Keynote Speech by H.E. Ambassador Zheng Zeguang at the Symposium on the Centenary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China and China’s Future Development: Celebrate A Glorious Century and Create A More Splendid Future
Representatives from British Political Parties,
Lord and MPs,
Experts and Scholars,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a real delight to meet you online.
In a few days, we will mark the Centenary of the Founding of the Communist Party of China. Thank you for joining us today to review CPC’s journey in the past 100 years and look into the future of China’s development.
Let me begin with a brief review of the arduous struggles and splendid achievements of the Chinese people of all ethnic groups under the leadership of the CPC in the past 100 years.
First, waging heroic struggles that brought the nation back from the brink of life and death
Since the Opium War of 1840, China had suffered for decades at the hands of invading Western powers and corrupt feudal rulers. The country was torn by incessant wars and falling into pieces. The people lived like slaves and knew nothing but starvation. Generations of reformers and revolutionaries had tried to blaze a new trail and change the fate of the nation. They experimented with various theories, solutions and systems, but all failed. Inspired by the Russian October Revolution of 1917 which brought Marxism and Leninism to China, the CPC was established in 1921, giving China’s revolution a pillar of strength and the Chinese nation a new leader. By bringing together the basic tenets of Marxism and the practical realities of China’s revolution, the CPC made new breakthroughs in both theory and practice. In the ensuing 28 years, the CPC led the Chinese people to defeat imperialist aggression of Japanese militarists, overthrow the reactionary rule of the Kuomintang, and found the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese nation entered a new historic era.
Second, carrying out arduous exploration to build a socialist country from scratch
After the founding of New China, the CPC led the Chinese people to complete the socialist revolution and establish a basic socialist system. This was the most extensive and profound social transformation in China’s history. The Chinese people worked hard and independently, and put in place a relatively well-rounded industrial and economic system. In this process, we gathered significant experience on how to build socialism. We laid the political, institutional and material foundation needed to build a better life for the people and realize national rejuvenation.
Third, displaying strategic foresight in leading the Chinese people to advance prosperity of the nation
After the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee in 1978, the CPC reviewed China’s own experience of building socialism, studied the practice of other countries in their development and launched reform and opening up as basic state policies. This pioneering decision was a trailblazer of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which in turn enabled the country to achieve greater economic aggregate, scientific and technological prowess and comprehensive national strength, and better life for the people. China became the world’s second largest economy and largest exporter; and joined the ranks of upper-middle-income countries. In a word, the Chinese people took decisive steps towards greater prosperity and strength.
Fourth, remaining true to its original aspiration in leading the Chinese people to build an even stronger nation
Since its 18th National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core China has been pursuing coordinated progress in the five-sphere integrated plan and four-pronged comprehensive strategy, implementing the new development philosophy and fostering a new development paradigm, and accelerating the modernization of our governance system and capabilities. There have been historic changes and achievements in the undertakings of the CPC and the country.
China has become the world’s largest industrial country, largest trader in goods and biggest destination for FDI. It has the largest foreign exchange reserves. It has contributed an average of 30% annually to world economic growth for many years in a row.
At home, China has made decisive achievements in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. The per capita GNI has exceeded 10,000 dollars and the people’s livelihood has seen significant improvement.
In poverty reduction, China has achieved a complete victory. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, China has been lifting over 10 million people out of poverty on average every year. Since the introduction of reform and open up, we have lifted 770 million rural residents out of poverty according to current poverty standard. This is indeed a miracle in human history.
In terms of social security, China is running the world’s largest scheme, with basic health insurance covering over 1.3 billion people and basic pension insurance covering close to 1 billion. Average life expectancy has risen from 35 in 1949 to 77.3 now.
With all these efforts, China is making big strides towards building an all-round modern socialist country.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
General Secretary Xi Jinping points out that the CPC pursues happiness for the Chinese people and at the same time regards as its mission to make new and greater contribution to mankind.
The achievements of the CPC in the past 100 years bear far-reaching and positive significance not only to the Chinese people but also to the whole world.
First, providing new experience in political party governance
How to run a political party effectively? In the past 100 years, especially during the 72 years as the governing party, the CPC accumulated successful experience and practice, including:
• putting the people front and centre,
• building close links with the people,
• soliciting public opinion,
• fighting corruption, and
• enhancing governance capabilities.
These could be useful lessons for any political party from any country.
The CPC stands ready to enhance exchanges and dialogues with political parties of all countries, including the UK. We hope to learn from each other and make progress together.
Second, providing new wisdom in national governance
The CPC has been improving and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is also working to modernize the nation’s governance system and capability. These efforts have led to effective governance and comprehensive progress in economic, political, social and cultural development and ecological conservation, which serve as reference to other countries.
China’s outstanding response to the Covid-19 epidemic is another good example of the advantage of its governance system and capability. China is not only the first country in the world to put the epidemic under control. It has also provided free vaccines to more than 80 developing countries that are in urgent need, exported vaccines to 43 countries, and given material assistance to over 150 countries in their battles against the virus.
