40 Years On – China and the World

Kathmandu – To mark the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up, the fifth Vision China event, themed 40 Years On – China and the World, was held by China Daily at One Great George Street, London, on September 13.

Guest speakers included Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to the UK, Jim O’Neill, the British economist who put forward the concept of BRIC nations, Fu Xiaolan, director of Oxford University’s Centre for Technology and Management Development, Nikhil Rathi, chief executive of London Stock Exchange Plc, and Martin Jacques, author of the international best-seller When China Rules the World. The distinguished guests shared their thoughts and observations on the achievements of China’s reform and opening-up during the past 40 years.

The event drew about 200 guests, including Lord Neil Davison, the former advocate general for Scotland, and representatives of British government departments, the media, think tanks, international organizations, and transnational corporations, as well as businesspeople and Chinese embassy officials, China Daily reported.

Followers of China Daily’s social media platforms worldwide were also able to participate in the brainstorming elements of the discussion.

In his welcoming speech, China Daily Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Zhou Shuchun noted President Xi Jinping has reiterated on several occasions that China will carry its reform, which will be further and comprehensively deepened, into the future. He said China’s door will not close. Instead, it will only open wider.

“We are convinced that further efforts by China to reform and open-up, in its continued ‘second revolution’, will not only usher in a new era of development for the country, but also bring peace, progress, and prosperity to the world,” he said.

Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said: “Without reform and opening-up, China could not have achieved so much today; without further reform and opening-up, China will not have a bright future. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up, Vision China talks cannot have been more timely. This gives us a good opportunity to talk about the visions of China and the world 40 years on.”

He said China’s reform and opening-up will provide the world with a powerful engine for growth, a big market, policy and market opportunities, as well as the Belt and Road Initiative opportunities.

Jim O’Neill said China has had the most astonishingly long period of very high economic growth, something the world has never seen before.

To continue its success, Jim said China needs to continue to increase the share of consumption in its GDP; it must be successful in controlling pollution of the environment, continue, slowly, the opening of its financial sector; become bolder in reforming the Hukou system; and BRI is the most important thing for the future world trade.

Fu Xiaolan, from the University of Oxford, said that, as the United States has withdrawn from the global governance system, China has moved toward the frontier of global leadership. She said Chinese companies have grown their innovation and technological capability, and China can also play a greater role in helping other developing countries achieve innovation-driven and environmentally friendly growth.

The whole world has started to look to the East, to look at China, and people have started talking about China’s role in global economic recovery, she said, noting that China’s success comes in part from Chinese companies willingness to collaborate with suppliers, local universities, and customers, and learn from overseas markets, and transfer innovation and knowledge back to their headquarters.

“Innovation will be the most important driver of China’s structural transformation,” she said. “It will drive the transformation of the Chinese development model, enhance the quality of growth, and also help other countries upgrade through knowledge transfer and the spill-over effects of trade and Foreign Direct Investment.”

Nikhil Rathi, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Plc, said China is one of the most exciting capital markets in the world, and is on track to be among the largest, “so we’ve been very proud to build our franchise in China”.

“We are embarking at the London Stock Exchange and with our friends in Shanghai, under the umbrella of China-UK governmental cooperation, on the Shanghai-London Stock Connect. We are looking forward to further milestones on that project this year. This is a project which will allow global investors to benefit from China’s growth, through London, and UK-listed companies will be able to access Chinese investors directly”, said Rathi.

Martin Jacques, the British writer, also shared his observations on the role China’s reform and opening-up plays in global development. He said China’s rapid growth since 1978 has not only created an economic miracle for China, but also provided a new development model for other emerging economies to look toward.

“In 1978, virtually no-one ever imagined that China would be where it is,” he said. “1978 did not just lead to the transformation of China, but the transformation of the world. China is going to be a very different kind of great power. The Belt and Road Initiative is a powerful example of China trying to find a new development model. This notion is very different from Western colonial thinking.”

Rupert Li, the global chief operating officer and a senior partner at King & Wood Mallesons, China Daily’s partner in staging the London event, said: “China has come a long way. While our achievements are commendable, many attributed our success to a host of reasons. China’s nascent rule of law has been a principal factor in ensuring the success of our open-door policy. China commands the best record in investment protection by foreign investors, compared to other developing countries in general and BRICS countries in particular.”

Without respect for the spirit of contracting, China couldn’t have been a major trading partner to a host of countries, he added.

As a Chinese media organization that has effectively entered the international mainstream market, China Daily officially unveiled Vision China in early 2018, seeking to make full use of its international, all-media, multilingual, and multi-platform advantages and allow China’s voice to be better heard by an international audience through innovative narrative speeches.

By selecting Chinese topics of global significance and inviting world-class opinion leaders to debate the issues face-to-face, each event responds to global concerns about China’s major talking points and significant propositions from global perspectives. So far, Vision China has successfully held sessions in Beijing (twice), Hangzhou, and Johannesburg, themed around Chinese topics with global value, namely, ‘New Era in My Eyes’; ‘Shared Future, Better World’; ‘BRICs and Globalization’; and ‘China & Africa: Growing Together’. World-class political, business, and academic leaders and outstanding youth representatives have attended the events to engage in in-depth discussions and share their values.

The events were broadcast live on the internet and through multimedia platforms, reaching international audiences and especially capturing the attention and participation of young people.