William N. Brown: I Have Witnessed China Dream Fulfilled
I look forward to it becoming the Word’s Dream as well peace and moderate prosperity shared by all peoples.
Editor’s Note: On the publication ceremony of the book SHARED IDEALS – THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF CHINA AND ITS CHERISHED FRIENDS FROM AROUND THE WORLD held in Beijing in July, William N. Brown, Professor of Xiamen University, talked about his understanding of the Centennial CPC in his speech via video link. An excerpt of his speech is as follows.
I’ve admired China’s war on poverty since the 1970s, when I began reading China Reconstructs Magazine (now called China Today). I marveled at how China dedicated itself wholeheartedly to meet the people’s needs through cutting edge research in agriculture, medicine, and other fields. And even from the 1960s, when China was still in deep poverty, it helped other poor nations by building railroads. In 1988, I realized my own China Dream when my family and I moved to Xiamen, China, where I could witness China’s changes firsthand.
In January, 1989, I traveled deep into the countryside on bicycles, farm tractors and on foot to see if reforms were helping farmers. The people were indeed poor, but they were happy, because life was already better than it had ever been for them, and they were optimistic about the future. But like me, they thought changes would take 50 or 60 years, and that we were planting trees so future generations could enjoy the shade. We never imagined such changes would happen within 2 decades!
In 1994, our family drove 40,000 km around China in 3 months to see how reforms affected life even in remote areas of Mongolia, Gansu, and Tibet. Some places were so poor that UNESCO said they were hopeless. But UNESCO was wrong. 30 Years ago, China’s strategy was “Roads first, then riches.” This was simple and pragmatic, but as I found 25 years later, it was very effective.
In 2019, with the help of Xiamen University’s School of Management and New Channel International Education Group, I drove around China again but thanks to new roads it was only 20,000 km and 32 days. And even the people in supposedly hopeless areas like Ningxia were prospering, with new homes, and concrete roads right to their doorsteps. And in remote Tibetan valleys, the nomads prospered with e-commerce, thanks to the world’s most extensive internet system. And as in the 1950s and 1960s, China continues to help other poor nations with the Belt and Road Initiative which is basically exporting China’s successful “Roads first then riches strategy”.
My son Matthew and his wife, who do volunteer medical and social work in Africa, said that even the remotest areas have Chinese working hand in hand with e Africans to build the roads, highways, dams, and ports to help them lift themselves from poverty. No wonder my African friends are so grateful to China, and the UN Secretary General said in 2017 that the world’s only hope for ending poverty whist China’s precise poverty alleviation.
Thank you, China, for allowing me to witness the China Dream fulfilled, and I look forward to it becoming the Word’s Dream as well peace and moderate prosperity shared by all peoples.