Understand China's Development, Keep Faith in Cooperation

--by H.E. Ambassador Sun Weidong at Online Dialogue with Confederation of Young Leaders and Students and Faculty from Indian Universities


Dear Mr. Himadrish Suwan, Chairman of Confederation of Young Leaders (CYL)

Representatives of youth leaders,

Students and faculty from Indian universities,

Dear Friends,

Namaste! Good afternoon!

In the trying time of fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, I am very happy to meet with you online. Every year, the Chinese Embassy in India holds exchanges with the CYL. At the beginning of last year, we held the second China-India Youth Dialogue. For more than a year afterwards, the pandemic continued to spread, causing a major impact on the world and bringing profound changes to mankind. Defeating the virus requires all sectors of our two countries, especially the youth groups to strengthen cooperation. And deepening mutual understanding is the basis of collaboration.

For this end, I would like to take this opportunity to talk with my young Indian friends about the real China, the stories behind China's development, and how China would help build a better world. The theme of my speech today is "Understand China's Development, Keep Faith in Cooperation".

To understand China's development, it is essential to have a good understanding of China's history and the Communist Party of China(CPC). This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the CPC. In the past one century, China has witnessed tremendous changes and transformations from an old descending country ravaged by war to a vigorous, prosperous new China. In the past, China was extremely backward. We could only make tables, chairs, teapots and tea bowls, but not even a single car or tractor. Today, China becomes the world's second largest economy and the largest trader of goods. In the past, we couldn't meet people's basic living needs such as food and clothing. Today, we are a moderately prosperous society. We feed nearly 20 percent of the world's population with only 9 percent of the world's arable land. We have lifted more than 850 million people out of poverty. We now have a middle income population of over 400 million. China's modern science and technology started from scratch and have made great progress including taking samples from the Moon, building a space station, and landing on Mars. China's comprehensive national strength has reached a new level. Many opinion polls over the years have shown the approval and satisfaction ratings of the Chinese government reach more than 90% among the Chinese people. This is at the top of world rankings.

How has China made such changes and achievements within one century time since CPC was founded? We can interpret from two perspectives.

The first is that, the leadership of the CPC is the choice of history.

Looking back at its 100 years history, the CPC has been the leader of China's continuous victories in revolution, construction and reform. It is the backbone of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

China has a long history and created a splendid civilization. But it has been through trials and tribulations in modern times. After the Opium War of 1840, China was plunged into a dark period. Foreign invasion and internal exploitation led to the disintegration of our land and unspeakable misery of our people. The Chinese nation was almost at the brink of extinction. To save the nation, countless patriots struggled to explore the path forward and even sacrificed their lives. They tried political systems including constitutional monarchy, parliamentarism, multi-party system and presidential system. But all these endeavors ended in failure.

At this critical moment of life-or-death, the CPC adapted Marxism to the realities of the Chinese society. It rallied and led the Chinese people to achieve national independence and liberation through hard work and sacrifice. The Chinese people stood up from then on. After the founding of the People's Republic of China, the CPC led the Chinese people in painstaking exploration and embarked on a right path of development toward prosperity. This is the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. After the reform and opening up in 1978, in just a few decades, China have completed the industrialization process that took those developed countries hundreds of years. We established a comprehensive modern industrial system in this period. The Chinese people achieved a transformation from meeting basic living needs to building a well-off society. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC in 2012, under the leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, China has made a series of new historic achievements. China has won a decisive victory in our battle against poverty. Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. China's GDP has exceeded 100 trillion yuan. Our per capita GDP has exceeded 10,000 USD. China has become a major engine of global growth.

Nearly every Chinese knows a song--- No Communist Party, No New China. It is the CPC that history chooses to lead the Chinese people from standing up, getting rich to becoming strong. We stand with renewed confidence again in the family of nations.

I also would like to stress that China is still a developing country. We are sober and clear about this. There is a long road ahead of us and huge amount of work to do to bring a better life for the people. It will take tireless struggle and lots of efforts.

The second perspective is that, the leadership of the CPC is the choice of the people.

