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Chinese Ambassador Sun Xianghua Writes on Boao Forum for Asia

On 27 April 2018, The Nation published the Reform and Opening-up: China's Second Revolution, an article by the Chinese Ambassador H. E. Dr. Sun Xianghua on the Boao Forum for Asia. Ambassador explicated in the article China's achievements since the Reform and Opening-up policy invoked, the fundamental incentive that China achieved the miracle of development, and out-looked the impacts on the China-Africa relationship and the whole world by China's Deepening Reform and Opening-up policy, guided by Xi Jinping thoughts on Socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era, as well as fostering a new type of international relations and building a global community with a shared future for mankind. Full texts of which are as follows:



Reform and Opening-up: China's Second Revolution

(Dr. Sun Xianghua, Ambassador of China in Lesotho)


At the just concluded Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018, H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, made a keynote speech titled "Openness for Greater Prosperity, Innovation for a Better Future". In his speech, H.E. President Xi said that "today, the Chinese people can say with great pride that reform and opening-up, China's second revolution, has not only profoundly changed the country but also greatly influenced the whole world."These words unequivocally underlined the significant impact that reform and opening-up have had both on China and the world in the past 40 years since China embarked on this grand cause.


During the early days since the reform and opening-up endeavor started, which was marked by the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 1978, Mr. Deng Xiaoping, the "General Architect" of reform and opening-up of China, categorically pointed out that reform was China's second revolution, implying and emphasizing that the significance and impact of reforms could be no less than that of the founding of the Peoples Republic in 1949 when the new Democratic Revolution led by CPC succeeded in China.



40 years later, when we look back at China's reform and opening-up journey, we can't help from marveling at the achievements brought by this revolution. In the past 40 years, China's GDP has grown at an average rate of 9.5% in comparable prices, thus making a world record of being the most lasting and fastest economic growth of a country since the World War II. More importantly, this growth has been achieved in the most populous country in the world. On the other hand, 700 million rural poor people were lifted out of poverty, making China the 1st country in the world in meeting the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of reducing the number of her poor population by half. China alone has contributed more than 70% to the global poverty alleviation efforts.


By looking into some of the details of China's achievement in the past 40 years, the profoundness of the impact of reform and opening-up of China, as well as its "revolutionary" significance and nature  maybe much easier to understand. 40 years ago, China's GDP accounted for only 2.2% of the world's total, with her GDP per capita ranking more than 120th in the world. China's foreign trade only valued at US$ 13.4 billion, equivalent to 5% of the foreign trade volume of the United States at that time. In the late 1970s, foreign direct invest (FDI) did not exist in China, nor did China have overseas direct investment (ODI) in other countries. When the reform and opening-up was started, more than 82.6% of Chinese were living in the rural areas and in absolute poverty.


40 years later from that time, China's GDP currently accounts for roughly 15% of the world's total, making China the world's 2nd largest economy since 2010. The ranking of China's per capita GDP also has climbed to be within the 70th in the world. By 2017, China has become the leading country in terms of foreign trade (US$ 3.6 trillion per year), foreign currency reserve (US$3.01 trillion), growth of added-value and competitiveness in manufacturing. In 2016, FDI in China reached US$ 133 billion, making China the 3rd largest country in introducing FDI. In the same year, China's ODI has exceeded US$ 180 billion, ranking 2nd globally. Meanwhile, China has achieved the transformation from a agricultural-rural society to an urbanized one, with an urbanization rate of 58.52% in 2017.



In recent years, people across the world have been observing the profound changes that are happening in China, and trying to decipher the secrets and reasons of China's success in the past 40 years. In his speech at the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference this year, H.E. President Xi pointed out that "Four decades of reform and opening-up has given us many valuable inspirations. The Most important one is that for any country or nation to achieve its rejuvenation, it must follow the logic of history and trend of times." Put it in another way, the fundamental reason for China's success in the past four decades is due to its exploration and adoption of a development path of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. Some of its outstanding features are as follows.


