Celebrating the 74th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China

October 1st, 2023 is the auspicious day for all peoples of good will to join the People of China in celebrating the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC” or “China”) in 1949. Furthermore, all people of good will desirous of a multi-polar world of equity, justice, security, harmony and a shared future of peaceful coexistence with human prosperity, may avail themselves of this early opportunity to congratulate the People of China on the 52nd anniversary of the great human victory achieved in restoration of the lawful seat of the PRC in the United Nations in October 1971, with China representing more than twenty percent of humanity during that time and to date.

Congratulations to the People of China for unity of purpose in the inter-generation determination to achieve modernization, manifest as sacrifice, hard work and fighting spirit with courage which enabled the Chinese nation, to overthrow the historic domestic rule of feudalism, as well as to end the humiliation of foreign invasion with occupation and oppression of China. Since its founding 74 years ago, the PRC has achieved economic development success with associated social progress, on a scale unprecedented in human history during the 200 years of modern world industrial revolution. In that regard, China has succeeded in lifting more than 700 million people out of poverty within the relatively short period of four decades. Tanzania can learn much from the veritable socio-economic development success of China.

Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) during the first phase of modernization of the nation, the PRC has successfully mobilized and employed human and non-human resources to become: (i) world leader in industrial manufacturing; (ii) a major economy to reckon with in international trade; (iii) world’s leading maritime nation with five busiest seaports; and (iv) world leader in cutting-edge 5G technologies. Going forward into the second phase of modernization, the PRC is on track to lead the world in the manufacture of Electric Vehicles and in Artificial Intelligence. The CPC has provided leadership to the PRC with Chinese national ideology that is characterized by conviction, clarity, coherence, consistency and has been implemented with commitment by CPC members, manifested as Party discipline at all levels.

With regard to the national ideology referred to supra which continues to provide the coherent and consistent political framework to direct China’s development as a rapidly modernizing nation, it is important and significant to note that since the CPC was founded, it has promoted the spirit of self-renewal, and practiced innovation of its guiding political theory to maintain relevance in the context and the needs of the constantly evolving socio-economic conditions of China as well as the global environment. In that regard, during the past decade of CPC’s leadership, China’s national policy has been guided and its implementation directed by what is acknowledged as a positive contribution to the development of the contemporary political thought in China, which is embodied in the “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era”.

Since its founding, the PRC has made great strides in fulfilling her aspirations to achieve national rejuvenation through the modernization of a culture which is 5,000 years old, and of a country which was once a world leader in human development. In contrast, the general prevailing situation of Tanzania and Africa requires modern national construction de novo and to achieve socio-economic development from relics of imperial colonialism and the related subsequent neocolonialism of resources exploitation. In that regard, Africa must strive for total emancipation through unity of her underdeveloped people of ethnic and cultural diversities, who have been domesticated within sovereign territorial boundaries that were demarcated in accordance with imperialist designs of Europe in the colonial resources scramble. In the post-colonial era, Tanzania and a number of other African countries have benefited from the all-weather friendship with the PRC. On record, China is without history of colonial rule to plunder resources and the engineering of hegemonic schemes in international relations. The multi-layered economic development challenges of Africa can be structured as potential areas for win-win cooperation with the PRC.

To date, the PRC has remained consistent in adhering to core principles that were adopted at the Afro-Asian Bandung Conference of 1955 during the struggle for independence, to wit: (i) political self-determination; (ii) support for decolonization; (iii) mutual respect for sovereignty; (iv) non-aggression; (v) non-interference in internal affairs; and (vi) equality. In that regard, China was fast on the mark to support the independence of Zanzibar after the revolution of 12th January 1964. Furthermore, from the mid-1960s PRC collaborated with Tanzania to support the common front of armed liberation struggle in Southern Africa – self-styled as the “Frontline States” (FLS) – that ultimately won sovereign independence of all former colonial territories in the region. Hence, good will of friendship which China enjoys in Southern Africa is a natural outcome of solidarity with sincerity during the struggles to attain self-rule.

Regional solidarity of FLS was subjected to metamorphic transformation to become a regional socio-economic development and security cooperation entity, self-styled as the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), with shared objectives to achieve post-independence total political, economic, social and cultural emancipation. In that regard, SADC initiated and formulated a “Resource-based Africa Development Strategy” (RADS) of “Development Corridors” and “Spatial Development Initiatives” with trans-border impact and trade-links to global markets. The high growth and transformation success achieved by the implementation of Maputo Development Corridor involving Mozambique, South Africa and Eswatini, stands as legacy “proof-of-concept” in design and implementation of Development Corridors. The RADS won strong political support through endorsement of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) at the Extraordinary SADC Summit of Windhoek Namibia, in March 2001. Mtwara Corridor, Central Corridor and TAZARA Corridor are investment-ready Development Corridors of SADC RISDP in Tanzania.

Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere once posited that dynamic sustainable development is the definition of Africa, and remaining static is not an option. The choice is between endogenous development initiatives with changes responding to the aspirations of Africans, or reacting and being changed by exogenous initiatives. African and Asian Leaders at the Bandung Conference focused on the potential for collaboration among Nations of the Third World, promoting efforts to reduce reliance on Europe and North America. The 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation scheduled to take place in Beijing during October 2023, provides an occasion to identify collaborations that would combine RADS with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), to implement SADC development initiatives of RISDP for mutual benefit, with framework guidelines championed by President Xi Jinping, i.e. Striving for New Progress in High-Quality Belt and Road Development.

Long Live the Friendship and Solidarity between the People of China and the People of Tanzania as well as the whole Africa!

 (The writer Colonel Joseph Leon Simbakalia (retired) has served in senior positions of Government and Public Sector of Tanzania. He has also served as Chairman of SADC Development Finance Institutions (“DFI”) Network and Vice Chairman of SADC DFI Resources Centre. The views expressed by him in this article are personal.)

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