A Vision of China's Peaceful Development and World Harmony

A Speech by Wang Chen, Minister of the Information Office of the State Council, at the Fourth World Forum on China Studies

Today's world is witnessing an increasing interdependence between all countries, and all peoples' fates are more closely connected. It has become the development trend of international relationships to establish peace, seek cooperation and promote development. This forum has as its theme "China integrating into a diverse world." It shows the Chinese people's wish for world peace, development, security and prosperity, and their kindness, openness, dialogues and tolerance for all people of other countries. It also shows their expectations of co-building a harmonious world where there are permanent peace and shared prosperity in conditions of mutual benefits, cooperation and win-win situations with all other countries, and their confidence and determination to firmly grasp peace and development, and firmly follow a road of peaceful development. This forum is very significant for China's efforts to integrate into and embrace the world, and to make the world understand the real, developing China.

China has its idea of peaceful development deeply rooted in its excellent cultural tradition. It is a historical choice of the Chinese people to take the road of peaceful development, and it conforms to the development direction of China as a socialist society with Chinese characteristics and today's world development trends.

The Chinese people know well the value of peace and development, so they are peace-loving and yearn for development. The two world wars last century caused enormous disasters and traumas for the world, and all people in the world, including the Chinese people, are well aware that only peace can bring about development, and that only development can provide a better guarantee of peace.

China's peaceful development indicates the peaceful spirit in the Chinese nation's excellent traditional culture. "Harmony" is a basic concept in Chinese culture and philosophy and has a history of thousands of years; the love for peace and the pursuit of peace have been basic embodiments of the Chinese nation's culture. In the history of the world, the Chinese people were the earliest to have the idea of "harmony," which has the most abundant connotations and the most profound influence compared with similar concepts of other nations in the world. As early as 2,500 years ago, the Chinese thinker Confucius put forward the idea that "harmony is desirable," which has fostered the broad thinking of the Chinese nation. The Chinese nation has always pursued integrity and harmony, valued peace and got along well with all other countries in the world. It has always advocated and followed the doctrine of "harmony in diversity" and the teaching "Don't do unto others what you don't want others to do unto you." China's choice of peaceful development is closely related to its traditional culture, and is deeply rooted in the quintessence of the traditional culture, that is, the thought of "harmony."

China's peaceful development shows the Chinese people's vision of peace is valued much more than anything else. China suffered frequent adversities in early modern times, so it cherishes peace, well-being, harmony and freedom to the utmost. For 100 years following 1840, China was invaded by Western powers, the country had been deprived and weak and was sluggish in the course of development. Likewise, the Chinese people were fed up with poverty and suffering. Goals the Chinese have persistently sought since early modern times include eliminating war, establishing peace and building an independent, prosperous and powerful country where there is well-being for all. Because of their own experiences in suffering, the Chinese people are well aware of the great value of peace and they are eager for development. They are convinced only peace can bring about a good and prosperous life, and that only development can bring about a life where the people's needs are well met. They know well only a peaceful mode can guarantee permanent development, and only peaceful development can benefit both Chinese people and all the other people in the world. Chinese people have also drawn the lesson from their experiences that they must firmly safeguard core national interests such as sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity to realize peaceful development.

China's peaceful development has demonstrated its pursuit of peace in the exploration of its own development. After its founding in 1949, New China faced austere situations both at home and abroad, so it creatively brought forth the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, proposing to unite and cooperate with all countries willing to establish peace, and affirming that countries of different systems can coexist peacefully. Since its reform and opening up to the outside world in 1978, with regard to world history and the changing background of international relationships, China has made the scientific judgment that "peace and development" are the themes of the times. It has adjusted its view of the international order in time, and proposed establishing a new order of international politics and economy on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. In the face of the tendency of world multi-polarization and the opportunities and challenges brought about by economic globalization, China has put forward new proposals such as democracy in international relations, a new security concept focusing on seeking common security through mutually beneficial cooperation, and acknowledging and respecting the diversity of civilizations of all countries. As we move into the 21st century, China is acclimatizing to the tendency of the times and its basic domestic conditions, learning from the world powers their experience and lessons, and earnestly announcing it will "unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development." That is the strategic choice and solemn promise of China's road of development.

