China’s Peaceful Development
Information Office of the State Council
The People’s Republic of China
September 2011, Beijing
I.The Path of China’s Peaceful Development: What It Is About
II.What China Aims to Achieve by Pursuing Peaceful Development
III.China’s Foreign Policies for Pursuing Peaceful Development
IV.China’s Path of Peaceful Development Is a Choice Necessitated by History
V.What China’s Peaceful Development Means to the Rest of the World
Situated in the East, China, a country with an ancient civilization and a population of over 1.3 billion, is making big strides in its advance toward modernization. What path of development has China chosen? What will China’s development bring to the rest of the world? These issues are the focus of the whole world.
China has declared to the rest of the world on many occasions that it takes a path of peaceful development and is committed to upholding world peace and promoting common development and prosperity for all countries. At the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century and on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China declared solemnly again to the world that peaceful development is a strategic choice made by China to realize modernization, make itself strong and prosperous, and make more contribution to the progress of human civilization. China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development.
I. The Path of China’s Peaceful Develop-ment: What It Is About
Over the past 5,000 years, people of all ethnic groups in China, with diligence and wisdom, have created a splendid civilization and built a unified multi-ethnic country. The Chinese civilization has a unique feature of being enduring, inclusive and open. The Chinese nation has endeavored to learn from other nations and improved itself through centuries of interactions with the rest of the world, making major contribution to the progress of human civilization.
In the mid-19th century, Western powers forced open China’s door with gunboats. Internal turmoil and foreign aggression gradually turned China into a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. The country became poor and weak, and the people suffered from wars and chaos. Facing imminent danger of national subjugation, one generation of patriots after another fought hard to find a way to reform and save the nation. The Revolution of 1911 put an end to the system of monarchy which had ruled China for several thousand years, and inspired the Chinese people to struggle for independence and prosperity. However, such efforts and struggle failed to change the nature of China as a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, or lift the Chinese people out of misery. Living up to the people’s expectation, the CPC led them in carrying out arduous struggle, and finally founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949. This marked the realization of China’s independence and liberation of its people and ushered in a new epoch in China’s history.
In the past six decades and more since the founding of New China, and particularly since the introduction of the reform and opening-up policies in 1978, the Chinese government has worked hard to explore a path of socialist modernization that conforms to China’s conditions and the trend of the times. Overcoming difficulties and setbacks, the Chinese people have advanced with the times, drawn on both experience and lessons from the development of China itself and other countries, deepened understanding of the laws governing the development of human society, and promoted the self-improvement and growth of the socialist system. Through arduous struggle, the Chinese people have succeeded in finding a path of development conforming to China’s reality ― the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Viewed in the broader, global and historical context, the path of peaceful development may be defined as follows: China should develop itself through upholding world peace and contribute to world peace through its own development. It should achieve development with its own efforts and by carrying out reform and innovation; at the same time, it should open itself to the outside and learn from other countries. It should seek mutual benefit and common development with other countries in keeping with the trend of economic globalization, and it should work together with other countries to build a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity. This is a path of scientific, independent, open, peaceful, cooperative and common development.
― Scientific development. Scientific development means respecting and following the laws governing the development of economy, society and nature, focusing on development and freeing and developing the productive forces. China takes the Scientific Outlook on Development as an important principle guiding economic and social development, and gives top priority to development in governing and rejuvenating the country by the Party. It puts people first, promotes comprehensive, balanced, and sustainable development, and takes all factors into consideration when making balanced overall plans. In putting people first, the Chinese government always respects human rights and human values and works to meet the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and promote prosperity for all. It strives to advance the all-round development of man, to ensure that development is for the people, by the people and with the people sharing its fruits. In promoting comprehensive, balanced, and sustainable development, the Chinese government promotes comprehensive economic development as well as political, cultural and social progress and ecological improvement, and coordinated development of all links and aspects of the modernization drive. In making balanced overall plans, the Chinese government seeks to identify and properly handle the major relationships in the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and maintain balance between urban and rural development, development of different regions, economic and social development, man and nature, and domestic development and opening to the outside world.
― Independent development. As a populous developing country, China must rely on itself in pursuing development. China maintains independence, focuses on domestic development, acts in keeping with its national conditions, carries out reform and innovation for economic and social development through its own efforts, and it does not shift problems and difficulties onto other countries. In the era of economic globalization, only by pursuing independent development can China more effectively participate in international division of labor, and promote mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries.
― Open development. China has learned from its development course that it cannot develop itself with its door closed. Taking reform and opening-up as a basic policy, China both carries out domestic reform and opens itself to the outside world, both pursues independent development and takes part in economic globalization and both carries forward the fine traditions of the Chinese nation and draws on all the fine achievements of other civilizations. It combines both the domestic market and foreign markets and uses both domestic resources and foreign resources. China integrates itself with the rest of the world with an open attitude, expands and deepens the opening-up strategy, and strengthens exchanges and cooperation with other countries. It strives to build an open economic system which ensures better linkages with the global economy, mutually beneficial cooperation as well as security and efficiency. China will never close its door to the outside world, and will open itself increasingly wider.
