China's self-confidence is definitely not arrogance

16:05, September 17, 2010      

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A conference was held in Beijing on Sept. 13 to mark the 30th anniversary of China-World Bank (WB) cooperation. Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang and WB President Robert Zoellick both expressed in their speeches satisfaction with China's cooperation with the World Bank and deemed that such cooperation had enriched the experience in cooperation between the WB and the developing world.

President Zoellick gave a reception Monday evening in the State Guesthouse at Diaoyutai in Beijing. In his impromptu speech, Zoellick said he personally witnessed great changes from the China he "first visited in 1980 and the China today". During this 30-year period, "China has managed to lift half a billion people out of poverty – the largest number in history", but he added that "challenges lie ahead, socially, economically and environmentally, as China seeks to join the ranks of high-income countries."

Along with China's development and progress, the Chinese people have built up their self-confidence, he acknowledged, but the nation's self-confidence is definitely not arrogance (or haughtiness), since China still perseveres in an open approach to the outside world while displaying self-confidence, and is ready to heed views of other countries.

Self-confidence is to know one's self and not being afraid to speak your mind. Arrogance is … pride and arrogance, not for the act of rebellion, as he explained.

These remarks of Zoellick's make sense or holds water. This reminds people of what Chinese President and Party General Secretary Hu Jintao said at an important meeting held on Dec. 18, 2008 to mark the 30th anniversary of China's reform and opening to the outside world in late 1978. "The great course and great achievements made over the past 30 years showed that the reform and opening-up is the key choice for the fate of China and the only way to develop socialism with Chinese characteristics and realize the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," he said. "Only socialism can save China and only reform and opening up can develop China."

At the opening ceremony of the summer Davos Forum in Tianjin municipality, north China, on Sept. 13, Premier Wen Jiabao said "China's development is open development, and that China's opening up is long-term, comprehensive, based on mutual benefit…"; the Chinese premier said that China is committed to carrying out mutually beneficial cooperation on an equal footing with other countries in accordance with the law of the market... These above remarks of Chinese leaders indicated China's resolve to keep steadfastly to the reform and opening-up.

Late Senior Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping proposal for carrying out reform and opening up is by no means accidental or coincidental. To review China's longstanding history, from the ancient period of the Imperial Qin (221-206 B.C.) and Han (206 BC-25 AD) dynasties down to the days when navigator Zheng He (1371-1435) of the imperial Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) made voyages to the Western Seas" to cross the Indian ocean to reach east Africa, Chinese society had all along open outbound to the world, till a Ming emperor ordered the ocean-going ban. The opening-up and engagement enriched the Chinese civilization and also spread it to the world at that time.

Sweeping changes over the past several centuries began with the great ocean navigations, which started with Chinese ancient navigator Zhen He's voyages to the "West Seas" in 1405, followed by Christopher Columbus's discovery of the New Continent, America in the late 15th century; subsequently, Gamma Draconis made his way into the Indian Ocean, and Ferdinand Magellan and Juan Sebastian Elcano Led the first circumnavigation in 1519-1522.

Why did China fall far behind the Western nations in the modern times, and the basic reason for the Chinese nation to lag behind is, as a natter of course, to shut its "door" to the world community. Sealing the nation up has led China to head for a decline and eventually to be subjugated and trampled upon by Western powers. Senior leader Deng Xiaoping in 1978 called for carrying out reform and opening to the world because this is the conclusion the Chinese history had drawn. The great development over the last three decades hinges on the reform and open policy, and an endeavor in years ahead to catch up with the medium-developed nations must also hinge on this policy.

Of late, Chen Jinhua, former vice-chairman of the Chinese State Development and Planning Commission, has written a book titled "Opening up & National Rise and Fall", which recalls or summed up the history and the process of China's reform and opening-up and upgrades the opening up the height of the "rise and fall of a nation", and this book is written very timely.

Along with the enhancement of its natural strength, any nation will surely be self-confident, and this is absolutely indisputable. However, to pursue openness along with self-confidence is definitely not arrogance; the people in China shall be invincible and ready to greet with a full confidence the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

By People's Daily Online and contributed by Wu Jianmin, a special PD guest commentator

(Editor:张心意)

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