On December 31, as the New Year drew near, President Hu Jintao delivered a New Year's speech via China Radio International (CRI), China National Radio (CNR) and China Central Television (CCTV). "For the Chinese people, 2008 will be an important year. We will grandly commemorate the 30th anniversary of China's reform and opening up. The reform and opening up that started in 1978 was a crucial choice for modern China and it has wrought historic changes to our socialist country," Hu said in his speech.
During the three decades of reform and opening up great changes have taken place in China and living standards for the Chinese people have greatly improved. Every Chinese has benefited in the last three decades. This has become and should become consensus among all the Chinese people.
Controversies caused by the reform and opening up exist but through them the reform and opening up is continuing to evolve. Disagreements can be divided into three periods during the reform and opening up. The first period started at the end of 1970s and the beginning of 1980s; the controversy concerned whether to actually implement the reform and opening up. The second period began in the early 1990s, the argument revolved around whether to continue the reform and opening up or not. Controversy in the third period centered upon a dispute last year over how to further extend the reform and opening up. Every controversy has been helpful for the Chinese people because it has strengthened our sense of reform and opening up as well as pushed forward the reform and opening up.
There are difficulties and problems in the reform and opening up. Since the beginning of the reform and opening up, the old economic system as well as the communal "iron rice bowl" was broken, disturbing some people who had reaped profits. Recently, the income gap between the rich and the poor has been widening. The misuse of state assets, along with widespread corruption is also a serious issue. Since the government has no previous experience available to fall back upon, the Chinese people have to "wade across the stream by feeling the way." We must continue to feel the way in the future.
All the controversies, difficulties and problems cannot tarnish the great historic achievements that the reform and opening up has brought to China. There is no doubt that we should carry on the reform and opening up. But how can we do so? This is a question we should carefully ponder.
An open attitude toward the reform and opening up is needed and more and more people should be permitted to participate in discussions and propose suggestions.
Discussion must be conducted two ways; one way should aim at improving our market economy in order to make it more active with less shortcomings, the second factor should perfect the democracy and governance in accordance with a system of law in order to equalize distribution and eliminate corruption.
(China.org.cn by Li Xiaohua, January 19, 2008)