Cai Wei’s Speech at the 70th Anniversary Celebration for the People’s Republic of China
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening! It is a great pleasure to have all of you here tonight, in this festive golden moment of the year, joining us in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. I would like to extend my warmest welcome and sincere thanks to all of you for your presence at this reception, particularly the guests from the state of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
October 1st, 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. Earlier today, we received a copy of a congratulatory letter from President Jimmy Carter to President Xi Jinping on this occasion. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people have made great achievements through self-reliance and hard work in the past seven decades, with their strenuous efforts, intelligence and wisdom. China’s great achievements, or “China miracle” have attracted world wide applause. The situation of poverty and weakness of China since the Opium War in 1840s has been fundamentally changed. The Chinese nation, tested by hardships that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience, has gone through a great transformation – we have stood up, grown rich and become strong.
Here, I would like to highlight some of the records contemporary China has made.
In the past 70 years, China has completed industrialization in a short period of time that which took developed countries several centuries. With the GDP increasing by more than 450 times, from $30 billion in the early years of new People’s Republic to more than $13.6 trillion in 2018, China is now the world’s second-largest economy, largest industrial country, largest trader in goods, the biggest holder of foreign exchange reserves.
Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, especially in the 40 years since reform and opening up, China has lifted more than 740 million people out of poverty, and became the first developing country to achieve the poverty reduction goals of the United Nations Millennium Development. Today, China has the world’s largest middle-income group, that is, more than 400 million. China has built the world’s largest social security network, with a basic pension insurance system covering more than 900 million people and a basic health insurance system covering 1.3 billion. Moreover, the average life expectancy in China has gone up from 35 to 77. The Chinese people now have a strong sense of achievement and happiness, and are optimistic toward an even better future.
China has been fostering a favorable environment for its own development by defending world peace, which is in turn enhanced by a more developed China. China will continue its efforts to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development, and uphold international order. China is committed to the peaceful settlement of international or regional hot issues through dialogue and consultation. China is the biggest contributor of peacekeepers among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and one of the main funding contributors of peacekeeping operations. Since 1990, China has dispatched over 39,000 troops to 24 UN peacekeeping operations, and 13 Chinese servicemen laid down their lives while on duty.
China has taken an active part in global governance and firmly upheld multi-lateralism and free trade. Amid deepening economic globalization and multi-polarization, President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind, which played a positive role in making a new contribution to a better life of the participating countries and promoting peace and progress of mankind. China has contributed over 30 percent of global growth in recent years and become an anchor for the whole world economy. After its accession to the WTO, China has faithfully and comprehensively fulfilled its obligations. Last year, the overall tariff level of China has been reduced to 7.5%, much lower than most developing countries and close to developed entities.
The above-mentioned records indicate that China has found a development path that suits its own national conditions, namely, the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. To seek happiness for the Chinese people, rejuvenation for the Chinese nation and contribution to human progress are the CPC’s unchanging original aspiration and eternal mission.
Nowadays, under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the Chinese people are working tirelessly to achieve the Two Centenary Goals. We will act with people-centered approach and regard the people’s aspirations for a better life as our goal. We are committed to maintaining peaceful relations with all other countries but only open wider to the world. China’s door of opening-up will not be closed and will only open even wider. China does not and will not build walls or decouple with other countries. A more open China will actively expand cooperation with the rest of the world, participate in the global governance, achieve win-win cooperation and common development in more areas and at higher levels, build a community with a shared future for mankind with people of other countries and make the world even better.
Ladies and gentlemen,
This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the US. For the past 40 years, the bilateral relations have experienced ups and downs and kept an overall growing momentum. It has not only brought great developing dividends for both countries, delivered tangible benefits for both peoples, but also effectively promoted global peace, development and prosperity.
One of the biggest achievements of China-US relations in the past 40 years is that it helped the people across the Pacific from isolation to communication and mutual understanding. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, people-to-people exchanges between the two countries have increased by more than 500 times. Everyday there are more than 14 thousand air travelers between the two nations. 50 pairs of sister provinces & states and 227 pairs of sister cities have been matched.
People in our two countries have established deep friendships. Here I would like to share a story in this town. In Autumn, 2018, Dr. Robert Lodato from UT Health was traveling in Xinjiang, China. He met with a girl who was in a critical situation in a local hospital. Without any hesitation, he helped hold an emergency surgery for her and saved her life! Dr. Lodato is present at this reception. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Lodato to the stage.
Dr. Lodato, I would like to take this opportunity to present a certificate of Appreciation for your help in Xinjiang last year.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and the US have seized the historic opportunity of globalization, fully leveraged complementary strengths of the two economies. The current economic and trade cooperation has started from zero to huge volume, thrived from small to large scale, developed from single-realm to full fledged layers, and scored great achievements. The trade volume of goods has grown from 2.5 billion US dollars in 1979 to 633.5 billion US dollars in 2018, with an increase of 252 times. The trade volume in service was over 125 billion US dollars last year. The total volume of two way FDI has increased from nearly none to about 160 billion US dollars. According to the statistics, the export from China to the US saved 800 to 1000 US dollars for each American family each year. China-US economic cooperation greatly contributes to the economic and social development of both countries, as well as the development of the world economy. In this sense, China-US economic relations are mutually-beneficial and win-win in nature.
However, since last year, the trade frictions between the two countries have already left serious negative impacts on economic cooperation as well as on bilateral relations. China’s position is clear and constant, that is we are “not wanting a trade war, not being afraid of one, and having to fight one when necessary”. Yesterday at the Argus Methanol Forum I made a comprehensive illustration. Same day on September 11th, China unveiled the first set of lists of US goods to be excluded from the first round of additional tariffs on US Products. The exemption, which covers two lists with 16 categories of goods, will be valid from Sept. 17, 2019, to Sept. 16, 2020. I also have noted the US side has announced to postpone adding new tariffs on 250 billion US dollars worth of Chinese goods. A gesture of good will.
