I. The Path of China's Peaceful Development: What It Is About
Situated in the East, China, a country with an ancient civilization and a population of over 1.3 billion, is making big strides in its advance toward modernization. What path of development has China chosen? What will China's development bring to the rest of the world? These issues are the focus of the whole world.
China has declared to the rest of the world on many occasions that it takes a path of peaceful development and is committed to upholding world peace and promoting common development and prosperity for all countries. At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century and on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China declared solemnly again to the world that peaceful development is a strategic choice made by China to realize modernization, make itself strong and prosperous, and make more contribution to the progress of human civilization. China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development.
I. The Path of China's Peaceful Development: What It Is About
Over the past 5,000 years, people of all ethnic groups in China, with diligence and wisdom, have created a splendid civilization and built a unified multi-ethnic country. The Chinese civilization has a unique feature of being enduring, inclusive and open. The Chinese nation has endeavored to learn from other nations and improved itself through centuries of interactions with the rest of the world, making major contribution to the progress of human civilization.
In the mid-19th century, Western powers forced open China's door with gunboats. Internal turmoil and foreign aggression gradually turned China into a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. The country became poor and weak, and the people suffered from wars and chaos. Facing imminent danger of national subjugation, one generation of patriots after another fought hard to find a way to reform and save the nation. The Revolution of 1911 put an end to the system of monarchy which had ruled China for several thousand years, and inspired the Chinese people to struggle for independence and prosperity. However, such efforts and struggle failed to change the nature of China as a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, or lift the Chinese people out of misery. Living up to the people's expectation, the CPC led them in carrying out arduous struggle, and finally founded the People's Republic of China in 1949. This marked the realization of China's independence and liberation of its people and ushered in a new epoch in China's history.
In the past six decades and more since the founding of New China, and particularly since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policies in 1978, the Chinese government has worked hard to explore a path of socialist modernization that conforms to China's conditions and the trend of the times. Overcoming difficulties and setbacks, the Chinese people have advanced with the times, drawn on both experience and lessons from the development of China itself and other countries, deepened understanding of the laws governing the development of human society, and promoted the self-improvement and growth of the socialist system. Through arduous struggle, the Chinese people have succeeded in finding a path of development conforming to China's reality, the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Viewed in the broader, global and historical context, the path of peaceful development may be defined as follows: China should develop itself through upholding world peace and contribute to world peace through its own development. It should achieve development with its own efforts and by carrying out reform and innovation; at the same time, it should open itself to the outside and learn from other countries. It should seek mutual benefit and common development with other countries in keeping with the trend of economic globalization, and it should work together with other countries to build a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity. This is a path of scientific, independent, open, peaceful, cooperative and common development.
-- Scientific development. Scientific development means respecting and following the laws governing the development of economy, society and nature, focusing on development and freeing and developing the productive forces. China takes the Scientific Outlook on Development as an important principle guiding economic and social development, and gives top priority to development in governing and rejuvenating the country by the Party. It puts people first, promotes comprehensive, balanced, and sustainable development, and takes all factors into consideration when making balanced overall plans. In putting people first, the Chinese government always respects human rights and human values and works to meet the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and promote prosperity for all. It strives to advance the all-round development of man, to ensure that development is for the people, by the people and with the people sharing its fruits. In promoting comprehensive, balanced, and sustainable development, the Chinese government promotes comprehensive economic development as well as political, cultural and social progress and ecological improvement, and coordinated development of all links and aspects of the modernization drive. In making balanced overall plans, the Chinese government seeks to identify and properly handle the major relationships in the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and maintain balance between urban and rural development, development of different regions, economic and social development, man and nature, and domestic development and opening to the outside world.
-- Independent development. As a populous developing country, China must rely on itself in pursuing development. China maintains independence, focuses on domestic development, acts in keeping with its national conditions, carries out reform and innovation for economic and social development through its own efforts, and it does not shift problems and difficulties onto other countries. In the era of economic globalization, only by pursuing independent development can China more effectively participate in international division of labor, and promote mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries.