― Peaceful development. The Chinese nation loves peace. From their bitter sufferings from war and poverty in modern times, the Chinese people have learned the value of peace and the pressing need of development. They see that only peace can allow them to live and work in prosperity and contentment and that only development can bring them decent living. Therefore, the central goal of China’s diplomacy is to create a peaceful and stable international environment for its development. In the meantime, China strives to make its due contribution to world peace and development. It never engages in aggression or expansion, never seeks hegemony, and remains a staunch force for upholding regional and world peace and stability.
― Cooperative development. There are always competition and conflicts in international relations. Each country should draw on others’ merits to offset its own weakness through fair competition, find opportunities for cooperation, expand areas of cooperation, and improve common interests. China uses cooperation as a way to pursue peace, promote development and settle disputes. It seeks to establish and develop cooperative relationships of different forms with other countries and effectively meet growing global challenges by constantly expanding mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries, and works with them to solve major problems that affect world economic development and human survival and progress.
― Common development. Countries are becoming increasingly interdependent. Only when common development of all countries is realized and more people share the fruit of development, can world peace and stability have a solid foundation and be effectively guaranteed, and can development be sustainable in all countries. Therefore, China unswervingly follows a strategy of opening-up and mutual benefit. It pursues both its own interests and the common interests of mankind and works to ensure that its own development and the development of other countries are mutually reinforcing, thus promoting the common development of all countries. China sincerely hopes to work with other countries to realize common development and prosperity.
Thanks to its pursuit of peaceful development, China has under-gone profound changes. It has made remarkable achievements in development, made major contribution to world prosperity and sta-bility, and is more closely linked with the rest of the world.
China’s overall strength has grown considerably. Its total eco-nomic output reached US$5.88 trillion in 2010, over 16 times that of 1978, rising to 9.3% of the world’s total from 1.8% in 1978. The material basis for China’s modernization drive has become more solid; steady progress has been made in turning China into an industrialized, information-based, urbanized, market-oriented and internationalized country, and the cause of socialist development is being advanced in all respects. The Chinese people, once inadequately fed and clad, are leading a decent life on the whole ― a historic breakthrough. The share of China’s per capita income comparable to the world average grew from 24.9% in 2005 to 46.8% in 2010. A historic transformation from a highly centralized planned economy to a dynamic socialist market economy has been achieved in China. A basic economic system in which public ownership takes the lead and different economic ownerships grow side by side has come into being. The market plays an increasingly important role in allocating resources, and the system of macroeconomic regulation is improving. A social security system covering both urban and rural residents is taking shape, and culture, education, science and technology, health care, sports and other social programs are flourishing.
A historic transformation turning China from a closed or semi-closed state to one featuring all-round opening up has been realized. With the setting up of special economic zones, opening of coastal areas, regions along the major rivers and the borders and inland areas to the outside world, absorbing foreign investment and making Chinese investment overseas, and entry into the World Trade Organization, China has taken an active part in economic globalization and regional economic cooperation, and its opening-up has steadily deepened. The country’s total import and export volume grew from US$20.6 billion-worth in 1978 to US$2.974 trillion-worth in 2010. Utilized foreign direct investment from 1979 to 2010 totaled US$1.04838 trillion. China maintains business and trade ties with 163 countries and regions. It has signed ten free-trade-zone agreements, bilateral investment treaties with 129 countries, and double taxation avoidance agreements with 96 countries. All this shows that China is actively promoting liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment. To honor its commitments to the WTO, China has reduced its total tariff rate from 15.3% before its entry into the WTO to the present 9.8%, and abolished most non-tariff measures. China has been working to build a framework in which its relations with other major countries are generally stable and mutually beneficial and develop in a balanced way, and which ensures that China and its neighbors share opportunities and develop together. It has strengthened traditional friendship, solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries. China is becoming increasingly interdependent with other countries; it is more closely linked with them in terms of interests, and its exchanges and cooperation with other countries are becoming more extensive than ever before.
