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
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)