By Li Wei, DRC
Marked by the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Party Central Committee in December 1978, China started its great course of reform and opening-up. Under the guidance of Chinese Communist Party, Chinese people has made unremitting efforts in exploring the path to pushing ahead and deepening the reform in a comprehensive manner, and stick to opening-up to the outside world so as to actively integrated itself into the world economic community, thus has achieved splendid progress in its modernization drive.
Over the last four decades, China’s reform has been carried out in a magnificent process from rural to urban areas, from piloting to larger scales, from mere economic institutional reform to the overall one on economy, politics, society, culture and ecological civilization. Through unremitting efforts, China has successfully gone through a fundamental transformation from a highly centralized planned economic system to a socialist market economic system with Chinese characteristics. The direct resource allocation by the government has been greatly reduced, and the decisive role of the market in resource allocation has been increasingly enhanced. The market for commodities and various production factors has been gradually developed. The basic economic system has been established, in which public ownership serves as the mainstay and in the meantime the development of multiple ownership economies is also ensured. And the pattern of opening-up to the outside world in a multilevel and wide-range manner has gradually been formed. An open economic system which is in line with China’s national conditions and the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been basically established. Profound changes have also happened in its social and ecological civilization system. A distribution system has been founded with labor-based income distribution mechanism as the mainstay with the coexistence of multiple distribution methods. A multi-tiered social security system covering the entire population with supports that hits the right level has taken shape and reform in education, employment and the institution of medical care has gradually been deepened. A social governance model has been continuously enhanced, under which Party committees exercise leadership, government assumes responsibility, non-governmental actors provide assistance, and the public get involved. The fundamental national policy of conserving resources and protecting the environment has been firmly implemented. An ecological civilization with Chinese characteristics, green development model and environment governance system is gradually been established.
The reform and opening-up has greatly strengthened China’s overall national strength and created a miracle in its economic and social development. China has registered the first place in industrial development, commodity trade, and foreign reserve, and has become the second largest country in terms of research and development funding. The output of more than 200 industrial products ranks the fist across the world, so does the proportion of its manufacturing industry. The development of its manned space flight, lunar exploration program, satellite navigation, deep-sea exploration and supercomputer project has achieved world-class technological advancement. The starting point and objective of China’s reform and opening-up is to improve its people’s standard of living. We have achieved the transformation from ensuring the basic needs of the people to building a basic moderately prosperous society and are now marching toward building an overall one. China has entered a social development stage with urban civilization playing the major role. Its reform and opening-up has not only developed itself, but blazed a new trail of reform which is in line with its national conditions and also embodies the requirement of our times. This reform approach has at least the following basic connotations and characteristics. First，the reform process sticks to the overall party leadership and the vision of making our development people-oriented, and it has been made clear that our goal is the people’s aspirations to live a better life. Thus the starting point and the objective to pushing head with our reform is to continuously enhance the sense of people’s fulfillment and happiness. During the reform, our priority in work is always to solve the most directly-related and realistic problems that concern our people. Second, under the unified leadership and overall arrangement of the central government, the local governments, enterprises and all circles of our society are given full play to their initiative and creativeness to collect the wisdom of exploring reform, and gather the momentum to coordinate our steps in pushing forward the reform. Third, the process has created conditions for opening-up by reform and added impetus to reform through opening-up. During the interaction of reform and opening-up, institutions and mechanisms have been improved and perfected through concerted efforts. Fourth, the process always adheres to the main direction of building a socialist economy with Chinese characteristics and appropriately proceeds at suitable time and pace. It never rushes for quick result and expects to accomplish the whole task at one stroke. When launching reform measures, we have given full consideration to the adjustment capacity of the existing institutions and mechanisms and the undertaking endurance of all circles of our society. Of course, major reform actions will be taken immediately without hesitation if the circumstance and all the conditions are ready.
At present, China’s internal and external development circumstances are undergoing profound changes, and its economic and social development has presented a series of new periodical characteristics. The report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has made a major judgment that socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era based on the evolved principal contradiction facing Chinese society, that is, what we are now facing with is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life. The most distinctive characteristic of China’s entrance into a new era is that China’s economy has been transitioning from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development, and it has also realized a transformation from focusing on quantity to quality. And the shift is also the fundamental approach to solving the problems caused by unbalanced and inadequate development. The essence of realizing high-quality development lies in reform and opening-up, which calls for further efforts to break new ground in existing institutions and mechanisms and to establish new ones so as to make up for the shortcomings of our system, tackle with those newly-emerged problems and comply with the new requirement of our times. It must be noted that a number of the problems China’s economy is now facing in the new era have not been given any answer by international or our own historical experience. Thus it requires us to continuously free our minds, move with the times to enhance both theoretical and practical innovation. Since the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the Party Central Committee with President Xi Jinping at the core has stipulated a series of major reform arrangements, and has taken a number of significant measures in deepening the supply-side structural reform, improving the relations between government and market, enhancing the reform of state-owned enterprises, strengthening the regional coordination, pushing ahead with the rural revitalization strategy and fostering further opening-up. By doing so, we have made significant breakthroughs in deepening reform on all fronts and made historical achievements in pushing forward social and economic development. It is foreseeable that China will go further in its reform and opening-up and the foundation of its transformation to higher quality development will become more solid.
To push ahead with the reform in the new era requires tenacity and perseverance and the capability to tackle with difficulties, in the meantime, a stable world political and economic environment is also needed. Of course, it is both the need of China and other countries to create a stable world political and economic environment. All countries are supposed to strengthen their cooperation and mutual-support in tackling challenges, pushing ahead with their development, to create an ever-lasting peace and political environment which will secure all. We are deeply convinced that in an era of deepening globalization and increasingly closer relationship between the destiny and the interests of all countries, the gains of China from its opening-up will go far beyond its borders to benefit more than merely its 1.3 billion people, and it will also push the world economy forward on the track of a sustainable development which is sound, balanced and inclusive.