Third, contributing ideas to global governance
China has always been an active participant in and important contributor to global governance.
Against the background of the worst pandemic in a century and profound global changes unseen in a hundred years, and amid increasing global challenges, China will continue to uphold the spirit of “a community with a shared future”, and play an active part and make new contribution to the reform and improvement of the global governance system.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
While leading the Chinese people to achieve national liberation and development, the CPC had been subjected to intentional slandering, isolation and attacks from the anti-communism and anti-China forces. However, we were not intimidated and we did not buckle under the pressure. We remained committed to doing the right thing and following the path of our own choice, because we firmly believe that ours is a just cause, and a just cause is invincible. History has proven this to be true and will again prove it true.
Recently, a handful of politicians in the West instigated by some US politicians once again started a disinformation campaign against China. They refused to recognize China’s development and progress and keep pointing fingers at China and resorting to endless slandering.
They turned a blind eye to the fact that China effectively put the Covid-19 epidemic under control in an open and transparent manner, and chose to manipulate the issue of origin tracing in an attempt to stigmatize China.
They turned a blind eye to Xinjiang’s economic progress, ethnic solidarity and social stability, and stuck a “genocide” label on China’s justified measures to tackle terrorism and radicalisation and maintain social stability.
They turned a blind eye to the chaos in Hong Kong in the past years and accused China of “infringing upon the freedoms and human rights” when we were only trying to strengthen effective governance, uphold “One Country, Two Systems” and safeguard the long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong.
They turned a blind eye to the “Taiwan independence” and separatist moves of the Taiwan authority and the severe threat of such actions to the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait. Rather, they blamed China for “attempting to change the status quo of the Taiwan Strait unilaterally” when it is only justified for China to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
They turned a blind eye to China’s devotion to the purposes and principles of UN Charter, and remarkable contribution to peace, stability and common development. Rather, they trumpeted “the rules-based international order” to incriminate China.
This list goes on and on.
This disinformation campaign against China is showing no sign of slowing down. However, accusing China of “spreading false information” is in fact a cover-up for the political agenda and hypocrisy of the accuser. This is nothing but a farce of “thief shouting thief” that confound black and white.
This farce is causing a series of negative effects. It is preventing the people of Western countries from knowing the truth. It is misleading people’s minds. It is also creating estrangement and confrontation between major countries, which hampers the joint global efforts to fight the pandemic and tackle climate change.
The words and actions of those Western politicians have not only hurt the feelings of the 1.4 billion Chinese people but also undermined the fundamental interests of the people of their own countries. This is totally irresponsible. It will never have the support of the people. We urge those Western politicians to stop spreading disinformation because it will not change the facts. No one should underestimate the ability of the international community to make out what is right and what is wrong. Just as previous attacks against the CPC, this new disinformation farce of certain Western politicians is doomed to failure.
We always believe that it is up to the people to choose the path of development that suits their own country. The CPC and the Chinese people have strong confidence in the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics. At the same time, we fully respect the independent choices of others for their own development paths. Just as we do not “import” others’ models, we do not “export” China’s model. Countries of the world should enhance mutual respect, increase mutual understanding and deepen mutual trust. China does not ask others to “copy” China’s system. And we resolutely oppose any attempt from outside to force China to change its system and we firmly reject the deliberate propagation of a so-called “new Cold War”.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are filled with pride as we look at how far the CPC has come, and we are fully confident as we look to the future.
Today, the CPC is standing at a new historical starting point. China is embarking on a new journey of building a modern socialist country in a comprehensive way. The achievement of China’s two centenary goals and the realization of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will surely create broader space for the cooperation between China and the world, including the UK.
China is an opportunity for UK’s development, not a threat. I hope that the UK will seize the major trend of the times, keep in the right direction and work with China in the same direction forward. We should earnestly implement the important agreements reached between the leaders of out two countries. We must uphold the principles of mutual respect, equality and inclusiveness. And we must focus on cooperation, handle differences properly and join hands to bring China-UK relations back to the track of sound and steady development.
China and the UK may have differences in history, culture and development stage. It is only natural that we do not always see eye to eye on every issue. It is crucial for us to respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, and engage in dialogues on an equal footing in order to reduce misperception and build up consensus and mutual trust.
There are huge potential and broad prospects for practical cooperation between China and the UK. Both sides should work vigorously to expand cooperation across the board, from trade and investment to infrastructure and financial services, and from science and technology to education and health care. We should also expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges. In doing so, we can certainly bring more and tangible gains to the peoples of our two countries.
China and the UK have significant global influence. It is important that we enhance dialogues and coordination on global issues. If we can join hands in fighting the pandemic, promoting world economic recovery and tackling climate change, we would be able to make even greater contribution to world peace and common development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As General Secretary Xi Jinping said, for a party that works for the eternal wellbeing of the Chinese nation, the centenary only ushers in the prime of life.
We are confident that under the strong leadership of the CPC, China will embrace an even brighter future and the goal of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will be achieved.