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A Philippine view of 40 years of 'breathtaking' changes (2)

(China Daily)    10:40, August 23, 2018

Arroyo receives an honorary PhD degree at Tsinghua University in Beijing on Oct 30, 2001. GUO HAIJUN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Arroyo recalled that only basic needs were provided for at that time, which highlighted the economic progress made just a few years later. "When the great day starting in 1978 - two years after that visit - occurred, I was not surprised that China would indeed have a great speed of development after the Party congress of 1978," she said.

Forty years ago, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping kicked off the country's reforms with his famous speech, "Emancipate the mind, seek truth from facts, and unite as one in looking to the future", which concluded that year's Central Economic Work Conference.

The speech also set the stage for the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, which launched reform and opening-up.

Arroyo said the policy Deng adopted in 1978 had led to great developmental changes in China that were still continuing.

When Arroyo made her first state visit to China in October 2001, after becoming Philippine president that January, she found the changes the reform and opening-up policy had brought to China since 1978 were "breathtaking".

The changes since then had also been "breathtaking", she added.

"One of the greatest accomplishments of China is that it has seen the biggest poverty alleviation in human history, because 700 million Chinese have gradually shaken off poverty since the 1970s up to today," Arroyo said.

One thing that has particularly impressed Arroyo is China's innovation-driven growth, which has pushed the development of high-speed railways, e-commerce, mobile payment and other advances.

The bicycles that she remembered being the preferred mode of transport in China in the 1970s are back, but this time backed by e-commerce innovation, with bike-sharing facilitated by mobile payment becoming popular in many Chinese cities.


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(Web editor: Bianji, Liang Jun)

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