What is the secret of China’s success?

What is the secret of China’s success?

The People’s Republic of China celebrated its 71 anniversary on October 1. In announcing the establishment of the new government in 1949, Mao Zedong, ‘China’s Atatürk’ stated the following during the 7th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in June 1945:


There is an ancient Chinese tale called ‘The foolish old Man who carries mountains.’ The tale is an interesting story of an old man who lived long ago in the north of China, and was known as ‘the foolish old man of the northern mountain.’ This man’s house faced the south; there were two mountains, Taihang and Wang Wu standing in front of his door and blocking the way. One day the man summoned his sons and they grabbed shovels, and began to dig through the mountains with great determination. Another old man known as the ‘wise old man’ approached them and began to laugh at them as soon as he saw them digging. ‘You are so foolish! You all never finish digging these two big mountains,’ he said. ‘The foolish old man’ replied: ‘When I die, my sons will continue; when they die, my grandchildren will continue; when my grandchildren die, their sons and grandchildren will continue and this will go on and on. No matter how high the mountains are, they cannot grow any longer. With every piece we dig, they grow smaller. Who says we cannot destroy them?” After refuting the Wise Old Man, the Foolish Old Man continued to dig every day, without losing faith. The gods in Heaven were impressed with his hard work and perseverance, and thus ordered the mountains to separate.

Mao Zedong, after reciting this tale, says the following: “Today, two big mountains lie like a dead weight on the Chinese people. One is imperialism, and the other is feudalism. The Chinese Communist Party has long made up its mind to dig them up. We must persevere and work unceasingly, and we, too, will touch God’s heart. Our God is none other than the masses of the Chinese people. If they stand up and dig together with us, why can’t these two mountains be separated?” (1)


The answer to the question posed in the title of this article is the Chinese people.

The secret of the People’s Republic of China, which has accomplished the most rapid development in human history, saved 800 million people from poverty in 70 years, established the world’s largest economy, and become the world leader in developing science and technology, is the the mobilization of the Chinese people; the creator and owner of this miracle.


The Turks are one of the nations that will best understand the success of the Chinese people, as we materialized the people’s revolution led by Mao in 1920 under the leadership of the great Atatürk. We saved our occupied country, raised up ‘the sick man of Asia’, and managed to establish an enlighten, contemporary, and productive Turkey via our people. This year, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Ataturk’s Populism Proclamation, a program that has been a huge success in Turkey.

On September 18, 1920, the second article of the Proclamation submitted by Mustafa Kemal to the Grand National Assembly was as follows: “Article 2: The government of the Grand National Assembly believes that it will achieve its goal by making the people, whose sole purpose is to save their life and independence, the real owners of the will and sovereignty that will save the people from the domination and tyranny of imperialism and capitalism.’’

Mustafa Kemal further explained, “the goal of making the people the real owners of the sovereignty” in his speech on August 14, 1920: “If it is examined in essence, our point, which is populism, is the direct transfer of power, puissance, sovereignty and administration to the people, and have them carry into the hands of the people. There is no doubt that this is the strongest essence, principle of the world.’’ (2)


The Communist Party of China became the sole country in the world that was able to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, something it was able to do since it adopted populism, which Atatürk called “the strongest principle in the world”. In 2020, there is no growing economy except China. We have all seen that the organized power of the people is stronger than even the most dangerous and contagious virus. Life in Wuhan, the only example of the quarantine of an entire city in history, is now a bed of roses, a city where one does need to wear a mask. In order to have more detailed information on this subject, I suggest you examine the special Chinese supplement of Aydınlık newspaper, an article titled, ‘The Unbeaten Economy Despite the Epidemic”.


All leaders who have left their mark in history and contributed to the progress of humanity by leading great revolutions have one common feature: a deep public affection. When we examine the lives of Marx, Lenin, Atatürk, Mao, Castro, Gandhi, Tito, and Ho Chi Min, this deep public affection can easily be detected.

It is the same with the prophets, starting from Adam. Noah and Abraham are known with their fondness for their people. Jesus also relied on people. However, the most striking example is Mohammed, who realized the importance of being trusted by the public.