Why could the CPC secure victory of the revolution and further establish socialism with Chinese characteristics? One of the primary reasons is that, the CPC is the vanguard of the Chinese people and the Chinese nation, and has won the wholehearted endorsement and support of the people. Since its founding, the CPC always represents the fundamental interests of the greatest possible majority of the Chinese people. It always gives top priority to the interests of the people. There are countless examples and here I would like to share some true stories:

The first story is about a halved quilt. In November 1934, the CPC-led Red Army was on the extremely tough Long March. When the Red Army passed by a village in Hunan Province, the soldiers slept under the roof and in the courtyard, not to disturb the villagers. A woman named Xu Jiexiu in the village shared the bed of herself and her one-year old son with 3 female Red Army soldiers. These female soldiers noticed Xu was extremely poor, there were just one grass raincoat and a piece of clothing made of rotten cotton on the bed. Before their departure, they cut their only quilt and gave the halved quilt to Xu. They told her, the Red Army was people's army, who was fighting the enemy for the people to live a good life. They said that they would come back to see her after their victory with a brand new quilt. Xu held the halved quilt with tears and walked a long way to see the Red Army soldiers off. She missed the 3 female soldiers, and often sat on a small bench by the riverside waiting for them to come back. Until October 1984, the 50th Anniversary of the Long March, a journalist encountered the 80-year old Xu waiting for half her life at her village. That was how the halved quilt story was uncovered.

People don't know the names of the 3 soldiers,where they went,and whether they survived or not. But the story made the Chinese people remember what the CPC was. Even the CPC has only one quilt,it will give half of it to the people.

The second story is about an ordinary grassroots official during the construction period of China. Jiao Yulu, a county Party chief, sacrificed his life on duty of poverty alleviation. In early 1960s, Jiao Yulu became the Party Chief of Lankao County in Henan Province. At that time, Lankao faced "three disasters" of sandstorms, saline-alkali land and floods. The people there suffered from hunger and poverty. In more than a year after Jiao took office, he led the investigation team to travel more than 2500 km, visited more than 120 rural villages. After he came to know how to distinguish saline-alkali land by tongue tasting, he himself tasted nearly 67 square kilometers of saline-alkali land across the county. He finally drew a detailed map of the saline-alkali land to fight the "three disasters". Due to long-term overwork, Jiao's liver pain became increasingly severe and he couldn't even stand straight. In order to continue his work, he poked at his belly with a rod. And even a big hole appeared on the right side of his old cane chair in the office. In May 1964, liver cancer took Jiao's life at an early age of 42. The only request he made before passing away was to be buried in Lankao's sand. He said he never got the chance to see the victory over the management of saline-alkali land, he wanted to see it after death. When his bone ash was delivered back to Lankao, tens of thousands of people attended his funeral with tears. Lankao was lifted out of poverty in March 2017. At present, the old saline-alkali land has become oasis, the paulownia trees widely planted by people under the leadership of Jiao have become the "green bank" of the local people. Soundboard of Chinese national musical instruments made of paulownia trees has become one of the pillar industries in Lankao.

Jiao Yulu's story made the Chinese people keep in mind that the CPC always puts people in the hearts without self-interests. The CPC members are pioneers who maintain a heroic spirit despite any difficulties. They work hard, live a simple life and never seek personal privileges.

The third story is about a medical worker who has been diagnosed with ALS (Amyotrophic Laternal Sclerosis). Zhang Dingyu is the president of Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital. He is a doctor, and also an ALS patient. ALS patients will gradually lose their mobility due to muscle atrophy, and there is no cure. He could not stop his illness, but tried his best to save lives. Sometimes he went to bed at 2:00 am and was woken up by phone calls at 4:00 am. Facing the raging Covid-19 pandemic, he stuck to the front line, led hospital staff and saved more than 2800 COVID-19 patients. He raced against the virus and demonstrated the amazing "China speed". As his legs shriveled, he made some touching remarks, "my time may be running out, I have to run faster and outrun time in order to save more patients". In August 2020, Zhang was rewarded a national honorary title called "People's Hero". He loves his life, loves singing. Let's watch a short video clip of him, which was in a flash mob at the Wuhan Railway station where people sang a song named "My homeland".

