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China's success in economic reform draws praise
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21:13, August 26, 2009

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Since the founding of the People's Republic of China 60 years ago, the Chinese economy has developed into a model of prosperity under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

China's efforts have drawn praise from around the globe.

Thanks to its huge development, China has become a member of the world's major rising markets and is wielding increasing influence on the global economy. To many experts, China's economic success is a miracle of Asia and the world as well.

The Chinese economy has long been a driving force for the world's economic development. From 1979 to 2007, it registered an annual growth of 9.8 percent, 6.8 percent higher than the world average, and its rate of contribution to the world economy rose from 2.3 percent in 1978 to 14.5 percent in 2006, second only to the United States.

During a series of interviews with Xinhua, many foreign experts expressed their appreciation of China's economic reform.

Mohan Guruswamy, director of the Indian Center for Policy Alternatives and a former adviser to the finance minister, has been surprised at how the Chinese economy has kept its high speed of development over a long period of time.

The reform and opening up policy brought China into fast development, Guruswamy said, adding that the resulting achievements show the wisdom and far-sightedness of China's leaders.

Guruswamy said a huge volume of foreign direct investments stimulated industries on China's Mainland and helped build the country into a major manufacturing base.

China's infrastructure was improved, the commercial market was enriched, and the Chinese people's living standard was greatly enhanced at the same time, he added.

Luiz Antonio Paulino, an international relations professor at Brazil's Saint Paulo state university, said China's development process can be divided into two stages.

In the first stage from 1949 to 1978, the Chinese people's major task was to consolidate the basis of their new country.

"Only the competent Chinese Communist Party could succeed in uniting all of the people and setting the country's progress as the common target of each citizen," said Paulino, also president of the San Paulo Confucius College.

Paulino said that in the second stage, from 1978 on, China began to experience deep changes, especially after late leader Deng Xiaoping's symbolic tour of southern China in 1992.

"All those who have visited China were impressed by the hopeful and dynamic society and could feel the Chinese people's pride in their culture and tradition," Paulino said. "They found that people in the country were confident of the future and were united for a stronger and more prosperous nation."

Russian scholar Yakov Berger appreciated China's choice of a development mode suitable for its own situation.

China received help from the former Soviet Union during its industrialization process, but it did not copy the the Soviet mode. Instead, it made arduous efforts to explore a development plan designed for its own needs, said Berger, a senior research fellow with the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Facts prove that China made the right choice, he said.

Berger said one of the main reasons that the reform and opening up policy has succeeded was that China's leaders revised their thinking and have adhered to the principle of moving step by step.

Japanese scholar Takashi Sekiyama said the socialist market economy is the fruit reaped from years of exploration and examination of China's economic construction.

"Great changes have taken place since China adopted the policy of reform and opening up in 1978, and China's rapid economic growth has attracted worldwide attention," said Sekiyama, a research fellow at the Tokyo Foundation, a government-related think tank.

Lauding the measures taken by China in building its socialist market system, Sekiyama said that the government staged a series of reforms, including those aimed at reforming State-owned enterprises, separating the functions of government from those of enterprises and revitalizing the non-State-owned sector of the economy.

China, Sekiyama said, has "learned from the failure of the planned economy," and "made decisive and skillful use of the power of the market to achieve an unprecedented economic leap forward."

"China has followed a development path characterized by comparative advantages and open economy, and has set a fine example for most developing countries," he added.

Kenneth Dewoskin, a senior researcher at the accounting firm Deloitte, said China's economy and living standards have experienced significant improvements during the past several decades.

Residents in the cities and in the countryside have benefited since the implementation of the reform and opening up policy in 1978, said Dewoskin, who has studied China for more than 40 years.

Dewoskin said China's economic development mode has two key characteristics. One is that the concept of reform has become a part of the economic culture. The other is that the concept of private capital and markets has become a major component of the reform.

Furthermore, the adjustment of China's economic policies appears to be in better order and the government's economic administration level is rising, he added.

Many economists attribute China's development to its balanced relationship between the market and the government.

Justin Lin Yifu, chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank, said that it was not necessarily good to undertake a comprehensive market economy.

Reviewing China's experiences in development, Lin said the government should engage in the market.

Sociologist Paul Lim, a senior academic advisor at the European Institute for Asian Studies, said that the Chinese economic model has worked well after its transition from a planned economy to a market economy.

Lim believes that China's economic recovery amidst the ongoing global financial crisis will give a boost to the world.

Peter Lewis, director of the African program at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, said African nations can learn a lot from China's development experiences.

China was poor several decades ago, but now sees fast growth in its economy and a dramatic improvement in people's lives, Lewis said.

Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel laureate in economics, said he thinks the success of China's new growth model will "benefit the rest of the world."


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