Winter Always Turns to Spring
Thespring in Perth has once again been enthusiastically ushered in with the annualKings Park Festival, which honours the remarkable wildflowers across the State.Back in China, the golden season of autumn also witnesses leaves and flowers ofevery shade. Immersed in the sea of colours, the Chinese people are celebratingthe 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Overthe past 71 years, the Chinese people have overcome formidable challenges oneafter another with their wisdom and perseverance. From the dark clouds of theCold War to the two hot wars at its doorstep, from external embargo tocontainment, China has not only survived, but also thrived.
Thanksto the hard work of the Chinese people since the founding of the People’sRepublic and in particular since reform and opening-up more than 40 years ago,the once poverty-stricken country is now the world’s second-largest economy. TheChinese people’s average life expectancy has increased from 35 to 77. About 800million people have been lifted out of poverty. The nine-year compulsoryeducation has now covered 93.8 per cent of school-age children. More than 1.3billion people are under the umbrella of medical insurance. Over 900 millionpeople enjoy basic old-age insurance.
Despitethe serious impact of COVID-19 this year, the Chinese economy has stayed strongand demonstrated great resilience and enormous potential. Under the strongleadership of the Communist Party of China, China has achieved another heroicfeat in humankind’s fight against disease by securing major strategicachievements in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic and has taken the leadin the world in both epidemic control and economic recovery.
J.P.Morgan recently boosted its 2020 China growth forecasts to 2.5 per cent from1.3 per cent. IMF forecasts put China as one of the few countries that willmaintain positive growth in 2020. The Asian Development Bank’s latest reportforecast that the recovery under way in China will gather pace in the third andfourth quarters, giving momentum for 7.7 per cent GDP growth in 2021.
Thisyear, China will develop into a moderately prosperous society in all respects.The Chinese nation will for the first time in history eliminate absolute poverty.This will not only be an exciting moment in the history of China but also amemorable event for the world, as one-fifth of all mankind achieves suchextraordinary progress.
China’sdevelopment has not only benefited its own people enormously, but also madegreat contributions to world peace and prosperity. A prosperous and stableChina is in itself a huge contribution to the world. China supports 19 per centof the world’s population, 16 per cent of global GDP, 12 per cent of globaltrade, 28 per cent of world economic growth with merely 7 per cent of theworld’s arable land, 6 per cent of fresh water and 12 per cent of mineralresources.
Aprosperous and stable China has no intention to beat or displace any othercountry, nor does it have the slightest interest in hegemonism or expansionism.Instead, the world becomes a safer place as China has dispatched a large numberof troops to UN peacekeeping operations, more than any other permanent memberof the Security Council. And it is also more prosperous thanks to China’s Beltand Road Initiative and its efforts for an open world economy. We are confidentthat it will be even better as we work with other countries to build acommunity with a shared future for mankind.
Chinahas been responsible for global public health and has launched the mostintensive and wide-ranging emergency humanitarian assistance since the foundingof new China. It has provided assistance to more than 150 countries andinternational organizations and assured stable global production and supply ofanti-epidemic materials. Between March 15 and September 6 this year, Chinaexported 151.5 billion masks, 1.4 billion protective suits, 230 million gogglesand 209,000 ventilators to support the global fight against COVID-19. Chinatwice donated funds to the World Health Organization totaling US$50 million andsent 34 medical expert teams to 32 countries. China has committed to provideUS$2 billion over two years to help with the COVID-19 response and witheconomic and social development in affected countries. COVID-19 vaccinedevelopment and deployment in China, when available, will be made a globalpublic good. This will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccineaccessibility and affordability in developing countries.
Chinawill grow strong, but will not bully. China values independent decision-making,but will not act arbitrarily. China is firm in safeguarding its interests, butwill never seek hegemony. A stronger China will continue to advocate exchangesand mutual learning between different civilizations, to pursue peacefulcoexistence and win-win co-operation with other countries, to make judgmentbased on the merits of things and to act in accordance with international law. Chinawill remain steadfast in opening up wider to the world.
However,even with some dazzling GDP figures, China remains a developing country. Itsper capita GDP is no more than one-sixth that of Australia. Poverty stillexists The wealth gap between different regions and different income groups isstill distressing. The principal contradiction facing Chinese society hasevolved into one between unbalanced and inadequate growth and the people’sever-growing needs for a better life.
Toaddress this contradiction, we still have some tough nuts to crack: to preventand resolve systemic risks, eliminate poverty, prevent and control pollution,etc. In addition, our dependence on the external market and energy supply aswell as unfinished reform of the financial sector makes us vulnerable toexternal shocks. And more importantly, China has not yet achievedreunification.
ThroughoutChina’s development, from standing up to becoming more prosperous, there is onesingle theme that never changes: the aspiration of the Chinese people for abetter life. That is the goal of China’s development. That is also thestrategic intention of China.
