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Chinese praise reforms, voice opinions on development
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Reactions are pouring in all over the country as China celebrates the 30th anniversary of its launch of reform and opening up.

On popular websites such as people.com.cn, netizens posted comments hours before Thursday's official ceremony began.

The site, together with xinhuanet.com, and cctv.com (Central Television Station), broadcast the event live as President Hu Jintao addressed the nation.

A netizen named "hykeng" wrote, "The fact that China is standing firm amid the financial crisis is hard proof of the achievements of the reform."

People also shared stories about how economic growth changed their lives.

"My only entertainment in the 1970s was local drama performed outdoors.Now, I can enjoy movies at home," wrote an anonymous netizen on xinhuanet.com.

Fruit vendor Chen Longyun and newspaper seller Yuan Haicheng also expressed their thankful feelings toward reform.

Chen, who came to Beijing two decades ago from a village in eastern Shandong Province, said, "It goes without saying that my life benefited from the reform and opening up. Without the policy of free business and migration, I would still be toiling on the cornfield in my hometown."

Yuan, also a farmer before he came to Beijing from central Henan Province in 2003, said, "The impact (of the reform) on me is quite obvious. I can support my whole family now by selling newspapers."

Since Dec. 18, 1978, when the third plenary session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) decided to open up the once secluded country and reform its moribund economy, China has transformed in to the world's fourth largest economy in terms of gross domestic product (GDP).

President Hu Jintao said in his speech Thursday, China's GDP in 2007 rose to 24.95 trillion yuan (3.6 trillion U.S. dollars) from 364.5 billion yuan 30 years ago.

Mao Jinquan, owner of Dongming Corporation, an export-oriented clothing company in Shanghai, said people like him benefited the most from the reform and opening up because it created a more flexible and impartial business environment.

"I must say, if not for Deng Xiaoping, Chinese people today would still be striving to feed themselves," Mao said.

However, Mao also voiced his concerns on improvements that need to be done in many fields, such as development of world level companies, social responsibilities of enterpreneurs, and behaviors of some people.

Fruit vendor Chen Longyun's opinion somewhat echoed Mao's.

"People grow wealthy but many become prodigal," Chen said. "Wasting food and energy is very common."

Other problems corruption and environmental protection were also raised in people's comments.

A netizen named "Lijian", literally meaning "sharp and solid", mentioned corruption on the cctv.com website. "We hope there will be a new move to boost people's confidence in the fight against corruption."

At the ceremony, President Hu Jintao said the CPC must strictly discipline itself and improve its capabilities in good governance, corruption resistance and risk control.

Zheng Yuxin, an environment expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), expressed his concern over environmental protection, especially in rural areas, despite improvement in some regions of the country.

"Due to poor monitoring, economic development at the cost of the environment is still prevalent in some regions, although it has been criticized for years," he added.

President Hu Jintao also acknowledged China's future struggles at the ceremony.

"The way ahead is hard and the future task remains tough," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 18, 2008)

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