Great stride forwardChina strides towards deepening reform and expanding opening-up
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up. The progress achieved in the past 40 years has not only brought numerous changes to China but also greatly influenced the whole world.
In 1978, China, with its GDP accounting for 1.8% of the global economy, was a country large in size but actually extremely poor and backward. That year, under the leadership of Mr. Deng Xiaoping, China embarked on its historic journey of reform and opening-up. Over the past 40 years, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people, championing independence and self-reliance while embracing openness and win-win cooperation, have successfully blazed a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics through hard work with an unyielding spirit.
In 2017, China’s GDP represented 15% of the world economy. China’s GDP has averaged an annual growth rate of around 9.5% in comparable prices in the past 40 years. China has grown into the world’s second largest economy, the largest industrial producer, the largest trader of goods, and the holder of the largest foreign exchange reserves. Chinese people have emerged from a life of shortages to a moderately prosperous life. According to current UN standards, more than 700 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty, accounting for more than 70% of the global total over the same period. China successfully accomplished a great transition from seclusion and semi-seclusion to all-round openness. Contributing over 30% of global growth in recent years, China has become a key anchor and driver for the world economic growth.
The successful experience of China is a proof that there is more than one path leading to modernisation. During the 40 years’ practice, Chinese people have courageously engaged themselves in self-revolution and self-reform, constantly made improvements to the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, overcoming institutional and systematic obstacles to development. Reform and opening-up is China’s second revolution.
China’s reform and opening-up not only meets its people’s aspiration for development but also conforms to the global trend towards development, cooperation and peace. Reform and opening-up is a significant process that has made China and the world achieve development and progress together.
Today, the world is undergoing a new round of major development, great change and profound readjustment and still faces many instabilities and uncertainties. To promote common prosperity and development, it is imperative to pursue more connectivity and integrated development.
We must discard the cold-war and zero-sum mentality and stick to peaceful development and mutual cooperation in order to achieve win-win or all-win results.
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is another proactive opening-up for China after it introduced foreign direct investment and joined the WTO. It is also a new endeavour for China to integrate into the world.
The BRI is the continuous effort of China that it has been pursuing for the common development with the world. It is a transparent initiative, as well as an open, inclusive and cooperative platform. BRI follows the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, adheres to market operation and abides by international rules. China wishes to work together with other countries under the framework of BRI to strengthen the links on policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people-to-people exchanges, to achieve the integrated development with mutual support and promotion, better safeguard world peace, promote the open world economy We should share responsibility as well as benefits and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Last October, the 19th National Congress of CPC made an important assessment on the historic juncture of China, that is, the socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the threshold into a new era. The period from now to 2020 will be decisive in finishing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
China will take tough steps to fulfill three great tasks, namely, guarding against major risks, poverty alleviation of 30 million people, and prevention and control on pollution. From 2020 to 2035, China will basically realise its goal of socialist modernisation. From 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, China will be built into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.
As a developing country, China is still experiencing a difficult stage, confronted with arduous tasks of reforms and development. And there is a long way to modernisation. According to the World Bank data, China’s per capita GDP in 2016 reached $8,123 which accounts for around 80% of the world average ($10,190), only one-seventh of the United States, ranking as the 68th in the world. From the perspective of investment, currently the per capita infrastructure capital stock of China only accounts for 20-30% of the developed countries.
The major infrastructure such as transportation, communications and water conservation in the western provinces and poverty-stricken districts remain weak. In 2016,China’s per capita consumption was $2,506, much less than half of the world average level ($5,913) and only 7% of the US. China has made a significant achievement in terms of economic structural reforms, but its industrial and employment structures need to be upgraded earnestly. The pattern of innovation-driven development has not yet been achieved. The problems of unbalanced development between urban and rural areas, among different regions and social classes are still prominent and the inadequate development desperately awaits solutions.
China must focus on domestic development and achieve its own development goal. Meanwhile, China has realised clearly its influence brought to the world by its development and as a major developing country, China shall undertake greater responsibility. The high-quality development of China’s economy in the future can only be achieved with greater openness.
At the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018, President Xi Jinping emphasised that reform and opening-up is a strategic decision made by China based on its need for development as well as its concrete action to move economic globalisation forward in a way that benefits the people across the world. President Xi announced some major measures: First, to significantly broaden market access, raise foreign equity caps in the banking, securities and insurance industries, accelerate the opening-up of the insurance industry and ease equity restrictions in manufacturing industry.
Second, to enhance alignment with international economic and trading rules, increase transparency, strengthen intellectual property rights protection, readjust government institutions and remove the systematic and institutional obstacles with the aim of creating a more attractive investment environment.
Third, to strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights and take the initiative to expand imports. This November, China will hold the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai. China can’t achieve its development independent from the rest of the world and development of the world needs China.
New era in China-Nepal relations
The new Nepali government is focusing on the development and construction, embracing new opportunities for nation building. China and Nepal should seize the current favorable opportunities to strengthen policy communication and strengthen development strategies alignment from a long-term perspective, make use of various ways of investment and financing, actively promote cooperation in the fields of connectivity, trade, tourism, energy, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, expand shared interests in various areas in a bid to build a community with a shared future for both the countries.
China is ready to work together with the international community to dedicate itself to openness and win-win outcomes, be brave to change and break new ground, share opportunities for development, contrive future development together and keep striving for a better tomorrow.
Yu Hong is the Ambassador of People’s Republic of China to Nepal