The leading singer is Zhang Dingyu. He is a hero around us, an ordinary person, a person who suffers from uncurable disease but still uses his optimism and courage to inspire others. He is a person full of love for his motherland and the people.

The story of Zhang Dingyu has reminded the Chinese that the CPC members are self-sacrificing people who demonstrate the philosophy of "people first and life first" with concrete actions in the epicenter of a storm.

Everything is for the people, serve the people wholeheartedly, have heart-to-heart bonds with people. Such a spirit will never become outdated.

President Xi Jinping stresses that the state is the people, and the people are the state. Putting people first is the secret behind all achievements made by China under the leadership of the CPC. It is also the consistent values and spiritual concept in the Chinese civilization for thousands of years. Over 2000 years ago, an ancient Chinese sage Mencius said that to a state, people come first, state comes second, the ruler is the least important. China's Tang dynasty followed the wise governing philosophy and created a flourishing age. They understood that people are like water and the ruler a boat, water can support the boat or overturn it. However, since ancient times, only the CPC has been remaining true to its original aspiration and keeping its mission firmly in mind. The past 100 years witness the history that the CPC practiced its original aspiration and mission, and shared weal and woe with the people, winning the heartfelt support of the people. The CPC and the people are as inseparable as fish and water. The CPC has gone through countless difficulties and tests all the way from small to large and from weak to strong. It relies on the firm will of ideals rising above the persistence on its original aspiration and mission. And it relies on the lofty vision of keeping the well-being of the people, the country and the world in their mind. If China's peaceful development can be described as building an edifice in the world, then the 92 million CPC members are its iron and steel supporting framework.

Distinguished guests, dear friends,

To seek happiness for the Chinese people, rejuvenation for the Chinese nation, and the common good for the world, are the goal and source of strength of the CPC. I've just talked about the first two points. Now I would like to talk about the CPC's outlook on international order and global governance.

The CPC is a political party that seeks happiness for the Chinese people and strives for the cause of human progress. Since its founding, the CPC has closely linked the happiness of the Chinese people with the happiness of people of the whole world. President Xi Jinping clearly points out that the overall goal of China's diplomacy is to foster a new type of international relations and build a community with a shared future for mankind. Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy provides fundamental guidance for China's foreign policy in the new era, and clarifies to the world the general direction in which we hope to work with other countries. I would like to highlight this vision with three keywords, namely "peace, development and cooperation."

Peace is the foundation. Without peace, there will be no development and cooperation. Amity with neighbors, harmony without uniformity are values cherished in the Chinese culture. Having been torn by wars and conflicts in the past, we Chinese know too well the scourge of turmoil and the value of peace. Peace and stability are the only way to development and prosperity. China grows not by expansion or colonial plunder, but through the hard work of its people. China is committed to an independent foreign policy of peace, and is the only country that has codified peaceful development in its Constitution. China is committed to peaceful co-existence with all countries, true multilateralism and to non-hegemony, non-expansion, non-alignment and non-coercion. We never copy foreign models, nor export ideologies or ask other countries to copy China's practices. Instead, we advocate that all countries follow development paths that suit their own national conditions. All countries should respect each other and learn from each other without interfering in others' internal affairs. Through out the years, China takes concrete actions to fulfill its responsibility in maintaining world peace. The Chinese military and police have participated in more than 30 UN peacekeeping operations. China is also the largest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. The Chinese people know that,for the national interests and future of mankind, we must cherish peace, and stick to the path of peaceful development. We must uphold peace, and address differences through dialogue. And when peace is undermined, we must strive to defend peace.

Development is the goal. Development is the eternal theme of human society and the master key to solving almost all the problems. Through focusing on development, China has completed eradication of extreme poverty. We have met the poverty eradication target set out in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. According to the International Monetary Fund, in 2019, 69 countries and regions have a per capita GDP exceeding 10,000 USD. That includes approximately 2.8 billion people, including more than 1.4 billion people from China. China's building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects has doubled the world population with a per capita GDP exceeding 10,000 USD. This is an important contribution to the cause of global poverty alleviation. This year marks the beginning of China's 14th Five-year Plan. We will increase expand domestic demand and expand opening-up. China's development has not only provided more cooperation opportunities for other countries, but also offered Chinese wisdom to solving the problems facing humanity.

