Remark of H. E. Mr. Zhang Yan, Chinese Ambassador at FICCI Lecture on 4th Nov. 2008
2008/11/05

Dr. Amit Mitra, Secretary General of FICCI,

Dr. Robert Lawrence Kuhn,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, let me thank Dr. Amit Mitra and FICCI for offering us a platform to meet and discuss China's economy. It comes at the right moment as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the China's reform and opening-up policy. I also thank Dr. Kuhn to travel all the way to India to give his insights about my country to Indian friends. Dr. Kuhn is a versatile old China hand and the author of The Man Who Changed China: The Life and Legacy of Jiang Zemin, which is the best-seller in China in 2005. I'm happy to tell Dr. Kuhn, incidentally, only a few weeks back, I played host to Madame. Jiang Zehui, the sister of Former President of China, Mr. Jiang Zemin, who was here attending an international conference. She talked a lot about the book and her fond memories over the conversation with Dr. Kuhn.

Today I won't try to elaborate on China's experience and lessons in the past three decades, as a lot of reviews and retrospection will come out soon inside and outside China. Furthermore, today Dr. Kuhn will also give his inclusive and insightful observations. I just wish, in the capacity of the Chinese Ambassador to India, to share with you my perspective and thoughts on how China has been able to achieve this economic transformation.

During the past 30 years, China has made tremendous progresses in various fields. China has created economic miracles, improved living standard for its people and elevated its international status among world nations. What has brought about all these changes? In my opinion, the following factors are essential.

First, the correct leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) and clear objectives and practical guidelines set for our national development. As early as in 1978, Mr. Deng Xiaoping initiated the reform and opening-up policy, shifting the focus of the whole nation to economic building from class struggle. In 1987, "Three Step Development Strategy" was laid out: Step One: to double the 1980 GNP in ten years; Step Two:to quadruple the 1980 GNP by the end of the 20th century; Step Three: to increase per-capita GNP to the level of the medium-developed countries by the mid-21st century, at which point, the Chinese people will be fairly well-off and modernization of the country will be basically realized. In line with this strategy, the Chinese Government specifies relevant action plans to realize it. At the 16th CPC National Congress, it is declared that with the fulfilment of the second stage of the strategy, China is on its way to achieve the set objective. The 17th CPC National Congress held last year highlighted that the target of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects shall be reached by 2020. All these policies and actions proceed from the basic conditions of China, which ensured the attainment of the set strategy in a step by step manner.

Second, adherence to a foreign policy of peaceful development and actively engaged in the process of globalization. Globalization is both a challenge and an opportunity to any nation. With an open mind, Chinese Communist Party and the Government of China see it more as an opportunity and firmly pursue the policy of reform and opening-up. As a result, China established broad cooperation with other countries in fields of trade, investment, education, science and technology. Such an approach not only greatly accelerated the pace of China's development, but in turn also made its due contributions to the development of other countries and the world economy as a whole. Over the past 30 years, China's GDP increased by an annual average of 9.8%, reaching over US$3.6 trillion in 2007. China's foreign trade volume amounted to US$2.17 trillion in the same year, a 105 times increase, compared with that of 1978. China has also emerged as a major player in the international economic and trade fora, becoming an active and responsible member of WTO, IMF and World Bank. Moreover, China is working closely with other developing countries to achieve a democratized international economic and trade system.

Third, the economic success has brought tremendous benefits to common people in China. To promote the fundamental interests of the people of China is the ultimate objective of the reform and opening-up policy. During the process of reform, the Chinese Government adheres to the principle of putting the "people first". In another word, to ensure that people from all nationalities and all walks of life in China could benefit from the fruits of reform and opening-up. Compared with 1978, today per capita income of urban and rural residents increased 6.5 times and 6.3 times respectively. In short, people's living standard has been remarkably improved. Growing number of Chinese, like Indians, own private housing, drive their own cars, and travel a lot in leisure time. Tangible benefits made Chinese people firm supporters of the the reform policy from the bottom of their hearts, for it represents their fundamental interests.

Fourth, keeping abreast with the times and never stop upgrading the level of reform and opening up. Seizing the strategic opportunities, the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese Government have made unremitted efforts in advancing socialism with Chinese characteristics and building socialist market economy, at the same time, steer the ship of reform by relying on its people, adopting and adjusting the policies and measures in light of the changing situation at home and abroad. Important principles of truth-seeking, pragmatism and pioneering spirit and innovation in both theory and practice have been followed consistently. Guided by the theory of scientific development, China will resolutely carried forward the cause of reform and opening up and strive for new victories in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

However, we are not complacent over the success achieved. In fact we are very sensible to the challenges and problems we are facing. Problems and challenges, such as energy shortage, resources scarcity, disparity in regional development, weakness in agriculture, as well as adverse affects on environment, widening income gap, incomplete social security network, all call for our further attention. Moreover, global financial crisis, food safety, fluctuation of oil and raw material prices on world market are posing unexpected new challenges. Based on our experience, we believe that these challenges only can be met by further deepening our reform and opening-up. Party Secretary Hu Jintao, in his speech to the 17th Party Congress reiterated China's firm determination to continue to pursue the reform and opening-up policy with the aim of building a harmonious society and realizing common prosperity.

As two major developing countries, both China and India have scored economic success over the past decades. China is inspired by the rapid emergence of India. Apart from the cutting edge in the IT industry, bio-pharmaceutical industry, etc., India enjoys abundant human resources, a sound financial system and an active private sector, which could secure a sustainable development of the country. I am of the view that China and India can learn from each other and complement each other in many aspects in their economic and social development. The leaders of the two countries, on many occasion, also reiterated their commitment to promote our cooperation with a view to advance our Strategic Partnership.

In fact, recent years have witnessed a good momentum of rapid progress in various fields of China-India relations. The most dynamic one is in economy and trade field. China, in the first 9 months of this year, has become largest trading partner of India. There are still huge potentials for the growth of bilateral economic and trade cooperation. I believe, with the joint efforts of both sides, China-India bilateral economic cooperation will yield a win-win result.

Furthermore, in face of current global financial crisis, China and India, as two emerging economic powers, shall join our efforts to ride over the difficulties together andwork closely with the international community to maintain the stability of the global financial markets in particular and the world economy in general. During the meeting between President Hu and PM Manmohan Singh, the two sides agreed to work with each other and with like-minded countries to come up with "pragmatic and practical" solutions to address the financial crisis.

It is my firm conviction that the resurgence of the two ancient civilizations will be the source of inspiration to other developing countries and make due contribution to the entire humanity, especially the well-being of the peoples of our two countries.

Thank you!

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