Some countries are playing up the “China threat” theory because, contrary to many foreign observers’ expectations, China’s economy has grown with its status on the world stage. China’s economy grew 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2016, reflecting its resilience to economic troubles across the world.
Moreover, China’s strong growth has had a positive impact on the global economy, proving that the world’s economic stability is linked to its sustainable development.
China’s GDP reached 67.67 trillion yuan ($10.46 trillion) in 2015, an increase of 6.9 percent year-on-year, with the International Monetary Fund estimating that China’s GDP might account for 15.5 percent of the world’s total. Compared with the world’s average economic growth rate of 2.4 percent, China’s annual average growth rate was 7.3 percent from 2011 to 2015, the fastest among the world’s major and developing economies. And during the last five years, its economic growth contributed more than 25 percent to global economic growth, which made it the most important engine of the world economy as well as the main driver of global economic recovery.
China’s fast-paced economic growth has also contributed to global poverty alleviation. According to the 2015 UN report on Millennium Development Goals, China lifted more than 70 percent to the world’s poor population out of poverty from 1990 to 2015. In real terms, it helped reduce the world’s impoverished people from 1.9 billion to 836 million.
World Bank data also show the number of Chinese people living in abject poverty declined from 770 million in 1978 to 55.75 million in 2015, with an annual decrease of 2.2 percent, far higher than the world’s average.
Developing countries in Africa and other regions, too, have met with moderate success in alleviating poverty.
Also, because of its close economic and trade links with the outside world, China has been the world’s largest trading country in goods over the past three years; it ranked second in terms of service trade. And in spite of the decline in its foreign trade volume owing to falling commodity prices and shrinking global trade, China’s trade volume still exceeded 24 trillion yuan in 2015, 13 percent of the world’s total, contributing 30 percent to global trade growth.
China’s trade with other countries and the “Made in China” label have helped strengthen economic globalization and stabilize the world economy. During the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20) period, China’s outbound direct investment is expected to exceed $500 billion and imports are expected to reach $10 trillion, meaning it will continue to power the world’s economic recovery and stabilize global growth while helping reduce unemployment and poverty worldwide.
The rising status of the yuan in the global currency system means countries can use it as a foreign exchange reserve to prevent risks, and thus ensure global economic stability. Besides, China’s endeavors to build free trade zones with other countries, its Belt and Road Initiative and the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank all symbolize China’s accelerated efforts to strengthen globalization. And its voluntary actions as a responsible country will help expedite global economic recovery and promote the world’s healthy economic development.
China’s stable development indicates it will always seek peaceful development and help alleviate poverty and reduce unemployment worldwide.
The author is a researcher at the Institute of Quantitative & Technical Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.