China has made important contribution to the stable develop-ment of the world economy. Since its entry into the WTO in 2001, China has imported goods worth nearly US$750 billion every year, and created over 14 million jobs for those exporting countries and regions. Over the past decade, foreign-funded companies in China have remitted a total of US$261.7 billion of profits, with an annual increase of 30%. From 2000 to 2010, China’s annual non-financial direct overseas investment grew from less than US$1 billion to US$59 billion, thus boosting the economic development in the recipient countries. In 2009, overseas China-invested companies paid taxes worth US$10.6 billion, and employed 439,000 local people. China has contributed over 10% to world economic growth every year in recent years. In 1997 when the Asian financial crisis caused a dramatic devaluation of currencies in countries and regions close to it, China succeeded in keeping the RMB exchange rate basically stable, contributing to regional economic stability and development. Since the international financial crisis erupted in 2008, China has taken an active part in the G20’s efforts to build a global economic governance mechanism, promoted the reform of the international financial system, got involved in multi-country macroeconomic policy coordination, and participated in international trade financing schemes and financial cooperation. It has sent large overseas purchasing missions and helped countries in difficulties. China conscientiously meets the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations, and is the only country in the world that has halved the number of people living in poverty ahead of schedule. In addition, China provides assistance to other countries and regions as its capacity permits. By the end of 2009, China had given assistance worth RMB 256.3 billion to 161 countries and over 30 international and regional organizations, reduced and canceled 380 debts incurred by 50 heavily indebted poor countries and least-developed countries, trained 120,000 people for other developing countries, and sent 21,000 medical personnel and nearly 10,000 teachers abroad to help other countries. China encourages the least-developed countries to expand exports to China and has pledged zero tariff treatment to over 95% of the exports to China by all the least-developed countries which have diplomatic relations with China.
China plays an important role in safeguarding world peace and meeting global challenges. China is the only nuclear-weapon country that has publicly stated that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons, or use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China has dispatched about 21,000 personnel on 30 UN peacekeeping missions, which is the highest number among the permanent members of the UN Security Council. China takes an active part in international cooperation in anti-terrorism and nonproliferation. It provides humanitarian aid and dispatches rescue teams to countries hit by severe natural disasters and deploys naval escort fleets to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. China is a member of over 100 intergovernmental international organizations, a party to over 300 international conventions, and an active participant in building the international system. China is the first developing country to formulate and implement the National Climate Change Program. It is also one of the countries which have made the greatest efforts in energy saving and emission reduction and which have made the fastest progress in developing new and renewable energy sources in recent years. China has played a constructive role in addressing international and regional hotspot problems. For instance, it calls for resolving the Korean nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear issue and other hotspot issues through peaceful talks, and has helped to establish the Six-Party Talks mechanism on the Korean nuclear issue. China has settled historical boundary issues with 12 land neighbors. It calls for settling disputes over territory and maritime rights and interests with neighboring countries through dialogue and negotiation. For instance, China has made a constructive proposal to “shelve disputes and seek joint development” and done its utmost to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea, East China Sea and the surrounding areas. China seeks to promote common development and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region by pursuing bilateral cooperation and participating in regional and sub-regional cooperation.
China’s development since New China was founded in 1949 and particularly since the reform and opening-up policies were introduced in 1978 shows that China is an important member of the international community which has contributed its due share to bringing about a more just and equitable international political and economic order.
II. What China Aims to Achieve by Pur-suing Peaceful Development
China’s overall goal of pursuing peaceful development is to pro-mote development and harmony domestically and pursue cooperation and peace internationally. Specifically, this means that China will endeavor to make life better for its people and contribute to human progress through hard work, innovation and reform carried out by the Chinese people and growing long-term friendly relations and promoting equality and mutually-beneficial cooperation with other countries. This has become a national commitment which is manifest in strategies for national development, and progress made in the course of China’s development.
To achieve modernization and common prosperity for the people is the overall goal of China’s pursuit of peaceful develop-ment. Following the introduction of the policies of reform and opening-up to the outside world in the late 1970s, China adopted and implemented a three-step strategy for achieving modernization. The first step was to double the GNP of 1980 and ensure people’s basic living needs. The second step was to redouble the output of 1980 and achieve initial prosperity by the end of the 20th century. The goals of these two steps have been met. The third step aims to make the per capita GNP reach the level of that of the medium-developed countries, bring about general prosperity, basically realize modernization and build China into a rich, strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious and modern socialist country by the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China in the mid-21st century. The central goal of this three-step development strategy is to improve people’s material and cultural lives, and make the people rich and the country strong. Meanwhile, as its comprehensive strength increases, China will shoulder corresponding international responsibilities and obligations.
To build a society of higher-level initial prosperity in an all-round way which benefits over one billion Chinese people is the medium-and long-term goal of China’s pursuit of peaceful devel-opment. By 2020, China will have built a society of higher-level ini-tial prosperity in an all-round way that benefits the over one billion Chinese people. This will make China a country which has basically realized industrialization, significantly increased its comprehensive national strength and taken the lead in the world in terms of the total size of the domestic market. The general living standard and quality of life of the Chinese people will be raised, and the country’s natural environment will be well protected. The Chinese people will enjoy full democratic rights, are better educated and pursue common aspirations. China’s social system and institutions will be further improved, the Chinese society will be more dynamic, stable and unified, and China will be a more open and engaging country and contribute more to human civilization.
