|Acting Consul General Liu Jun's Speech at 2018 National Day Reception|
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, friends:
On behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago, I would like to express my warmest welcome to everyone attending our National Day reception! I would like to especially welcome the Guangdong Delegation who are here for the Mayors’ Training Program on Urban Sustainability jointly organized by University of Chicago and Paulson Institute. Welcome, everyone!
69 years ago, the People’s Republic of China was founded. For 69 years, with the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China and the tireless efforts of the Chinese people, the Chinese Dream of great rejuvenation is becoming a reality.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's Reform and Opening Up. 40 years ago, with the implementation of this policy, China opened its door to the world, and its connection with the world came to a new stage. There is an old saying in Chinese that goes: "At forty, one has no more doubts." Over the past 40 years, Reform and Opening Up has reinvigorated China's vitality and has led China onto the path of great rejuvenation. The trials and tribulations of the past 40 years have provided us with a range of new experiences and insights as follows:
First, along the process of Reform and Opening up, China has found a path suitable for its own development. We ground ourselves in the current conditions of our own country and Chinese history and culture while also noting the development trends of the world. We advocate independence and self-reliance; we value the practices of opening up to the outside world and cooperating for mutual benefits; and we adhere to the socialist system as well as to the direction of socialist market economic reform. We have crossed the river by feeling the stones, strengthened top-level design, and successfully explored a road of socialism with Chinese characteristics by studying new situations, solving new problems, and learning new lessons. Since its inception, the Chinese government has always possessed the conscience of responsibility, refused to evade problems, dared to reform and innovate, and never blamed other countries for its own problems. China’s success proves to the world that there exists more than one road to modernization, or as you put it, all roads lead to Rome.
Second, in the course of Reform and Opening Up, China has achieved rapid economic and social development. Calculated with constant prices, from 1978 to 2017, China's GDP rose 33.5 times with an average annual growth rate of 9.5%, much higher than the world average of 2.9%. China’s economy doubles in every 8 years and leads the growth of world’s major economies. In the past 40 years, China’s foreign trade has grown at an average annual rate of 14.5% in dollar terms. From 1979 to 2017, cumulative foreign direct investment in China has reached nearly 2 trillion US dollars, making China the largest destination of foreign direct investment among developing countries. For 40 years, China has made significant contributions to the world's poverty alleviation efforts, lifting more than 700 million people out of poverty, accounting for more than 70% of total global poverty reduction during the same period of time.
Although trade conflicts have emerged this year, according to the latest statistics, China's GDP grew by 6.8% in the first half of the year. From January to August, the total import and export volume increased by 9.1% year-on-year, and newly added foreign-invested enterprises increased by 102.7% year-on-year. Despite the rising external uncertainties and instabilities, the overall stability of China's economy and the smooth transition of economic structure have not changed.
Third, through Reform and Opening Up, China has better responded to the challenges of globalization. The development of the globalized world in the 21st century is the natural result of scientific and technological progress; but it also brings challenges to all countries. Through the absorption of foreign capital, China has enhanced its overall level of industrialization. Through the strengthening of education, China has improved the quality of its workforce. By joining the World Trade Organization, China has become an integral part of the world market. These actions all came with their own sets of challenges, but ultimately, we overcame them and learned to swim in an adverse current. Despite its apparent benefits, globalization has also led to more intense competition, a widening gap between rich and poor, and a surge in populism. Confronted with this set of challenges, all countries must shoulder their due responsibility—not only to solve their own problems, but also to work together to address global challenges. Self-isolation and artificially cutting off the flow of funds, technology, products, and personnel are against the trend of history and increasingly difficult to accomplish. China makes efforts to create a