On October 1, a grand gathering was held in Beijing to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The celebration has brought excitement and jubilation to the whole country and attracted worldwide attention.
President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech, in which he sent out the following messages: “Over the past seven decades, Chinese people of all ethnic groups have made great achievements that amaze the world through concerted efforts and arduous struggle.
“China’s yesterday has been inscribed in human history while China’s today is being created in the hands of hundreds of millions of Chinese people. China will surely have an even brighter future.
“China will adhere to the path of peaceful development, pursue a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up, and continue to work with people from all countries to jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.”
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce to Bahamian friends the development of new China from several aspects.
In the past 70 years, China’s economic development has advanced by great leaps. At the beginning of the founding of the PRC, we started in the ruins of war.
At that time, China’s GDP was only more than US$17 billion, and its per capita GDP was only US$30.
The industry and agriculture were far less developed. There was almost no manufacturing industry.
The 70-year struggle of China has created a great miracle of economic development.
In 2018, China’s GDP reached US$13.7 trillion, ranking the second in the world, with per capita GDP reaching US$9,000.
It has become the world’s largest foreign currency reserve country, the largest manufacturer and the largest trader of goods. The sustained and rapid growth of China’s economy has become the engine and stabilizer for global economic growth. In recent years, China has contributed over 30 percent to the world economic growth.
In the past 70 years, Chinese people’s livelihood has been improved remarkably.
At the beginning of the founding of the PRC, people’s lives were extremely difficult, lacking medical care and medicine. The average life expectancy in the country was only 35.
Less than 20 percent of the country’s 500 million people received primary school education, and more than 80 percent of the population were illiterate.
With 70 years’ hard struggle, Chinese people’s living standards have been remarkably improved, from solving the problem of food and clothing at the very beginning, to living a happy life in general.
In 2018, Chinese people’s life expectancy reached 77 years. On the basis of realizing nine-year compulsory education, it is moving towards universalizing senior secondary education.
The gross enrollment rate of colleges and universities is 48.1 percent, higher than many of the world’s middle and higher income countries.
Particularly, China’s poverty alleviation efforts have made remarkable achievements. Since 1978, China has lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty.
Among them, 13.68 million people got out of poverty in 2018. With more than 70 percent contribution to global poverty reduction, China is the first developing country to achieve UN’s poverty reduction goals.
China has established the world’s largest social security system with the largest population, with the primary endowment insurance covering over 900 million people, and medical insurance covering 1,300 million people. Chinese people have lived a more prosperous life than ever before.
In the past 70 years, China’s science and technology has been advancing with each passing day.
In the 70 years, China has formed a large scientific and technological team, and created world-renowned scientific and technological achievements.
Synthetic bovine insulin, space technology, super hybrid rice, high-performance computer and other engineering and technical achievements have provided strong support for China’s economic and social development.
The “Chang’e IV” detector successfully landed on the back of the moon, and Beidou navigation system began to provide basic global navigation services.
In 2018, China’s total expressway mileage exceeded 140,000 kilometers, the high-speed railway operating mileage reached 30,000 kilometers, and the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge, the 55-kilometer-long Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, was officially opened to traffic.
In the past 70 years, China’s opening up has continued to expand. Since the founding of the PRC, China has adhered to an independent foreign policy of peace, actively developed friendly and cooperative relations with countries around the world, and established diplomatic relations with 180 countries.
Since the reform and opening up, China has actively implemented an opening strategy of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, from a large-scale “bringing in” to a big step of “going out”, from joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) to proposing the Belt and Road Initiative, the width and depth of opening up has been significantly expanded.
In 1950, China’s total volume of foreign trade of goods was only US$1.13 billion, while it reached US$4.6 trillion in 2018, ranking first globally for two consecutive years.
The First China International Import Expo was successfully held in 2018, demonstrating China’s strong confidence in opening up to the outside world.
In the past 70 years, China has seen remarkable institutional innovation.
Advancing modernization in a country with a weak foundation and a large population is a new pioneering undertaking.
The Communist Party of China has led the Chinese people to explore and establish a socialist system with Chinese characteristics suited to China’s national conditions.
The People’s Congress System has guaranteed the people’s right to be masters of the country. The multi-party cooperation and political consultation system under the leadership of the Communist Party of China has established a harmonious inter-party relationship.
The socialist market economic system combines the advantages of socialism and market economy. The great concept of “one country, two systems” has opened up a new road to realize the reunification of the motherland by peaceful means. The institutional innovation of China has made unique contributions to the institutional development of human civilization.
Over the past 70 years, our country has braved thorny paths and confronted stormy weather.
Through the years, China’s economy has created miracles and been constantly growing. China’s economy will continue to break the waves and move forward.
Since the first half of 2019, China’s economic performance has been generally stable, maintaining a stable and positive trend, and major economic indicators are in line with expectations.
The GDP growth was 6.3 percent, employment and prices remained stable, 7.37 million new urban jobs were created, 67 percent of the annual target was achieved, the economic structure was continuously optimized, and the contribution rate of consumer spending to GDP growth was 60.1 percent.
China has nearly 1.4 billion people, more than 900 million labor force, 170 million talented human resources who have received higher education and are skilled, the world’s largest middle-income group, and more than 100 million market players.
With the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, the political advantage of focusing on major events, a solid material and technical foundation accumulated since the reform and opening up, the Chinese government is fully qualified, capable, and confident to deal with various risks and challenges and maintain sustained and stable economic development.
Looking forward, China still has a lot of development tasks, but the prospects are bright.
China has a vast territory. Due to different natural and historical conditions, the development status of urban and rural areas, as well as of different regions are imbalanced.
In China, you may see modernized cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, while at the same time you may also see poor rural areas and less developed western regions.
At present, there are still more than 16.6 million people living below the poverty line.
China’s current GDP ranks second in the world, but its per capita GDP of US$9,000 ranks over 70th in the world.
Therefore, China will remain a developing country for a long period of time. Looking ahead, China will adhere to the new development concept of innovation, coordination, green, openness and sharing, and strive to achieve better quality, more efficient, fairer, and more sustainable development.
China is a staunch defender and an active contributor to world peace.
China has sent more than 40,000 personnel to UN peacekeeping operations, participated in more than 100 international governmental organizations, signed more than 300 international conventions, and become an important participant, builder and contributor of the international system.
China is also an active bearer of international responsibility, carrying out foreign economic and technical assistance according to its own capabilities, such as training personnel for other developing countries, and dispatching medical teams to provide services overseas.
China’s peaceful development is definitely not a threat, but an important force for world peace, stability, prosperity and development.
The Bahamas is an important country in the Caribbean region.
Although China and The Bahamas are separated by vast oceans, and we have different social systems, cultures and national conditions, all these cannot prevent the two countries from becoming good partners based upon mutual respect and equality.
China and The Bahamas are both developing countries and we share similar developing ideas and broad common interests.
China-Bahamas friendship and cooperation has brought tangible benefits to the two peoples.
China has always attached importance to developing relations with The Bahamas and is willing to work together with The Bahamas to further enhance political mutual trust, strengthen pragmatic cooperation and expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges, so as to constantly bring China-Bahamas relations to a new high and further enhance the welfare of the two peoples.
• Huang Qinguo is the ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to The Bahamas.