To implement the Twelfth Five-Year Plan of development is the near and medium-term goal of China’s pursuit of peaceful development. To build a society of initial prosperity in an all-round way, the Outline of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China (2011-2015) laid down the guiding principles, goals and major tasks for this period. In the coming five years, China will focus on scientific development and accelerate the shifting of model of growth in pursuing economic and social development, and efforts will be made to achieve the following goals: ensuring stable and fairly fast development of the economy, making great progress in carrying out strategic adjustment of the economy, significantly improving science, technology and education, making major progress in saving resources and protecting the environment, continuing to improve people’s lives, enhancing social services and further deepening the reform and opening-up to the outside world. Through the concerted efforts of the Chinese people, we will make major progress in shifting the model of growth, markedly improve China’s comprehensive strength, international competitiveness and the ability to ward off risks and consolidate the foundation for building a society of initial prosperity in an all-round way. Meanwhile, China will energetically conduct international exchanges and cooperation, and expand and deepen the shared interests of all countries to promote common development.
From ensuring people’s basic living needs to building a society of initial prosperity and then to reaching the level of the medium-developed countries ― this is what China’s strategy for peaceful de-velopment is all about. To reach these goals, China will make the following efforts:
― Accelerating the shifting of the model of growth
Making adjustment of the economic sectors will receive top priority. Domestic demand, especially consumer demand, will be stimulated by increasing individual consumption through multiple channels and by adjusting and improving the domestic investment mix. Industrialization, urbanization and agricultural modernization will be promoted simultaneously so that economic growth will be driven by the combined forces of consumption, investment and export instead of investment and export only. China’s economic growth will be driven by the combined forces of the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors instead of the secondary sector only. It will also be driven by progress in R&D, better quality of the labor force and managerial innovation instead of increase of material and resource consumption. Moreover, we are carrying out strategies of accelerating development through developing science and technology, and fostering people with capabilities to build China into a country of innovation. We should be open to new ideas and be innovative in improving institutions, draw on the advanced technologies and managerial expertise of other countries, and improve the sustainability and efficiency of economic growth.
We will make more efforts to remove bottlenecks in resources and the environment that impede development. We will adopt a green and low-carbon development approach with emphasis on energy-saving and emission reduction, and accelerate the forming of energy-saving and eco-friendly modes of production and consumption. We will build a circular economy, improve environmental quality, build safe, stable, efficient, clean and modern energy industries, enhance resources supply, promote harmonious development between man and nature, and strike a balance among economic development, population, resources and the environment. We will explore a new path towards industriali-zation based on science and technology, with high economic returns, low consumption of resources, less pollution, and full utilization of human resources. The all-round, coordinated and sustainable growth of China’s economy will create great space for the growth of the world economy.
― Further exploiting China’s domestic resources and its mar-ket strengths
With abundant human and material resources and a fairly complete industrial system, China will mainly rely on itself in pursuing sustainable development. It is estimated that by 2015 the number of skilled personnel will reach 156 million in China, 15% of the workforce will have received higher education, and the rate of contribution to economic growth by skilled people will reach 32%. This will ensure ample supply of quality labor force to sustain China’s economic development. China ranks among the first in the world in terms of deposits of mineral resources and farmland and is basically self sufficient in grain supply. Although China’s per capita share of resources is low, we can minimize dependence on resources by China’s economic and social development by giving full play to market’s role of resources allocation and progress in R&D. China will fully tap the strengths of its industries of raw material, equipment manufacturing and consumer goods production to meet the consumption demands of the Chinese people and provide more quality goods and services to the international market.
The size of China’s population and its total economic output mean a huge potential of domestic demand. With the continuous increase of per capita income, steady growth of domestic investment, and further progress in implementing the strategy for regional development, China will see the emergence of growth engines and its market will further expand. In the coming five years, China’s consumption structure will be further upgraded, and the potential of individual consumption will be further released. The size of China’s domestic market will be one of the biggest in the world, and the accumulated import volume is expected to reach US$8 trillion. All this will create more business opportunities to other countries.
― Accelerating the building of a harmonious society
China will accelerate the building of a harmonious society with emphasis on improving people’s lives, thus strengthening the foundation of achieving social harmony. It will accelerate the reform of social systems, improve basic public services, develop new mechanisms for social management and make such management more efficient, and improve income distribution and the social security system. Our goal is to ensure that all people have the right to education, employment and pay, medical and old-age services and housing, so that all the people share the responsibility of creating a harmonious society and enjoy life and the full benefit of development in such a society.
We will strengthen the building of socialist democracy, advance the political structural reform actively and steadily, develop socialist democracy and turn China into a socialist country under the rule of law and ensure that the people control their own destiny. We will continue to conduct democratic election, decision-making, governance and supervision in accordance with the law, uphold people’s right to have access to information, to participate in governance, to express their views and to supervise the government, and we will expand orderly public participation in the political process. We will continue to treat all ethnic groups as equals and practice the system of regional autonomy of ethnic minorities, protect people’s freedom of religious belief according to law, and fully respect and uphold basic human rights and other lawful rights and interests of citizens.
