Voices of the world: What can China learn from other countries on reform?

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 5, 2014
Adjust font size:

The year 2014 will see China start its comprehensive deepening of economic structural reform, which has unsurprisingly become the most important theme of the country's ongoing "two sessions."

Deepening reform in a comprehensive manner is not only the common aspiration of the Chinese people, but also a widely expected decision for the people who have been closely watching China's socioeconomic development from overseas.

They believe that the implementation of reform has helped China achieve leapfrog development over the last 35 years, while comprehensive and deepening reform will ensure long-term sustainability of economic growth.


Xinhua: In your opinion, what are the most pressing reforms China needs to carry out? What can China learn from your country's experience?

"The top strategic priorities of the third plenum were marketization, enterprise restructuring and public finance," said Hans Hendrishke, a professor of Chinese Business and Management at the Business School of University of Sydney.

"The Australian experience that corresponds most closely to the changes that China is currently undergoing is the deregulation that Australia underwent in the 1980s."

"Deregulation brought a winding back of protectionism and tariffs on goods such as steel, oil and rural produce. Financial reforms included the removal of government control of foreign exchange and interest rates, licensing of foreign banks and reforms to public finance, taxation and social welfare."

"The reforms further included corporatization and privatization of public enterprises and linked to these, reforms in education, training and labor-market regulations. Nearly each of these reforms can be compared to the reform agenda currently faced by China. For Australia these reforms brought a decade of productivity growth."

Michael Schaefer, chairman of the BMW Foundation in Germany, said China has witnessed a booming economic growth over the past three decades.

"But the growth was unbalanced," he said. "Therefore, in my opinion, to ensure the market's leading position, citizen participation and the equal rights is the task and challenge of the Chinese government."

Schaefer also talked about Germany's experience in social and economic development after World War II.

"In general, markets leading, social security, subsidiary responsibility of the state and the development of mid-sized enterprises, I think, such a quadrant of formula is very important for the stability of German economy and the social development," he said.

"I welcome the decision that in China more state-owned unit will be run as enterprises and more state-owned enterprises will be privatized. I think a country needs the creativity and flexibility of private companies," Schaefer added.


Xinhua: What issues or what reforms are you most concerned about if you were a deputy to the National People's Congress?

"I think the most important is the moral and material values for officials and leaders. That's No.1," said Stephen Perry, a seasoned British entrepreneur and China watcher.

"I want to see they clearly lay down what they can do and they can't do, and set up clear guidelines to what is the acceptable behavior," said Perry, who is also chairman of the 48 Group Club, an independent business network committed to promoting relations between Britain and China.

"The second thing that I think is important is that the Chinese officials need to be accountable ... I think for that reason, it is important that the processes of the government are transparent," Perry said.

He also stressed the importance of allowing the market a greater role, saying it is necessary for the government to find the balance between freedom to develop and control.

"Allowing the market a greater role is clearly happening. What they got to do is to protect the people from fraud if the market is allowed too much," he said.

"You have to allow the initiative of market mentality, and you have to make sure the moral and economic controls are in place, to make sure the people are protected from fraud. That's the bottom line. And I think the Chinese leadership understands it very well."

"They need to make it clear to officials that their job is to serve the people. That is a very old phrase in China: serve the people ... You can use that phrase in the USA, UK, Australia, Russia ... it's the same everywhere. If the officials don't serve the people, then you have corruption."

Stephen Sham, Mayor of Alhambra, California of the United States, replied that environment problem is what the world and China concern about.

"The most serious problem is what we see today, the smog, not only in the capital Beijing, but also in many other cities, such as Shanghai, they all have this problem. But this is what a developing country has to have. Here in America, we had the same problem before."

"Smog problem is coming with the development, as the number of cars increase, the industry grows, it is a process," he said.

"Talking about how to learn from the United States, how to give back the people a healthy and comfortable living environment, strict legislation and law enforcement are important, such as the oil quality issue. I think China should work on the legislation to make sure a good quality. And the law enforcement could be more strict," said Sham.


Xinhua: In the view of some analysts, urbanization will become an important catalyst for the Chinese economy's transformation from an investment-driven growth model to a re-balanced domestic consumption-driven approach. What do you think of China's reform on urbanization and rural migrant population's transformation into urban inhabitants?

David Denoon, director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at New York University, said China plans to create big mega cities "that are even larger than the current cities."

"But the problem of that is then you also have other urban difficulties, like pollution, water, air and so on," he said. "And also many people who migrate into cities are not able to adjust."

The United States also had similar problems in the past, Denoon said.

"Chinese leadership should have a very clear plan before they start moving hundreds and millions of people to a new location," he added.

Paulo Wrobel a research fellow with the BRICS Policy Center in Brazil, said urbanization is a general trend for the development of developing countries.

But the process of urbanization went too far in Brazil and resulted in many problems, he said.

China should take precautions during the process and work out relevant policies in accordance to its own conditions, Wrobel added.


Xinhua: The Chinese economy grew 7.7 percent in 2013, the lowest level since 1999. Do you think the Chinese economy has entered a stage of medium growth after high-speed development?

Sarquis Ramirez, a professor of international relations at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Mexico, said China has achieved remarkable development in the past three decades.

He said that despite a stable economic growth in recent years, China's economic policies lack transparency and its reforms are not complete.

"The slowdown of the economic growth resulted from economic restructuring. China's healthy development through reform will benefit the region and the whole world," Ramirez said.

Steven Barnett, a division chief in the Asia and Pacific Department of the International Monetary Fund, said that in the long run, the Chinese economy was estimated to grow at an average rate of about 6 percent in the next 15 years.

"This is consistent not only with China's economy, how reforms will generate sustainable growth, but also consistent with the international experience," Barnett said.

He added that in the near term, the priority should be implementing these reforms, which will generate productivity and sustain the growth.

"So we would like to say that the reform package together will move China to a more inclusive, green and sustainable growth," Barnett said.

"Implementation is always a challenge across the world. If we look back at the recent history in China, there has been a lot of success in implementing very difficult reforms," he added. Endi

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter