Remarks by Dai Bingguo at the Symposium on
China's Peaceful Development White Paper
The White Paper titled China's Peaceful Development is released on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century. I believe this is highly significant for China and the world. Today, China's future and destiny is more than ever closely linked with that of the world. The Chinese government, in releasing this White Paper, once again solemnly declares to the whole country and the world that peaceful development is a strategic choice China has made. It is a way that will lead China to modernization and prosperity. It is the only path through which China can contribute to enduring peace and common prosperity of the world. China will be firm, persistent and unwavering in following this path. In a sense, this White Paper is both a paper of declaration and a guideline of action for China's peaceful development.
Let me use this opportunity to share with you some of my observations on China's peaceful development:
First, China's peaceful development is not water without source, or tree without root. Rather, it is based on China's long and profound historical and cultural tradition. Even someone remotely familiar with China's history would know that behind today's China is a history of over 5,000 years. The Chinese civilization is known to the world for being enduring, inclusive and open. The concept of valuing harmony and peace is deeply embedded in the mind of every generation of Chinese. It has become an important value and philosophy underpinning the conduct of personal relationships, the relationship between man and nature and between nations. The Chinese people, after suffering tremendously from foreign aggression and colonialism in modern times, and having eventually regained independence and liberation, would by no means bring the same suffering to people of other countries.
Second, China's path of peaceful development is not something conjured up by a few individuals in their study. Rather, we have found this path in the course of the more than 60 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, especially in the course of the great experiment of reform and opening-up. The last 30 years and more of reform and opening-up in China has been a process of tireless pursuit for a new path of modernization and peaceful development. In this process, China has made notable progress in development and brought enormous benefits to the world. This has served both the interests of the Chinese people and the common interests of mankind. This path of peaceful development, as explained in the White Paper, is a scientific summary and further development of the great historical exploration made and practical experience gained by the Chinese people under the leadership of the CPC. Peaceful development is a path tested by practice. It benefits not only the people of China but also the people of the world. There is no reason for the Chinese people not to stick to this path and build on it for even greater progress.
Third, China's declaration of commitment to peaceful development is not an act of expediency to bide its time. Rather, it is a sincere and conscientious long-term strategic choice based on China's basic national conditions. China has a large population and a weak economic foundation; it is large in economic aggregate but small in per capita measurements; there is a lack of balance and coordination in development: this is the inescapable reality that China faces as the world's largest developing country. The Chinese nation is proud of the achievements made in development in the last few decades. At the same time, we must have a sober mind: China's overall national strength still lags far behind that of developed countries. China's comprehensive modernization involves one fifth of the human race. It will be a long and arduous task for every Chinese to lead a prosperous life. To do that, we need to focus our energy on economic development. We need to make vigorous efforts to enhance people's well-being and resolve problems in development that are rarely seen in human history. We need to create an external and internal environment of long-term peace and stability, and forge enduring friendships with all countries of the world. Even when China becomes stronger in the future, peace will remain the essential precondition and guarantee of China's development. China can not and will not deviate from the path of peaceful development.
Fourth, China's declaration of peaceful development is not an attempt to deceive foreigners. Peaceful development is a carefully considered choice based on calm analysis and sound judgment of the current situation in the world. It is in keeping with the development trend of the times. To pursue peaceful development is China's own will. We now live in the 21st century when the world is moving towards multipolarity and economic globalization and development of information technology is gaining momentum. Development of the world, once fragmented, is now inter-connected as a whole. The world of nations is no longer a "jungle world" but a "global village". Countries of different systems and cultures and at various development stages are increasingly interdependent with their interests more closely integrated. This has turned the world into a community of common destiny and brought its members together more closely than ever before. Global challenges have become major threats to human survival and sustainable economic and social development. They include terrorism, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, natural disasters, climate change, environment-damaging accidents, public health incidents, financial crises, security of energy, resources, food and water, and the list is growing. In the face of increasing global issues and common challenges, the international community must reject the zero-sum game, which has grown out of date, as well as the dangerous cold-war and hot-war mentality and all those beaten tracks that have repeatedly led mankind to confrontation and war. The international community must share weal and woe and make concerted efforts in response to challenges so as to realize sustainable and inclusive development of all countries and the world as a whole. No other choice is available or workable. China will never act against the trend of the times, nor will it seek hegemony or follow the traditional pattern where a rising power was bound to seek hegemony, for so doing harms China itself as well as others and ultimately will lead to nowhere. China is happy to see both developing and developed countries prosper so that a new chapter of development and progress will be written in human history.
