China's status as developing nation beyond doubt

15:41, August 11, 2010      

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Voices challenging China's national identity as a developing country, which claim that China is a quasi superpower or that the so-called G2 of China and the United States rules the world, have become louder and louder in light of the rapid development of China's overall national strength in recent years.

It is an undeniable fact that China's national economy has greatly improved and the country's international standing is constantly rising thanks to the reforms that started in 1978. However, it would be wrong to deny the fact that China is a developing country.

China is still the world's most populous country with a total population of 1.3 billion. It is quite evident that judgment on whether China can be considered as a developed nation cannot rely simply on total quantity of economic output, but on per capita income, structure as well as benefits.

Although China may be rated as an economic giant, it is far from being an economic superpower. The per capita GDP in China is a mere 3,700 U.S. dollars despite the large aggregate size. China is a country with a large trade volume, but the processing trade accounts for half of the country's total, with exports mainly focusing on labor-intensive and energy-consumptive products, which can bring meager returns.

China, though regarded as the "world's factory," relies on imports for all of its precision instruments, high-accuracy parts as well as new materials. Domestic brands account for less than 20 percent of China's total exports.

Although most Chinese lead a comfortable life, there are still 150 million Chinese living in poverty according to U.N. poverty threshold of 1 U.S. dollar a day. It is estimated that the rural population living in poverty stands at nearly 36 million by the standard of the rural poverty line of roughly 1,200 yuan in 2009, which is more than half of the total French population.

There are still huge gaps in terms of science, technology, education and social welfare between China and the developed nations. In 2009, research and development funds in China only accounted for 1.62 percent of the country's GDP, far behind that of innovative countries. Per capita expenditures on education were less than 50 U.S. dollars, exponentially less than that of the United States.

There are 83 million disabled people in China, which equals the total population in Germany. China was on 92nd in Human Development Index (HDI) ranking filed by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) last year, which meant China was a medium developing country.

China's foreign policy also clearly embodies China's identity as a developing country. China and most of the developing nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America share common concerns in safeguarding national sovereignty and security, common interests in boosting growth and improving people's livelihoods and common pursuit in pushing forward the establishment of a rational and justified international politic and economic order. China consistently stands by the side of the developing countries in raising their international standings and promoting the development of a multi-polar world.

China, as a developing nation, has actively taken part in international affairs and fulfilled all its obligations, contributing to the global peace, stability and prosperity. It is groundless and irresponsible to denounce that China shirks responsibility with the excuse of being a developing country.

Author: Wang Wenbin People’s Daily, August 11, 2010
Translator: Zhang Xinyi

(Editor:张心意)

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