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Danish newspaper Berlingske publishes an article by Ambassador Xie Hangsheng
2011/10/14

On October 14, 2011, an article titled "China's development, what does it mean to you?" written by the Chinese Ambassador Xie Hangsheng was published in the Danish newspaper Berlingske. The English version is as follows:

 

China's development, what does it mean to you?

 

China is buying up Europe? China is threatening the West? China is becoming a superpower? Currently these and other similar voices reflect some people's worries or suspicions about China's steady development. Earlier this September, as a response towards the outside world's concern, the Chinese government published a white paper on the country's development, stressing peaceful development is China's strategic choice to realize modernization and to make more contribution to the progress of human civilization. As the Chinese ambassador to Denmark, I would like to share with Danish friends my views about China's development and its relationship with Denmark. 

 

1. How to understand China's development?

History and facts show, the further China develops, the better it is for the world. Since its entry into the WTO in 2001, China has imported goods worth nearly US$750 billion every year creating over 14 million jobs for those exporting countries and regions. Over the past decade, foreign-funded companies in China have remitted a total of US$261.7 billion of profits, with an annual increase of 30 %. Over the years, China's economy has contributed over 10 % to world economic growth and over 12 % to international trade growth, creating millions of job opportunities for relevant countries and regions. Meanwhile, China plays an important role in safeguarding world peace and meeting global challenges, having dispatched the highest number of personnel among the permanent members of the UN Security Council on 30 UN peacekeeping missions, providing humanitarian aid and rescue teams to the countries hit by severe natural disasters, playing a constructive role in addressing international and regional hotspot problems, making the greatest efforts in energy saving and emission reduction with the fastest progress in developing new and renewable energy sources in recent years, etc. Now China is trying to provide assistance to deficit-ridden EU countries with its hard-earned capitals.

Yes, China has achieved remarkable progress in its economic and social development. However, we should also be aware of, that China has a huge population and a weak economic foundation. Its per capita GDP is ranking behind the top 100 of the world, even lower than many African countries; 150 million Chinese are still living below the poverty line according to the United Nations' standard of one US dollar a day; 10 million people still have no access to electricity; each year employment must be provided for 24 million Chinese; the urban-rural gaps, imbalances in industrial structure and underdevelopment of productivity are issues yet to be fundamentally addressed. It is a developing country in every sense of the term. The economic and social problems we face are the biggest and most difficult in the world.

 

2. What is China's direction and strategic intention?

The world has shown a stronger interest in China's strategic direction. Actually China's strategic intention is not as complex or unfathomable as some people may think, nor is there any hidden agenda or ambition. In fact, China's strategic intention can be defined in two words: peaceful development, i.e. harmony and development at home and peace and cooperation abroad. The Chinese people have suffered long enough from poverty. Our only strategic intention is to live a better life, where every day is better than the previous one. We wish the same for all the people in the world. The Chinese Communist Party has termed this process "peaceful development" and the way to achieve peaceful development "the path of peaceful development". The past 30 years' development in China surely indicates that the path of peaceful development can lead a nation to development.

Some people have the unnecessary worry that China will turn its growing economic power into military might. The facts show that China's defense policy is defensive in nature. Its military building is aimed at upholding sovereignty and territorial integrity, safeguarding its more than 22,000 km long land boundary and 18,000 km long sea boundary and ensuring development in a peaceful environment. Compared with quite a number of countries such as the United States and Japan, China's military spending is minimal both in aggregate and per capita terms and cannot pose a threat to other countries at all.

We believe and advocate, politically, countries should treat each other as equals and promote democracy, coordination and a win-win spirit in international relations; economically, countries should draw on each other's strengths and make economic globalization benefit all countries; culturally, countries should respect the diversity of the world and promote progress in human civilization without ideological prejudice and distrust; in terms of security, countries should strengthen cooperation and settle international disputes and conflicts peacefully rather than resorting to war; in terms of the environment, countries should take the path of sustainable development and enhance international cooperation in environmental protection and in addressing climate change.

3. What does China's development mean to Denmark?

Having been the Chinese Ambassador to Denmark for nearly 6 years, I firmly believe Sino-Danish relationship embraces a bright future and will further benefit both peoples as well as the world at large.

First, we have a good political foundation, both sides share consensus on inter-state relations and major international issues, both support a fair, just and rule-based multilateral international system, and have enjoyed good exchanges and cooperation in many different international or regional organizations.

Second, economic complementarities and mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields have produced win-win results and delivered tangible benefits to both sides. According to Chinese statistics, bilateral trade enjoyed steady increase in the past ten years. In 2010, the trade volume reached 7.83 billion US dollars, almost 5-fold increase over 2001 and double increase over 2005. Many Danish companies are having booming business in China, while more and more Chinese companies begin to invest in Denmark.

Third, as a big country in the course of industrialization and urbanization, China provides tremendous opportunities to the rest of world, from which we think Denmark can also draw benefits as China's comprehensive strategic partner.

China is ready to, together with Denmark, view the bilateral relations from a strategic height and long-term perspective, proceeding from the fundamental interests of our two countries and peoples, and enhance mutually beneficial exchanges and cooperation. I do hope, that our two countries should have the ambition to build the bilateral relationship as an exemplary, an example for the relationship between a developing country and a developed country, between a large-sized country and a smaller one, and between two countries with different cultures and social systems.

  Finally, I'd like to stress, taking the path of peaceful development by China with its over one billion in population is a great new undertaking in the history of human development, and we do not claim that what we do leaves nothing more to be desired. We welcome all friendly suggestions and well-intentioned criticism. In the ever-changing world of today, all doctrines, systems, models and paths are subject to the test of the times and practice. Today's China is not the same as many Danes get to know from different books in the past or current reports. China has undergone profound changes in political, economic and social terms, especially over the past 30 years after reform and opening-up. We all should be more forward-looking and more broad-minded, jointly working to further promote our common development, world harmony and prosperity.

Looking back to the past decades, we Chinese are proud of both the China that has managed to feed close to 20% of the world's population with 7.9% of the world's farmland, and of all the contributions made to the world's peace and development. Looking ahead to the future, we are convinced that a prosperous and developing China, a democratic, harmonious and stable country under the rule of law, will make more contribution to the world. The Chinese people will make unremitting efforts together with other peoples to bring about a bright future for mankind.

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