― Implementing the opening-up strategy of mutual benefit
China will continue to pursue the basic state policy of opening up to the outside world and the opening-up strategy of mutual benefit. By making full use of the favorable conditions created by economic globalization and regional economic cooperation in the course of opening-up, we will move away from focusing on export and absorbing foreign investment towards putting equal emphasis on import and export and on absorbing foreign investment and making overseas investment. We will continuously explore new ways of opening up and improving the open economic system and make the open economy work better so as to promote China’s development, reform and innovation through opening-up.
We will speed up the way of conducting foreign trade and con-tinue to actively participate in international division of labor. We will move away from focusing on increasing volume of trade only to improving the quality and efficiency of trade, and raise the overall competitiveness of China’s foreign trade instead of relying on low cost production. We will make great efforts to promote service trade, increase import, and bring about basic balance of payment in international trade. We oppose trade protectionism and handle properly frictions in international trade.
We will make better use of foreign investment by continuously improving the investment structure, diversifying ways of investment and expanding investment channels. We will also speed up the introduction of intellectual resources, talented people and new technologies, and encourage foreign investment in key areas and regions. We will protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign companies in China, adopt an open attitude towards foreign capital and advanced technologies, and foster a fair and orderly investment environment. We will continue to implement the national strategy for intellectual property rights and enhance ability to create, apply, protect and manage intellectual property.
We will attach greater importance to overseas investment and international cooperation. We encourage companies of all types to make overseas investment and engage in joint operations in an orderly way, make R&D-related investment and undertake overseas project contracting and provide labor services. In addition, we will expand international cooperation in agriculture and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries in the development of energy and other resources. We will undertake more cooperation projects in host countries which improve life of the local people and enhance the ability for self-development of the host countries. The Chinese companies are requested to respect local religions and customs, observe local laws, undertake due social responsibilities and obligations, and promote the development of the host countries. We will improve and develop new ways of providing aid so as to make aid more effective.
We will continue to open China’s financial market and financial sectors in an orderly way. We will build a financial system that pro-vides efficient services and places risks under control. We will im-prove the managed, floating exchange rate system based on market supply and demand, and make the RMB convertible under capital account in a phased way. These measures will not only facilitate foreign trade and investment cooperation with China, but also create better conditions for maintaining the stability of international currencies and financial market and promoting the sound development of economic globalization.
― Creating a peaceful international environment and favora-ble external conditions
China will continue to promote friendly relations with the other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. We will increase strategic dialogue with the developed countries to promote strategic mutual trust, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, handle differences properly, explore ways to establish and develop a new type of relationship among the major countries and promote long-term, steady and sound growth of China’s relations with these countries. We will continue the policy of developing good-neighborly relations and treating China’s neighbors as partners and enhance friendship and cooperation with both the neighboring countries and other Asian countries. We will expand bilateral and regional cooperation and jointly create a regional environment of peace, stability, equality, mutual trust, cooperation and mutual benefit. We will enhance unity with other developing countries, deepen traditional friendship, expand mutually beneficial cooperation, sincerely help the other developing countries achieve independent development by providing aid and making investment and uphold their legitimate rights and interests as well as their common interests. We will actively engage in handling multilateral issues and addressing global issues, undertake our due international obligations and play a constructive role in making the international political and economic order fairer and more equitable. We will continue to carry out exchanges and cooperation with the parliaments, parties, local authorities and NGOs of other countries, expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges to enhance understanding and friendship between the Chinese people and the people of other countries.
China is committed to pursuing a defense policy which is defen-sive in nature. China has a vast land territory and sea area, with a borderline of over 22,000 kilometers and a coastline of over 18,000 kilometers. China faces multiple traditional and non-traditional security challenges and the threat of separatists and terrorism. It is therefore necessary and justified to modernize China’s defense capabilities in order to uphold China’s security and protect its peaceful development. The fundamental purpose of modernizing the Chinese armed forces is to safeguard China’s sovereignty, security, territorial integrity and interests of national development. China’s defense expenditures are appropriate and moderate, and are in keeping with the need to safeguard its security. China will not engage in arms race with any other country, and it does not pose a military threat to any other country. China follows the principle of not attacking others unless it is attacked, and it is committed to solving international disputes and hotspot issues with peaceful means. China actively carries out international military exchanges, promotes international and regional security cooperation and opposes terrorism in all forms.
III. China’s Foreign Policies for Pursuing Peaceful Development
As a member of the international community, China has great hope for the future world, and adopts the following thinking on international relations and foreign policies that conform to peaceful development.
― Promoting the building of a harmonious world
China’s foreign policy aims to uphold world peace and promote common development. China advocates the building of a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity and works with other countries in pursuing this goal. To China, it is both a long-term objective and a current task. To build a harmonious world, we should make the following efforts:
Politically, countries should respect each other and treat each other as equals, and work together to promote democracy in international relations. All the countries in the world, whether big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community and should receive due respect of the international community. Countries should also safeguard the UN’s core role in handling global affairs, adhere to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, abide by international law and the generally-accepted principles governing international relations, and promote democracy, harmony, coordination and win-win spirit in international relations. The internal affairs of a country should be decided by its own people, international affairs should be decided by all countries through consultation on an equal footing, and every country’s right to equally participate in international affairs should be respected and upheld.
