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China and the World in the New Era

China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-28 10:27

I. China Has Found a Development Path Suited to Its Actual Conditions

China is a large country with a 5,000-year-old civilization. Over a long period of history, it ranked among the most advanced countries in the world. In modern times, China was reduced to poverty and weakness, threatened by domestic strife and foreign aggression, and even confronted with complete demise. Through unrelenting struggle, the Chinese dream of prosperity and rejuvenation for their country, and happiness for the people. In 1949, under the CPC's leadership, they founded the PRC, turning a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society into a completely new one, and achieving national independence and the liberation of the people. China then entered a new epoch of development. Over the past 70 years it has been moving forward against all odds, and exploring its path to development. Based on the 5,000-year-old Chinese culture, the experience and lessons from the birth of socialism, the fall-to-rise turnaround of the Chinese nation in 170 years, and the history of revolution, construction and reform, the Chinese people have opened up the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and achieved remarkable outcomes.

1. China's development lies in self-reliance and hard work

In the early days of the PRC, following a century of war and chaos, the country and the people were in dire poverty, the industrial and agricultural foundations were weak, and the economy was on the verge of collapse. The people faced unimaginable difficulties in seeking survival and development. Over the seven decades that followed, through self-reliance and hard work they rebuilt the country from nothing, and have opened up new horizons.

China's economic strength has greatly increased. From 1952 to 2018, China's industrial added value increased from RMB12 billion to RMB30.5 trillion, up 970 times at constant prices, with an average annual growth rate of 11 percent. GDP increased from RMB67.9 billion to RMB90 trillion, up 174 times at constant prices, with an average annual growth rate of 8.1 percent, and per capita GDP increased from RMB119 to RMB64,644, up 70 times at constant prices. According to World Bank statistics, at market exchange rates China's economy in 2018 was worth US$13.6 trillion, second only to the US economy which was worth US$20.5 trillion. Currently, China is the only country that possesses all the sections in the United Nations' International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC), with the output of many industrial products ranking first in the world.

China has made remarkable progress in technology. Significant achievements such as nuclear bombs, ballistic missiles, manmade satellites, manned spaceflight, super hybrid rice, supercomputers, synthetic bovine insulin, artemisinin, and high-speed rail, have provided strong support for social and economic development.

China's foreign trade has been increasing constantly. In 2009, China became the world's largest exporter of goods and second largest importer of goods; in 2013, China became the world's largest trader in goods. Since reform and opening up in 1978, foreign investment in China has seen a substantial increase, and China has become very attractive to global investment. China has become the world's second largest economy, largest manufacturer, largest trader in goods, second largest consumer of commodities, second largest recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI), and largest holder of foreign exchange reserves.

The Chinese people's lives have been greatly improved. A persevering effort has provided the Chinese people with adequate food and clothing, and made it possible for them to live decent lives and move towards a moderately prosperous society in all respects. China's rural population living under the current poverty line decreased from 770 million in 1978 to 16.6 million in 2018, and China's rural poverty incidence dropped from 97.5 percent to 1.7 percent, down by 95.8 percentage points. This is an outstanding achievement in the history of poverty reduction (see Box 1).

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