|Speech of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to Georgia, H.E. Mr. Chen Jianfu at the International Black Sea University|
Dear Professors and Students,
First of all, I would like to thank you all for such a warm welcome.
I am glad I could visit your university. International Black Sea University is a very famous institution in Georgia. It has brought up a number of talented figures in the field of international relations during the past few years. It has also taken its part in boosting Georgia’s growth and promoting international exchange. Therefore, it can truly be given a title of the “International” University. Today, when the globalization has reached a higher level, I believe that the International Black Sea University and its students will have a brighter future.
I’m glad that I got an opportunity to give a speech here. Mr. Rector told me that you are especially interested in “China’s economic development and foreign policy”. This is a rather broad subject, and definitely not an easy task to make everyone understand thoroughly in just one speech, but I will do my best to give you some basic idea regarding the matter and further arouse your interest towards China. If I manage to achieve this much, I will consider my speech today to be a success.
Both China and Georgia come from the planned economy past. Speaking of the planned economy, I cannot help to mention that one of the things our countries had in common was coupons. I’m sure that the students present here have never used coupons, but your grandparents must still remember them. China has also undergone the same experience. During that period, even if you had money, you could not buy food without those coupons. There were all sorts of coupons those days, like oil coupons, meat coupons, cloth coupons; in short, there were relevant coupons for all the things we use in everyday life. The coupons were used in China until 1993. It took China 15 years since reform and opening-up to overcome the product shortage problem and become relatively strong economically.
If we look back at the past, we will find that just within three decades since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policies in 1978, China has undoubtedly been the fastest-growing country in the world. Therefore, China’s success in such a short period of time is indeed amazing. A simple comparison of the statistics can illustrate China’s growth more vividly. In 1978, China’s GDP per capita was merely USD149, while it stood at USD5500 in 2010, increasing 37 times. Its total economic output is now ranking second in the world. In 1978, China’s share of foreign trade hardly occupied 1% of the world’s total, while according to 2011 data, it has grown 174 times compared to that of 1978, rising to 10% of the world’s total amount of foreign trade. If you had visited big cities of China, such as Beijing and Shanghai in the early 80’s, you would have noticed that the main means for transportation was bicycle; people would only dress in black, white and blue, as if they were all wearing uniforms. But nowadays, people are driving cars, moving into new apartments. Chinese youth is just like most of you, they are also following new trends and fashion, using the latest models of i-phone, and they are enjoying a relatively prosperous life as well. They have only seen those coupons I talked about earlier at the museum, just like you. Indeed, the coupon period is already a history.
China’s reform and opening-up policies have no precedent, no ready model. China’s development is a path of arduous struggle. As the chief architect of China’s reform and opening-up, Mr. Deng Xiaoping put it; we managed to “cross the river by feeling for the stones”. We have achieved unremitting success, but we still have to deal with a number of issues. Unbalanced development between the regions, uncoordinated and unsustainable growths remain on the top agenda. China’s economy is big, but not strong; fast but not perfect. It created 8% of the world’s GDP, but at the cost of 1/3 of energy, half of iron, steel and cement consumed by the world. The Chinese Government has timely detected these problems and started considering China’s economic transformation. Is there a way for China to achieve sustainable development? Will China be able to maintain such rapid growth and carry out sustainable development at the same time? I think that the answer to these questions is positive, and the method of achieving these goals is already outlined in the twelfth Five-Year Plan adopted by the National People’s Congress last year.
The twelfth Five-Year Plan can be considered a cornerstone of China’s economic development. It has put forward specific objectives and recommendations for adjustment of China’s economic structure and improvement of living standards. In my opinion, the following four points will determine China’s future economic development:
Firstly, we need to transform from “Chinese speed” to “Chinese quality”. Over 30 years, China’s annual economic growth rate has exceeded 10%, which has been recognized as “Chinese speed” worldwide. However, according to the twelfth Five-Year Plan, China has to slow down. We have set China’s economy to grow by 7% per year during the twelfth Five-Year period. The latest data demonstrates that during last four consecutive quarters, China has dropped the pace, and the new policy already seems to be effective. This slowdown has made room for quality growth, which will allow us to even better adjust the economic structure, expand domestic demand and promote consumption.
