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Opinion
Four Decades of Inspiration
China's reform and opening up has provided a new and valuable method of development
By Lan Xinzhen | NO. 40-41 OCTOBER 4, 2018
China's reform and opening-up policy has incubated its people's creativity and helped distance them from poverty and backwardness. Forty years of development have led to great accomplishments that have caught the attention of the world. Achievements are not restricted to increases in economic indicators such as the GDP or residents' income, nor are they confined to the surge in development of high-speed railways, highways or airports. More importantly, China's reform and opening up has provided a new and valuable method of development.

A socialist market economy with Chinese characteristics has taken form over the past 40 years, integrating China into the modern global economy. China's achievements in social and economic development have proven that this path fully conforms to its national conditions and has been an effective way for China to develop.

Prior to reform and opening up, China tried to develop its economy in other ways, but failed to improve the overall economic conditions. The planned economy, in particular, led to low production efficiency and sluggish growth. The reform policy put wings on China's economy and helped it thrive. The government will stick to this path and comprehensively deepen reform and open its door wider to the world.

There are over 200 countries and regions in the world, the majority of which are less developed. Currently, many face economic situations quite similar to China's 40 years ago, with an urgent need to boost their economies and improve people's livelihood. China's success shows these countries that a road suited to their unique conditions is of major importance. This is the most significant inspiration that China's reform and opening up brings to the world, a precious experience concluded in the course of 40 years. Conditions vary from country to country and something that is useful for one country may not work in another. China does not sell its mode of development, but is showing goodwill in the hope that developing countries find their own means of development.

Private ownership of the means of production has been advocated by the West as the norm of economic development, but China's socialist market economy offers a new idea for development which is also effective. Notably, it underlines the need to resolve problems inherent in developed Western economies such as the extremely unequal distribution of social wealth and the excessive concentration of the means of production. The system gets serious consideration around the world, demonstrating the charm of China's path.

Moreover, China's rational response to the financial crisis in Asia in 1997 aroused the interest of the international community and led to many wanting to understand China's mode of development better. The 2008 financial crisis that broke out in the United States also led to public discussions on the advantages of China's development mode since the country suffered far less than Western nations in the process.

Some countries tend to label their friends and enemies based on their social systems. In fact, every system should be people-centered and put people's interests first. China made economic development and the improvement of living standards its priorities when it chose its mode of development, which is evidence of its commitment to the people.

At the preliminary stage of reform and opening up, skeptical voices arose about whether China was taking a socialist or capitalist road, decelerating the advancement of the policy. It was not until 1992, when China's late leader Deng Xiaoping, known as the architect of the country's reform and opening up, went to Shanghai, Shenzhen and other parts of south China, where he made a series of speeches calling for bolder steps and faster progress, that the process was again accelerated.

People from different countries, systems, cultures and races can all share the same aspirations when it comes to pursuing a better life; thus good methods and experiences can be learned and imitated. If there are firm principles and goals, the method is just a tool, especially when the economic development of a nation is concerned.

Many economic policies in China's socialist market economy have absorbed experiences from developed countries. Likewise, other countries may find successful practices in China's reform and opening up relevant to them.

Copyedited by Rebeca Toledo

Comments to lanxinzhen@bjreview.com

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