Fifth, China's declaration of peaceful development is not mere lip service or empty talk. It is a choice supported by firm political policies and strategies. China means what it says. It is there for the world to see that peaceful development has been translated into a strong commitment of the Party, the country and the entire Chinese people. It is manifest in China's domestic and foreign policies as well as strategies for national development. It is also reflected in the progress made in China's development and external relations. The White Paper is not a product of impulsive decision. Rather, it is based on the 12th Five-Year Plan for China's Economic and Social Development and other important documents released by the CPC and the state. It elaborates on China's strategic intentions for future development and ways to achieve the goal. It explains the guiding principles for China in handling international affairs and international relations and China's perspective on the world, on world order, on cooperation and on responsibility in an age of globalization. It also pictures China's hope for the future of the world. The decision to take the path of peaceful development is made by combining China's domestic and foreign strategies. Domestically, China strives for harmony, development and the realization of initial prosperity that benefits the entire Chinese people. Externally, China pursues peace and cooperation and endeavors to build a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity. China's domestic and foreign strategies are interconnected and reinforce each other.
Sixth, China's exploration and practice of following the path of peaceful development has not come to an end. Rather, it will be a never-ending process of constant exploration and improvement. The world is undergoing unprecedented changes and is developing by leaps and bounds. Whatever ideology, system, model or path must be tested by the times and keep abreast with the times. Countries around the world have all felt the need to once again come to know the times we live in, and to ponder on and make adjustment to their respective paths and models of development. National realities and development stages of different countries vary greatly, and there is no universally applicable path or model that can stay unchanged. China's development path is based on its own national conditions. It is the result of long-term and gradual exploration and practice and of learning from others' experience and lessons. It is not to be copied or exported to other countries. China knows how hard it is to realize reform and development in a populous country with complex national conditions. To follow the path of peaceful development is a long-term, arduous and complex task for China. We must increase understanding of new situations, solve new problems, sum up new experience and try our best to improve our path of peaceful development. And we must pay special attention to learning from and absorbing various advanced concepts and experience of development. We Chinese are not god. We cannot possibly render all things perfect as we move along the path of peaceful development. We therefore welcome all friendly suggestions, useful exchanges and well-intentioned criticism.
Seventh, China's path of peaceful development involves more than China itself, and it needs the understanding, support and cooperation of the international community. China's path of peaceful development has rich scientific contents and bears distinct features of the times. It is a path that will lead the Chinese people to prosperity and peace, and it is widely supported by the people and shows a bright prospect. What has happened proved that such a path is workable. Peaceful development of China makes an important part of peaceful development of the world. General Secretary Hu Jintao pointed out in his speech at the meeting commemorating the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China that the CPC and the Chinese people have always been a positive force for promoting world peace and development. The CPC and the Chinese people have long made a solemn commitment to contribute their due share to human progress. Adherence to the path of peaceful development by China, the largest developing country on Earth, is in itself a tremendous contribution to peace and development of human kind. Undoubtedly, the peaceful development of China, an unprecedented and great exploration and practice in human history that involves one fifth of the world's population and benefits the Chinese people and people around the world, cannot be achieved without the understanding, support and cooperation of the international community. China owes much of its achievement to the long-term friendly cooperation of other countries. And China will continue to count on the sympathy, understanding, support and cooperation of the international community as it confronts future difficulties and problems. The 21st century should be a century of peace, development and cooperation. China has always adhered to the principles of peace, development and cooperation in handling its relations with the outside world. China has always been an important and responsible member, a constructive force and a trustworthy partner of the international community. For the world, development of China is a blessing, not a misfortune. It means an opportunity, not a threat or challenge. We sincerely hope that the international community will better appreciate China's thousands of years of civilization and tradition as well as the historical evolution of China's social and political system and mainstream values. It is important that the international community respects the emphasis and value placed by the Chinese people, who have suffered heavily in the past, on state sovereignty, security, territorial integrity and social stability, respects China's core interest and concerns and understands China's need, as the largest developing country, to gradually solve the various difficulties in development. The international community should have confidence in the sincerity and resolve of the Chinese people in following the path of peaceful development. It should sincerely welcome it and not worry about it. It should support it and not raise obstacles against it.
China's strategic intention for peaceful development is transparent, the goal it pursues is lofty, and its policies are clear-cut. The attitude of China is sincere, its determination is firm and what China says will be honored. We are deeply aware that this path of peaceful development will not be plane sailing. Yet, standing united and defying all difficulties, the Chinese people will stick to the path of peaceful development from generation to generation in a modest and prudent manner, for such is a path that will bring benefits to us, to our children and to the entire human race.