Secondly, we need to transform from “Made in China” into “Created in China”. China is a big manufacturing country, but not a strong one. Nowadays, one can find “Made in China” inscription on the label of a lot of product, but 90% of China’s export commodities are original equipment manufacturer (OEM) products, as a result, China cannot claim high profits and it has to consume a lot of energy. Let’s take an example of the iphone. Manufacturing one iphone costs around USD180, while the Chinese enterprises can only claim USD6.5 in this cost. During the 12th “Five Year” period, we will strive to improve our role in the international division of labor, develop new industries and promote industrial restructuring.
Thirdly, we need to transform China’s “Smoggy Cities” into “Green Cities”. Due to heavy pollution, the word “smoggy” had been exclusively associated with London once. However, London’s air pollution has been reduced, and it seems that Chinese cities have undertaken its former title. According to the statistics of China’s Environmental Protection Department, the number of smoggy days in some cities has already reached 30% of the whole year, and in others – this number has even grown to 50%. This is the inevitable cost of China’s industrialization process, but obviously, this cannot go on. Therefore, we have emphasized the need to develop green and low-carbon economy in the 12th “five year plan”. We have set the target to cut GDP intensity and CO2 emissions, prevent deforestation and use all the other necessary means to create a resource-efficient and environment-friendly society.
Lastly, we need to turn our focus from “National Wealth” to “People’s well-being”. We must let the people benefit from the economic development. To make this happen, the 12th Five-year Plan envisages increasing the ratio of earnings’ GDP from 43% to 53%. The well-being of the people will consequently stimulate the domestic demand. Bearing in mind that the government should put people first, it is our ultimate goal to further improve our social security system, give the people the sense of security, and ensure that they all enjoy happy and prosperous lives.
Implementation of the 12th Five-Year plan will breathe a new life into China’s future. I would like to emphasize that China’s development is comprehensive in nature, encompassing political, economic and other spheres. Some people in the West assert that China only goes for economic reform, but not political reform. This does not hold water. Imagine, without a rational political reform, how can economic reform be successful in the first place? And even more, how can China maintain this success for more than 30 years? In fact, since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policies, China has always been committed to the building of democracy and rule of law, reform of the political system has never been interrupted.
Foreign diplomacy is merely an extension of domestic policy. Now that we have talked about China’s domestic politics, let’s touch upon the international affairs too, or more precisely, China’s foreign policy of peaceful development.
China has been a peace-loving country since ancient times. It has always followed the old Chinese saying: “harmony is all that matters”. Speaking from the historical perspective, the world-renowned Silk Road, for example, was a road of trade, cultural exchanges and peace, which testifies to the pursuit of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation with other peoples by the ancient Chinese. China has experienced the sufferings of aggression in the recent past. We have learned from this experience that we should follow the wisdom of Confucius golden rule “Do not impose on others what you do not desire others to impose upon you”. Thus, China will never seek hegemony or expansion. China’s foreign policy of peaceful development is determined by its historical and cultural traditions. The Chinese Government published a white paper on “China’s Peaceful Development” last year. Once again, we have declared to the rest of the world that China takes a path of peaceful development and is committed to upholding world peace and promoting common development and prosperity for all countries. This is our sincere desire and actual action.
After I arrived in Georgia, I realized the importance of peaceful environment for the economic development even more deeply. China’s economic miracle and its foreign policy of peaceful development are inseparable. For more than 30 years, the peaceful environment has played a crucial role in rebuilding China. Therefore, the allegations that China will seek hegemony as a rising power do not stand. China has learned from its own experience that only pursuing the path of peaceful development can bring to success. War and violence not only harm other countries, but they harm our own people too.
We can see that in the course of following the path of peaceful and economic development, China has made contribution to the international community too. China has contributed over 10% to world economy growth every year in recent years. China conscientiously meets the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations, and is the only country in the world that has halved the number of people living in poverty ahead of schedule. We truly cherish today’s peaceful life. We will make every effort to fulfill our international obligations and contribute to the world peace.
We are glad to see that Georgia has got rid of the war clouds. Economy has entered a new stage of boosted development. Economic growth rate remains at 6% during last couple of years, which is particularly notable in the Global economy recession. However, economic development is not only reflected in figures, but in a real life too. It is obvious that Georgia’s infrastructure has improved, social security has strengthened. I think that precisely due to the similar development experience of our countries, Georgian people are able to understand China’s choice of peaceful development better. Under the current globalization process, China cannot develop itself in isolation from the rest of the world, and global prosperity and stability cannot be maintained without China. We are ready to work together with Georgia, I believe with mutual effort, we can develop and flourish together.
Thank you for your attention! You are welcome to ask questions.