On the occasion of the Chinese National Day, I am quite delighted to write this article for the Nine O’clock Newspaper, in celebration of the 67th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Romania.
On 1 October 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed to the world the birth of the People’s Republic of China. Hence the Chinese nation entered a brand new historical era of development.
In the past 67 years, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese people found the road suited to China’s specific conditions, i.e. socialism with Chinese characteristics. China has considerably enhanced its overall national strength, markedly improved the well-being of its people, and unprecedentedly increased its international standing. China has made a leap from a low-income to a middle-income country, becoming the second largest economy in the world.
In the past 67 years, per capita GDP in China grew more than 200 times, totaling almost $8000 today. Chinese urban population expanded by 500 million, life expectancy soared from 35 years to 76.1 years. In contrast to the 20 per cent primary school enrollment rate before 1949, China now basically eliminated illiteracy among young and middle-aged adults. China has a 900 million strong workforce, among whom 170 million have received higher education or training in professional skills. With a population of 1.3 billion, China has 700 million netizens, and nearly everyone in the country owns a mobile phone. China has acquired a wide range of experience in infrastructure and construction. The motorway and high-speed railway mileage in China stands at 125 thousand kilometres and 19 thousand kilometres respectively, both figures ranking the first in the world.
In the past 67 years, China has established diplomatic relations with 173 countries, being a member of over 130 intergovernmental international organisations and a party to over 300 international conventions. China consistently upholds the international order and system based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter with the United Nations at the centre, and steadfastly safeguards and promotes international rule of law. China has dispatched more than 30 thousand personnel on UN peacekeeping missions, properly addressed differences among countries and actively brought its wisdom and proposals to maintaining peace and stability in the world. China has all along been a builder of world peace, contributor to global development and defender of international order.
Recently, China has successfully hosted the G20 Hangzhou Summit. The Summit has achieved nearly 30 major results, making it the most fruitful one compared with previous summits. Through advocating innovation, China has forged new impetus to promote the robust, sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy; through advancing structural reform, China has come up with new proposals to resolve various difficulties faced by current economic and financial sectors; through enhancing development cooperation, China has explored a new prospect in leading the global implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Currently, the recovery of the world economy falls far short of people’s expectations; global trade and investment are lackluster; commodities and financial markets experience volatility from time to time. In this context, China’s economic development entered a ‘new normal’, maintaining stability on the whole, making steady progress, and performing within the appropriate range. In the first half of this year, China’s GDP expanded by 6.7 per cent; 7.17 million new jobs were created; 14 thousand new enterprises were set up daily; per capita incomes of urban and rural residents increased by 6.5 per cent. The economy is better structured. Consumption and services have become the major driving forces of China’s economy, contributing more 73.4 per cent and 110 per cent respectively to China’s economic growth.
The Chinese economy is at a crucial stage of transition from old to new growth drivers and a stage of economic transformation and upgrading. China will accelerate the development of the new economy and cultivate new growth drivers, making its development less reliant on natural resources but more driven by science, technology, and innovation. We will advocate mass entrepreneurship and innovation, further promote the ‘internet plus’ strategy, extensively apply the new generation of information technologies such as the internet of things, big data and cloud computing. We will promote integrated development of different sectors and facilitate the emergence of more new industries, new types of business and new models. We will also roll out new products and services that better meet the needs of the market.
In China e-commerce and modern logistics are not only widely spread, but also vigorously improved the people’s wellbeing. For instance, if a consumer fills his online shopping cart with the milk produced in the morning, he may drink it in the afternoon. If he buys a TV online, it can be delivered and installed in three or four hours. Many people in big cities prefer to make payment through Wechat Wallet, a cross-platform mobile messaging app, without carrying cash or bank cards when they go out.
However, with a huge population, China still faces some difficulties and challenges on its road ahead. They may include the unbalanced development between urban and rural areas and between regions, excess capacity in some industries, and still 70 million people living in poverty. The Chinese government is taking measures to solve these problems. We are advancing the supply-side structural reform, fostering new growth drivers for the economy, promoting the development concepts of ‘innovation, coordination, green, openness and sharing’, and working on the poverty alleviation programme. The Chinese people are striving for the two ‘centenary goals’. By 2020, we will lift all of our poor out of poverty, completing the building of a well-off society in all respects. By the mid-21st century, we will turn China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious.
