China's Reform Moves Forward in Its Own Way

December 20, 2018  By Liu Dongchao, Zhu Feng, Zhu Songling, Wang Yiwei  Editor: Wang Yue

President Xi Jinping delivered a speech on Tuesday to mark the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up. Five scholars share their views with China Daily's Liu Jianna, Yao Yuxin and Pan Yixuan on how the speech points the direction of further reform in the coming decades. Excerpts follow:

Development Path that Suits National Reality

Over the past four decades, China has crossed the river by feeling the stones and embarked on a unique development path that suit its own national reality.

First, this path combines top-level design and extensive experiments at the lower level. Among which the family land contract responsibility system that emerged from 18 farmers' experiment in Xiaogang village in Anhui province is now a well-known case. Experiments at different levels and in different places have delivered successes, as well as failures, and both have provided much valuable experience to China.

Second, the Communist Party of China's strong leadership and public practices have been fully integrated. As the political guarantee and guiding force, the CPC's vigorous leadership removes the executive obstacles and ensures the smooth advancement of reform and opening-up. While the Chinese people have enthusiastically embraced the process driven both by a longing for a better life and a sense of patriotism, the cooperation between leaders and practitioners of reform and opening-up over the past decades has been effective, to say the least.

Third, reform and opening-up are a never-ending and constantly improving process. From the initial phase of building the right environment for reform and opening-up in the 1980s to the lively market reform in the 1990s, to comprehensively deepening reform and opening-up in the new era, the phenomena have manifested different characteristics and showcased the binding force of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is due to this pace of reform and opening-up that China has reached new heights one after another over the past decades.

Liu Dongchao, a professor at the Department of Social and Cultural Studies, Chinese Academy of Governance.

Relations with World Enter a New Period

In a speech commemorating the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up, President Xi Jinping acknowledged Deng Xiaoping's exemplary contributions to China's development, saying the country's future development course is closely connected to Deng's political contributions, legacy and thinking.

The past 40 years have seen China realizing unprecedented economic growth, as well as making breakthroughs in its relations and exchanges with the rest of the world. A number of individuals, organizations, enterprises and governments have made landmark contributions to promoting China's opening-up policy and its relations with the rest of the world. Among which 10 foreigners have been honored with China Reform Friendship Medals, showing China honors those that have made contributions to its opening-up.

That the China-proposed new type of major-country relationship, which emphasizes China's own understanding of the world, are not fully accepted by the United States and some other countries calls for some reflection by both sides. China needs to strengthen two-way communication by listening more to others and making itself understood, as well as improve its domestic governance.

Zhu Feng, dean of the Institute of International Relations, Nanjing University.

Intervention in Internal Affairs Won't be Tolerated

In the report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China last year, as well as in his speech to mark the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up on Tuesday, President Xi reiterated the realization of complete reunification of the Chinese nation is one of the nation's major historical tasks.

In his speech on Tuesday, Xi re-emphasized the one-China principle and 1992 Consensus, saying even a single inch of land won't be allowed to be separated from the nation, so as to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

Xi's remark on cross-Straits ties has three layers of meaning. First, the Chinese mainland remains committed to pushing forward cross-Straits cooperation including economic and cultural exchanges, as it is beneficial to Taiwan compatriots' livelihoods.

Second, the mainland along with Taiwan compatriots will robustly counter "Taiwan independence" forces. And eventually, Taiwan residents will realize closer and warmer cross-Straits ties will benefit compatriots on both sides.

And third, as Xi said, the mainland will share the fruits of economic growth and peaceful development with Taiwan compatriots and organizations upholding the one-China principle.

Aside from closer cooperation in industrial, economic and cultural fields, people-to-people exchanges are also flourishing. And thanks to the shared sense of national identity, a growing number of Taiwan residents have realized cross-Straits ties are a significant factor for their welfare.

As a sovereign state, China has every right to crush any attempt by any foreign power to interfere in the cross-Straits issue. More important, Beijing has the capability to take the initiative to promote reunification.

Zhu Songling, a professor at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Beijing Union University.

Opening-up Boosts Global Development

Analyzing the essence of reform and opening-up in his speech on Tuesday, President Xi said the two phenomena have entered a new era. As such, China should shoulder more responsibilities and share its experiences with other countries to promote mutual development.

China launched reform and opening-up to learn the salient features of economic development from advanced countries, and adapt itself to a world in transformation. Now after four decades of continuous and deepening reform and opening-up, China can offer "China solutions" to growth problems for other developing countries to consider.

China today stands at the same starting line as the West at a time when the international community is grappling with pressing problems such as a sluggish world economy, global warming and internet security. If the United States is trying to reform its immigration and medical insurance systems, the European Union aims to reform its social welfare system and Central and Eastern European countries are seeking reform partners. Reform is the new buzzword.

So the goal of China's reform should be to solve problems facing not only China but also other countries. China's reform should also help reform the world order for the better, make greater contribution to world progress by sharing its development experiences with less developed and other countries.

The Belt and Road Initiative, which embodies China's four decades of reform and opening-up experience, is a public good and platform for global cooperation. And China's independent and comprehensive industrial system will ensure the initiative leads to efficient and cost-effective cooperation.

Building a community with a shared future for mankind, too, is part of China-proposed solutions to global development problems, as it is marked by cooperation and exchanges with other countries along the Belt and Road.

Wang Yiwei, deputy head of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era Research Academy, Renmin University of China.

(Source: China Daily)

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