The year 2021 is remarkable for the Chinese people. It marks the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in the United Nations.And today, here comes the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the PRC.
When we look back from the mid of the 21st century, how should we appraise the year 2021? My answer is, for China, it is a pivotal year in its centennial struggle to achieve national rejuvenation; for Bangladesh, it is a pivotal year in its development transformation against hardships caused by the pandemic; and for the world, it is a pivotal year in its millennial shift eastward.
China Strives for the Centennial Dream of National Rejuvenation
The 72-year development of the PRC is a crucial portion of the centennial struggle of the Chinese people to achieve national rejuvenation. It was the CPC, after its founding in 1921, that rallied and led the Chinese people in making great sacrifices, forging ahead against all odds, and fighting bloody battles with unyielding determination to secure the nation’s independence and liberation. Since the establishment of the PRC in 1949, the country by far has achieved a three-phase transformation of standing up, growing rich, and becoming strong.
In 2017, the CPC incorporated into its charter a blueprint to realize China's national rejuvenation by setting two centennial goals, namely to “build a moderately prosperous society in all respects” by the CPC’s centenary in 2021, and to “build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious” by the PRC’s centenary in 2049.
This year, facing the global pandemic unseen in a century, China largely stopped the spread of COVID-19, and its economy resumed soundly. In the first half of 2021, China’s GDP registered a 12.7% year-on-year growth to USD 8.23 trillion. Its imports and exports in total soared by 37.4% to USD 2.79 trillion, reaching a historically new height. The overall direct investment abroad totaled USD 71.35 billion.
With the historic eradication of absolute poverty in the country with over 1.4 billion people, which accounts for one fifth of the world population, China is standing on new horizons for national development. From this year on, China will put its 14th Five-Year Plan into full implementation to drive high-quality development by acting on new development philosophy and accelerating establishment of new development paradigm. China is also committed to continuously reforming its socialist market economy, of which both public and private sectors form integral parts.
On the Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the Founding of the CPC held on July 1st this year, Xi Jinping, President of China and CPC General Secretary, solemnly proclaimed that, China had realized the first centennial goal in due course. As he said on the same occasion, China’s success hinges on the CPC. The 181-year-long modern history of the Chinese nation, the 100-year-long history of the Party, and the 72-year-long history of the PRC all provide compelling evidence that without the CPC, there would be no New China and no national rejuvenation.
China’s Development Benefits All
The success of China is an epitome of the success of Asia. The 21st century is increasingly accepted as the “Century of Asia”. This belief is solidified by the generally excellent performance of Asian countries in the test of pandemic control. Since the end of WWII, states in the region have generally committed to peaceful, open, cooperative and common development. Along with its peaceful development cause, China further endeavors to build a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind in the region and beyond. This development idea has been proved successful and beneficial to all.
China steps out for the global COVID-19 response. By sharing its full experience and resources on containment and treatment of COVID-19, China has been doing its best to assist other members of the international community in the fight against the pandemic. President Xi has made it clear that vaccines shall be a global public good, and China is making every effort to ensure equitable and affordable distribution of vaccines, especially among developing countries. China has by far provided more than 1 billion doses of vaccines to over 100 countries and international organizations, and will strive to provide a total of 2 billion doses by the end of this year. Besides the USD 100 million donation to COVAX, China will also donate an additional 100 million doses of vaccines to developing countries in the course of this year.
China helps to get the world economy back on track. According to IMF, China’s economy is projected to tick up 8.1% by the end of this year, and will contribute more than one fifth of world total GDP increase in the five years ahead. Facing the severe shocks of COVID-19, China calls upon its international peers to steer global development toward a new stage of balanced, coordinated and inclusive growth. To this end, it is inevitable to adopt a people-centered approach, nature-friendly norms, innovation-driven growth pattern and results-oriented actions. For example, China has committed to peaking its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060, which sets an ambitious goal for the most populated country and second largest economy in the world. China will also step up support for other developing countries in transformation to green and low-carbon energy, and will no longer build new coal-fired power projects abroad. While upholding WTO trade regimes, China has already signed the RCEP, and has officially applied to join the CPTPP recently. For the time being, China is gearing up for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics with an moral imperative as said in its motto, “Together for a Shared Future”.