Economically, countries should cooperate with each other, draw on each other’s strengths and make economic globalization a balanced and win-win process that benefits all countries. Countries should also seek to establish an international multilateral trading system that is fair, open, equitable and nondiscriminatory so that the benefit of economic globalization will cover all countries. All countries should work together to fulfill the UN Millennium Development Goals and enable everyone to enjoy the benefit of development in the 21st century.
Culturally, countries should draw on each other’s strengths, seek common ground while putting aside differences, respect the diversity of the world, and promote progress in human civilization. Dialogues and exchanges among civilizations should be encouraged to do away with ideological prejudice and distrust, and make human society more harmonious and the world more colorful.
In terms of security, countries should trust each other and strengthen cooperation, settle international disputes and conflicts peacefully rather than resorting to war and jointly safeguard world peace and stability. Consultation and dialogue should be carried out to enhance mutual trust, reduce differences and settle disputes. Use or threat of use of military force should be avoided.
In terms of the environment, all countries should help each other and make concerted efforts to better protect our only home ― the Earth. Countries should develop new modes of development, take the path of sustainable development and promote the harmonious development of man and nature. We should follow the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and enhance international cooperation in environmental protection and in addressing climate change.
― Pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace
The Chinese people adhere to the social system and path of development chosen by themselves and will never allow any external forces to interfere in China’s internal affairs. China promotes friendly and cooperative relations with all the other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. It does not form alliance with any other country or group of countries, nor does it use social system or ideology as a yardstick to determine what kind of relations it should have with other countries. China respects the right of the people of other countries to independently choose their own social system and path of development, and does not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs. It is opposed to the practices of the big bullying the small and the strong oppressing the weak, and to hegemonism and power politics. China calls for settling disputes and conflicts through talks and consultation and by seeking common ground while putting aside differences. It does not impose its own will upon others and acts in the fundamental interests of the Chinese people and the common interests of all peoples throughout the world. China bases its decision on a particular issue according to its merits. Upholding justice, China plays an active and constructive role in international affairs.
China is firm in upholding its core interests which include the following: state sovereignty, national security, territorial integrity and national reunification, China’s political system established by the Constitution and overall social stability, and the basic safeguards for ensuring sustainable economic and social development.
China fully respects other countries’ legitimate rights to protect their interests. While developing itself, it fully accommodates other countries’ legitimate concerns and interests and never makes gains at others’ expense or shifts its own troubles onto others.
China aligns its own interests with the common interests of the people of the world and seeks to expand common interests of all the parties. It works to establish and expand community of common interests in various fields and at various levels with other countries and regions. China is committed to promoting the common interests of all humanity and bringing the benefit of human civilization to everyone.
― Promoting new thinking on security featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination
China advocates a new thinking on security featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination, and pursues comprehensive security, common security and cooperative security.
In terms of comprehensive security, the security issue has new dimensions as traditional and non-traditional security threats have become intertwined under the new historical conditions. The international community should appreciate the need of ensuring comprehensive security and adopt comprehensive measures to address security threats and their root causes and countries around the world should work together to meet various challenges to security.
Regarding common security, all countries share a common stake in the era of economic globalization. The international community should heighten awareness of common security. Countries should safeguard their own security while respecting others’ security concerns. They should abandon the Cold War mentality and confrontation between different alliances, uphold common security through multilateral cooperation and work together to prevent conflicts and wars. It is important to give full play to the UN’s role in maintaining world peace and security and establish a fair and effective mechanism for upholding common security.
With regards to cooperative security, war and confrontation will only lead to a vicious cycle of violence begetting violence, while di-alogue and negotiation are the only effective and reliable way to settle disputes. Countries should seek peace, safeguard security, settle disputes and promote harmony through cooperation, and oppose the use or threat of use of military force against one another.
― Actively living up to international responsibility
For China, the most populous developing country, to run itself well is the most important fulfillment of its international responsibility. As a responsible member of the international community, China abides by international law and the generally recognized principles governing international relations, and eagerly fulfills its international responsibility. China has actively participated in reforming international systems, formulating international rules and addressing global issues. It supports the development of other developing countries, and works to safeguard world peace and stability. As countries vary in national conditions and are in different stages of development, they should match responsibility with rights in accordance with their national strength. They should play a constructive role by fulfilling their due interna-tional responsibility in accordance with their own capability and on the basis of aligning their own interests with the common interests of mankind. For its part, China will assume more international responsibility as its comprehensive strength increases.
