US expert impressed by changes in China

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China has gone through profound changes physically and in the way people thought over the past three decades, said an American scholar who has visited China for more than 30 times since 1982.

Clayton Dube, professor and associate director of the U.S.-China Institute of the University of Southern California, told Xinhua in a recent interview that profound changes were evident in the appearance of the cities and the way people dressed.

More importantly, there were enormous differences in the way people thought. "China is completely different now," Dube said. The Chinese people choose their own ways of living, which is totally different from that in the 1980s, he added.

Another big change is that now people can seek jobs freely in the country, especially those from rural areas, which was impossible in the 1980s, Dube said.

In addition, Chinese people could travel freely not only inside the country, but also abroad, the professor said.

He recalled when he was traveling in late 1990s in Fiji, an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean, he saw a group of Chinese tourists. Now Chinese tourists can be seen almost everywhere in the world.

As to the role the Communist Party of China (CPC) had played in pushing for these changes, the professor said the CPC had "both driven change and needed to respond to change."

He added improving efficiency and maintaining stability had been the goals during the reform period.

Dube said the Chinese government had also launched several campaigns to combat corruption. In his opinion, building the rule of law was key to addressing the problem.

"It is only by assuring citizens just redress via arbitration and courts that people can become confident that justice rather than connections will determine how disputes over pay, land rights harm caused by pollution and many other sources of discontent are resolved," he said.

"China's achievements over the entire 60 years, especially in the last three decades are stunning," Dube said.

The country had made great progress on nearly every front, he added.

"Increasing the rule of law has been part of this and continued advance will require even greater work in this regard. It's key for both the economic development and the social stability that China's leaders and people seek," Dube said.

Dube first visited China in 1982 and taught at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing from 1982 to 1985. He also taught at the Beijing Broadcasting University from 1990 to 1992.

(Xinhua News Agency September 18, 2009)

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