Over the past 4 decades, the global implications of China-US relations have been increasing. China and the US have conducted communication and cooperation on many major international and regional issues such as anti-terrorism, non-proliferation, Korean Peninsular nuclear issue, environmental protection as well as epidemic prevention and treatment.
Yesterday was the 18th anniversary of the September 11th tragedy. It was a time of grievance not only for Americans but also for all peace-loving people around the world. We share the pains. Immediately after we learned of the terrorist attack, Chinese President Jiang Zemin called President George W. Bush, expressed the Chinese support to American people in combating terrorism. From then on, China and the US have conducted fruitful cooperation in anti-terrorism.
In fighting against opioid crimes, in the first half of this year, at the request of the US government, China started class scheduling of all fentanyl-like substances. It showcases that China attaches great importance to the US concerns, and will fulfill its responsibility in taking part in global counter-narcotics efforts.
How could we have made those achievements possible? One of the fundamentals is China and US view each others’ development as its own opportunity, and treat each other as friends or partners, rather than rivalries or enemies. Every time when the two countries focused on the overall picture of bilateral relations and stuck to the general direction of cooperation, we would make more progress in bilateral relations. Dr. Henry Kissinger once said “having had the opportunity to participate in the Sino-American relationship for forty years, I believe strongly that both countries have a duty to the peace and progress of the world, to find means of cooperation to solve the important problems they have before them.”
Mutual respect is the premises of a stable China-US relationship. The two countries have differences or even frictions in terms of historical tradition, social systems, and development stages. It is natural. But the key is that we must respect each others’ core interests and concerns and address those difference respectfully. For instance, on the Taiwan issue, the US should stay committed to the One-China Principle and the three Joint Communiques, and respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Another example, Xinjiang is a part of China. We firmly oppose the passage of the so-called Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019 by the US Senate.
The third example, the Hong Kong related issue. Since Hong Kong’s return to the motherland, the policy of “One country, Two systems” and Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy has been faithfully implemented. Hong Kong is now facing the most critical situation, but we still firmly believe, with the support of the Central Government and mainland compatriots, any plots aimed at instigating chaos in Hong Kong to undermine its prosperity and stability as well as “One country, Two Systems” policy will be doomed to failure. Hong Kong’s affairs are purely China’s internal affairs. They brook no interference from any country, organization or individual in any form. A prosperous and stable Hong Kong not only serves the interests of China, but is conducive to the betterment of the international community, including the United States.
Looking forward to the future, as the biggest developing country and the biggest developed country in the world, China and the US shoulder the responsibility to promote world peace and common development. According to the consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and President Trump, the two sides should work together to expand cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit, manage differences on the basis of mutual respect, so as to advance China-U.S. relations featuring coordination, cooperation and stability, and deliver greater benefits to our two peoples and the people around the world.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Southern part of US is a rich and magic land. This region, Houston in particular, has played a unique role in the history of the China-US relations. Houston was an important stop of Mr. Deng Xiaoping’s visit to the US back in 1979. The historic moment when Mr. Deng Xiaoping waved the cowboy hat to the audience in a local Rodeo show has made a significant page in the history and engraved in the memories of the people from both countries for generations.
The practical cooperation between China and the Southern US is an inseparable part of the China-US relations, and enjoys great potentials. For example, even against the backdrop of trade frictions, China has maintained the top three export markets in Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Alabama for many years. The total trade volume between China and the eight states in our consular district has reached 125.1 billion US dollars. The investment by Chinese companies in this region also has witnessed great increase. Almost 300 Chinese companies have made this region home, with a total 23.2 billion US dollars investment.
We are happy to see more and more people of the Southern US begin to love Chinese culture and language. In my first week in Houston, I met a local boy in Herman Park. He came up to me and talked in Chinese. He told me he loves the language and wants to travel to China someday. I was really touched by his words. I am convinced that the friendship between the two peoples, which is the basis for the sound and steady development of China-US relations, cannot be restrained by any force.
The development of China-US is inseparable from the hard work and efforts of overseas fellow Chinese. A large number of Chinese laborers crossed the Pacific Ocean 150 years ago, to build a railway connecting the East and West coasts of the United States, laying a solid foundation for its economic take-off. During the two world wars, many young Chinese became American soldiers to defend the United States. When Mr. Deng Xiaoping visited Houston in 1979, many members of the Chinese Association spontaneously formed a team to welcome him. It can be said that the majority of Chinese in America have not only made important contributions to the development of the United States, but also acted as messengers of China-US people-to-people friendship! I would like to take this opportunity to pay my appreciation to all of them.
Ladies and gentlemen,
At this moment, China-US relations are at a crucial crossroad, with both opportunities and challenges ahead. As the 14th Consul General of China in Houston, together with my colleagues, I am committed to working closely with the United States counterparts to further strengthen mutually beneficial exchanges and cooperation between China and the consular district, and to deepen mutual understanding and trust between our two peoples. Today we formally launch the Wechat account, a new platform to implement the idea of conducting diplomacy in the interest of the people, protect the legal rights of overseas Chinese citizens and companies, and provide consular services to those in need. Without the supports of our friends from all walks of life in the Southern US, the Consulate General cannot effectively fulfill its duties. I will take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to you all.
As the saying goes, where there is a will, there is a way! Let’s work together for the better future of China-US relations.