Visiting Chinese President Jiang Zemin on Thursday praised the contribution former US President George Bush has made to Sino-US relations.
Bush "has always cared about and supported stronger ties between China and the US, and has done a great deal of commendable work to this end," Jiang said in a speech at the George Bush Presidential Library in Houston.
Jiang hoped that the presidential library would become yet another American center for China studies and Sino-US friendship activities, with the "personal involvement and guidance" of Bush.
Jiang noted that nearly 24 years have passed since China and the United States established diplomatic relations. This period coincides with China's reform and opening-up program and its dynamic modernization drive, he added.
"By pushing forward reform and opening-up in an all-round manner and concentrating resources on economic development, we have basically put in place a socialist market economic system and achieved greater emancipation and development of the productive forces," he said.
"After years of efforts, Jiang said, China's gross domestic product last year reached 7.4 times that of 1980, with an average annual growth rate of 9.5 percent.
Meanwhile, he said that China has "expanded democracy, improved the rule of law, and protected our people's rights as masters of the land" by "vigorously developing socialist democratic politics and carrying out political restructuring."
"China's democratic institutions are improving steadily and our grass-root democracy represented by villagers' self-rule in the rural areas and community-based democratic management in the urban areas is making substantive headway," Jiang said.
The access of the Chinese people to education and health care has never been better, according to Jiang.
The Chinese President reiterated China's stand on continuing its opening-up policy, saying "China's development in the past twenty years and more has proved that persisting in reform and opening-up and building a Chinese-style socialism are consistent with China's national conditions and the shared aspirations of the Chinese people of all ethnic groups."
China, which was admitted into the World Trade Organization late last year, would further expand exchanges and cooperation with other countries and promote "all-directional openness to the outside world," Jiang added.
According to Jiang, "some strategic decisions will be made on advancing at all fronts China's reform, opening-up and modernization drive" at the 16th National Congress of the Communist Party of China to be held in November this year.
(Xinhua News Agency October 25, 2002)