Following is the translated version of the full text of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's speech delivered in Tianjin 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
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 was in 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 a vibrant 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 distribution according 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 building a country under the rule of law.