-- Open development. China has learned from its development course that it cannot develop itself with its door closed. Taking reform and opening-up as a basic policy, China both carries out domestic reform and opens itself to the outside world, both pursues independent development and takes part in economic globalization and both carries forward the fine traditions of the Chinese nation and draws on all the fine achievements of other civilizations. It combines both the domestic market and foreign markets and uses both domestic resources and foreign resources. China integrates itself with the rest of the world with an open attitude, expands and deepens the opening-up strategy, and strengthens exchanges and cooperation with other countries. It strives to build an open economic system which ensures better linkages with the global economy, mutually beneficial cooperation as well as security and efficiency. China will never close its door to the outside world, and will open itself increasingly wider.
-- Peaceful development. The Chinese nation loves peace. From their bitter sufferings from war and poverty in modern times, the Chinese people have learned the value of peace and the pressing need of development. They see that only peace can allow them to live and work in prosperity and contentment and that only development can bring them decent living. Therefore, the central goal of China's diplomacy is to create a peaceful and stable international environment for its development. In the meantime, China strives to make its due contribution to world peace and development. It never engages in aggression or expansion, never seeks hegemony, and remains a staunch force for upholding regional and world peace and stability.
-- Cooperative development. There are always competition and conflicts in international relations. Each country should draw on others' merits to offset its own weakness through fair competition, find opportunities for cooperation, expand areas of cooperation, and improve common interests. China uses cooperation as a way to pursue peace, promote development and settle disputes. It seeks to establish and develop cooperative relationships of different forms with other countries and effectively meet growing global challenges by constantly expanding mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries, and works with them to solve major problems that affect world economic development and human survival and progress.
-- Common development. Countries are becoming increasingly interdependent. Only when common development of all countries is realized and more people share the fruit of development, can world peace and stability have a solid foundation and be effectively guaranteed, and can development be sustainable in all countries. Therefore, China unswervingly follows a strategy of opening-up and mutual benefit. It pursues both its own interests and the common interests of mankind and works to ensure that its own development and the development of other countries are mutually reinforcing, thus promoting the common development of all countries. China sincerely hopes to work with other countries to realize common development and prosperity.
Thanks to its pursuit of peaceful development, China has undergone profound changes. It has made remarkable achievements in development, made major contribution to world prosperity and stability, and is more closely linked with the rest of the world.
China's overall strength has grown considerably. Its total economic output reached US$5.88 trillion in 2010, over 16 times that of 1978, rising to 9.3% of the world's total from 1.8% in 1978. The material basis for China's modernization drive has become more solid; steady progress has been made in turning China into an industrialized, information-based, urbanized, market-oriented and internationalized country, and the cause of socialist development is being advanced in all respects. The Chinese people, once inadequately fed and clad, are leading a decent life on the whole, a historic breakthrough. The share of China's per capita income comparable to the world average grew from 24.9% in 2005 to 46.8% in 2010. A historic transformation from a highly centralized planned economy to a dynamic socialist market economy has been achieved in China. A basic economic system in which public ownership takes the lead and different economic ownerships grow side by side has come into being. The market plays an increasingly important role in allocating resources, and the system of macroeconomic regulation is improving. A social security system covering both urban and rural residents is taking shape, and culture, education, science and technology, health care, sports and other social programs are flourishing.
A historic transformation turning China from a closed or semi-closed state to one featuring all-round opening up has been realized. With the setting up of special economic zones, opening of coastal areas, regions along the major rivers and the borders and inland areas to the outside world, absorbing foreign investment and making Chinese investment overseas, and entry into the World Trade Organization, China has taken an active part in economic globalization and regional economic cooperation, and its opening-up has steadily deepened. The country's total import and export volume grew from US$20.6 billion-worth in 1978 to US$2.974 trillion-worth in 2010. Utilized foreign direct investment from 1979 to 2010 totaled US$1.04838 trillion. China maintains business and trade ties with 163 countries and regions. It has signed ten free-trade-zone agreements, bilateral investment treaties with 129 countries, and double taxation avoidance agreements with 96 countries. All this shows that China is actively promoting liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment. To honor its commitments to the WTO, China has reduced its total tariff rate from 15.3% before its entry into the WTO to the present 9.8%, and abolished most non-tariff measures. China has been working to build a framework in which its relations with other major countries are generally stable and mutually beneficial and develop in a balanced way, and which ensures that China and its neighbors share opportunities and develop together. It has strengthened traditional friendship, solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries. China is becoming increasingly interdependent with other countries, it is more closely linked with them in terms of interests, and its exchanges and cooperation with other countries are becoming more extensive than ever before.
