Carry Forward the Ideal of the World Expo and Promote Common Development
Address by H.E. Wen Jiabao
President Jean-Pierre Lafon,
Secretary General Vicente Gonzales Loscertales,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is truly a pleasure for me to attend the 7th World Expo International Forum. On behalf of the Chinese government, I warmly welcome all the guests to the forum and sincerely wish the forum a complete success. The series of World Expo International Forums are important events to promote the ideal of the World Expo and expand its influence. Participants to this forum will have extensive and in-depth discussions under the theme of "shaping urban future with global wisdom". This is of major importance in substantiating the content of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai and making it a big success.
The World Expo is a great event showcasing the fruits of human civilization. Each World Expo is an important stage that bears witness to the development of human civilization. The history of the World Expo is a history of mankind moving from backwardness to progress, from closeness to openness, from conflict to cooperation and from material worship to the pursuit of science.
The famous saying that "Everything begins with the Expo" well illustrates the huge influence of the World Expo on mankind. It is through the World Expo that steam engine, light bulb, telephone, film, television, automobile, airplane, spacecraft and other major inventions have made their way to different parts of the world and profoundly changed the way people live. The American writer Helen Keller visited the World Expo 1893 in Chicago through mere touch. Later in her world-renowned article Three Days to See, she wrote with great passion that if she "had the power of sight for just three days," she would save her most precious third day for the museum. She wrote, "This day I should devote to a hasty glimpse of the world, past and present. I should want to see the pageant of man's progress, the kaleidoscope of the ages."
The World Expo has facilitated extensive exchanges on a global scale and provided opportunities and platform for all countries to broaden their vision and display themselves. It has vigorously advanced the process of internationalization and modernization for all countries. The World Expo transcends the boundary of faith, geography and race, breaks the shadow of turbulence, conflict and war, and gathers people of all countries in the big World Expo family of peace, progress, friendship and cooperation. It opens a window for mankind to take a new look at the world and guides people in their shift from worshiping objects to caring for the human being, from conquering nature to respecting nature, and from pursuing growth only to promoting sustainable development.
Time goes by and the World Expo has gone through 158 years. It has accumulated experience in the past one and a half centuries, and is still young and full of vitality. It has not only greatly stimulated people's initiative and enthusiasm for the creation of material wealth, but also left behind a valuable legacy for cultural development.
First, hold high the banner of progress. To achieve progress is the constant pursuit of mankind. It is also the main theme running through the whole development process of the World Expo. The World Expo has always followed the trend of development and progress of mankind and moved along with the times. It has given expression to mankind's latest interpretation of the concept of "progress". This holds the key to the long-term prosperity of the cause of the World Expo.
Second, promote the spirit of innovation. Innovation provides an inexhaustible source of human progress and it is in the very soul of the World Expo. History shows that the innovation spirit advocated by the World Expo has sparkled human wisdom for countless times and helped people overcome difficulties and challenges. The role it plays is irreplaceable in the economic and social development of the world.
Third, stick to the path of opening-up. Openness and inclusiveness is the only way leading a country or a nation to strength and prosperity. It is the inherent mission of the World Expo to promote interaction and integration of different cultures and strengthen exchanges and cooperation. The open spirit demonstrated by the World Expo, which is consistent with the trend of human development and progress, has opened ever broader prospects for the World Expo.
Fourth, advocate the ideal of harmony. It is the everlasting aspiration of the World Expo family to build a harmonious world that values peace, puts people first and is based on mutual respect and love among the people and harmonious co-existence of man and nature. The spirit of the World Expo is consistent with the pursuit of the international community for a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity, and thus represents the common pursuit of humanity. What Victor Hugo wrote in the Paris Guide for 1867 of "Down with war! Let there be alliance! Concord! Unity!" still resounds today.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China has enjoyed a long-term relationship with the World Expo. Some Chinese proposed hosting a World Expo in China back 100 years ago. The history of contacts between China and the World Expo coincides with the history of China going from a closed and semi-closed society to one opening up in all fronts and from weakness and poverty to strength and prosperity.