The manner in which China managed the virus epidemic while growing its economy has brought the Chinese President Xi Jinping forward and into the global spotlight. The most striking feature of Xi Jinping is that he has a deep love for and from the public: he relies on the people, and that he trusts in the great energy of the people.

The Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee held a very important meeting on September 30. The meeting determined the basic principles of the 14th Five-Year Plan (FYP), which will determine China’s next five years. In the second half of October, the CPC Central Committee will meet to draft the plan. Before the meeting on September 30, Xi Jinping visited the locals and collected the demands, and suggestions of ordinary people for the 14th Five-Year Plan.

On September 17, 2020, Xi presided over a symposium attended by local representatives on soliciting opinions and suggestions for the 14th FYP in Changsha, capital of central China’s Hunan Province.

There, Xi Jinping stated the following: “To meet people’s desire for a happy life is our mission,” and encouraged people from all sectors of society to give advice on a new policy blueprint for the next five years, noting the 14th FYP involves all economic and social aspects and is closely related to Chinese people’s lives.

In his call to the Party and state administrators, Xi Jinping explained the reason for this attitude was as follows: “The 14th FYP should respond to the wishes of the people in order to understand people’s thoughts and expectations.”

During the meeting, 10 primary-level representatives offered suggestions on rural education, poverty alleviation through industrial support, and the development of micro and small businesses, among other aspects. Noting that their ideas reflect grassroots’ realities, Xi urged relevant departments to carefully examine and fully absorb the suggestions. (3)

Even in an article ordered by the Economist to overshadow China’s success in fighting poverty, the Economist is forced to admit China’s success:

“In the party secretary of Sichuan province, Peng Qinghua, the party’s focus on moral education is a unique advantage of socialism with Chinese characteristics. For all that, poverty alleviation is not an act of disinterested charity. China’s poorest are being integrated into the national economy and trained to thank the party for it. Putting money in people’s pockets is one measure of success. The greater prize is putting ideas in people’s heads.” (4)


Our beautiful country Turkey is struggling against great challenges. The US is attacking Turkey from three directions via its geopolitical pawns. It shows its weapons from the Eastern Mediterranean, the north of Iraq and Syria, the Caucasus, and sheds blood. The fourth direction is a vital one: the economy. It is as if all Western banks and financial institutions agreed not to lend to Turkey or allow others to give Turkey loans. We feel more confident against the cry of Namık Kemal long ago: ‘The enemy held his dagger in the bosom of the homeland. Who is going to save the unfortunate mother.’

Mustafa Kemal replied to this cry from the Turkish Grand National Assembly on January 13, 1921: ‘From this chair, as the president of this Assembly, on behalf of all members of the Assembly and on behalf of the whole nation, I say: Let the enemy put his dagger in our bosom. The one will be found to save the unfortunate mother.”

The one was found, and he succeeded. Turkey set an example for the Oppressed Nations by showing that imperialism could be defeated in our First War of Independence. We will surely succeed in our Second War of Independence based on the deep source of our people, and we will be one of the stars of a whole new harmony rising from Asia. This is because we have the Turkish nation, which is even greater than Turkey!

  1. Mao Zedung Seçme Eserler (Selected Works), Volume 3, Kaynak Yayınları, 2. Edition, s.333
  2. Zabıt Ceridesi, c. 3, s. 183; Atatürk’ünSöylev ve Demeçleri, c. 3, 2. basım, Ankara, 1961, s. 101.
  3. https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-09-19/Xi-Jinping-encourages-public-advice-on-China-s-14th-Five-Year-Plan-TUir7L6CoU/index.html
  4. https://www.economist.com/china/2020/09/19/chinas-anti-poverty-drive-is-not-disinterested-charity
Adnan Akfırat

Adnan Akfirat is former representative to China and Member of International Relations Bureau of the Patriotic Party of Türkiye; Chairman of Turkish-Chinese Business Development and Friendship Association (Turk-Cin Is Der); visitor researcher of Shanghai University Turkish Studies Center and Shihezi University Silk Road Research Center. Mr. Akfirat has been living in Shanghai since 2011.

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May 2024