|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 favorable and orderly investment environment, ease market access for foreign investment, build pilot free trade zones with high-standard, promote fair competition, and improve market transparency. China’s door will forever remain open to the world. In 2013, China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative. Through the platform of cooperative construction, the Belt and Road Initiative seeks to share China’s wisdom and solutions to solve the current global and regional economic issues and share cooperation fruits with the rest of the world.
Fourth, during the course of Reform and Opening Up, China has continuously strengthened its protection of intellectual property rights. 40 years ago, the concept of "intellectual property" was unfamiliar to most Chinese people, but by 2016, the number of China’s effective patent holdings surpassed for the first time 1 million, making China the 3rd country to join the million club after the US and Japan. In 2017, China paid $ 28.6 billion worth of IPR royalty, with a deficit of more than US$20 billion, and China’s payment of royalty to the US rose by 14% compared with that of the previous year. Particularly since 2012, we have made every effort to strengthen the protection of IPR, adopting measures such as increasing the statutory compensation ceiling, establishing punitive damages system, and setting up specialized IPR courts. Foreign companies have won over 80% of trademark infringement cases against China. In this year's institutional reform, the Chinese government re-established the National Intellectual Property Administration and achieved centralized management of patents, trademarks, and geographical indications of origin.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
What has been synchronous with the development of Reform and Opening Up is the growing relationship between China and the United States. In just three months, we will usher in the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries. The resumption of diplomatic relations between China and the United States was a milestone event, one that has also changed the world landscape. Despite the struggles along the way, relations between China and the US have made historic progress, brought great benefits to the people, and have now become the most important bilateral relationship in the world.
Recently, China-US trade friction has caused widespread concerns. We believe, as we always have, that economic and trade cooperation between China and the US is complementary and mutually beneficial. The US government's adoption of unilateral and protectionist trade measures not only violates WTO rules, but also harms the interests of Chinese and American companies and consumers, and cripples global value and industrial chains. It is thus inevitable that China takes necessary counter-measures. Dialogue based on equality, integrity, and pragmatism is the only right way to solve this problem. Yesterday at the CGCC-Chicago Annual Gala, officials from the Departments of Commerce and entrepreneurs from all over the 9 Midwest States agreed that China-US trade relations are mutually beneficial, and a trade war will hurt every one involved and lead nowhere.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
Although China-US trade relations have recently traveled a bumpy road, the fundamentals of cooperation and exchanges between our two countries have not changed. Take the 9 States that the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago covers as an example. Since the beginning of this year, local exchanges and cooperation have gained even stronger momentum. Provincial leaders from Shaanxi, Hunan, Hebei, Zhejiang and other Chinese provinces have led delegations to the Midwest. On the American side, Governor Snyder of Michigan is currently making his 8th trip to China since taking office. Mayor Emanuel of Chicago also made a successful visit to China in early July. Several other governors plan to visit China after midterm elections. For many years, China has been among the top three trading partners and an important investment source for the Midwest states. According to the statistics of Rhodium Group, in the past 17 years, Chinese companies have invested 18 billion US dollars in the Midwest and created more than 47,000 jobs. 80,000 Chinese students are studying in universities in the region, and an increasing amount of American students are studying in China.
During the Spring Festival early this year, top-notch cultural performance groups from China came to the Midwest for the second consecutive year on a "Happy Chinese New Year" tour. Four NBA teams, including the Chicago Bulls, also held "Happy Chinese New Year" celebrations with more than 100,000 people in attendance. In addition, we co-hosted the first “Year of China” with Minnesota and the first “China Week” with Michigan.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
"Distant shores widen at high tide, as my sail blows firmly forward in the wind." Last year, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China drew a blueprint for China's future development. Under the guidance of the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will come to fruition with the everlasting development of Reform and Opening Up. To maintain the healthy and stable development of China-US relations is to serve the interests of both peoples and to live up to the expectations of the world at large. Together with all of you here today, as well as those from all walks of life throughout the Midwest, let us join hands to embrace a brighter future!
I will now make a toast:
For the prosperity of the People’s Republic of China,
For the healthy and stable development of China-US relations,
For the good health of our guests here today,