Ten Views on China’s Development Road of Peaceful Rise and Sino European Relations

Ten Views on China’s Development Road of Peaceful Rise and Sino European Relations

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am very happy to have this opportunity to communicate and exchange ideas with you. I hope that through our communications and exchanges we can improve understanding of each other, increase consensus and learn from each other in our respective economic and social development so as to promote our common development.

I have noticed that in recent years, China’s rapid economic growth has provoked extensive and enthusiastic debate in Europe. Many useful suggestions have been made to promote China’s sustainable economic development. There is some rational exploratory thinking on how Europe can seize the opportunities provided by China’s economic development to promote its own development. Of course, there are some concerns over where China is going in the future, etc. Such a debate is constructive and inspiring to China’s development. My speech today is also part of your debate. I would like to offer ten views on the theme that “the rise of modern China is a peaceful rise and that the revitalization of the Chinese nation is the revitalization of civilization”, explaining to you that China should learn from the successful experience of the European integration in our peaceful rise.

First, China’s peaceful rise refers to an all round rise of the country to realize the great revitalization of the Chinese nation, starting from the third plenary session of the 11th CPC Congress in late 1970s to the middle of the 21st century, when China will basically complete its modernization program. It includes two closely related aspects: first, it points out our national development road, which is independently building socialism with Chinese characteristics, engaging in rather than isolated from economic globalization and trying to achieve a win-win situation with the international community; and second, it establishes our national development goal, which is to basically complete our modernization program by the middle of the 21st century, so that China can be lifted from undeveloped state and become a medium level developed country. Such a road and goal of development are what we understand as “China’s development road of peaceful rise”. As President Hu Jintao reiterated on many international occasions recently: China’s peaceful rise means that we strive for a peaceful international environment to develop ourselves, while using our own development to preserve world peace. China is a strong force in preserving world peace.

Second, China’s peaceful rise is focused on ensuring rights to subsistence, development and education to the 1.3 to 1.5 billion Chinese people and ensuring 1/4 of the world population a decent and dignified life. This is fundamentally different from the era of Brezhnev, when the Soviet Communist Party, under the slogan of “world revolution”, tried to seek hegemony through military expansion. For the Chinese, it will take all the time we have to complete this “massive undertaking”, which is based on China’s special national conditions and which no other country in modern history has ever encountered, by the middle of the 21st century. It will be an enormous and impressive achievement.

Third, the development road of peaceful rise is a road related to economic globalization. China’s peaceful rise coincides with the new round of economic globalization, which makes it possible for China, in its rise, to meet its need for international resources peacefully by making use of the free flow of production factors in the global market. It is totally unnecessary to loot other countries’ resources through foreign expansion or overseas colonies as what Germany and Japan did in the past. In this sense, it is the economic globalization that helps modern China to achieve its peaceful rise. China is a beneficiary of economic globalization. China has participated in this unprecedented round of economic globalization in such a degree that China and the rest of the world are so interdependent that neither can afford to lose the other. That is why China wishes to improve contemporary international political and economic order through reform and has no intention to challenge or subvert the existing international political and economic order.

Fourth, China’s peaceful rise is related to the socialist system with Chinese characteristics. Mr. Deng Xiaoping defined socialist system with Chinese characteristics as: socialism that seeks to constantly develop productivity in its domestic policy and stands for peace in its foreign policy. In handling the relationship between reform, development and stability, ruling the Party, the country and the military, and developing domestic and foreign policies and national defense policies, the leaderships from Zemin to Hu Jintao have entirely inherited and developed this great cause founded by Mr. Deng Xiaoping according to the new situation. At this new stage in the new century, in our domestic and foreign policies, we resolutely uphold the core philosophy of seeking peace outside China, seeking harmony inside the country and seeking peaceful settlement across the Taiwan Straits, and we stand for building a harmonious China and a harmonious world. Such a brand new philosophy has exerted, is exerting and will continue to exert great influence on China’s domestic and foreign policies.

Fifth, the most profound meaning of “China’s development road of peaceful rise” is the great revitalization of the Chinese civilization, which interacts with contemporary human civilization. The Chinese nation has fine traditions, history and culture. In particular we stand for harmony being most valuable, being harmonious while allowing difference, being trustworthy and friendly, treating neighboring countries kindly and not doing unto others what we would not like to be done to us, etc. The Chinese nation has experienced untold sufferings in its modern history and we deeply understand how abhorrent power politics is and how valuable peace is. For this reason, Mr. Deng Xiaoping admonished the Party and the people many times that we did not seek hegemony in the past, do not seek hegemony now and will never seek hegemony in the future when we are developed. We have already made it a basic state policy of contemporary China that we will never seek hegemony. As Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, senior minister of Singapore, pointed out: “China’s peaceful rise will not pose threat to any country. Instead, China will use its dynamic and magnificent national culture to kindle the light of human civilization!”

In other word, if modern China really wants to achieve peaceful rise, it must combine socialist material civilization, political civilization, cultural civilization and environmental civilization to build socialist harmonious society. In this process, we will combine tradition with reform and innovation, self-dependence with opening to the outside world, and actively building a harmonious China with promoting a harmonious world. In our modernization process, we will carry forward the splendid Chinese civilization, build a new image of the Chinese nation and work together to revitalize the Chinese civilization that is peace-loving, trustworthy, friendly, harmonious and dynamic. I believe, if you can understand this point, there is nothing to be worried, concerned or feared about China’s peaceful rise.