China's peaceful development has demonstrated the peaceful nature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Since reform and opening up began, China has been committed to peace, cooperation and development, upheld an independent foreign policy of peace, and taken peaceful development as its basic political concept. On the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, it has been getting along peacefully with all other countries, and making concerted efforts to push the international political and economic order toward the direction of justice and reasonableness. In dealing with international affairs, it has firmly performed in accordance with the principle of independence, independently judging about right and wrong in particular matters and deciding its own positions. It has persisted in regarding all countries equally no matter whether they are large and rich or small and deprived, and it has insisted on not handling international relations based on ideology, not intervening in the domestic affairs of other countries, and not allying with any blocs. As for the issues concerning Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, it has adhered to the policy of "peaceful reunification and one country, two systems." With regards to international security, it has actively advocated the new security concept of "mutual trust, mutual benefits, equality and cooperation." All of these have embodied the political idea of peaceful development. President Hu Jintao has clearly pointed out China is to firmly follow the road of peaceful development. Domestically, it will concentrate on construction and development, building a harmonious society characterized by democracy and the rule of law, equity and justice, honesty and fraternity, vigor and vitality, stability and order, and environmental friendliness. Internationally, it will insist on treating neighboring countries as friends and partners, exerting itself to guarantee world peace and enhance common development, and building a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity. These strategic thoughts are the common understanding of all the Chinese people, and have been embodied in China's long-term development plans.

China has made historic achievements of world interest by resolvedly following the road of peaceful development. It has greatly enhanced its economic strength and overall national strength. It has improved its people's living standards. It has lifted its society to a higher level of civilization. It has constantly expanded its international exchanges and cooperation. All this has led to an historic stride from subsistence to a moderately prosperous society on the whole. Since 1978, China has increased its GDP more than four times, reaching $5 trillion in 2009. From 1978 to 2008, its total import and export volume increased 124 times from $20.6 billion to $2.5616 trillion, with an annual growth rate averaging 18 percent; its share of world trade increased from 0.8 percent to 8.9 percent. Impacted by the international financial crisis, the amount of China's foreign trade decreased in 2009, but still reached $2.2 trillion, a positive contribution to the recovery of the world's economy.

China's peaceful development is profoundly working both on China and the world. China has displayed vigor and vitality with increasing prosperity, development, democracy, progress, civilization, openness, peace and harmony. It has constantly enhanced the sustainable development of mankind and the common progress of all countries in the world.

China is following a road of peaceful development different from that of other powerful countries in the past. The quintessence of this new road lies in consolidating domestic development with opening up to the outside world, connecting China's peaceful development with world harmony and prosperity, and combining the Chinese people's fundamental interests with those of the world's people. By doing so, it has pursued development characterized by peace, openness, cooperation and harmony, and making contributions to the sustainable development of mankind.

We have persistently strived for a peaceful international environment to develop ourselves, and meanwhile enhanced world peace with our own development. China has succeeded in its reform and opening up as well as modernization. It has achieved a miracle of rapid economic development, while overcoming difficulties and challenges one after another in its way forward. These successes result both from our guidelines and policies, and from a peaceful and stable international environment. The Chinese people have developed by relying on themselves. They have fundamentally changed the situation of poverty and backwardness within a time as short as 30 years, and achieved stability, prosperity and well-off lives in a country whose population accounts for one-fifth of the world. It means much to the world's development and mankind's progress. China's development has inspired many other countries, especially developing ones, to actively resolve problems concerning national development and people's livelihoods through pursuing development on their own. It is very significant to the world's development and stability, and also an important contribution that China has made for the international community.

China has been a participant and advocate in guaranteeing a peaceful international system. By now it has joined more than 100 intergovernmental international organizations and signed nearly 300 international pacts. China upholds a national defense policy that is defensive in nature, actively taking part in and pushing forward the cause of international disarmament and arms control. Over the past two decades, China has disarmed more than 1.7 million troops and strictly controlled military expenditures. China has had a lower ratio of military expenditure to its GDP and total financial expenditure than many other countries. China's military expenditure increases are mainly used to improve servicemen's living standards, develop its defensive ability and safeguard the unity of the country, rather than invade other countries or launch any wars. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has energetically advocated and actively urged the peaceful resolution of disputes, playing an important constructive role in major regional and hot-spot issues. China has been active in the UN's peacekeeping operations, dispatching more than 14,000 personnel to take part in 25 peacekeeping missions, the greatest number among the permanent members of the UN Security Council. China has sent convoy fleets to take part in the international cooperation against Somali pirates. China has also contributed much effective work to international antiterrorism efforts. As has been proved in practice, the increase in China's overall national strength has enhanced the growth of world peace, and China's development and stability have made their contributions to the world's peace and prosperity.

We have persisted in developing on our own, and adhering to principles of independence and self-reliance in relation to our own domestic condition. At the same time, we have insisted on opening up to the outside world on many different levels and across a wide range, making full use of both international and domestic markets and resources and striving for better development. Just like any other country, China has also been constrained by limited resources, energy and environmental factors in the course of development. After years of exploration and practice, we have found a road to comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development. We have applied the Scientific Outlook on Development and built a resource-saving and environmentally friendly society. In its course of development, China has paid much attention to domestic resource exploitation, energy production and environmental protection, and it has taken a series of effective measures and made impressive achievements. China has the largest population in the world, it has a vast territory and abundant resources, and also, it has an enormous market. All of these have provided an important foundation and beneficial conditions that have enabled us to develop on our own.

A good aspect of China's continued, rapid economic development during the past 30 years has been to adhere to the basic policy of opening up to the outside world, resolvedly develop an open economy, and practice an open strategy of mutual benefits and win-win situations. By establishing special economic zones and opening coastal areas, areas along the Yangtze River, border areas and the hinterlands and entering the WTO, and by attracting foreign investment on a large scale and trying to establish a business presence overseas, we have remarkably improved our skill in making use of both international and domestic markets and resources, and constantly enhanced our capability in international competition. By July 2010, China had established 698,000 foreign-invested enterprises, making practical use of $1.05 trillion in foreign capital.

At present, foreign-invested enterprises make contributions accounting for 22 percent of China's tax revenue, 28 percent of its added industrial value, 55 percent of its exports and imports and 50 percent of its imported technologies. They are also responsible for 45 million jobs in China.

China's development benefits from its opening up, and the opening up itself enables the international community to share its achievements in development. By the end of 2009, China had set up 13,000 enterprises abroad. The total assets of its overseas enterprises exceeded $1 trillion. Its accumulated overseas investment reached $245.7 billion, and it has developed ventures in 177 countries and regions.

We have persisted in combining China's development with that of the world, acclimatizing to global development tendencies, and pursuing mutually beneficial, win-win situations and common development together with other countries. China has always advocated active international cooperation, liberalization and facilitation of international trade and investment, elimination of various trade barriers, and the development of a fair, transparent, equitable, open and non-discriminatory international multilateral trade system on the basis of mutual benefit, mutual trust and reciprocal treatment. China has taken practical action to promote international economic and trade cooperation and facilitate the common development and prosperity of all countries. China does not develop itself at the cost of other countries; rather, it has persisted in making a larger cake of common interest and bringing about more opportunities for the development of the world. Since entering the WTO in 2001, China has imported $687 billion in goods every year on average, creating more than 14 million jobs for the countries and regions involved. In the face of the international financial crisis, China has taken the lead in achieving economic recovery. It contributed 50 percent of the world's economic growth in 2009. As a report from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development has pointed out, every 1-percent growth in China's economy can bring about a 0.34-percent growth in a middle-income country, and a 0.2-percent growth in a low-income country.