Cooperation is the path. As the inheritor of the ancient civilization, the Chinese people do not believe in the philosophy of using one's strength to bully the weak or winner-takes-all. China's development has never been at the expense of other countries' interests. We will never pursue a 'China first' approach, nor do we seek to dominate the world. Instead, we advocate making the pie bigger and conducting win-win cooperation. For over 10 years, China has contributed to more than 30 percent of global growth and more than 70 percent of global poverty reduction. As I see it, if development is the goal, cooperation is the bridge to get there. We need to build more bridges instead of destroying or demolishing them. History has proven time and again that to pursue beggar-thy-neighbor practice, conduct isolation and exclusion, and build small circles seeking zero-sum confrontation always failed. Only openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation are the right way forward for the mankind.

President Xi Jinping said, "There is only one Earth in the universe and we mankind have only one homeland". No country alone can address the many challenges facing the mankind. No matter how the international situation evolves, China will firmly hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit. We will be committed to the mankind's common values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom. We will work together unswervingly with the people of all countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind, and we will endeavor to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.

The COVID-19 pandemic shows again that no country or nation can be safe in the face of the virus. And the destiny of the mankind is more closely linked than ever. China-India cooperation on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is such an example. After the outbreak of second wave of pandemic, President Xi Jinping sent a message of solidarity and support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, expressing our sincere sympathies to the Indian government and people. He stated that China is willing to strengthen anti-pandemic cooperation with India, and provide support and help to India. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone conversation with External Affairs Minister Dr. Jaishankar. State Councilor Wang Yi said, as a close neighbor and partner, China fully understood the challenges facing India. He proposed several measures that China was willing to take in accordance with India's demand to help India fight the pandemic. China has delivered on its commitment.

After the outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in India, China was one of the first countries to offer support to India and take actions. A lot of Chinese companies and institutions donated medical materials to India. The Red Cross Society of China provided 100 oxygen concentrators and 40 ventilators to the Indian Red Cross Society. The supplies were airlifted to Bangalore by the first resumed cargo flight of Sichuan Airlines on May 9th. Chinese manufacturers overcame all kinds of difficulties, such as time limits, rising cost and supply shortage of raw materials, and worked overtime to ramp up production. According to incomplete statistics, China exported more than one lakh oxygen concentrators, 8 thousand ventilators, 90 thousand thermometers and over 10 crore masks to India just during the first half of May. China's Customs, civil aviation and other government agencies actively provided facilitation and convenience for the customs clearance and transport of the needy medical supplies from China. Recently, the Chinese side approved more than 10 Indian chartered cargo flights for June. Chinese workers worked overtime during the May Day holiday and completed 3 batches of medical equipment which were airlifted to Calcutta. Most of goods have been sent to hospitals, local governments and relief agencies in more than 10 states in India. Let me assure you that, when India fought the pandemic, China was not absent or sat back apathetically.

Regarding China's support for India's response to the second wave of the pandemic, I'd like to share three feelings with you. First, it truly reflects China's goodwill towards India. Within a short time, relevant medical supplies have completed the whole process of production, customs clearance, transport and utilization. The Chinese government, companies and many sectors of society have contributed a lot to this. It reflects the true humanitarian spirit that places life above everything else. Second, China and India have great potential to cooperate. Taking the case of supplying medical materials, they have all played an important role in helping India fight the pandemic and save lives, no matter from commercial procurement or donations. It fully shows that the industrial and supply chains with China's participation are highly effective and reliable. Third, cooperation is the only way to beat the virus. The virus is invisible and ruthless. All countries are in the same boat, and can only defeat the pandemic through solidarity. Only when every country is safe, can the whole world be truly safe.

In brief, China has practiced its vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, carried forward the humanitarian spirit, and taken concrete actions to help India in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Our purpose is to save every precious life, and contribute to overcoming the pandemic at an early date. We fulfilled our responsibility as a major country. We are candid, transparent and aboveboard, and did our utmost with conscience in the fight against the virus, which is our common enemy.

