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A stable, prosperous and fast growing China serves the common interests of the world

By Lin Songtian (People's Daily Online)    15:08, April 17, 2018

In 1978, the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) convened its 3rd Plenary Session, launching a new journey of China’s reform and opening up to outside world. Forty years on, China has transformed from a planned economy to a market economy, from a “big rice pot” system to a family contract responsibility system, from the initial 4 Special Economic Zones to 14 coastal cities testing the reform and opening policies, and to today 11 Free-Trade Zones as piloted by Shanghai, from “crossing the river by feeling the stones” to comprehensive economic, political, cultural and social reform, China has trail-blazed an unprecedented path of socialism with Chinese characteristics which has brought common prosperity to over 1.3 billion Chinese people.

China’s reform and opening up has created a development miracle. After four decades of relentless efforts, the CPC has led the Chinese people to embark upon a path of national development, transforming China from what was once ridiculed as the "sick man of East Asia" to the world's second largest economy, the largest industrial producer, the largest trader of goods, and the largest holder of foreign exchange reserve.From 1978 to 2017, China’s GDP has averaged 9.5% annual growth rate in comparable prices and China’s total and per capita GDP has soared from 216.8 billion US dollars and 227 dollars to 12.7 trillion dollars and nearly 9,000 dollars respectively. In 2010, it was the first time in modern history that China surpassed Japan in total GDP and became the second largest economy in the world. By 2014, China’s GDP doubled Japan’s, and it is currently over 2.5 times of the Japanese economy. The city of Shenzhen, once a small fishing village, has surpassed Taiwan, China in GDP, which was once known as one of the “Four Asian Tigers”.

Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people have moved from subsistence to affluence, and from poverty to moderate prosperity. More than 700 million poor Chinese population have been lifted out of poverty, contributing to over 70% of global poverty reduction efforts. Today, China’s internet users have reached 772 million, cellphone users have exceeded 1.3 billion. Life expectancy of over 1.3 billion Chinese population has exceeded 76 years.

China’s reform and opening up has been benefiting the whole world. Since the 2008 international financial crisis, China has been one of the main engines to drive the global economy by contributing an average of over 30% to world economic growth. Over the past 40 years, China’s foreign trade, in US dollars, has registered an annual growth rate of 14.5%. Today, China is the No.1 trading partner with over 100 countries worldwide, including the United States, Russia, Japan, South Africa and most of the European countries. Since 2014, China has maintained an annual FDI of over 100 billion dollars, and has registered over 120 million person times of overseas trips each year, becoming the most important sources of FDI and international tourists. Chinese tourists have become the major consumptive power. In the next 5 years, China will import 8 trillion dollars of goods, invest over 750 billion dollars abroad, and is expected to have over 650 million tourists out of China. A more open, prosperous, stable and fast growing China will make greater contributions to and create more opportunities for common prosperity of the world

China used to be a victim of closing doors and false pride. During the Tang, Song and Ming dynasties, which span across a millennium from 600-1600 A.D., China had maintained an economy half of the size of the whole world. But as the later Qing dynasty moved down the path of self-complacency and seclusion, China went into steep decline and eventually fell into semi-colony by the West with their naval fleet and cannons, which ironically relied on the ancient Chinese inventions of compass and gunpowder. After untold sufferings and barbaric economic looting from the two Opium Wars of 1840 and 1856, the Sino-Japanese War of 1894, and Japanese Aggression War during the World War II, China was left in an extremely weak and dire state with its sovereignty gravely encroached, and people’s lives in complete ruin.

In 1949, the People’s Republic of China was founded. But the West, preoccupied by their geopolitical stakes and the Cold War mentality, instituted a complete political, economic and military blockade against the new China, forcing China to once again close its doors and seek development on its own strength. After nearly 30 years of hard work, China’s per capita GDP has only increased to merely 227 dollars from less than 100 dollars.

It was so fortunate for the Chinese people that China in 1978, under the leadership of the CPC with Comrade Deng Xiaoping at its core, seized the major historical opportunity of global industrial structural adjustment. Through constant reform and opening up, China has successfully shaken off poverty and realized sustained rapid development.

