Full text of the speech
The Thirty Years of Reform and Opening-up in China
Mr. Farooq Hassan, Executive Director of MAP,
Members of the Management Association of Pakistan,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to have this opportunity of meeting you and share my view with you about China’s development and the economic relations between China and Pakistan.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of reform and opening-up in China. What was China like 30 years ago? At that time, China had just put an end to the "Cultural Revolution", and the country was in a backward and closed or semi-closed state with the economy on the brink of collapse. "Where should China go?" was a big and pressing question facing the Chinese people. Drawing lessons and experiences of development of China and other countries in the world, China chose the path of reform and opening-up, a critical choice that has since shaped the course of development of contemporary China.
China's reform began in the rural areas. It spread from the country to cities and from the economic sector to the political, cultural, social and all other fields. What started as a small stream grew into an unstoppable mighty current. The opening-up endeavor started with the establishment of Shenzhen and three other special economic zones and expanded to cities along the coast, rivers and border areas and eventually became an all-directional and multi-tiered opening-up. We have achieved the historic transition from a highly centralized planned economy to a vibrant socialist market economy and from a closed or semi-closed society to one that is fully open to the outside world. We have established the basic economic system for the primary stage of socialism, a modern corporate system that meets the needs of the market economy, and a modern market system that is unified, open, competitive and in good order. We have built a macro-economic regulation system that relies mainly on economic and legal means. And we have gradually improved the system under which distribution according to work is dominant and a variety of distribution modes coexist. The social safety net has been further improved for greater equity and justice. At the same time, we have advanced reform in education, culture, science, technology, health and other areas, promoted political restructuring with the focus on expanding socialist democracy and adopted the strategy of building a country under the rule of law.
Reform and opening-up has brought a fundamental change to China. We have achieved fast development for almost 30 years. China's overall national strength has been greatly enhanced, the living standards of its people have significantly improved and the country's international standing has steadily risen.
For the last 30 years, China has registered GDP annual growth rate of nearly 10%. Back in 1978, China’s GDP accounted for only 1% of the world’s total. By 2007, it was over 5%, making China the fourth largest economy in the world. China’s share in global trade jumped from less than 1% to roughly 8% during this period, turning China into the third largest trading nation in the world. China's foreign exchange reserves, which never exceeded US$1 billion before 1978, reached US$ 1.9 trillion in the first half of 2008. With growing strength of government revenue, many mega-projects are constructed, such as construction of the Three Gorges Dam and the Qinghai to Tibet railway. China was able to hold successfully the Beijing Olympic Games and Paralympics. Good progress was made in scientific and technological innovations such as successful carrying out manned space flights and China’s first moon exploration project. People’s livelihood has undergone great changes from lack of adequate food and clothing to moderate prosperity. China’s poverty population has reduced from 250 million to 15million. According to the statistics of World Bank, China accounted for 67 percent of the achievements in global poverty reduction. The Chinese government has rescinded the agricultural tax, ending the centuries-old practice of farmers paying taxes. Free nine-year compulsory education was made available to all students in China. Medical care system covers most of Chinese people. What is more important is that reform and opening-up have invigorated the whole society and enabled people to freely pursue a happy life through hard work, frugality and wisdom.
Why China could achieve its success in development over the past 30 years?
1. China has taken the development path which accords with its own conditions. In 1978, China made the historic policy decision to shift the focus of state onto economic development and introduce reform and opening up. Since then, China has consistently pursued a series of correct policy which include developing market economy, legal system and democracy, an advanced culture and building a harmonious society. In Chinese term, we call it that building and developing socialism with distinct Chinese features. China chose this development model independently in light of China’s own conditions. Time has proved that it is successful. We will keep to this path and make China a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious modern socialist country.
2. China has maintained domestic political and social stability, unity of all nationalities and unified country. Tracing back world history, no country could develop without political and social stability. Over 30 years, China has stood severe tests of political turbulences and economic risks at home and abroad and has properly handled various difficult problems and challenges emerging in the process of its development. To provide a favorable social environment for development, the Chinese people are working hard to build a harmonious society and take all measures to guarantee social equity and justice.
