China's reform and opening-up road over the past three decade has turned increasingly wider and with brighter prospects, and the nation today is reaping a huge outcome of the prosperity, might and sustainable, coordinated development arising from this reform choice, said Dr. Pierre Picquart, an ace researcher on geopolitics from elite Paris University, who has just returned from another China trip.
Dr. Picquart, an expert about China and doctor in geopolitics, specialty of the University of Paris–VIII, has dedicated himself to China studies for several decades and visited the country four times a year on average since 2000. With an in-depth understanding of China issues in all aspects, he has published numerous monograph works about China. Reform and opening-up poses a broad road, and genuine changes it has brought to the country occur to the daily lives of ordinary Chinese in their tens of millions, he acknowledged.
On the subject of daily traffic, Picquart recalled, China used to be a "kingdom of bicycles," where there were only a few outmoded buses in service and the means of public transport were backward. To date, cars have been accessible to the homes of ordinary Chinese; luxurious, brand-name cars have squeezed into China, which has been shifted from the "bicycle kingdom" to one of the world's biggest and most favorable auto markets.
When the reform and opening-up was initiated three decades ago, China did not have a single expressway in real sense, and its total freeway mileage, however, has to date topped the 50,000-km mark, overtaking many Western developed nations, and with only the United States having more mileage.
Dr. Picquart particularly appreciates China's trying efforts to place priority on public transportation. Paris has spent more than a century to build some 200 kilometers of subways, which took China only one quarter of the time to complete, he noted. During the 2008 summer Olympics, he said he took new subway cars in Beijing, which are brand-new, cozy and comfortable, with video facilities installed in these cars. Moreover, he added, electric buses, or buses with the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG), are seen running in all streets, and passing cabs would stop whenever passengers give them a hand signal.
Based on his personal experiences, Picquart said, long-distance travel was not easy in China three decades ago, when trains could only achieve speeds of 50-60 km per hour on average and they usually could not arrive on schedule owing to the overloading and poor dispatch management. Civil aviation was in the same situation then, and it did not have a modern airport in the country, he said, but things are entirely different nowadays.
Like the take-off of Chinese economy, trains have accelerated speed in an all-round way, and the national train speeds been raised to 200 km per hour in a quite number of rail network sections. The Beijing-Tianjin Inter-city Express Railway is the fastest of its kind in operation worldwide, and trains runs at 300 km per hour in the line. The Shanghai Transrapid Maglev line is the world's first high-speed commercial community system using the state-of-the-art electromagnetic levitation, and this maglev system can reach speeds of up to 400-500 km per hour. So, China has entered into the ranks of developed nations in term of rail route construction.
What has amazed Dr. Picquart all the more is the completion in 2006 of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway on the "Roof of the world", which has been hailed as one of new China's greatest feats, he said. As for air traffic, a simplified procedure for air ticket booking has enabled more and more Chinese citizens to opt for air travel, thanks to China's burgeoning domestic and international air routes and super big airports.
Moreover, Picquart said, on the 30th anniversary of the its launch of the reform and opening-up, China succeeded in launching the Shenzhou-7 spaceship into space and its taikonaut performed China's first-ever EVA, or extra-vehicular activities on the eve of the national day. Who could imagine at first that the reform and opening-up could develop China so rapidly, he queried.
The three-decade reform and opening-up have brought fundamental changes to China, he said, noting that China shall continue to follow the road of reform and opening-up in years ahead, and to have dialogue, exchanges and cooperation with the world. Meanwhile, he underscored that the focus of the world is turning increasingly to the "China mode"- a mode to integrate the special national conditions of a nation with its concrete practices smartly and ingeniously, a mode to bridge the past and the future, and a "win-win" mode to merge China's development and the world progress.
By People's Daily Online, and its author is PD reporter in Paris Gu Yuqing