Dear guests and friends,

When the First National Congress of the CPC was held, the average age of the participants was only 28. That was a political party built by young people. The Party was full of vigor and vitality, with optimism, and a vision for the future. Today, China has entered a new era with a new look, attracting the attention of the world. People wonder, as the CPC approaches its 100th birthday, how can it maintain the vitality arising from the early days of its founding. In fact, President Xi has already given an answer, "For a party which fights for the eternal well-being of the Chinese nation, the centenary only ushers in the prime of life."

The young people are the most vigorous and creative forces. I hope the young friends present today could be open-minded. You could use your ears to listen, use your eyes to watch, use your hearts to communicate, and use your minds to think. I welcome you to search for and discover a true, 3-dimensional and comprehensive picture of China, to increase your understanding of China, and to contribute more wisdom and energy to the friendly and cooperative bonds between China and India.

Thank you!

Question: Some Indian citizens and students cannot go to China due to COVID-19. They are eager to return to China and continue their work and study there. When could China lift relevant travel restrictions?

Ambassador Sun: Recently, many Indian citizens, especially students, expressed on the internet their desire to go to China for study or to continue their study. I fully understand that, and I am gratified with their spirit of overcoming difficulties and making efforts for study.

As COVID-19 spreads across the world, all countries are taking due measures to prevent and contain the virus based on their own conditions. I believe this should be understood and observed by both Chinese and foreign nationals. International travel will increase the risk of infection and will have a huge impact on the travelers and the destination countries. Recently, Chinese city of Guangzhou once again diagnosed confirmed cases. Since May 21, Guangzhou has carried out a large-scale COVID test. As of June 5, the cumulative number of samples tested reached 16 million. China takes great efforts in containing the spread of the virus.

Let me be clear that the Chinese government attaches high importance to protecting the rights and interests of foreign students in China. Academic institutions are required to keep in close contact with those students abroad. They have made good arrangements for online courses, and properly addressed students' legitimate concerns and appeals. On the precondition of observing containment protocols, the Chinese authorities will study foreign students' return to China in a coordinated manner and keep in communication with relevant parties. On the premise of ensuring the health and safety of the Indian students, our Embassy will also encourage them to continue their studies in flexible and diverse ways and provide them with relevant conveniences.

Question: As two major developing and neighboring countries, a good bilateral relationship is important to both India and China. At present, the bilateral relations are facing big challenges and difficulties. How will bilateral relations overcome difficulties and continue to move forward? What are your expectations for the future of bilateral relations?

Ambassador Sun: The Chinese side has made a series of statements on our position to develop China-India relations. Our position is clear, comprehensive and coherent. On April 15, I attended the opening ceremony of the 7th CPIFA-ICWA Dialogue, and shared my view on the bilateral relations. The full text of my speech is posted on the website of the Chinese Embassy for all friends' reference.

How to understand China-India Relations? We need to grasp the essence of the bilateral relations. That is about how the world's two largest developing countries get along with each other and pursue development and rejuvenation together. As two ancient civilizations, we can and should view our relations from a higher, broader and longer-term perspective.

Why should China and India cooperate? Because China and India are close neighbors and major emerging economies. Each of us has a population of over one billion. And both countries are facing arduous development tasks and broad development prospects. Our common interests far outweigh the differences. Our cooperation will enable the 2.7 billion people to live a better life.

How will the China-India relations move forward? We need cooperation rather than confrontation. We need to help each other succeed instead of undercutting each other. At the moment, we should focus on tackling the pandemic, reviving the economy, improving people's livelihood, and managing our own affairs well.

It is normal for countries to have differences. The boundary question is left over from history and should be put at a proper place in the overall bilateral relations. The Chinese side's position is clear. We are committed to settling the boundary question through dialogue and consultation. At the same time, we are resolved to safeguard our sovereignty, security and development interests. The two sides should respect each other, treat each other as equals, conduct dialogue and consultation and properly address differences to find a mutually acceptable solution.

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