3. China has realized to safeguard a peaceful external environment. China follows the path of peaceful development and pursues its foreign policy of world peace and common development. China understands that China cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world. It is committed to developing friendship and cooperation with all countries, especially with its neighboring countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. China maintains that all countries, big and small, strong and weak, rich and poor, are equal. We respect the right of the people of all countries to independently choose their own development path. We never interfere in the internal affairs of other countries or impose our own will on them. We seek win-win economic cooperation and never seek benefits for ourselves at the expense of other countries or shift our troubles onto others. China now enjoys good relations with all its neighbors. We have solved the 4300 kilometer long border issue with Russia and improved the relations with Japan and India.
4. China’s reform and opening up have been conducted by the hard working Chinese people under the strong leadership of Chinese government. China has several generation of devoted collective leadership. Chairman Mao, Premier Zhou enlai and other leaders from first generation of leadership made China stand up in the world and laid foundation for China’s development. With Mr. Deng Xiaoping at its core, the second generation of leadership initiated the great cause of reform and opening up, leading China towards a prosperous and strong country. The third and fourth generation of China’s leadership with President Jiang zheming and President Hu Jintao at its core lead Chinese people to carry forward the great cause of reform and opening up in building China into a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
China’s progress and achievements is just one side of coin. China is still in the primary stage of socialism and will remain so for a long time to come. There are many difficulties and challenges for China to deal with. For example, there is a lack of balance and coordination in the development between urban and rural areas, among different regions and between the economic and social sectors. There are heavy population, resources and environmental pressures, as well as many challenges in employment, social security, income distribution, education and health. Statistics shows that 15 million Chinese people living in poverty needs to be taken care of, 24 million people annually need to be provided jobs, over 80 million disabled people need assistance. China’s GDP per capita still ranks behind the 100th place in the world. Mal-business practices like producing problematic milk powder need to be effectively dealt with. Corruption is also a serious problem. However, the Chinese government and people are confident that these problems can be resolved through continued development and reform.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The relations between China and Pakistan are characterized as good neighbors, good friends, good partners and good brothers. Our friendship has withstood various tests and is deeply rooted in the hearts of our two peoples. We have always been sympathizing, understanding and supporting each other and become friends and brothers sharing weal and woe. The frequent exchange of high-level visits bears testimony of our all-weather friendship.
The economic and trade relations between our two countries are the fundamental part of our relations of strategic partnership. China attaches great importance to developing the Sino-Pak economic and trade relations and has all along been exploring new paths and means to deepen our bilateral cooperation in this regard. Under the joint efforts of our two sides, a series of important bilateral agreements have been signed, paving the way for expanding our economic and trade cooperation in various sectors. The Sino-Pak Free Trade Agreement is the first one of its kind China has ever signed with the South Asian countries. The bilateral trade is growing steadily. In 2007, total trade volume between our two countries reached 6.54 billion US dollars. From January to September of 2008, the trade volume is 5.342 billion US dollars with an increase of 14.7% comparing with the same period of last year. Our cooperation in area of investment has made new progress. The Haier-Ruba Economic Zone was inaugurated as the earliest one among the eight overseas economic zones of China. The Pak-China Investment Company Ltd began to function at the end of last year. The CMPak invested by the China Mobile is now in good operation. By 2008 September, the total value of projects contracting and labor service worth of 15.59 billion US dollars have been signed by our two countries. More than 4000 Chinese engineers and technicians are working in Pakistan on various projects.
There are still much room for improvement in our trade and economic cooperation. Great efforts have to be made to reach the goal of 15 billion US dollars of our total trade volume. We should encourage more Chinese enterprises to invest in Pakistan. Safe and Sound investment environment is needed to broaden our economic cooperation. With a common market of 1.5 billion people and an economy which is complementary and enjoys geographical advantage, I am confident that the trade and economic cooperation between China and Pakistan will continue to develop in future. People from Pakistan business circle and media play an important role in promoting Sino-Pak friendship. Let us work together and relay the torch of friendship to a new height.
Chin-Pak Doosti Zindabad !