China calls for true multilateralism and solidarity in international relations. Since restoration of its lawful rights in the UN 50 years ago, China has lived up to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter with concrete actions, and has served as a builder of world peace, contributor to global development, defender of the international order and provider of public goods. Along with the majority of the international community, China upholds true multilateralism composed of the only international system with the UN at its core, the only international order underpinned by international law, and the only one set of rules governing international relations in line with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
In China’s belief, differences and problems among countries, hardly avoidable, need to be handled through dialogue and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect. The spotlit China-US relationship well bears on the future of the world, and is a question of the century to which the two countries must provide a good answer. With the international community facing many common challenges, China is willing to bring its relations with the US back to stable development as soon as possible, for the good of the people in both countries and around the world.
China Accompanies Bangladesh on the Way to Realize Common Dreams
As President Xi says, the Chinese dream of great national rejuvenation can well connect with the “Sonar Bangla” dream. This year, our bilateral relations have witnessed further development. President Xi and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina exchanged video messages on important occasions, such as Bangabandhu’s birth centenary and the 50th independence anniversary of Bangladesh, and the centennial commemoration of the CPC. President Md. Abdul Hamid met with China’s Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe who came to visit Bangladesh in spite of the severe pandemic. Our foreign ministers have been keeping in close touch with each other by means of in-person meetings, phone calls and letters.
The anti-pandemic fight brings the two countries even closer. When China suffered from the first strike of pandemic early last year, Bangladesh lent its support to China without hesitation. China cherishes this cordial friendship and expresses its gratitude in action. By far, China has provided anti-pandemic aid to Bangladesh in forms of sending medical supplies and vaccines as gifts, dispatching medical personnel, facilitating commercial procurement of vaccines and, most importantly, localizing co-production of vaccines. As statistics indicate, Sinopharm champions among all brands of vaccines available in terms of inoculation count in Bangladesh.
The two countries also join hands tightly in the anti-pandemic fight at regional levels. In April, foreign ministers of China and five South Asian countries, including Bangladesh, jointly held a video conference on COVID-19. On this occasion, we agreed to set up a China-South Asia emergency supplies reserve and a poverty reduction and development cooperation center, and to hold a forum on rural e-commerce poverty reduction cooperation. We also give mutual support on global issues such as origins-tracing of SARS-CoV-2 and equal access to vaccines.
The two countries wade through all difficulties caused by the pandemic to advance cooperation in many aspects. The handover of the China-Bangladesh Friendship Exhibition Center marks a new starting point for bilateral economic and trade cooperation. Hard-won progresses have been made in projects under the BRI, such as the Padma Bridge, the Payra Power Plant, the Kanaphuli Tunnel, the Cox’s Bazar Airport Runway extension, and the DPDC Power System Network expansion. China's zero-tariff treatment for 97% of Bangladeshi goods has been officially implemented. The People’s Liberation Army of China provided vaccines as gift to the Armed Forces of Bangladesh to ensure the latter’s combat capability. The deceased Chinese academician Yuan Longping, “Father of Hybrid Rice”, was widely memorized by our Bangladeshi friends. Shan Mao & Jimmy’s Magic Puzzle, a Chinese cartoon in Bangla, has been broadcast on-air in RTV Panda Theater and widely welcomed by kids. The list of friendship records between the two countries goes on and on.
With Bangladesh endeavoring to become fully developed by its 70th jubilee, and China embarking on a new journey towards its second centennial goal, there are infinite opportunities yet to be explored to uplift our Strategic Partnership of Cooperation to a higher level. As Bangladesh’s good neighbor living in harmony, good partner along the course of development, and good brother sharing weal and woe, China reassures its support to Bangladesh in the anti-pandemic fight till the final and full victory, and will continue standing firmly with Bangladesh on regional and global issues, such as maintaining peace and security, responding to climate change, achieving SDGs, securing free trade and open economy, and developing science and technology of the next generation.
As the old saying goes, “ Walk alone if you want to go fast, walk together if you want to go far.” Let China and Bangladesh keep our hands joined on the way to our dreams, to a peaceful and prosperous Asia, and to a brilliant shared future of mankind.
H.E. Li Jiming, Ambassador of China to Bangladesh.