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China Daily

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Monday, December 24, 2018, 12:57
Reform, opening-up to ‘start over’
By China Daily
Monday, December 24, 2018, 12:57 By China Daily

Xi stresses China’s commitment to press ahead with a newfound confidence and sense of direction

In his 100-minute, 13,000-character speech addressing the official commemoration of the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up, President Xi Jinping offered what is to date the most comprehensive elaboration of the latest proposal for the 40-year-old cause to “start over”.

That, according to Xi, means to press ahead with reform and opening-up with a newfound confidence and sense of direction. Which boils down to a deeper conviction in the continuous indispensability of reform and openness as well as a continuous commitment to doing it the right way.

No one is in a position to dictate to the Chinese people what should or should not be done, Xi said, making it clear that the country will change what should and can be reformed, but it will not change what should not and cannot be.

Commemorating China’s transformative journey over the past 40 years is more than just marking the milestones, it is also about carrying forward what this nation of over 1.3 billion people has learned in the process. In particular what the Communist Party of China (CPC) has learned through its “great awakening”, an awakening that 40 years after it began, continues.

“Only when conforming to the trends of history, actively responding to changes, spontaneously seeking changes, can we advance with the times,” Xi said. And in the CPC’s understanding, China can contribute more to the world by being the guide for countries to build a community with a shared future for humanity.

Xi officially attached the country’s opening-up to those trends and the envisioned community. “China’s development can’t go without the (rest of the) world, the world’s prosperity also needs China,” he observed, summing up a precious lesson the country has taken to heart.

The remarkable social and economic development China has witnessed over the past four decades would not have been possible had the country not opened its door to the outside world, and been embraced by the latter. Overseas capital, technologies, management know-how, and then markets have been instrumental in China’s rise. The Chinese economy has integrated so seamlessly with the rest of the global economy that it is unprecedentedly a provider and consumer of what global markets demand and have to offer.

There is no reason for a country whose economy has entered such a stage to “delink” itself from the global supply chains.

While some in the West see Chinese moves on the global stage through the prism of old-school hegemony, Xi made a special mention of the Chinese nation’s broadminded traditional ideal of “having all nations live in perfect harmony”.

This represents China’s commitment to inclusive and shared development, and other countries will certainly benefit if they cast aside their zero-sum preoccupations and rediscover the positive potential of cooperation.

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