Chinaand Australia are important countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Ourrelationship is longstanding and weight-carrying. Our economies are highlycomplementary and fit each other like tenon and mortise. Our countries andpeople have benefited from each other’s development. We have no fundamentalconflict of interest or major historical irritants to be healed.
Forty-eightyears ago statesmen from China and Australia made the strategic decision toestablish diplomatic relations. During the past five decades, we have enjoyedgreat progress on many fronts in our bilateral relationship and have deliveredreal benefits to our peoples.
Chinahas been Australia’s biggest trade partner for 11 years in a row and is nowAustralia’s largest source of international students and tourists. This yearmarks the 5th anniversary of the China Australia Free Trade Agreement. Sincethe ChAFTA entered into force in 2015, the total volume of trade in goodsbetween our two countries has increased by 69 per cent, from $135 billion in2014 to $228.7b in 2019. This FTA marks not only a milestone in our bilateralties but also a new high in our mutual trust and co-operation. We shouldcherish the fruits cultivated by centuries of interaction and associationbetween our peoples as well as decades of trust-building between ourleaderships.
Certainly,we have to recognise that there will always be differences between us becausewe are two countries with different historical heritages, different culturesand different political and economic systems. But we have to manage thedifferences in a constructive way. We have to keep in mind that our commoninterests and mutual needs always outweigh whatever differences we have.
Facedwith similar immense tasks of defeating the virus, stabilizing economies andprotecting livelihoods in the post-COVID-19 world, China and Australia have athousand reasons to keep our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership thriving butnot a single reason to undermine or even decouple our ties.
Co-ordinationand co-operation in times of crisis is extremely important. The post-pandemicworld may provide a good opportunity for China and Australia to co-operate. Wehope Australia can work with China on the basis of mutual respect, equality andmutual benefit, and do things that are conducive to our Comprehensive StrategicPartnership. Where there is sufficient political will, there are opportunities.
Asthe economic powerhouse in Australia, Western Australia continues to play aleading role in China-Australia relations and bilateral co-operation. Weappreciate the positive attitude of the WA State Government and the broadsociety, in particular the WA business community, in developing long-termfriendly relations with China.
Wewill never forget the friendship of Western Australia. At the beginning of theoutbreak of COVID-19 in China, Western Australian people, businesses and socialgroups quickly reached out to help us. The Chinese nation is grateful andalways returns kindness in spring for drips of water received in need. After WAwas confronted with the virus, China wasted no time in managing our supplies ofPPEs to WA. The fact our people joined hands to fight the pandemic shows thatChina-Australia friendship has a solid social foundation, which is the ballastand hope of our relations.
Weare very happy to see that WA, with the economy expanding 1.1 per cent, isAustralia’s only State to experience growth for the 2019-2020 financial year.The majority of WA businesses have largely returned to normal tradingconditions and some are doing better than they were before COVID-19.
Chinaremains WA’s largest trading partner, export market and source of imports andhelps create hundreds of thousands of local jobs. Last year, WA’s exports toChina reached $96.1b, exceeding the sum of all the other export markets. Chinawas also the biggest international tourist market in terms of tourist spendingand the second-largest source of international students for WA in 2019.
Onemonth ago, China successfully hosted the 2020 China International Fair forTrade in Services, the first major international economic and trade event heldboth online and offline by China since the outbreak of COVID-19. With theupcoming virtual Canton fair and the 3rd China International Import Expo,China’s unwavering opening up will incessantly infuse confidence into theglobal economy and China will continue to share development opportunities withthe rest of the world.
Inabout a month’s time, a WA business delegation led by the State Government willhead to Shanghai to attend the 3rd China International Import Expo. The exposerves as a platform for international procurement, investment promotion,cultural exchange and opening-up and cooperation. I hope more transactions canbe concluded and broader buyer-seller networks can be established through theevent.
Chinaprovides unique opportunities for WA’s dream of diversifying its economy. Withthe world’s most film screens and largest middle-income group craving forentertainment and arts, China provides a market unmissable for WA creativeindustries and artistic troupes. Business aside, such cultural exchanges areconducive to enhancing understanding and affinity between our peoples.
IfChina was really an important contributor to Australia’s 29 years ofuninterrupted economic growth, we would like to continue playing a key role inAustralia’s economic recovery. Winter always turns to spring. And WA’s springis one of the most enticing. I am sure the scenario of Chinese and Australianpeople thriving shoulder to shoulder will be more heartening than the springgarden.
Let’swork together to create a brighter future for the China-Australia ComprehensiveStrategic Partnership and enhance peace, stability and prosperity in theAsia-Pacific.
（本文转自 中国驻珀斯总领馆 的公众号）