Me­dia must tell China’s story to all

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Ed­i­tor’s note: Jiang Jian­guo, min­is­ter of the State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic China, de­liv­ered a speech at Chi­nese-Swiss Me­dia Sym­po­sium in Geneva, on Tues­day. Be­low is the full text:

Dis­tin­guished friends from the Chi­nese and Swiss me­dia,

Good morn­ing! It is a great plea­sure to come to scenic and pic­turesque Switzer­land. All of our Swiss me­dia friends present have long closely ob­served and cov­ered China and made im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tions to en­hanc­ing the friend­ship be­tween the Chi­nese and Swiss peo­ple. Here, I would like to ex­tend to you all great re­spect and sin­cere grat­i­tude on be­half of the State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China.

As all of you know, Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping is about to pay a visit to Switzer­land. The visit will be the first to Switzer­land by a Chi­nese head of state for 17 years and it will serve as the start­ing point for China’s diplo­macy in 2017. Pres­i­dent Xi will not only pay a state visit to Switzer­land, he will also at­tend the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum An­nual Meet­ing, visit the UN head­quar­ters in Geneva and the head­quar­ters of the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion and the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee. Dur­ing the visit, Pres­i­dent Xi will elab­o­rate on China’s new con­cepts, new poli­cies and new mea­sures on ties with Switzer­land dur­ing the new pe­riod, ex­plic­itly present China’s pol­icy pro­pos­als and im­por­tant ad­vo­ca­cies on im­prov­ing global eco­nomic gov­er­nance and push­ing for­ward eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion to en­hance in­ter­na­tional con­sen­suses, and push for the build­ing of a com­mu­nity of shared destiny for all hu­mankind. It is the me­dia’s role to fo­cus on im­por­tant in­ter­na­tional events and dis­sem­i­nate in­flu­en­tial news. I hope you will all put your fo­cus on Pres­i­dent Xi’s visit to sat­isfy to the ut­most ex­tent peo­ple’s de­sire for in­for­ma­tion about the visit, not only in Switzer­land but also in Europe and around the world.

Dear friends, the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum has long been known as the “world’s eco­nomic wind vane” and since China’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment is a wind that blows oth­ers along with it, there is a great in­ter­est in how strongly it is blow­ing ev­ery year at the fo­rum. Here, I would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to brief you about China’s eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion and share with you some of my views:

First, China’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment still en­joys a bright fu­ture. China’s econ­omy has en­tered a new nor­mal in which its growth has de­cel­er­ated and its an­nual growth rate has slowed to be­tween 6.5 and 7 per­cent. De­spite its slower growth rate, given that its eco­nomic ag­gre­gate has ex­ceeded $10 tril­lion, China’s newly cre­ated eco­nomic out­put ev­ery year will still be tan­ta­mount to that of a mid­dle-sized coun­try if main­tained. Now, China’s econ­omy is within a rea­son­able growth range and the coun­try is re­frain­ing from pur­su­ing fast eco­nomic growth in fa­vor of more-sus­tain­able growth. That has helped China ease its pre­vi­ously strained sup­ply-de­mand re­la­tions and mit­i­gated the heavy bur­den on its re­sources and en­vi­ron­ment. The health of the coun­try’s fi­nance guar­an­tees nor­mal eco­nomic op­er­a­tions, and with its sta­ble so­ci­ety the coun­try has been able to mo­bi­lize all its avail­able re­sources to ad­vance its eco­nomic struc­tural ad­just­ments. Here I would like to of­fer some data to demon­strate the tan­gi­ble achieve­ments made by China in its bid for eco­nomic struc­tural ad­just­ments. The growth of the ser­vice sec­tor meant that in the first three quar­ters of 2016 it con­trib­uted 58.5 per­cent to China’s na­tional econ­omy, and it be­came a ma­jor en­gine of the coun­try’s eco­nomic growth. Con­sump­tion con­trib­uted 71 per­cent to the growth of China’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct and its role in this re­gard has fur­ther risen; emerg­ing in­dus­tries of strate­gic im­por­tance and the high-tech sec­tors have main­tained an av­er­age growth of more than 10 per­cent.

