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China's development benefits huge number of people, says former Australian ambassador

(Xinhua)    09:45, December 08, 2020

CANBERRA, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- China's development and growth benefited a huge number of people, former Australian ambassador to China Geoff Raby said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"Economic development and growth was moving very quickly from the eastern seaboard and big cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to the central provinces and even to the far west," he said.

"I think everyone has found enormous market and opportunities in China as a result of its development."

Raby was Australia's ambassador to China between 2007 and 2011. He told Xinhua that he was proud that he had visited all the provinces in China, as well as autonomous regions of Xinjiang, Tibet and Inner Mongolia.

He talked about China's poverty alleviation, saying that China has lifted several hundred million people out of poverty, which is "something no one has ever seen any country on earth do before."

"I first went to Xinjiang in February 1989, and it was a very, very different world," he recalled. "It took me on local bus for days to travel from Turpan to Kashgar. Now with the high-speed train, you can do it in just a few hours."

He first visited Tibet in 1987. "I've seen remarkable transformation in people's living standards and life style through that period," he said.

Raby noted that China's economic growth and poverty alleviation "all make for a more stable and settled China ... That's good for everybody."

"At the same time, of course, the growth of China's economy and the emergence of a huge middle class provides tremendous opportunity for commercial engagement for countries like Australia."

He said that economies of China and Australia are complementary. "We are much better together than we are apart."

Seeing that relationship between the two countries was strained, Raby said he was "quite sad," "because I was involved in building this relationship from as early as 1986, when I was first posted to China."

He acknowledged that there have been misunderstandings in Australia about China, which prompted him to write a book published earlier this year. "The view of China from Canberra or Washington was very, very different from how Beijing sees the world," he said.

The book "argues that China will not be an expansionary power that seeks to establish global hegemony," he wrote in the introduction of the book. "Australia will need to demonstrate that it wishes to pursue an independent foreign policy towards China."

Looking into the future, Raby told Xinhua he was optimistic. "Five percent of Australian population are from Chinese background and the Chinese people have been part of the Australian community since the 1840s," he said.

"The relationship ... will get back on track," he concluded.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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