Following is the translated version of the full text of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's speech delivered here on Saturday at the opening ceremony of the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2008, or Summer Davos, hosted by the World Economic Forum:
Reform and Opening-up -- the Eternal Driving Force For China's Development
Premier of the State Council Of the People's Republic of China
The World Economic Forum Summer Davos 2008
September 27, 2008
Professor Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me begin by extending,on behalf of the Chinese Government and in my own name, warm congratulations on the opening of the World Economic Forum Summer Davos 2008 in Tianjin and a warm welcome to you all!
In the 37 years since its inception,the World Economic Forum has grown into an important platform for international exchanges and dialogue and played an active role in promoting world development and progress. Last year,the Summer Davos had its first successful annual meeting in Dalian,China and now it is holding this second annual meeting in Tianjin. We applaud the Forum's progress and achievements and are pleased with the deepened cooperation between China and the Forum.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of reform and opening-up in China. What was China like 30 years ago? At that time,we had just put an end to the "Cultural Revolution", and the country wasin a backward and closed or semi-closed state with the economy on the brink of collapse. "Where should China go?" was a big and pressing question facing the Chinese people. Following the principles of freeing minds and seeking truth from facts, we chosethe path of reform and opening-up,a critical choice that has since shaped the course of development of contemporary China.
China's reform began in the rural areas. It spread from the country to cities and from the economic sector to the political,cultural,social and all other fields. What started as a small stream grew into an unstoppable mighty current. The opening-up endeavor started with the establishment of Shenzhen and three other special economic zones and expanded to cities along the coast,rivers and border areas and eventually became an all-directional and multi-tiered opening-up. We have achieved the historic transition from a highly centralized planned economy to avibrant socialist market economy and from a closed or semi-closed society to one that is fully open to the outside world. We have established the basic economic system for the primary stage of socialism,a modern corporate system that meets the needs of the market economy,and a modern market system that is unified,open,competitive and in good order. We have built a macro-economic regulation system that relies mainly on economic and legal means. And we have gradually improved the system under which distributionaccording to work is dominant and a variety of distribution modes coexist. The social safety net has been further improved for greater equity and justice. At the same time,we have advanced reform in education,culture,science,technology,health and other areas,promoted political restructuring with the focus on expanding socialist democracy and adopted the strategy of buildinga country under the rule of law.
Reform and opening-up brought a fundamental change to the closed,backward and ossified situation that existed in China for years. They freed people's minds,broke the institutional barriersto development,unleashed tremendous enthusiasm and creativity of hundreds of millions of Chinese people,injected great vigor and vitality into the nation,and greatly stimulated economic and social development. As a result,China has achieved 30 years of continued fast economic growth. Back in 1978,China's GDP accounted for only 1% of the world's total. By 2007,it was over 5%. China's share in global trade jumped from less than 1% to roughly 8% during this period. Reform and opening-up have delivered real benefits to the people,whose livelihood has undergone great changes - from lack of adequate food and clothing to moderate prosperity. What is more important is that reform and opening-up have invigorated the whole society and enabled people to freely pursue a happy life through hard work,frugality and wisdom.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China's changes over the past three decades would not have beenpossible without reform and opening-up. To meet the goals of the modernization drive and build China into a prosperous,strong,democratic,culturally advanced and harmonious country,we must remain committed to reform and opening-up. China is still in the primary stage of socialism and will remain so for a long time to come,and there are many economic and social issues that call for our attention. For example,there is a lack of balance and coordination in the development between urban and rural areas,among different regions and between the economic and social sectors. The pattern of economic growth remains extensive. There are heavy population,resources and environmental pressures,as well as many challenges in employment,social security,income distribution,education and health. Corruption is also a serious problem. The fundamental solution to these problems lies in deepened reform. Only by continuing reform and opening-up and unswervingly following the path of socialism with distinctive Chinese features can China have a bright future. Reform and opening-up must be carried on through the entire process of China's modernization drive.
-- We will continue to deepen economic reform. We will further improve the basic economic system and market system, deepen reform of the fiscal,taxation and banking systems and improve themacro-economic regulation system. At the current stage,it is particularly important to accelerate reform of the price-setting mechanism of resource products,bring into full play the basic role of the market in resources allocation,further deepen reform to institute the shareholding system in SOEs and improve the modern corporate system. We will build better public finance and transfer payments systems,push forward reform of value-added tax,set up and improve the compensation systems for use of resources and for damage caused to the ecosystem,and carry forward reform of the resource taxes system. We will also work hard to develop financial markets of various types,promote stable and sound development of the capital market,improve the RMB exchange rate regime and gradually make the RMB convertible under capital accounts. By deepening reform,we aim to build a whole set of systems that can better meet the needs of modern economic development.