Sixth, China faces a number challenges in its rise, in particular the challenge of resources, the challenge of environment and the challenge of a number of dilemmas in developing our society and economy in a coordinated manner. Our approach to address the three great challenges is “three transcendence”. We will transcend the old way of industrialization and promote a new pattern of industrialization; we will transcend the way modern late-moving big countries rose and the cold war thinking based on ideology and actively participate in economic globalization; we will transcend the anachronistic ways that the society is governed and continue to build a socialist harmonious society. In essence, it means we need to make great effort to promote the great revitalization of the Chinese nation in our interaction with all modern civilizations. This is because the three strategies work to achieve effective combination of “resources-efficient society”, “learning society”, “society of balanced urban-rural development” and “open society” of Chinese characteristics, or, in other word, to achieve a harmonious and dynamic “harmonious society”. In the final analysis, such social transformation means that in the first half of the 21st century, based socialism with Chinese characteristics, we will reconstruct the Chinese nation, reconstruct the Chinese society and reconstruct the quality of the 1.3 to 1.5 billion Chinese people.

Seventh, our dream about China’s peaceful rise can only be “Chinese dream” based on China’s national conditions and set to solve China’s problems. We can’t afford to have any other dreams. For example, in terms of energy consumption, we can’t afford to have the “American dream” of per capita annual energy consumption of 25 barrels of oil. Our current per capita annual oil consumption is less than 1.5 barrels and we have set the goal of cutting energy consumption per unit GDP by 20% during the “eleventh five year plan” period, that is, by 2010. Also, in terms of population flow, we will never cherish the “European dream” of development by emigrating out 60 million people to overseas colonies since the beginning of the modern history. We will depend on ourselves to achieve internal migration of a huge amount of rural population. Also, in terms of improving comprehensive national strength, we will never have the “Soviet dream” of Brezhnev era, when the Soviet Union engaged in arms race and “exported revolution”. We only export computers and will not export revolution.

Eighth, China’s development road of peaceful rise has laid a solid foundation for furthering the development of Sino-European relations. Europe has always been a priority in China’s foreign relations. Sino-European relations enjoy extensive room for cooperation and a bright prospect. The Chinese market is open to Europe. Last year, the EU, after enlargement, surpassed Japan to become China’s largest trading partner. At the same time, China rose from the EU’s third largest trading partner to its second largest trading partner, following the United States. Last year our bilateral trade totaled 173 billion USD and this year it is expected to reach 200 billion USD. We hope that while promoting cooperation in economy, trade and finance, science and technology, education and environmental protection, China and Europe should strengthen dialogue and consultation in international politics, including fighting international terrorism, preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and regional hot spots like Iraq, Iran and the Korean Peninsular nuclear program, etc. China and the EU share the same or similar positions on many important international issues. China’s peaceful rise to become a responsible big country provides an important opportunity for us to develop strategic partnership. We, like many European countries, support multilaterism and stand for using political means to solve international disputes and value the diversity and tolerance of civilizations.

Ninth, how to look at trade frictions between China and the EU. It is inevitable that we have some frictions when Sino-EU bilateral trade is growing rapidly. The key is to look at these issues from the strategic height of bilateral relations. This summer we reached an agreement on textiles that were acceptable to both sides. That agreement reflected mutual compromise and mutual understanding between China and the EU. I believe if we both adhere to such a spirit, we can successfully handle similar disputes in the future.

Tenth, China needs to learn from Europe when tackling its problems in the process of peaceful rise. Opening up, as we understand it, means not only developing international exchanges but also learning from other countries’ experience. Since China adopted the reform and opening up policy, we have been learning from Europe and we’ve gained a lot of experience from you. Of course the learning is still in progress. As China makes progress on its development road of peaceful rise, we increasingly feel the importance of the European experience to us.

Since the industrial revolution, Europe has made tremendous contribution to the development of human civilization and has also suffered the havoc of two world wars. Therefore, Europe fully understands the value of peace. Especially since the end of the Cold War, Europe has been in steady progress towards integration and has created a new situation of peaceful unification and peaceful rise. This process is not without difficulties or problems. However, starting from the European Coal and Steel Coalition, you have gradually created the European Union and have been steadily enlarging the Union. Europe has gradually grown into a remarkable political force in the world. In the process of integration, Europe created a unified market, realized the free flow of goods, capital, service and people and launched a single currency, all of which have brought enormous economic benefits to the EU member states. It is these tangible benefits that have ensured the sustainable development of the EU. The experience gained here is of great significance for China to participate in economic globalization and to push forward its peaceful rise.

We have also noticed that since the end of WWII Europe has experienced long historical change and social transformation. Especially since 1970s, new developments have emerged out of the transformation, leading to accelerated social division and increased conflicts, including the recent riots in Paris, which have caused worldwide attention. We believe the European people, ever so resourceful, will continue to provide new experience to human civilization.

On the whole, I believe the European experience of revitalization and rise after WWII is very important and useful to China in our own peaceful rise, and that we need to carefully study and learn from your experience. In today’s world, China and Europe, at the east and west end of the Eurasian Continent respectively, are both in the process of peaceful rise. We will certainly contribute to world peace and common development by sharing experience and learning from each other. In such a strategic situation, we need European experience and European friends more than ever. I believe the theme and mechanism of today’s conference will demonstrate strong vitality.

Thank you.