Today, we get together to celebrate the 74th anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China. It also gives me the privilege to greet my compatriots here in Chinese '同胞们，国庆快乐'.
Many of you may have watched the videos before the beginning of the reception. They are of Shanghai with bustling scenarios, Chengdu with technological leadership, Jinan with dignified atmosphere, and Dunhuang with antique beauty. As you may know, they are sister cities of Mumbai, Bangalore, Nagpur, and Aurangabad. The beauty of these cities embody the latest results of the philosophy of innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development. I am sure, putting ideological differences aside, everyone could see that China today has a steady and resilient economy, cutting-edge technology, beautiful environment, and a safe and harmonious social life.
We all know that the Communist Party of China held successfully the 20th National Congress last year. This Congress is a historic one. Why so? One of the reasons is that it has drawn the blueprint for the great rejuvenation of China. The target is, by 2035, China should realise socialist modernisation, with per capita GDP to be on par with that of a mid-level developed country. In terms of current value, that is roughly 20,000 US dollars. From 2035 to the middle of the century, China should be built into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful.
This is what we call Chinese Modernisation. This year marks our embarking on this arduous cause. Obviously, this reception is the right time for me to explain how to understand Chinese Modernisation and its progress.
Briefly speaking, there are five “is” and five “not” about Chinese Modernisation.
First, it IS the modernisation of 1.4 billion people, a number larger than the combined population of all developed countries. So, it is NOT a simple replica of the old path of the past and the West. If a country like China, with such a large population and weak initial foundation can achieve modernisation, which country cannot? We hope our endeavour inspires developing countries across the globe to achieve their development dreams.
Second, it IS the modernisation of common prosperity for all and NOT confined to a small group of people. The immutable goal of our modernisation is to meet the people’s aspirations for a better life. We hope our endeavour will not only maintain and promote social fairness and justice, bring prosperity for all the people of China but also shed light on the life of the world's over 7 billion people.
Third, it IS the modernisation of both material and cultural-ethical advancement, but NOT merely focusing on material abundance while neglecting people’s all-round development. As an old Chinese saying goes, when the granary is full, people should learn how to behave, when people are well-fed and clothed, they should know honour and shame. The Chinese civilisation always yearn for a world of great harmony in which people are free from want and follow a high moral standard. We hope our endeavour will build a world where common values for all mankind of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom are truly cherished.
Fourth, it IS the modernisation of harmony between humanity and nature, and sustainability will definitely NOT be sacrificed for development. Over the past decade, China has planted almost seven million hectares of forests, turning deserts into oases and polluted water into clear streams. China has made a solemn commitment to the world to reach carbon peak by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. We hope our endeavour will, for the first time in the human history, be a great contribution to a developed as well as clean and beautiful world.
Fifth, it IS the modernisation of peaceful development, and China will NOT tread the old path of war, colonization, and plunder taken by some countries for enrichment. As the victim of the old path, Chinese people stand firmly on the right side of history and on the side of human progress. We rely on the hard work of the entire Chinese people and unprecedented innovation and creativity to achieve our development. We hope our endeavour will inject more energy to maintain world peace and bring more opportunities for global development.
We are fully aware that Chinese Modernisation is not an easy job and the path to it is full of twists and turns, even challenges. This year has seen some difficulties in China’s economy, like export stopping to grow, problem in real estate market and employment pressure for young people. One of the reasons is, of course, the lacklustre of the world economy, there is no exception among all major economies. The other reason is China is taking the initiative to optimise our economic structure to upgrade growth potential, which takes time to show effect. Even in this background, there are enough highlights of our economic performance for the first half of the year: China’s GDP growth rate is 5.5%, and remain the major engine of world growth. Consumption contributed 77% of the growth, 44% higher than last year. The total volume of international trade reached a new high of 20 trillion Yuan, and our export share of global market remains stable at around 14 percent. At the same time, FDI continued to grow, for example, UK and France doubled their investment in China in the first half of this year. The number of newly established foreign enterprises in China grew by 35%.
I know the western media is quite popular here in Mumbai, and some of them are telling different stories about China. Believe me, I know China much better than they do.
When we talk about Chinese modernization, I’d like to emphasize one important issue, THERE IS BUT ONE CHINA IN THE WORLD, Taiwan is a non-splittable part of China. Taiwan’s return to the motherland is undoubtable on the road to Chinese national rejuvenation. There is a popular song on Chinese internet, taking a high-speed train to Taiwan. It tells the cheerful mood of a youngster who takes a cross-strait high-speed train from mainland to Taiwan. I can assure you, most of us can see the coming of that day.
In the first half of this year, China-India trade exceeded 66 billion US dollars, continuing the strong momentum of last year. So far in 2023, our Consulate has issued more than 35 thousands visas, 80% of which are for business purposes, a 60-fold increase over last year. It shows how vigorous our bilateral trade is and how undeniable our economic connection is.
On the 76th anniversary of India's independence, Prime Minister Modi reiterated India’s dream of becoming a developed country by 2047. And Maharashtra is also determined to become one-trillion-dollar state by 2025. China and India share the common dream. On our remarkable journey forward, we are natural partners, and our cooperation will benefit more than 30% of the world population. Both our governments have the duty to safeguard the sound development of bilateral relationship and should not define our relationship by partial divergence. I firmly believe, as long as China and India align our strategies, connect our markets and strengthen people-to-people ties, we will surely make true our dreams together at an early date.
In the 19th Asia Games held in Hangzhou, I am happy to see that Team India have surpassed your historical best well before the ending of the games.
I wish all the athletes from all the countries to achieve their best results and have fun in Hangzhou.
(The writer is Consul General of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Mumbai)