-- We will continue to promote political restructuring and reform in other aspects. People's democracy is the lifeblood of socialism. Without democracy,there can be no socialism. We will not only improve people's lives by developing economy,but also protect their democratic rights by improving democracy and the legal system and achieve social equity and justice. We will build a socialist country under the rule of law and run state and socialaffairs according to law. We will create conditions that allow people to criticize and supervise the work of the government more effectively,and foster a lively political environment in which everyone feels happy and the society is harmonious. We must ensurethat our education system can meet the needs of the people,and every child can afford to go to school and receive good education.We will set up basic medical and health care system for the entirepopulation. And we will further improve the social security systemcovering both urban and rural areas at a faster pace,take better care of the vulnerable in the society and let everyone share the fruits of reform and development.
-- We will further deepen and broaden opening-up. Opening-up also means reform. Only an open and inclusive country can prosper.China's opening-up is long-term and all-directional that benefits all. We will stick to all those policies that facilitate opening-up. We will keep learning from and drawing upon all the achievements of human civilization. We will take an active part ineconomic globalization,promote the establishment of a just and equitable international trade system and financial regime. We willfirmly support the efforts to achieve early and balanced results at the Doha Round negotiations and improve the norms governing international trade,push forward trade and investment liberalization and facilitation,and continue to play a constructive role in the multilateral trading system. We will deepen the foreign-related economic structural reform,improve foreign-related economic laws,regulations and policies,expand market access,strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights and provide a better environment for foreign businesse in China. With a better system,a dynamic society,sustained and steady development and greater openness,China will not only bringmore benefits to the 1.3 billion Chinese people,but also make greater contribution to world peace and development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I said earlier in the year, 2008 could be the most difficult year for China's economy. We experienced heavy snow and sleet storms and the devastating earthquake and faced a complex and changing situation both at home and abroad. Yet,we have overcome difficulties one after another and maintained the momentum of steady and fast economic growth. In the first six months,the GDP grew by 10.4% over the corresponding period of last year. Agriculture has enjoyed good development and summer crops have registered five consecutive years of increase. The demands for investment,consumption and export are growing in a more balanced way,and there is better coordination in economic development. With accelerated adjustment in the industrial structure,marked progress in energy conservation and emission reduction,and fairly rapid increase in fiscal revenue and business profits,the quality and efficiency of development have been further enhanced. More jobs have been created in urban areas,and urban and rural income continues to grow. The consumer price index has been coming down in recent months. In short,the economic fundamentals in China remain unchanged and the economy ismoving in the direction envisaged in the macro-economic control policy.
I know you are interested in whether the Chinese economy will be able to maintain steady and fast growth. Let me share with you my observations. We do face considerable difficulties. First,the world economic environment is getting tougher and more complex,with exacerbated financial volatility and notable economic slowdown. Second,pressure for domestic price rises remains high. The foundation of agriculture is still weak. The constraint on development posed by energy and resources is serious. Some industries and businesses are having difficulties with production and management,while hidden problems still exist in the financialsector. However,all these are difficulties that have occurred in the course of our development. There are many favorable conditionsfor China to maintain sustained and fast growth. China is in the stage of rapid industrialization and urbanization and has huge potential for economic growth. The important period of strategic opportunities for China's development will last quite a long time.There is abundant supply of labor and capital as well as huge potential of increased domestic consumption and investment demands.China's market is vast and its enterprises are becoming more competitive and dynamic. Our ability and level of macro-economic control continue to improve through practice. China enjoys political and social stability. In the course of reform and opening-up,we have formulated guidelines,strategies and principles that meet our national conditions and the will of the people. All of these factors will have a long-term impact. In addition,peace and development remain the main trend of the worldtoday,and the international environment as a whole is favorable to China's development. We have full confidence and capability to overcome various difficulties to ensure sound and fast growth of the national economy for an even longer period of time.
The host city of this Forum, Tianjin, is the birthplace of China's modern industry and one of the earliest cities opening to the outside world. It is also an international port city. To develop and open up Tianjin's Binhai New Area is part of China's overall national development strategy and will become a new growthpoint in China. Many of you are from growing enterprises that are most dynamic,competitive and full of development potential. You are welcome to invest in China,to start businesses in Tianjin andto seize the opportunity and pursue greater development. In conclusion, I sincerely wish this Forum full success!
(Xinhua News Agency September 27, 2008)