The first World Expo was held in London in 1851 at a time when China's feudal rulers were totally unaware of the rapid development of science and technology or the historical changes to the political and economic patterns of the outside world. They regarded Western science and technology as "clever but useless tricks" and called the World Expo a "competition of strange things". Xu Rongcun, a merchant from the Dent Company established by English businessmen in Shanghai, was the only Chinese who participated in the Expo, and his "Yung Kee Huzhou Silk" won him gold and silver prizes. China's later involvement with the World Expo was eye-opening to many Chinese. It exposed them to modern civilization and aroused in them a strong sense of mission to learn from and catch up with the West. China first officially attended the World Expo in Philadelphia, the United States in 1876. In the delegation was a Chinese merchant named Li Gui who wrote A New Travel Log Around the World based on his experiences at the Expo. The book became a classic work that opened a window on the world for the Chinese. Ever since then, people of vision in China had longed not only to attend the World Expo, but to host it in this country. One of them was Zheng Guanying, a representative reformist in the early years of modern China, who, in his Words of Warning in Times of Prosperity, proposed for the very first time the idea of Shanghai hosting the World Expo. In 1910, a young man by the name of Lu Shi'e wrote a fictional novel A New China, envisaging how a universal exposition was held in Shanghai's Pudong area 100 years later. Liang Qichao, a leader of the Reform Movement of 1898 in China, also expressed his desire for Shanghai to host the World Expo so that his motherland, "the sleeping lion", "can be woken up from the deep dream and cured of its protracted illness". But, in those days, to host the World Expo was nothing but a remote dream for the Chinese nation, as it had to grapple with domestic problems and foreign invasion and declining national strength.
Since the founding of New China, especially the introduction of the policy of reform and opening-up, China has seized the historic opportunities and realized a three-decade-long rapid growth, with remarkable achievements in its socialist development. China is opening wider to the outside world. It is back on the stage of the World Expo, and its increasingly important role in the Expo is widely welcomed and appreciated by the international community. Since 1982, China has attended 12 World Expos. In 1993, it acceded to the Convention Relating to International Exhibitions, thus becoming the 46th member of the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE). The World Horticulture Expo successfully held in Kunming, Yunnan Province of China in 1999 displayed China's ability to host a comprehensive World Expo. In 2001, China formally announced Shanghai's bid for World Expo 2010, showing the world the ardent desire of the 1.3 billion Chinese people for the event. The next year, the BIE decided to choose Shanghai as the host of the World Expo 2010. This brought into reality the century-old dream of the Chinese nation.
For the first time, the World Expo will be hosted in a developing country, China, with the biggest population in the world. This fully demonstrates the strong vitality of the World Expo and the vision and far-sightedness of the BIE. We are confident that the World Expo to be held in China will provide opportunities for China and the world at large, and will exert a far-reaching impact on efforts to promote the ideal of the World Expo across the globe and advance world peace and development.
-- The Shanghai Expo will be a grand gathering for unity of people around the world. To date, 192 countries and 50 international organizations have confirmed their participation, making it a truly unprecedented global event that will be remembered as the most-extensively participated Expo in the World Expo history. We have exerted our utmost to seek the widest possible participation, understanding and support from governments and people of all countries, an endeavor that has given true expression to the great World Expo spirit that transcends the differences in faith, race and geography.
-- The Shanghai Expo will be a great event that promotes the development of human civilization. "Better city, better life" is the theme of the Shanghai Expo. Aristotle the philosopher once said, "Men come together in cities in order to live; they remain together in order to live the good life". Cities have made good life of people possible. Yet in the process of industrialization and urbanization, cities have also encountered serious challenges and difficulties such as swelling population, traffic congestion, environmental pollution, resources strain, poverty and cultural frictions. In this sense, to realize harmonious and sustainable development of cities is a major and urgent task facing all countries around the world. The Shanghai Expo will offer an opportunity for participating countries to fully demonstrate their achievements in urban development, exchange experience, share best practices and success stories, and pool thoughts and minds together for better ways of living and working in cities. All this will prove to be a rich cultural legacy for sustainable development of mankind.