We have taken into consideration both the ultimate interest of the Chinese people and the common interest of the entire world. We have kept an eye on China's realities and endurance capability and taken into account the sustainable development of human society. As a responsible nation, China has adopted an active, responsible attitude in the international financial crisis. We have been steadily implementing a well-managed, floating exchange rate system under principles of initiative, control and gradation, keeping the exchange rate of the renminbi largely steady, and promoting the stability of international economic and financial systems. China has actively taken part in international cooperation, dispatching several trade and investment-promotion delegations and large purchasing groups abroad. China has done its best to support and help other developing countries, accumulatively exempting debts of 49 deeply indebted poor countries and least-developed countries, and granting zero tariff treatment to more than 40 of these countries. While it maintains its own rapid, stable economic development, China has offered over $50 billion to the International Monetary Fund, urged the establishment of a $120-billion Asian foreign exchange reserve pool, and signed bilateral currency swap agreements totaling $650 billion with other countries and regions. We have never deliberately pursued trade surplus, and have always regarded striking a balance in international payments as an important task in maintaining macroeconomic stability. Last year, China's trade surplus decreased $102 billion compared with 2008; meanwhile, it imported $1.0056 trillion in goods, becoming the second largest importer in the world. By doing so, China has provided many opportunities for foreign products and services. China's rapid and stable economic development is conducive to increasing China's imports and overseas investment, and it has made important contributions to international financial stability and world economic growth.

China has paid much attention to the problem of climate change in the course of development. Starting from the ultimate interest both of the Chinese people and mankind, China has persistently endeavored and made active contributions to coping with climate change. In recent years, we have sped up the adjustment of industrial structure. We have made great efforts to shut down outdated production facilities that consume too much energy and discharge too much waste to decrease resource consumption at the source. At the same time, we have promoted energy conservation in key spheres, industries, projects and enterprises, emphatically improving the efficiency of energy utilization. In addition, we have actively developed the circular economy and energy conservation and environmental protection industries, taking many measures to boost energy conservation and efficiency. We have made further efforts to prevent and control water pollution in key river systems and sped up the construction of sewage disposal plants. We have strengthened the prevention and control of air pollution, by introducing desulfurization technology to coal-fired power plants. Moreover, China has fulfilled some key ecological projects such as natural forest conservation, turning farmlands back to forests, and stopping grazing on grasslands, thus increasing the forest carbon sink. In the past four years, China's energy consumption for each unit of GDP decreased 14.38 percent, and its chemical oxygen demand and sulfur dioxide emissions respectively dropped 9.66 percent and 13.14 percent. As the Chinese Government has pointed out, China will energetically develop a green economy. By 2020, compared with 2005 levels, its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP will be cut by 40-45 percent, and non-fossil energy will account for about 15 percent of primary energy consumption. China is the first developing country to adopt a National Climate Change Program. It has made greater efforts than any other country to save energy and reduce emissions in recent years. It is also the country that has the largest area of man-made forests in the world.

China is still in and will for long remain at the primary stage of socialism. It is still the largest developing country in the world. It still faces many risks and challenges both predictable and unpredictable. China's peaceful development still has a long way to go.

To firmly follow the road of peaceful development is not a matter of expedience for China. Rather, it is the solemn choice and promise of the Chinese Government and the Chinese people. Looking into future decades, the Chinese people will continue to steadfastly follow the road of peaceful development and of reform and opening up to the outside world. This road has changed the fate of China and brought about good fortune to all Chinese people. We must stick to it and perfect it, and we have no reason to replace it. To precisely understand China's confidence and determination in the road of peaceful development, one needs to know China and its relation to the world from a new, more comprehensive perspective and with a more open attitude and a broader mind:

First, we should objectively view China's development. We are clearly aware that China's GDP takes the third place in the world, but its per-capita share is fairly low, accounting for only one-tenth of a developed country. China's economy has maintained rapid growth for more than 30 years. Its further development, however, has met a bottleneck in terms of energy, resources and environment. China has several important products whose output rank among the first in the world, but in general they are at the lower end of the global production chain. China has become a large country of international trade, but its exported products involve little technology and added value, and the key technology still depends upon imports to a large extent. Its coastal areas and some large and middle-sized cities have modernized and prospered, but many places in its central, western parts and rural areas are still fairly underdeveloped, and 150 million people are still living below the UN's poverty line. The Chinese people's living conditions have been greatly improved, but there is not a complete, healthy social security system, and employment pressure is high. Social and political life in China is increasingly active, and citizens' basic rights have been guaranteed relatively well, but the democratic and legal system is still inadequate, and problems such as social injustice and corruption still exist. After years of development, people's living standards have been greatly improved, but there is still a disparity compared with developed countries. No matter how it develops, China will always be a steadfast force in maintaining world peace, promoting common development, and boosting international cooperation. The ultimate goal of China's development is not to be a superpower or seize hegemony in the world, so China's development does not threaten the world. China firmly opposes hegemony. It is not seizing hegemony at present, and will never attempt hegemony even if it becomes powerful in future.

Second, we should fully understand the road of development with Chinese characteristics. China is a large developing country with a population of 1.3 billion, it is still in and will for long be at the primary stage of socialism, so the contradictions and problems it will meet in the course of development have been seldom seen elsewhere in the world in terms of both scale and complexity. Development is still the top priority of China, and is the basis and key to resolving all the problems of China. In contemporary China, persisting in development is an essential requirement. It means firmly following the road of development with Chinese characteristics, insisting on development in a scientific and peaceful manner, speeding up the transformation of economic development patterns and finding a road to balanced and sustainable development. We should take the strategic adjustment of economic structure as a major target, view technological progress and innovation as an important support, regard guaranteeing and improving people's livelihoods as the ultimate objective, emphasize the building of a resource-saving and environmentally friendly society, and accelerate development with reform and opening up. By doing so, we will achieve comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development for China's economy. And that will create broader dimensions for the development of the world economy.

Third, we should deeply understand China's proposition to actively advocate, promote and build world harmony. The international financial crisis has fully exposed serious problems, such as the lack of sustainability in the mode of world economic development and grave defects in the international financial system. Not only does the world face structural problems in the international economic system in the wake of accelerated economic globalization, but is also threatened by global problems such as climate change, food, energy and resource security, public health security, and natural disasters. All these have gravely impacted economic and social development and people's lives in all countries, and severely challenged the world's long-term development. Global challenges demand concerted global responses, and demand the concerted efforts of the entire international community. At present, we should exert ourselves to resolve the problem of unbalanced global development, allowing countries in different stages of development to choose paths and rhythms conforming to domestic conditions in the course of their development. It is unadvisable to squeeze the due development space of a developing country. Cooperation should be strengthened to make concerted efforts to ensure food security. We should stabilize energy prices, improve energy structure, urge transfers of energy technology, and decrease energy poverty. We should continue to further promote cooperation in the field of disaster prevention and relief, summarize effective measures and successful experience in cooperation, and strengthen communication and mutual assistance, so that we can jointly fight natural disasters. Impacted by the international financial crisis, various forms of protectionism for trade and investment have apparently come round. These tendencies hinder countries' efforts to cope with the impact of crises. They also pose threats to the fragile recovery of the world economy. China firmly supports trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and it opposes any forms of protectionism. China will never close its door to the outside world. Instead, it will open the door even wider.

One decade of the 21st century has already elapsed, and China's future and fate have become increasingly connected with the rest of the world. China requires a peaceful, stable, harmonious and cooperative international environment for its development, and it is willing to contribute its strength to create such an environment. China will join the international community, making concerted efforts to cope with challenges and endeavoring to seek sustainable economic and social development. It will unswervingly follow the road of peaceful development, carry out a reciprocal, win-win opening-up strategy, and seek peaceful, open, cooperative and harmonious development, while making persistent efforts to promote and build a harmonious world of permanent peace and shared prosperity.

China studies are not only a time-honored tradition, but are also gaining new dimensions in keeping with the times. Against the backdrop of China's rapid development and increasing integration into the world, it is more important than ever to pursue China studies. We sincerely welcome experts and scholars from around the world to conduct research on China. We hope the World Forum on China Studies provides a platform for their academic exchanges. Let's make joint efforts to bring about new achievements in China studies and make China studies a vigorous subject in the 21st century.

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