At the very beginning, the CPC, the government and the people of China had serious concerns and fierce ideological conflicts on whether such a poor China, being not familiar with the rules of the market economy written by the West, should open its market to strong capitalist powers such as the United States, Europe and Japan for “free trade” and “fair competition”. Nevertheless, the CPC led by Comrade Deng Xiaoping did not let the fear hold them back, but have stepped up with extraordinary wisdom, resolute courage, and strong political commitment to pursue reform and opening up. China started with 4 pilot Special Economic Zones to get ourselves used to the international market, and then gradually expanded its reform and opening up to 14 coastal cities. In 2000, China took a further bold step to join the WTO, opening up the whole country and fully embracing the economic globalization. Indeed, China has paid very high price to learn, but get developed and stronger.

Over the past 25 years, China has maintained No.1 in developing countries in terms of inbound foreign investment. In the past 5 years, the average annual inbound foreign investment has exceeded 120 billion dollars. In the past 40 years, China has attracted 522,700 investors from foreign countries and regions, with registered capitalization of 3.65 trillion dollars. Of course, foreign investors have earned huge profit thanks to China’s huge market and tremendous development achievements. And China is indeed thankful for those international investors as well, because they have brought to China advanced economic development knowledge, capital, management expertise, and helped train millions of management and professional experts and large numbers of skilled workers, and directly transferred to China technologies and know-how. They have indeed made indelible contributions to China’s economic and social development. Today, foreign businesses account for nearly 50% of China’s total import and export. They are contributing to 25% of China’s national industrial output, 20% of national tax payment, and 10% of jobs creation. That said, China’s sustained and rapid development has also benefited foreign investors through win-win cooperation for common development.

China has learned a lot from its reform and opening up. And the following four revelations and inspirations are particularly important. First, China has always remained committed to the leadership of the CPC. Second, China has always remained committed to socialism with Chinese characteristics. Third, China has always remained committed to economic development as its central task. Fourth, China has always remained committed to peaceful development.

Remaining committed to the leadership of the CPC is the natural choice of the Chinese history and people. The CPC with 90 million members always upholds a people-centered approach and is committed to building the Party for the public, exercising power for the people, and serving the people whole-heartedly. The CPC focuses on meeting the aspiration of the people for a better life and has ensured strong political support and long-term social stability for China’s pursuit of rapid development.

Remaining committed to socialism with Chinese characteristics is the inevitable path to China’s success. The fundamental difference between socialism and capitalism is whether development achievements are shared by all or by just a few. The CPC and the Chinese people have chosen to share all the achievements by all. Socialism with Chinese characteristics is a path that best suits China’s national conditions, history and culture. China did not copy the development model of other countries, but fully mobilized the strength and creativity of the Chinese people to become both the contributors and beneficiary of China’s national development for common prosperity.

Remaining committed to economic development as our central task is the core essence of China’s success. It is our strong belief that poverty is the only enemy in China and the world. Our paramount historical mission is to develop the economy, improve people’s livelihood and bring a better life to all the people. Over the past 40 years, the CPC has always upheld development as the number one priority of governance, and has fully concentrated on development, accomplishing a miracle in the world history of poverty reduction.

Remaining committed to peaceful development is the important precondition to China’s success. China attaches great importance to peace and harmony, and has always earnestly pursued peaceful development and an independent foreign policy of peace. China’s firm commitment to domestic stability and world peace has enabled a favorable environment for China’s development.

In October 2017, the CPC convened its 19th National Congress. This historic Congress mapped out a new blueprint for the realization of the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The Congress declared that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, and resolved that: by 2020, China will fully achieve moderate prosperity in all respects across its entire 1.4 billion population and completely eradicate poverty; by 2035, China will basically achieve socialist modernization with per capita GDP reaching 30,000 dollars; by mid-21st century, China will fully develop into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.

Forty years of practice has proven that, to uphold socialism with Chinese characteristics has been the right choice to achieve success. China’s experience has also offered inspiration and more choice for other developing countries to explore development path suitable to their national conditions for self-sustainable development. Looking forward, China is full of confidence for its future. China will take further steps to comprehensively deepen reform and opening up. Domestically, China will continue to uphold the Five Development Concepts, namely innovation, coordination, green, openness and sharing, and will remain committed to peaceful and high quality development. Internationally, China will continue to firmly hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and win-win, follow the principle of planning together, building together and sharing together, join the efforts of the global community to promote the Belt and Road constructions, and work together to pursue a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation and build a community with shared future for mankind, making new and greater contributions to a more fair and just international order and a more prosperous, stable and beautiful world. 

The author is Ambassador of China to South Africa

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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