There are many old sayings in China which promote the concept of common development, such as: It is more pleasant to enjoy music with others than by you alone; a single flower does not make spring, while one hundred flowers in full blossom bring spring to the garden. In the era of globalisation, the more China grows itself, the more benefits it will bring to the rest of the world. In order to foster a community of common destiny for all, China raised the ‘belt and road’ initiative and champions a right approach to principles and interests, characterised by inclusiveness, concerted efforts, and win-win cooperation. The total bilateral trade volume between China and countries along the Belt and Road has reached $995.5 billion, and China has invested $14.8 billion in these countries. The Asian Infrastructure Invest Bank (AIIB) was founded at the beginning of this year, and the first group of projects financed by the Silk Road Fund has been officially launched. China has signed agreements with more than 30 countries to jointly build the Belt and Road, with over 20 countries to collaborate on production capacity.
Romania has a special status in the Chinese people’s mind, no matter how many new friends China tags. Romania is the third country in the world who established diplomatic relations with New China. Our two nations always respect, understand, and help each other. In the last century, Romania rendered its valuable assistance to the development of New China, and supported China to restore its lawful seat in the United Nations. Meanwhile, China backed Romania to maintain state independence and overcome natural hazards. China-Romania cooperation covers all aspects. In the period of clearing account trade, China-Romania trade volume peaked in 1979, amounting to $1.094 billion. The friendship between the Chinese and Romanian people is quite solid, with student exchanges dated back to the 1950s. Chinese pencils and gym shoes were in fashion in Romania, whereas Romanian films such as ‘the Waves of the Danube’ and ‘the Skylark’ were known to all in China.
In the new era, fresh content keeps China-Romania cooperation deepening and widening. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang had bilateral meetings with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos in New York last year and in Ulaanbaatar this year respectively, pointing out the direction for China-Romania ties. In 2015, China-Romania trade volume totaled almost $4.5 billion; China ranks as Romania’s 11th largest trading partner in the world and top one trading partner in Asia. In the first half of 2016, China-Romania trade stood at $2.3 billion, more than double the whole year amount of 1979. With the support of the Chinese and Romanian governments, the companies from the two countries are speeding up discussions on major investment projects related to nuclear power, thermal power and so forth. The UPC Romania cable company formed a strategic partnership with Chinese Huawei Company in order to outsource its network maintenance and client support services. Chinese ZTE Company is providing solutions to Romania’s smart city projects across the country. China has inaugurated in Romania four Confucius Institutes, six Confucius Classes and more than ten Chinese language teaching hubs, with over 2000 Romanians taking Chinese courses there.
I think there are many favourable conditions for China and Romania to strengthen cooperation, which may undoubtedly benefit our two peoples. Here I make the following proposals for both sides:
First, be more confident. In the 67 years of China-Romania exchanges, cooperation has been always mutual beneficial. The Chinese investment, like bicycle, tobacco, and IT firms, paid a huge amount of taxes and created a great many jobs in Romania. The Romanian engines and turbines eased China’s railway transport and electric power transmission as well. Nowadays, when both China and Romania enjoy a high economic growth rate, we can further tap the potential of win-win cooperation, making a more promising future for our bilateral relations. We must be full of confidence.
Second, seize the opportunity. The world economic situation is undergoing fast changes. New industry, new business models, and new opportunities emerge one after another. China and Romania need to find focal points for their joint effort, avoiding to missing opportunities. The ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, China-Central and Eastern European Countries Cooperation are both important platforms of China-Romania pragmatic collaboration, offering us multiple chances. We must implement our consensus of cooperation according to the agreed timetable. In the meantime we may continuously explore potential projects of cooperation. In China, flyovers can be repaired and restored in only 43 hours, high-speed trains travel at 300 kilometres per hour. I hope that China-Romania cooperation can help to make the Romanian traffic more convenient.
Third, promote mutual understanding. Chinese companies need to be familiar with Romanian laws and EU regulations. Romanian enterprises may brief them on the entire situation for investment, achieving information symmetry. The young people from our two countries must have more exchanges in order to carry on China-Romania traditional friendship. Supporting the activity of the Romanian Cultural Institute in Beijing, China will inaugurate the Chinese Cultural Institute in Bucharest, give full play to the Confucius Institutes in promoting China-Romania relations, and encourage the Romanian students to learn Chinese or study in China. The Chinese and Romanian media may enlarge their cooperation, helping the two peoples understand each other better, and creating the favourable public sentiment for China-Romania cooperation.
One who wants to stride ahead should not forget the path that was trodden. In the 67 years since the founding of New China and the establishment of China-Romania friendship, no matter what changes take place in the international context, how fast China develops, or which party come to power in Romania, China-Romania friendship is always unbreakable, and our will of sincere cooperation remains strong constantly. I am confident that with the concerted efforts of our governments, enterprises, media, and personalities of various circles, China-Romania relations will be even more fruitful, and China’s development will bring more benefits to our Romanian friends.