But some prob­lems that had pre­vi­ously been cov­ered up dur­ing China’s high-speed devel­op­ment are now loom­ing large, in­clud­ing the out­stand­ing con­tra­dic­tion be­tween the over­ca­pac­ity in pro­duc­tion and the trend to up­grade the struc­ture of de­mand, the in­suf­fi­ciency of con­sump­tion as an in­trin­sic driv­ing force for eco­nomic growth, the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of fi­nan­cial risks and in­creased dif­fi­cul­ties fac­ing some re­gions. In par­tic­u­lar, China’s real econ­omy is not solid enough, while its dig­i­tal econ­omy is a lit­tle weak, and the trend has emerged that more and more re­sources are flow­ing from the real econ­omy to the dig­i­tal econ­omy. The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment at­taches high im­por­tance to these prob­lems, but it be­lieves these prob­lems are man­age­able, their risks con­trol­lable and the un­der­ly­ing fac­tors re­solv­able, and it is deep­en­ing re­form to pro­mote their fun­da­men­tal set­tle­ment. China has the con­fi­dence and the ca­pa­bil­ity to brave the storms, over­come the ob­sta­cles, and con­tinue for­ward to­ward the bright prospects ahead. Sec­ond, China’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment has brought the world great op­por­tu­ni­ties. Over the course of its rapid devel­op­ment, there have been peo­ple who have be­lieved that China has got a free ride from other coun­tries. Ob­jec­tively speak­ing, who can give a free ride to China, given its size? In­stead, what China has done is work to­gether with other coun­tries to push the “world’s wagon” for­ward and wel­comed other coun­tries to have a free ride on its devel­op­ment.

China is a coun­try of a colos­sal size and by it­self is a “world”. Over the past decades, China’s fast eco­nomic devel­op­ment has mainly taken place in its east­ern re­gions, es­pe­cially its coastal re­gions, and its vast cen­tral and west­ern re­gions are still rel­a­tively un­de­vel­oped and are yet to ex­pe­dite devel­op­ment. The phe­nom­e­non of both de­vel­oped and less-de­vel­oped eco­nomic con­di­tions co­ex­ist­ing in China de­cides that the coun­try is be­com­ing a ma­jor“buyer” and an im­por­tant “in­vestor” in the global mar­ket. In the com­ing five years, China’s im­port vol­ume is ex­pected to be $8 tril­lion and it is pre­dicted there will be 700 mil­lion out­bound vis­its. China is also ex­pected to uti­lize $600 bil­lion in terms of for­eign cap­i­tal and its out­bound in­vest­ment will reach $750 bil­lion. These mean China will of­fer the rest of the world a broad mar­ket and more op­por­tu­ni­ties for co­op­er­a­tion.

China be­gan build­ing the Great Wall in the Qin Dy­nasty (221-206 BC) to fend off for­eign en­e­mies. It be­gan es­tab­lish­ing the Silk Road in the Han Dy­nasty (206 BC-220) to build links with the out­side world. To­day, China is not re­build­ing the Great Wall; it is recre­at­ing the Silk Road.

China has launched the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive (the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road) and the Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank, es­tab­lished a BRICS bank, and set up a fund to sup­port South-South co­op­er­a­tion among other pub­lic goods in the devel­op­ment field. For years, China has of­fered least-de­vel­oped coun­tries pref­er­en­tial trade treat­ment and im­posed zero tar­iffs on their goods. China has con­tin­u­ously in­creased for­eign aid and vol­un­tar­ily re­duced the debt owed by de­vel­op­ing coun­tries or pro­moted its ex­emp­tion. All these have of­fered sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­ni­ties for the devel­op­ment of a num­ber of emerg­ing economies and de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

Third, China’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment has made im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tions to the world. Since the out­break of the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis, China’s sound and sta­ble econ­omy has con­sis­tently re­mained a sta­bi­lizer for the world econ­omy. From 2008 to 2015, China con­trib­uted nearly 40 per­cent of global GDP growth. The In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund has es­ti­mated that China con­trib­uted 39 per­cent of global eco­nomic growth in 2016, 1.5 times that of all the de­vel­oped coun­tries com­bined.

In terms of in­no­va­tion-driven growth, China is grad­u­ally as­sum­ing a global role. In 2015, China sub­mit­ted more than 1 mil­lion patent ap­pli­ca­tions, rank­ing top in the world. At the G20 Hangzhou Sum­mit, China pushed for the in­clu­sion of “in­no­va­tion” in the sum­mit’s theme and co­or­di­nated the for­mu­la­tion of a blue­print of G20 in­no­va­tion-driven growth along with other out­come doc­u­ments. Just as an ar­ti­cle in The Econ­o­mist pointed out, China was a re­cip­i­ent of the world’s in­no­va­tion fruits in the past, but a num­ber of Chi­nese en­ter­prises are now uni­ver­sally rec­og­nized as lead­ers of world in­no­va­tion.

Es­pe­cially in the past 30-plus years China has suc­cess­fully lifted more than 700 mil­lion peo­ple out of poverty, ac­count­ing for 70 per­cent of the world’s to­tal pop­u­la­tion ex­tri­cated from poverty and re­al­iz­ing the fastest large-scale poverty-al­le­vi­a­tion cam­paign ever seen. China has care­fully ful­filled the UN Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change, and is the first coun­try to for­mu­late a na­tional pro­gram to deal with cli­mate change. Dur­ing the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) pe­riod, China’s car­bon diox­ide emis­sions per unit of GDP de­clined by 20 per­cent, com­plet­ing 117.6 per­cent of the set goal.

Dear friends, over the re­cent years, China’s econ­omy has en­coun­tered nu­mer­ous risks and chal­lenges but also reaped var­i­ous suc­cesses and joys. China’s econ­omy has be­come the “bal­last” for global eco­nomic sta­bil­ity and a driver of global eco­nomic devel­op­ment, and it is play­ing an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant and ir­re­place­able role in global eco­nomic gov­er­nance. The rea­son is that un­der the lead­er­ship of Pres­i­dent Xi, China has formed a se­ries of con­cepts on eco­nomic gov­er­nance based on its devel­op­ment ex­pe­ri­ence and cur­rent na­tional con­di­tions that pro­vide rich the­o­ret­i­cal re­sources and pol­icy guid­ance for its eco­nomic prac­tices. Pres­i­dent Xi’s eco­nomic con­cepts for gov­er­nance can be gen­er­ally cat­e­go­rized as fol­lows: First: ad­her­ing to peo­ple-cen­tered devel­op­ment. To ad­here to such a prin­ci­ple and en­hance peo­ple’s well-be­ing is the fun­da­men­tal start point and also end point for the Com­mu­nist Party of China to gov­ern the na­tion and de­velop the Chi­nese econ­omy. Pres­i­dent Xi has stressed many times that China’s devel­op­ment is for the peo­ple and de­pends on the peo­ple, and that its devel­op­ment fruits are to be shared by the peo­ple. China ad­heres to peo­ple­cen­tered devel­op­ment to cre­ate new growth ar­eas and raise long-term growth po­ten­tial in its ef­forts to re­solve the out­stand­ing prob­lems that con­cern peo­ple the most.

Sec­ond: adapt­ing to the new nor­mal and guid­ing it. A few years ago, Pres­i­dent Xi made a sig­nif­i­cant strate­gic judg­ment that China’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment had en­tered the new nor­mal. The new nor­mal means China’s econ­omy has shifted from high-speed growth to a medium-speed growth, its eco­nomic devel­op­ment mode has shifted its fo­cus from speed and scalepri­or­i­tized ex­ten­sive growth to qual­ity and ef­fi­ciency-fo­cused in­ten­sive growth, its eco­nomic struc­ture has made deep ad­just­ments for bet­ter op­ti­miza­tion, and its eco­nomic devel­op­ment dy­namic has shifted from the tra­di­tional growth dy­namic to a new growth dy­namic. The new nor­mal of­fers a log­i­cal start­ing point for peo­ple to un­der­stand China’s cur­rent eco­nomic sit­u­a­tion.

Third: ad­her­ing to new devel­op­ment con­cepts. Tar­geted at some out­stand­ing prob­lems and con­tra­dic­tions that have emerged at a time when China’s econ­omy has en­tered a new nor­mal, Pres­i­dent Xi has put for­ward “in­no­va­tive, co­or­di­nated, green, open and shared” devel­op­ment con­cepts, which re­spec­tively fo­cus on re­solv­ing the prob­lems of the driv­ing force for devel­op­ment, im­bal­anced devel­op­ment, sus­tain­able and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly devel­op­ment, in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal in­ter­con­nec­tion, as well as so­cial equity and jus­tice. With these devel­op­ment con­cepts as guid­ance, China is com­bin­ing an ef­fec­tive mar­ket and a well-func­tion­ing gov­ern­ment to im­ple­ment a se­ries of ma­jor re­forms.

China be­gan build­ing the Great Wall in the Qin Dy­nasty (221-206 BC) to fend off for­eign en­e­mies. It be­gan es­tab­lish­ing the Silk Road in the Han Dy­nasty (206 BC-220) to build links with the out­side world. To­day, China is not re­build­ing the Great Wall; it is recre­at­ing the Silk Road.

Fourth: tak­ing sup­ply-side struc­tural re­form as the pri­or­ity. As a top pri­or­ity of its eco­nomic devel­op­ment, China must over­come its ma­jor struc­tural im­bal­ance and re­al­ize a dy­namic equi­lib­rium in its sup­ply-de­mand re­la­tion­ship. Hence, Pres­i­dent Xi has stressed that China should take sup­ply-side struc­tural re­form as the main line for its eco­nomic devel­op­ment. To this end, China has con­firmed five pol­icy pil­lars, which can be vividly likened to “fir­ing five guns at a bird”. In re­cent years, China has con­ducted sup­ply­side struc­tural re­forms in­volv­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, co­or­di­nated devel­op­ment of the Bei­jing-Tian­jin-He­bei re­gion and the devel­op­ment of the Yangtze River Eco­nomic Belt, as well as peo­ple-cen­tered ur­ban­iza­tion, an en­ergy rev­o­lu­tion and the ex­pan­sion of the mid­dle-in­come group. All these are help­ing to re­al­ize the grad­ual trans­for­ma­tion of the econ­omy and achieve sus­tain­able growth.

A pow­er­ful force, re­forms can push eco­nomic growth.

Fifth: ad­her­ing to the pur­suit of ad­vance­ment while main­tain­ing sta­bil­ity. Pres­i­dent Xi has put for­ward the gen­eral tone of pur­su­ing ad­vance­ment while main­tain­ing sta­bil­ity, which of­fers guid­ance for China’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment in terms of pol­icy and ef­fects. In terms of pol­icy, China will main­tain macro pol­icy sta­bil­ity and in terms of ef­fects it will strive to sta­bi­lize mar­ket ex­pec­ta­tions to en­hance en­trepreneurs’ con­fi­dence and boost gov­ern­ment credibility. Un­der the pre­con­di­tion of “sta­bil­ity”, China will keep forg­ing ahead in key ar­eas and am­bi­tiously act af­ter well-man­ag­ing the “de­gree”. “Sta­bil­ity” and “ad­vance­ment” should be an or­ganic com­bi­na­tion and mu­tu­ally pro­mot­ing.

