After more than two decades of headlong rush to transform China from an autarkic centrally planned economy into a limited open-market economy, Hu is now leading a nation in the midst of fateful debates about the most effective and balanced route toward a modern harmonious socialist society. Autarky has never been voluntary Chinese policy under socialism but rather an externally imposed sanction of the Cold War.


China's shift toward market economy in the past two and a half decades was not taken in isolation from world trends. When Deng Xiaoping introduced the "open/reform" policies in 1979, toward the end of the Cold War, it was a rational response to a world infatuated with the extravagant promises of neo-liberal free trade. A quarter of a century later,while such open/reform policies have achieved spectacular results in bringing China forward into a modern interdependent world, the glaring resultant imbalances,such as excessive dependence on exports, worsening income disparity,regional development gaps, rampant official corruption,serious environmental crisis and near-total collapse of the social-service network and safety net,are raising calls for rethinking the wisdom of falling for the empty promises of neo-liberal globalization.


There is no disagreement among the youth who are destined to shoulder the continuing task of national reconstruction toward economic prosperity and cultural renaissance on the need for further opening/reform. The dispute is on the correct definition and path of opening/reform: open to neo-colonialism and reform toward social inequality and moral decay,or open to assuming a legitimate place as a strong and peaceful nation in a world order of free sovereign nations of equality and reform toward creative and scientific socialist construction based on equality,justice and freedom for all.


Over the past 30 years, China has been firmly pressing ahead with the implementation of the reform program and the initiative of opening up to the outside world. With the establishment of a preliminary socialist market economy, and the nation‘s economy attaining an outward-oriented perspective, the productive forces and the comprehensive national competence have been on the rising curve constantly. And various social undertakings have been developing in full swing. The living standard of the Chinese people as a whole has undergone a historical leap from a subsistence level to the level of moderate prosperity.


In the 30 years between 1978 and 2003, the annual growth rate of China's economy was running at an average of 9.4 percent,with its GDP jumping from 147.3 billion US dollars to over 1.4 trillion US dollars.

30 years ago,China‘s foreign trade value and foreign exchange reserves each stood at 20.6 billion and 167 million in US dollars,but last year they shot up to 851.2 billion US dollars and 403.3 billion US dollars respectively.

China has now become the sixth largest economy and the fourth largest trader in the world.

The tremendous changes in China are attributed to the fact that we have adhered to the path of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and persevered in our reform and opening endeavors,which brought into full play the Chinese people's initiative, enthusiasm and creativeness.


Though China has scored impressive achievements in its development, we must not lose sight of our problems:overpopulation,a weak economic foundation, underdeveloped productivity,highly uneven development,and the fairly sharp contradictions between the country's ecological environment and natural resources on the one hand and its economic and social development on the other hand,China's per capita GDP,though reaching the record high of 1,000 US dollars last year, still ranks well behind the 100th place in the world. To realize China's modernization program and offer all the Chinese people a prosperous life there is yet an uphill battle to fight.


We have already set our vision for the first 20 years of this century, which involves the building of a moderately prosperous society of a higher standard in an all-round way for the benefit of well over one billion Chinese people. By 2020 the GDP will be quadrupled from the figure of 2000 to 4 trillion US dollars, with the per capita level averaging at 3,000 US dollars. By then the nation will be immersed in an ambience of greater social harmony with an improved quality of life for the people,featuring a more developed economy,more sound democracy,more thriving culture and more advanced science and education.



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