-- The Shanghai Expo will encourage innovation and enhance cooperation. It will offer a platform for countries, international organizations and enterprises to showcase products of innovation and enhance exchange and cooperation. With a pool of global wisdom and international perspectives, the Expo will feature products of cutting-edge technology and ingenious creation as well as distinctive regional and cultural characteristics, offering inspirations to human imagination. We hope it will encourage participating countries and enterprises to take full advantage of international scientific and technological resources and carry out all forms of scientific and technological cooperation on the basis of independent innovation.
-- The Shanghai Expo will consolidate our confidence and promote common development. The world is undergoing profound changes and adjustments, and the trend towards a multi-polar world and economic globalization is gaining momentum. Against this background, opening-up for mutually beneficial cooperation and win-win progress has become the shared view of the international community. While we are working jointly to address the host of global challenges including the global financial crisis, climate change, energy and food security and the threat of nuclear proliferation, the success of the Shanghai Expo will have major and immediate significance. It will enhance our confidence and consensus, and facilitate our efforts to promote world peace and common development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are still in the amidst of an international financial crisis that was hardly seen in the past century. I know you are all interested in China's response to the crisis and the current economic situation in China. Let me take this opportunity to talk about it briefly.
The current financial crisis has posed the most severe challenges to the world economy since the Great Depression of the 20th century. However, thanks to the joint and pragmatic efforts of the international community, the worst period is now behind us, and the world economy is now on the way toward recovery. But a full recovery will still be a long and tortuous process. We must continue to act in the spirit of opening-up, cooperation, mutual benefit and win-win progress. We must take up our responsibility and work jointly to ensure comprehensive, sustained and balanced world economic development.
China, a major developing country, has adopted an active and responsible attitude in addressing the crisis. We have worked to handle matters at home properly and to fully participate and play a constructive role in international cooperation. China attaches great importance to ensuring comprehensive, coordinated, and sustainable economic and social development, and takes expanding domestic demand, particularly consumer demand, as the basic foothold of our endeavor to address the international financial crisis. We have worked hard to balance development speed, structure, quality and efficiency, integrate government adjustment and control with market forces, and promote growth while improving people's livelihood. We have comprehensively implemented and steadily substantiated and improved our package plan in response to the international financial crisis. As a result, we have reversed the economic downturn in a relatively short period of time, contributing positively to world economic recovery. What has happened shows that the package plan and policy measures we have taken to tackle the international financial crisis are timely, forceful, and effective. The trend toward recovery in the Chinese economy is steadily growing, yet we still face a lot of difficulties and problems on the way ahead. We will further strengthen and improve macro control, and properly handle the relationship among ensuring stable and fast economic growth, adjusting economic structure, and properly managing inflation expectation. We will continue implementing the proactive fiscal policy and moderately easy monetary policy, and increase policy flexibility and sustainability. We will attach greater importance to improving the quality and efficiency of economic growth, and promote stable and relatively fast development of the Chinese economy.
I wish to reiterate that China is committed to development that is peaceful, open and cooperative in nature. We are willing to join hands with the rest of the world to firmly oppose trade and investment protectionism, properly handle various types of risks and challenges, and make our own contribution to harmonious and sustainable development of the world.
Over the last seven years since China's successful bid for the World Expo, we have mobilized resources of the whole nation, gathered wisdom from around the world, and made steady headways in the preparation work. The World Expo 2010 belongs not only to Shanghai, but to the whole of China and the entire world. The Chinese government and people have made huge efforts for this event. Countries and international organizations around the world and friends from various sectors have also contributed their great share. We will continue to do our utmost to ensure full preparation, and will further strengthen collaboration with participating countries, regions, and international organizations to make the Shanghai World Expo a successful, splendid and unforgettable event. The Seventh World Expo International Forum is the last one of its kind before the opening of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. Let me take this opportunity to express, on behalf of the Chinese government, heartfelt thanks to the comrades and friends for the hard work you have done in preparation for the World Expo.
In conclusion, I sincerely welcome friends from around the world to come to Shanghai next year and join the Chinese people to celebrate the splendor of the World Expo Shanghai and the great accomplishments of human civilization.