China has made important contribution to the stable development of the world economy. Since its entry into the WTO in 2001, China has imported goods worth nearly US$750 billion every year, and created over 14 million jobs for those exporting countries and regions. Over the past decade, foreign-funded companies in China have remitted a total of US$261.7 billion of profits, with an annual increase of 30%. From 2000 to 2010, China's annual non-financial direct overseas investment grew from less than US$1 billion to US$59 billion, thus boosting the economic development in the recipient countries. In 2009, overseas China-invested companies paid taxes worth US$10.6 billion, and employed 439,000 local people. China has contributed over 10% to world economic growth every year in recent years. In 1997 when the Asian financial crisis caused a dramatic devaluation of currencies in countries and regions close to it, China succeeded in keeping the RMB exchange rate basically stable, contributing to regional economic stability and development. Since the international financial crisis erupted in 2008, China has taken an active part in the G20's efforts to build a global economic governance mechanism, promoted the reform of the international financial system, got involved in multi-country macroeconomic policy coordination, and participated in international trade financing schemes and financial cooperation. It has sent large overseas purchasing missions and helped countries in difficulties. China conscientiously meets the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations, and is the only country in the world that has halved the number of people living in poverty ahead of schedule. In addition, China provides assistance to other countries and regions as its capacity permits. By the end of 2009, China had given assistance worth RMB 256.3 billion to 161 countries and over 30 international and regional organizations, reduced and canceled 380 debts incurred by 50 heavily indebted poor countries and least-developed countries, trained 120,000 people for other developing countries, and sent 21,000 medical personnel and nearly 10,000 teachers abroad to help other countries. China encourages the least-developed countries to expand exports to China and has pledged zero tariff treatment to over 95% of the exports to China by all the least-developed countries which have diplomatic relations with China.
China plays an important role in safeguarding world peace and meeting global challenges. China is the only nuclear-weapon country that has publicly stated that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons, or use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China has dispatched about 21,000 personnel on 30 UN peacekeeping missions, which is the highest number among the permanent members of the UN Security Council. China takes an active part in international cooperation in anti-terrorism and nonproliferation. It provides humanitarian aid and dispatches rescue teams to countries hit by severe natural disasters and deploys naval escort fleets to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. China is a member of over 100 intergovernmental international organizations, a party to over 300 international conventions, and an active participant in building the international system. China is the first developing country to formulate and implement the National Climate Change Program. It is also one of the countries which have made the greatest efforts in energy saving and emission reduction and which have made the fastest progress in developing new and renewable energy sources in recent years. China has played a constructive role in addressing international and regional hotspot problems. For instance, it calls for resolving the Korean nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear issue and other hotspot issues through peaceful talks, and has helped to establish the Six-Party Talks mechanism on the Korean nuclear issue. China has settled historical boundary issues with 12 land neighbors. It calls for settling disputes over territory and maritime rights and interests with neighboring countries through dialogue and negotiation. For instance, China has made a constructive proposal to "shelve disputes and seek joint development" and done its utmost to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea, East China Sea and the surrounding areas. China seeks to promote common development and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region by pursuing bilateral cooperation and participating in regional and sub-regional cooperation.
China's development since New China was founded in 1949 and particularly since the reform and opening-up policies were introduced in 1978 shows that China is an important member of the international community which has contributed its due share to bringing about a more just and equitable international political and economic order.