China's peaceful rise, a new version for the country's development, was first introduced by a scholar at the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference in 2003, when there was much talk about the so-called China threat.
Zheng Bijian, chairman of China Reform Forum, gave an explanation in his speech at the annual meeting that the only choice for China under the current international situation was to rise peacefully, namely, to develop by taking advantage of the peaceful international environment, and at the same time, to maintain world peace through its development.
In the process of economic globalization, China's peaceful rise relies both on the country's domestic economy and the international marketplace to sustain and fuel growth, according to Zheng.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao clearly stated China's road for development as peaceful rise when he addressed a gathering at Harvard University during his visit to the United States last December. He stressed China "must and could only rely on its own efforts" for development. A week later, Chinese President Hu Jintao reiterated China would stick to the road of peaceful rise and its independent diplomatic policy of peace.
The leaders' speeches indicated that peaceful rise had formally become China's national strategy.
Later, the content and international influence of China's peaceful rise were further elaborated by Wen and Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing at separate press conferences during the annual session of the national legislature in March this year. Wen put the major points as follows:
China will take full advantage of the good opportunity of world peace to develop itself and at the same time safeguard world peace with its development;
China's rise will be based on its own strength and self-reliance, as well as the vast domestic market, abundant human resources and big domestic fund;
China must always maintain its open policy and always develop trade and economic exchange with all friendly countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefits;
China's rise, which would require a long time and probably efforts of several generations, will not stand in the way of any other country, nor pose threat to any other country, nor at the cost of any other country; and
China does not seek hegemony now, nor will it even after it became powerful.
According to Li Zhaoxing, "China's rise would offer opportunities rather than posing obstacles and threats to its neighbors and the world at large."
(Xinhua News Agency April 23, 2004)