.

Among the affluent components of the Su’nan model, the Huaxi Village of Jiangyin County is most famous. It has achieved a per capita income level higher than that of the four "Asia-Pacific Tigers". The unique feature in the development of this village is that there are neither nouveau riche households, nor "poverty households". Su’nan is a typical model of coprosperity. Developing spiritual culture is another special feature of the Su’nan model. Sizeable investment has been put into the establishment of "cultural palaces" where the workers and peasants can have a healthy recreation during week ends and after work on week days. Such a model has transformed the countryside into many newly built towns some of which are even more modern than many big and medium cities of China. Because of such a developing pattern, a phenomenon has occurred which is described as "Peasants become workers but not going to the cities; peasants leave plantation but not leaving the village."25 Like Guangdong, Su’nan today is crowded with foreign investors and tourists. Airports have been built on agricultural lands to facilitate international travellers. Limousines are a common sight, carrying both foreign guests and also natives — bumpkins who 15 years ago knew only cycling. It is in this Su’nan model in which we see the future of a healthy endogenous development of China. If there is any place in China where there is genuine socialism, it is in Su’nan (also in other areas where the Su’nan model is followed).

Already in the limelight is the rapid development of Shanghai which is designed as the "dragon head" (longtou) of the entire Yangtse river valley. Both the central government and the municipal government of Shanghai (the richest city of China) are investing heavily in infrastructural development of Pudong area — the new Shanghai. The ambition of all this is to revive Shanghai’s position of the biggest city and industrial, commercial and financial centre in the East during the 19th century — as built by the Britons. When this dream comes true (which may take 50 to 100 years), China will have both Hong Kong and Shanghai to form a hub of economic development of the Eastern Hemisphere, echoing with Tokyo, Osaka, and Singapore. While Hong Kong will remain a capitalist paradise for at least 50 years after the 1997 takeover, Shanghai will essentially belong to the socialist arena of China — the socialist version of Hong Kong. When Shanghai becomes the Dragon Head, Su’nan and a larger area (including the entire Jiangsu province, in addition to neighbouring Shandong and other provinces) will emerge as the body of this new socialist dragon in development. Meanwhile, when Hong Kong and Macau return to the motherland in 1997 and 1999, south China (centering around the Pearl River delta) would become China’s bridgehead to integrate all diaspora developmental initiatives for an international and interzonal development which would be exogenous in character. The Shanghai-Su’nan endogenous and the Guangdong exogenous models will vie with each other for supremacy: while China marches along the road of endogenous development, she will progress further towards globalization. In the long run, China will still be a unity of diverse models like it is today. Perhaps, the confusion and uncertainty will not be as great as at present, if we re-examine the same issue after five or ten years. By then, we shall already be in the 3rd millennium of our common era. By that time, I hope China, India and other countries of the world will become more united in their joint march towards the milliennium of coprosperity.


1. See Hu Sheng, "Shenme shi shehuizhuyi, ruhe jianshe shehuizhuyi?" (What is socialism? How to construct socialism?), in Xinhua Wenzhai (Xinhua Digest Monthly), Beijing, No. 8, 1994, p. 11.

2. Li Yi’ning, "Zhongguo jingji gaige yu shichang qianjing (China’s economic reforms and market prospects), in Xinhua Wenzhai, No. 12, 1994, pp. 44-45.

3. Gu Honghong, "‘Yinjinchao’ pingshuo" (Comment on "Import waves"). In Liaowang (Observation weekly), Beijing, No. 53, Dec. 31, 1990, pp. 16-17.

4. All these statistics were given by Li Ruihuan, a top ranking Chinese leader, in his speech delivered to the 7th session of the 8th Chinese People’s Consultative Conference on July 1st, 1994. See Xinhua Wenzhai, No. 9, 1994, p. 1.

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid., p. 2.

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily), Beijing, Jan. 10, 1995, p.5.

10. Ibid., Jan. 5, p. 2.

11. Ibid., Jan. 15, 1995, p. 1.

12. Zhang Renjie, "Dui ‘jiaoyu ying shiying shichang jingji xuyao’ zhi zai sikao" (The rethinking on "Education should cater for the needs of market economy"), Xinhua Wenzhai, No. 12, 1994, pp. 147-48.

13. Zhang Jun, "Lun 90 niandai woguo wenxuede zouxiang yu xuanze" (On the direction and choice of the literature of our country in the 1990s), in Xinhua Wenzhai, No. 9, 1994, p. 115.

14. Ibid., Bao Xinjian, "Lun woguo xingzhengtizhi gaigede shuangxiang mubiao jiegou" (On the structure for the dual targets of the administrative reforms of our country), p. 10.

15. Ibid., No. 8, 1994, Bai Enpei, "Laogu shuli Makesizhuyi qunzhongguandian" (Firmly estabilsh the Marxist mass perspective), p. 19.

16. Bao Xinjian, loc cit, p. 11.

17. Zheng Hangsheng, "Guanyu dangqian wenhua fazhan moshide jidian sikao" (Some thoughts on the developmental model of present Chinese culture), in Xinhua Wenzhai, No. 9, 1994, pp. 150-52.

18. Ibid., p. 1, text of Li Ruihuan’s speech. Li said in his speech on July 1st, 1994 that "Because of the destruction of the ecological environment, the prosperous Silk Road of the Tang Dynasty and the greenlands of our vast west has become a vast desert."

19. This is the summary of an article by Xiao Lian entitled "Shamo yu qingquan" (Desert and clean stream), in Xinjiang Ribao (Xinjiang Daily) published in Urumqi, Nov. 23, 1994, p. 3.

20. See famous pilgrim Xuanzang’s (602-64) description in his biography authored by his disciples Huili and Yanzong. See Wu Bolun, Chuanbo youyide sichouzhilu (The Silk Road which spreads friendship), Xi’an: People’s Publishing House, 1983, p. 80.

21. Li Qingshan, "Weiwuer laoren changshou tanyuan" (An inquiry into the sources of the longevity of the Uighurs), in Xinjiang Ribao, Nov. 26, 1994, p. 5.

22. Renmin Ribao, Jan. 20, 1995, p. 1.

23. Mahbub ul Haq, "Towards a better social order", in The Economic Times, Feb. 27, 1995, "Insight".

24. Renmin Ribao, Jan. 2, 1995, p. 3.

25. Zhang Qinde, " ‘Su’nan moshi’ de qishi" (The revelation of the "Su’nan Model"), in Xinhua Wenzhai, No. 7, 1994, pp. 10-11.

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