Lessons from the Far East

It is inconceivable the amount of news the world can generate in just one week. There is simply a lot happening in the world that keeping tabs with what is happening around the world is now considered as an art.
Paul Ntambara
Paul Ntambara

It is inconceivable the amount of news the world can generate in just one week. There is simply a lot happening in the world that keeping tabs with what is happening around the world is now considered as an art.

And it is not like nothing much happened in the past, it’s the ease with which news is thrust in our eyes that has brought a new dimension. Technology has revolutionised how news is gathered, delivered and consumed. Its shelf life is also much shorter.

Back home, the best piece of news in the week was the resolutions of the August 18 Cabinet meeting in which the Executive expressed concern over cases of human trafficking, especially of young girls and teenage alcohol consumption.

These are issues that I have devoted column inches in previous articles. I hope that the recognition at the highest level of the challenge posed by these two vices reinvigorates efforts to address the twin dangers to our susceptible teenagers.

Away from home, one of the biggest stories from China this week that caught the headlines in world media was the arrest, here in Beijing, of Jaycee Chan, a popular actor and singer and son to kungfu movie star Jackie Chan.  

He and his friend Ko Chen-tung, a Taiwanese movie star, allegedly tested positive for Marijuana. Chan was also allegedly found with 100 grams of the banned substance.

Now drug-related charges are very serious charges in China. Conviction can lead to life in prison or even a death sentence. The case of two Ugandans who were hanged last month is still fresh. Two South Koreans were also executed over drug-related crimes a week ago.

It is the enormity of the crime and the possible ramifications that sent Chan’s father, the legendary Kungfu movie star Jackie Chan, who, ironically, was a goodwill ambassador for China’s anti-drug body, to make a frantic dash to Beijing.

The message from the authorities has been delivered; no one will be spared in the crackdown on drug trafficking and consumption.

But it is the 110th anniversary of the birth of Deng Xiaoping that is making the biggest news on mainland China. Deng is not just an ordinary former Chinese leader. This is a man whose name is mentioned in the same sentence with the iconic ‘Chairman’ Mao Zedong, the founder of modern China.

It is not uncommon to hear Chinese politicians punctuate their speeches with statements like ‘Guided by the Thought of Chairman Mao and the Deng Xiaoping Theory.’

But why has Deng received such roving tribute by the Chinese government?

Deng is hailed as the great reformer who set China on a growth trajectory after a decade of decline during the Cultural Revolution. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is Deng’s political and theoretical legacy that has guided China to its current standing as the World’s second biggest economy.

It is the guiding star to the realisation of Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

He was the architect of China’s opening up and reform and modernisation drive that saw today’s modern cities like Shenzhen (which has close ties with the City of Kigali) become special economic zones.

Perhaps, the most important lesson to take from the celebration of Deng’s life is the ‘independent path, theory and system’ China took to advance its development agenda. China did not just ‘swallow’ Socialism but modelled Socialism with Chinese characteristics to suit the reality and needs of the Chinese people.

Addressing a symposium to mark the anniversary early this week, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the only way to solve problems in China is to do so in a Chinese way, based on the Chinese reality.

“We will try our best to reform areas that are weak and unsound and learn from the good experiences of foreign countries, but we will never completely copy the foreign experience let alone absorb bad things from them,” said the Chinese leader.

Rwanda’s remarkable growth and development in the last 20 years is largely attributed to the insistence on home-grown solutions to solve its challenges and the insatiable thirst to learn from successful development models of other countries.

The ‘Rwandan Model’ is now a much sought after model for many African countries that are looking to advance their development agenda. Just this week, I read two insightful articles; one from Ghana and the other from Malawi.

The authors have been to Rwanda on a study tour and going by the insightful writings about their visits, Rwanda must be getting something right.

President Xi said, during the symposium, that “We should always be brave enough to explore and create.” This is a message that holds true for Rwanda.

Maintaining a steady political, social and economic development path calls for brave decisions, it calls for invention and innovation.

Failure is not an option.

The writer is a Foreign Resident Correspondent in Beijing, China

Twitter: @haliri

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