Dear friends, China has strong con­fi­dence in its road, the­ory, sys­tem and cul­ture. Per­sons of in­sight across the world have ac­knowl­edged the end of such fal­la­cies as “China’s col­lapse” and “the end of his­tory” re­gard­ing China’s devel­op­ment. But China will not feel com­pla­cent and over­con­fi­dent, it will strive to make new dis­cov­er­ies, new in­ven­tions, new cre­ations, and new ad­vance­ments, and in par­tic­u­lar seek to make new con­tri­bu­tions to hu­mankind. Mr. Sun Yat-sen said 93 years ago that “China still needs to take big re­spon­si­bil­ity for the world”. Chair­man Mao Ze­dong said 61 years ago that “China should make rel­a­tively big con­tri­bu­tions to mankind”. Para­mount leader Deng Xiaop­ing said 31 years ago that “China can do more things for mankind”. Now Pres­i­dent Xi has said that “China is al­ways a builder of world peace, a con­trib­u­tor to global devel­op­ment and a main­tainer of the in­ter­na­tional or­der”.

While fol­low­ing the ed­i­fi­ca­tions from past and cur­rent lead­ers, Chi­nese peo­ple also pon­der what new con­tri­bu­tions China can make to the world. Ev­ery­one be­longs to one fam­ily that lives on one planet, and as Pres­i­dent Xi has said: “The Chi­nese peo­ple not only hope for a good life for our­selves, we also wish a good life for peo­ple in other coun­tries”. In to­day’s China, com­pre­hen­sive re­forms are be­ing deep­ened, the econ­omy con­tin­ues to de­velop, so­ci­ety re­mains har­mo­nious and sta­ble, peo­ple’s liveli­hoods are con­tin­u­ously im­prov­ing and peo­ple live and work in peace. Re­form, devel­op­ment and sta­bil­ity are what the world des­per­ately needs, but they are “rare lux­u­ries” to­day. Hence, China will un­selfishly con­trib­ute its suc­cess­ful ex­pe­ri­ences and ac­tion pro­grams, and ac­tively en­cour­age in­ter­na­tional so­ci­ety to join hands and hold fast to the prin­ci­ple of forg­ing a com­mu­nity of shared destiny for all hu­mankind. It will vig­or­ously ad­vo­cate the con­cepts of “con­sul­ta­tion, com­mon con­struc­tion and shar­ing” in global eco­nomic gov­er­nance, res­o­lutely dis­card uni­lat­er­al­ist, mo­nop­o­lis­tic and ex­clu­sive be­hav­ior, push for eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion, and build a com­mu­nity of shared destiny for all hu­mankind fea­tured as “I am part of you, you are part of me, we are in the same boat, and we pull to­gether in times of trou­ble”, in a bid to make our planet a more peace­ful and pros­per­ous one.

Dear friends, an im­por­tant duty of the State Coun­cil In­for­ma­tion Of­fice of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China, where I work, is to pro­mote ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the Chi­nese and for­eign me­dia. In the fu­ture, we are willing to make con­tin­u­ous ef­forts with all of you to ac­tively of­fer more con­ve­nience and cre­ate bet­ter con­di­tions for our me­dia ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion.

As a Chi­nese say­ing goes, “it is bet­ter to see once than to hear a hun­dred times”. You are wel­come to come to China to take a walk and have a look around, and to en­gage in more di­a­logue and co­op­er­a­tion with the Chi­nese me­dia to en­hance mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and en­hance friend­ships so that we can jointly push for a bet­ter-de­vel­oped and more pros­per­ous China-Switzer­land re­la­tion­ship.

Thank you!


Min­is­ter Jiang Jian­guo (sec­ond from right) opens the “Beau­ti­ful China, Beau­ti­ful Switzer­land” photo ex­hi­bi­tion in Geneva, on Wednesday.


Vis­i­tors at­tend the “Beau­ti­ful China, Beau­ti­ful Switzer­land” ex­hi­bi­tion.

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