Firstly, this development path is based on China's national conditions, while maintaining a global vision. As H.E. President said on many occasions, "Whether the shoes fit, only the feet know." No country can achieve an optimal and sustainable development disregarding its own specific realities. For this reason, China's development path is not a copy of any existing theory or practice, but an ingenious theoretical and practical innovation of the Chinese people by integrating the scientific socialism with China's realities. On the other hand, China's development path was established on its strategic appreciation of the global landscape, where peace and development are the trends of times. World multi-polarization and economic globalization have provided a conducive environment for China to concentrate on its economic development. Vice versa, China's development has greatly enhanced and contributed to world's peace, development and cooperation.


Secondly, this development path attaches great importance to China's independence and self-reliance, while embracing openness and win-win cooperation with the outside world. To have a firm control over its own affairs and fate has long been a basic principle for China to achieve lasting and sustainable development in the past decades. China's success in overcoming numerous challenges and difficulties along the way including the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s and the world financial crisis in 2008 has proved many times the importance of self-reliant development. Meanwhile, China has not hesitated to open its doors to the outside world for win-win cooperation and common development. As a Chinese saying goes, "one tree doesn't make a forest." Only by working with the international community, can China's development be bestowed with vitality and sustainability.


Thirdly, this development path unwaveringly upholds the socialist system, while advocating and developing a socialist market economy. The ultimatum goal of China's socialist system is to eradicate exploitation and achieve common wellbeing for all her people. For this reason the Chinese government attaches great importance to poverty alleviation. To eradicate poverty once for all, the Chinese government has made a solemn pledge to help lift 40 plus million people out of absolute poverty by 2020, realizing a long-cherished dream of the Chinese people for thousands of years. On the other hand, the sacrosanct goal of China's socialist system can only be achieved by building a strong and solid economic foundation through market economy. It has become increasingly clear that the guiding principle of China's economic policy is to allow the market to play a decisive role in resources allocation while improving and optimizing the government's role, thus continue to promise a more healthy and vibrant economic development of China.



Touching on China's policy towards its relations with the world, H.E. President Xi said in the above-mentioned speech that "Opening-up is a strategic decision of China based on its need for development, as well as a an action taken by China to move economic globalization forward so as to benefit people across the world", "China's door of opening-up will not be closed and will only open even wider." These remarks came as China's response and action plan against the backdrop that though laudable progress has been achieved in many aspects across the world, humankind and international community still face many instabilities and uncertainties, such as armed conflicts, poverty, climate change, endemic diseases, unilateralism and protectionism.


To emphasize China's foreign policy in this new era, H.E. President Xi specifically pointed out that China will spare no efforts in building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind, which features equality and mutual respect, dialogue and shared responsibility, cooperation for win-win results, inclusiveness and harmony, and respect and cherish the nature. By adhering to these principles, China will stay determined to build world peace, contribute to world prosperity and uphold the international order.


As an underscore of China's resolve to further open up to the outside world, H.E. President Xi announced some major measures at the Boao Forum annual conference, including significantly  broadening market access, especially for the financial service and manufacturing sectors,  creating more attractive investment environment by strengthening transparency, property rights protection, the rule of law and competition, upgrading the protection of intellectual property rights by stepping up law enforcement capabilities and measures, and increasing China's importation from other countries by significantly lowering tariffs on automobiles and other numerous products.  


Though Boao Forum conferences have been held annually since its inception 17 years ago, it's fair to say that this year's conference, due to the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up and H.E. President Xi's keynote speech on the occasion, is of special significance. The strong message of China's continuous and unrelenting efforts of reform and opening-up will undoubtedly give a shot in arm to all the countries and people across the world who are endeavoring to bring lasting peace and common prosperity to humankind. It would be remiss not to mention that in 4 months time, a new summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in Beijing. Against the background of China's unwavering efforts in building a Community with Shared Future for Mankind, and drawing strength from the implemented outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC 3 years ago, the approaching Summit will surely bear more and greater valuable fruits for China-Africa cooperation in the years to come through the joint efforts from both sides.


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