― Promoting regional cooperation and good-neighborly relations
China actively enhances friendly cooperation with its neighbors and works with them to promote a harmonious Asia. China calls on countries in the region to respect each other, increase mutual trust, seek common ground while putting aside differences, safeguard re-gional peace and stability, and settle disputes including those over territorial claims and maritime rights and interests through dialogue and friendly negotiation. Countries should increase trade and mutually beneficial cooperation, promote regional economic integration, improve the current regional and sub-regional cooperative mechanisms, be open-minded to other proposals for regional cooperation, and welcome countries outside the region to play a constructive role in promoting regional peace and development. China does not seek regional hegemony or sphere of influence, nor does it want to exclude any country from participating in regional cooperation. China’s prosperity, development and long-term stability represent an opportunity rather than a threat to its neighbors. China will uphold the Asian spirit of standing on its own feet, being bold in opening new ground, being open and inclusive and sharing weal and woe. It will remain a good neighbor, friend and partner of other Asian countries.
IV. China’s Path of Peaceful Development Is a Choice Necessitated by History
Taking the path of peaceful development is a strategic choice made by the Chinese government and people in keeping with the fine tradition of Chinese culture, the development trend of the times and the fundamental interests of China, and it is also a choice which China’s development calls for.
― Peaceful development carries forward the Chinese histori-cal and cultural tradition.
The world has been believed to be a harmonious whole in the Chinese culture ever since the ancient times. This belief has a lasting impact on the thinking and acts of the Chinese nation, which is an important value that the Chinese people follow in handling interpersonal relationships, the relationship between man and nature and relations between different countries.
The Chinese people have always cherished a world view of “unity without uniformity,” “harmony between man and nature,” and “harmony is invaluable.” This belief calls for the fostering of harmonious family bond, neighborhood harmony and good interpersonal relationships. Under the influence of the culture of harmony, peace-loving has been deeply ingrained in the Chinese character. The world-renowned Silk Road, for example, was a road of trade, cultural exchanges and peace, which testifies to the pursuit of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation with other peoples by the ancient Chinese. The famous Ming Dynasty navigator Zheng He made seven voyages to the Western Seas, visiting over 30 countries and regions across Asia and Africa. He took along with him the cream of the Chinese culture and technology as well as a message of peace and friendship.
Imbued with the belief that one should be as inclusive as the vast ocean which admits hundreds of rivers, the Chinese nation has embraced all that is fine in foreign cultures. This has forged strong cultural ties, leaving behind much-told anecdotes about the cultural interactions between China and the world. The Chinese have a strong collective consciousness and sense of social responsibility. We believe that “you should not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.” We respect different cultures and views, treat others in the same way as we expect to be treated, and do not impose our will upon others. We treat all foreign countries with courtesy, foster harmonious ties with neighbors and make friends with distant states.
The Chinese people have inherited the fine tradition of Chinese culture of over 5,000 years and added to it new dimensions of the times.
― Peaceful development is determined by China’s basic na-tional conditions.
China has a large population yet a weak economic base. It has to feed close to 20% of the world’s population with 7.9% of the world’s farmland and 6.5% of the world’s fresh water. What has been achieved in its social and economic development must meet the need of 1.3 billion people, which presents a great challenge to China. China’s per capita GDP in 2010 was about US$4,400, ranking around the 100th place in the world. Unbalanced development still exists between the urban and rural areas and among different regions; the structural problems in economic and social development remain acute; and economic growth, which excessively depends on resource input, is increasingly constrained by resource shortages and environmental problems. All this has made the shifting of the growth model a daunting task. China’s ca-pacity for independent innovation is weak, and it is at the low end of the value chain in both international division of labor and trade. The standard of living of the Chinese is not high, and China’s social security system is inadequate, lagging far behind those of the developed countries.
China’s modernization involves one fifth of the world’s population and will be a long-term process. The scale and magnitude of the difficulties and problems involved are unprecedented in the present world and rare in human history. China will remain a developing country for a long time to come, which means that China must dedicate itself to advancing its modernization drive, promoting development and improving its people’s livelihood. This calls for maintaining a peaceful and stable international environment and conducting international exchanges and cooperation. China could become strong in the future. Yet peace will remain critical for its development, and China has no reason to deviate from the path of peaceful development. China’s basic conditions, its cultural traditions, its fundamental national interests and its long-term interests ― all these factors have created the innate force driving China’s peaceful development.
― Peaceful development is a choice that represents the global trend.
Peace and development are the two major issues of today’s world. Peace, development and cooperation are part of the irresistible global trend. The world today is moving towards multipolarity and economic globalization is gaining momentum. There is a growing call for change in the international system and the world is facing more historical challenges. To share opportunities presented by development and jointly ward off risks is the common desire of the people of the world.
Economic globalization has become an important trend in the evolution of international relations. Countries of different systems and different types and at various development stages are in a state of mutual dependence, with their interests intertwined. This has turned the world into a community of common destiny in which the members are closely interconnected. Another world war would be disastrous for the whole of mankind, and no one would emerge victorious in an all-out conflict between big powers.
