II. Promoting World Peace and Development with China's Own Growth
Peace is the foundation for development while development is fundamental for peace. For years, the Chinese government and people have made unremitting efforts to create a peaceful international environment. They cherish dearly the peaceful international environment jointly created by the peace-loving and progress-seeking countries and peoples, concentrate on their own construction and whole-heartedly seek development, and strive constantly to make positive contributions to world peace and development with their own growth, and promote human civilization and progress.
China's development needs a peaceful international environment. Since 1978, when the policies of reform and opening-up were adopted, China has endeavored to develop itself within a peaceful international environment. Its GDP has increased from 362.4 billion yuan (about US$215.3 billion if converted directly from Renminbi into US dollar at the average exchange rate of that year) to 15,987.8 billion yuan (about US$1931.7 billion if converted directly from Renminbi into US dollar at the average exchange rate of that year) in 2004, an average growth rate of over 9 percent per annum, calculated according to constant price. Its per-capita GDP has risen from less than US$300 to more than US$1,400. China has also made new progress in its building of political civilization, with its democratic system being improved continuously, the freedom and rights of citizens being protected and guaranteed by law, and its people exercising their rights of democratic election, decision-making, administration and supervision in accordance with the law. A legal system centered on the Constitution has taken initial shape, and the basic strategy of ruling the country by law has been implemented. Rapid progress has been scored in its education, science and technology, culture, health, sports and other undertakings, and the increasing spiritual and cultural needs of the people have been constantly satisfied. The construction of a harmonious society has been reinforced, and the state is working hard to realize and safeguard social fairness and justice, increase creativity of the whole society, beef up social construction and administration, and maintain social stability and harmonious relations between man and Nature.
China's development is an important component of global development. China has promoted world peace with its own development and made contributions to the progress of mankind.
China has made contributions to the sustained development of human society. Based on previous experience and the fruits of modern civilization of mankind, it has adopted the scientific outlook on development to transform its concepts, create new modes for growth and enhance the quality of development. Over the years, China has persisted in exploring a new road to industrialization, featuring high scientific and technological content, good economic returns, low resources consumption, little environmental pollution and a full display of advantages in human resources, and striven to steer the entire society along a road of sustained development of civilization, with advanced production, affluent life and favorable ecological conditions. China's success in population control has retarded the expansion of the population of the world as a whole. China emphasizes energy saving, and has adopted various measures in this regard. During the period 1980-2000, its GDP quadrupled, but the annual consumption of energy only doubled. Due to China's intensified efforts at environmental protection, its dust discharge has remained the same as in 1980 despite a big increase in installed thermal-power capacity. Its energy consumption of per 10,000-yuan GDP in 2004 dropped by 45 percent compared to 1990. China has made medium- and long-term plans for energy conservation, aiming to keep an annual energy-saving rate of 3 percent by 2020, to save 1.4 billion tons of standard coal.
China has made contributions to reducing human poverty and improving the quality of life. It has created a miracle by feeding nearly 22 percent of the world's population on less than 10 percent of the world's arable land. The living standards of its 1.3 billion people are constantly improving. The Chinese government has lifted 220 million people out of poverty, and provided minimum living allowances to 22.05 million urban residents and aid to 60 million disabled people. The life expectancy of the Chinese has been extended from 35 years before New China was founded in 1949 to 71.95 years today, close to that of moderately developed countries.
China has made contributions to safeguarding world peace and promoting international cooperation. On the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, China has developed friendly, cooperative relations with other countries and promoted peaceful coexistence and equal treatment among countries. China has always adhered to the principle of being a friendly neighbor; and has constantly developed good and cooperative relationships with surrounding countries and other Asian countries and expanded common interests with them. China has established various cooperative relationships with major powers, and unremittingly augmented mutual dialogues, exchanges and cooperation. China has also expedited cooperation with a vast number of developing countries, to seek common development by drawing on one another's advantages within the South-South cooperation framework. Active in the settlement of serious international and regional problems, China shoulders broad international obligations, and plays a responsible and constructive role.
China has made contributions to world economic development. In recent years, despite increasingly severe global economic fluctuations, China's economy has maintained a stable and relatively fast growth, bringing hope and a new driving force to world economic development. Statistics released by the World Bank show that China's economic growth contributed on average 13 percent to world economic growth from 2000 to 2004. In 2004, the world economy reported the swiftest growth in 30 years, while China's economy grew by 9.5 percent and became a key driving force for the former. Also in 2004, China's import and export figure doubled that of three years previously, reaching US$1,154.8 billion, and its import figure nearly doubled that of three years previously, reaching US$561.4 billion. By the end of 2004, China had made use of US$745.3 billion paid-in foreign capital, and approved more than 500,000 foreign-funded enterprises.
China has made contributions to the stable development of surrounding areas. China has more than 20 neighbors that either border on its territory or lie across the nearby seas. China's sustained economic growth, social stability and its people's peaceful life also benefit its neighboring countries. The Asia-Pacific economy kept a 6-percent growth between 1999 and 2004. To ensure a stable environment for the continuous development of its surrounding areas, China overcame arduous difficulties at the time of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and stuck to the principle of keeping the value of the Renminbi stable while expanding domestic demand, and helped to the best of its ability the victim countries to weather the crisis. China played its role in finally overcoming the crisis. In the case of the 2003 sudden outbreak of SARS, the Chinese government took decisive steps, and cooperated with its neighbors in effectively curbing it. Upon the occurrence of the Indian Ocean tsunami in late 2004, the Chinese government and its people offered timely and sincere aid - the largest external aid in the history of New China - to the suffering countries in their rescue and re-construction effort. The Chinese also expressed great sympathy and extended assistance when South Asia was struck by massive earthquakes in October 2005.
Despite gigantic achievements, China still remains the largest developing country in the world, with a formidable task of development lying ahead. According to the latest statistics released by the World Bank and statistics recently released by China, in 2004, China's aggregate economic volume accounted only for 16.6 percent of that of the US, and its per-capita GDP was merely 3.6 percent that of the US and 4.0 percent of Japan, ranking 129th among 208 countries and regions around the world. By the end of 2004, 26.1 million rural Chinese still lived under the poverty line, more than 100 million farmers have to be provided with jobs elsewhere, and the government is obliged to create jobs for nearly 24 million urban and rural residents every year. There is still a long way to go for China to reach the level of the moderately developed countries and achieve common prosperity for the whole country. China still needs to make persistent efforts to strive for a peaceful international environment for its own development, and promote world peace and development with its own growth. This is particularly significant for both China and the world as a whole.