December 27, 2012 / Ambassador HE-Deng-Boqing of China / Thisday (Originally published under the title - China in the Next Eight Years)
China in the Next Eight Years By Deng Boqing
Not long ago, the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CCP) was successfully concluded in Beijing . Right on that occasion, the party announced that by 2020, when CCP celebrates its 100 years anniversary, China will build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. By then, China shall realize two goals: one is to double its 2010 GDP, and increase it to 13 trillion USD, thus making the per capita GDP surpass 10,000 USD and narrowing the gap with the largest economy of the world.
The other is to double its per capita income for both urban and rural residents, increasing the average income of urban citizens to 7000 USD, and the middle-income population to over 600 million. China ’s “vision 2020” not only inspires Chinese people but also attracts the attention of the whole world. It is unprecedented in human history to witness such an overall leap forward in a country with 1.3 billion people and within only several decades. Many cannot stop asking: “could this grand goal be realized on time?” My answer is simply “Yes!”
Firstly, China ’s development in the past 30 years laid a solid foundation to realize the vision. Since China adopted the reform and opening up policy in 1978, Chinese economy has registered an average annual growth rate of nearly 10 percent, which tripled the world average at the same period. By 2011, China ’s GDP has reached 7.5 trillion USD, contributing 20% for the increase of the world economy while firmly keeping China as the second largest economy in the world. In the same year, China ’s total volume of import and export has reached 3.6 trillion USD, also ranking as the second. China ’s foreign reserves have exceeded 3 trillion USD, ranking as number one.
The recorded unemployment rate in the urban areas is below 4 percent, and a complete social security system has been established. Urbanization rate in China has exceeded 50 percent, and 250 million rural people have been lifted out of poverty. Basic education coverage is approaching 100 percent, and enrollment rate of high level education stands at about 25 percent. Science and innovation in China has also witnessed major breakthroughs.
Secondly, nearly one hundred years exploration by the CCP provides the institutional guarantee to realize the vision. Since its establishment in 1921, CCP has led the Chinese people trudging on the road to fulfill the dream of national rejuvenation. Chinese people have conquered various difficulties and pushed through the darkness to find the advantageous path that suits the China ’s conditions best. That is the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. The advantages are mainly reflected as follows:
Decision making procedure which draws wisdom of the mass. China adopts the system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CCP. With this political system, CCP is the ruling party and the eight other democratic parties serve as participatory rather than opposition parties. The draft of major policies and guiding principles cannot be finalized without the inputs of the participatory parties and people from various social sectors so as to pool the wisdoms and avoid mistakes. CCP, the eight other democratic parties and the civil organizations maintain cooperative and friendly relations rather than engaging in opposing each others. Under this arrangement, democracy and centralism are given equal weight, and the spirit of efficiency and equity can be both guaranteed. Facts have proved itself that with this system China can best mobilize the recourse of the society, utilize the wisdoms and help maintain a harmonious society.
Overall perspectives focusing on long term interests. With the support of the Chinese people, CCP can rule the country for a longtime without interruption. That enables the CCP to make long term development plans for the Chinese nation, and then push the county towards the goals steadily through macro development outline which is renewed every 5 years. During this process, although governments and leaders will change because of their terms limit, the country’s general development direction does not alter. Although the speed of development may vary among different regions and social groups, eventually we will realize common prosperity.
For instance, when we consider development priorities among different regions, arrangements are made from an overall perspective. We encourage the costal regions to fully utilize their geographical advantages and develop first, and then we establish the policy of “pair assistance” and give policy preference to boost the development of the central and western parts which are relatively left behind compared with the development momentum of the coastal regions.
When confronted with major events and critical moments, the Chinese government could always mobilize the nation to “pool the strength and make a difference”, exhibiting unprecedented high efficiency. From the Beijing Olympics to the fight against flood and earthquakes, from the powerful measures against global financial crisis to the successful evacuation of 35,860 Chinese nationals from Libya in 12 days, the governance capacity of the Chinese government won applause from the world time and again.
For those projects crucial for the long term interest of the country, but needing decades to finish and needing to take choices between conflicting interests, Chinese governments at different levels can also finish them excellently. One immediate example is the Three Gorges Dam, the largest dam in the world, which took 18 years, and resettled 1.4 million neighbouring population to finish.
Thirdly, the 5,000 years civilization provides the historical wisdom to realize the vision. Chinese civilization is the only one in the world that has never been interrupted. More than 5,000 years history and the rise and fall of dozens of dynasties showed us one truth repeatedly, that is any government, only when it serves the interest of the many, can it be supported by the people and be recognized by the history. This is exactly the guiding spirit of CCP, who enshrined “serve the people whole heartedly” as its fundamental principle. Just as Mr. Xi Jinping, the newly elected General Secretary of the CCP Central Committee, emphasized in his first public speech, which reads as: “Our people have an ardent love for life. They wish to have better education, more stable jobs, more income, greater social security, better medical and health care, improved housing conditions, and a better environment. They want their children to have sound growth, have good jobs and lead a more enjoyable life. To meet their desire for a happy life is our mission.”
The Chinese history is also the history of Chinese people pursuing for amicable relations with their neighbours, building of a harmonious relationship between their motherland and her neighbouring countries, as well as safeguarding the peace of the world. Our ancestors pointed out the only way for the countries in the world to coexist with each other and share prosperity together, which is also reflected in the words of the ancient sage Mencius: “He who loves others is constantly loved by them; he who respects others is forever respected by them.”
The Chinese people are convinced that, though countries are different in geographical space and wealth, they are equal in terms of sovereignty and dignity. Hard work should be the building blocks for the development of a nation, and one should not sacrifice the interest of others for its own growth. In this “global village”, countries should not engage in “zero-sum” games, but rather “win-win” cooperation. There should not be only one rigid development model, and we should tolerate others to explore their own path, so that we can live in harmony but not uniformity.
In conclusion, China will never seek the road of hegemony. China ’s rejuvenation will not be a threat to the world. On the way towards the “vision 2020”, China will open even further, and strengthen its cooperation with other countries. China will bring more opportunities for the world and will help to drive the world economy towards common prosperity. A growing China will join the people of all nations to create a world of harmony, cooperation and peace. I am full of confidence for the timely realization of China ’s “vision 2020”.
•HE Deng Boqing is the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Federal Republic of Nigeria