Global challenges have become major threats to the world. Common security issues are becoming ever more severe. They include terrorism, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, financial crises, natural disasters, climate change, and security of energy, resources, food and public health, and the list is growing. These and other global problems have a major impact on human survival and sustainable economic and social development. No country can handle these issues on its own, which should be addressed by all countries together. If these problems are not addressed through comprehensive and sustained international cooperation, world peace and development will run into huge obstacles and could even suffer disastrous setback.
The global trend towards multipolarity is irresistible. The emerg-ing economies, regional groups and Asian and other regions are be-coming stronger, and various non-state actors are growing fast, which, taking advantage of economic globalization and the information age, expand their influence and have become an important force in various countries and in the international arena.
The global trend is surging forward: those who go along with it will prosper and those who go against it will perish. The international community should reject the zero-sum game which was a product of the old international relations, the dangerous cold and hot war mentality, and all those beaten tracks which repeatedly led mankind to confrontation and war. It should find new perspectives from the angle of the community of common destiny ― sharing weal and woe and pursuing mutually beneficial cooperation, exploring new ways to enhance exchanges and mutual learning among different civilizations, identifying new dimensions in the common interests and values of mankind, and looking for new ways to handle multiple challenges through cooperation among countries and realize inclusive development. We want peace and not war; development and not stagnation; dialogue and not confrontation; understanding and not misunderstanding. This is the general trend of the world and the common aspiration of all people. It is against this historical background that China has chosen the path of peaceful development.
V. What China’s Peaceful Development Means to the Rest of the World
The path of peaceful development is a new path of development which China, the biggest developing country in the world has em-barked upon, and its global impact will manifest itself over time. Its success calls for both the untiring efforts of the Chinese people and understanding and support from the international community.
China’s peaceful development has broken away from the tradi-tional pattern where a rising power was bound to seek hegemony. In modern history, some rising powers established colonies, fought for spheres of influence, and conducted military expansion against other countries. This reached climax in the 20th century, when rivalry for hegemony and military confrontation plunged mankind into the abyss of two devastating world wars. With a keen appreciation of its historical and cultural tradition of several thousand years, the nature of economic globalization, changes in international relations and the international security landscape in the 21st century as well as the common interests and values of humanity, China has decided upon peaceful development and mutually beneficial cooperation as a fundamental way to realize its modernization, participate in international affairs and handle international relations. The experiences of the past several decades have proved that China is correct in embarking upon the path of peaceful development, and there is no reason whatsoever for China to deviate from this path.
Economic globalization and revolution in science and technology have created historical conditions for more countries to revitalize themselves by pursuing economic development and mutually beneficial cooperation, and made it possible for more developing countries to embark on the path of rapid development. Because of this, the size of the world economy and the potential for development are both increasing, the international community is better positioned to resist economic and financial crises, and there is stronger impetus for reforming the international economic system. China’s peaceful development conforms with this global trend. China is glad to see and supports more and more developing countries in changing their destiny, and it is also glad to see and supports the developed countries in maintaining prosperity and development.
In the ever-changing world of today, all doctrines, systems, models and paths are subject to the test of the times and practice. As national conditions vary from country to country, there is no such thing as a fixed mode of development which claims to be the only effective one and applicable to all. A path of development is viable only when it suits the national conditions of a country. China’s path of development has taken shape in the Chinese environment. China is fully aware that taking the path of peaceful development is an important and long-term process and that the current domestic and foreign environments are going through profound and complex changes. It will thus better summarize and apply its own successful experience, draw on the practices of other countries, and stay alert about new problems and challenges that may arise, so as to open up brighter prospects for peaceful devel-opment.
China cannot develop itself in isolation from the rest of the world, and global prosperity and stability cannot be maintained without China. China’s achievements are inseparable from its friendly cooperation with the outside world; in pursuing development, it needs further understanding and support from the rest of the world. We are deeply appreciative to all the countries and peoples who have shown understanding and solicitude for and given support and help to China’s development. Taking the path of peaceful development by China with its over one billion population is a great new undertaking in the history of human development, and we do not claim that what we do leaves nothing more to be desired. We welcome all friendly suggestions and well-intentioned criticism. We sincerely hope that the international community will have a deeper appreciation of China’s time-honored cultural traditions, and respect its sovereignty, security, territorial integrity and social stability, which the Chinese people hold dear. We hope that it will appreciate China’s need to settle, step by step, various difficulties in development it faces as the largest developing country, and the aspiration of the Chinese people to shake off poverty and live a prosperous life. We also hope that the international community will have confidence in the Chinese people’s sincerity and determination to achieve peaceful development, and support rather than obstruct China’s pursuit of peaceful development.
Looking back at the past and looking ahead to the future, we are convinced that a prosperous and developing China, a democratic, harmonious and stable country under the rule of law, will make more contribution to the world. The Chinese people will make unremitting efforts together with other peoples to bring about a bright future for mankind.