【China Daily】China’s remarkable transformation in four decades

December 20 , 2018

esident Xi Jinping attends a grand gathering celebrating the 40th anniversary of the country’s reform and opening-up at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Tuesday. [Photo/Xinhua]

By Zamir Ahmed Awan, a senior fellow with Center for China and Globalization(CCG)

China launched reform and opening-up policy in 1978 and has made remarkable achievements since then. From shortage of food, the country has turned into a food exporting nation. Today China is second-largest economy in the world just after US. China has emerged as a global power. Around 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty. Just over a period of four decades, a country has achieved so much development. It is a unique example in the history of the world.

President Xi Jinping in his address on December 18, 2018 said “Bearing in mind China’s internal and international imperatives, we have stayed committed to the fundamental national policy of opening-up, followed a proactive approach to opening up, and entered a new stage of comprehensive, multi-level and wide-ranging opening-up, thus creating a sound international environment and broader development space for China.”

It is obvious that China is firmly committed to maintain the continuation of its reform and opening-up policy. I was student in China in 1980s and eyewitness to the initial stage of reforms and opening-up. I have seen the food coupons and rationing of daily consumer items. Queue for purchase of commodities was due to gap between supply and demand. I was in China from 2010-2016 as a diplomat and witnessed the abundance of food and consumer goods. Not only local made products, but market is full of imported products from almost from all over the world. Smiling faces of common citizens reflect their satisfaction with their economic situation. People are traveling inside China and overseas during their vacations and festivals. Streets that were full of bicycles have turned into traffic jams due to large number of cars.

China has made huge progress in its educational sector too. More universities have joined the prestigious club of “Top 500 Universities of the World” in the last 20 years and this number is growing rapidly. Quality of education is attracting foreign students from all corners of the world. China has become leader in high-speed trains and massive infrastructure. China’s achievements in IT and telecommunication have surpassed many other countries. With the launch of 5G, China is expected to leave the world behind in this sector. China’s progress in healthcare is admirable. Agriculture was main thrust area of reform and opening-up. Defense has also witnessed major advancements.

Judicial system and legal systems have improved and standardized. Human rights status has improved. Entertainment industry is flourishing. China has built the world’s largest social security system, with the basic old-age pension covering more than 900 million people and medical insurance covering over 1.3 billion people.

Above all, China has maintained its social stability over a long period, making it one of the countries that provide the greatest sense of safety in the world, while the rest of world is facing severe challenges of terrorism, extremism and instability in most parts of the world.

In addition to it, hard work of Chinese people and enabling reforms and opening-up policies has made China a geopolitical power. China is balancing power in world affairs. There was a time when countries could unilaterally decide to destroy any country without any resistance from any other nation of the world, like Iraq war, Libya war, etc. But now the world has become multi-polar.

China is a successful model for development and role model for rest of world, especially for developing countries. Luckily, China is willing to share its experiences and willing to extend it support to others. In fact, China’s development has provided successful experience and offered a bright prospect for other developing countries as they strive for modernization, representing a great contribution of the Chinese nation to the progress of human civilization.

China has launched the Belt and Road Initiatives (BRI) and a future model for world to promote connectivity, peace, harmony and prosperity.

The world acknowledges the Chinese achievements and values them highly. Most of developing countries are trying to follow Chinese model of developments. Pakistan, being the closest friend of China, and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) being the flagship project, must learn from Chinese experience and develop on fast track. Chinese assistance is catalyst for Pakistan in its journey to take-off.

About Author 

Zamir Ahmed Awan is a senior fellow with Center for China and Globalization(CCG) and a sinologist at the National University of Sciences and Technology.