Excerpt from President Hu Jintao's Yale Speech
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends,
1. The Chinese and Americans have always had an intense interest in and cared deeply about each other. The Chinese admire the pioneering and enterprising spirit of the Americans and their proud achievement in national development. As China develops rapidly and steady headway is made in China-U.S. cooperation, more and more Americans are following with great interest China's progress and development.
2. Understanding leads to trust. Today, I would like to speak to you about China's development strategy and its future against the backdrop of the evolution of the Chinese civilization and China's current development endeavor. I hope this will help you gain a better understanding of China.
3. In a history that spans more than five millennia, the Chinese nation has contributed significantly to the progress of human civilization. But its course of national development has been an arduous one. In particular in the 160 years and more since the Opium War in 1840, the Chinese people have fought courageously and unyieldingly to rid themselves of poverty and backwardness and to realize national rejuvenation, thus profoundly changing the destiny of the Chinese nation. Ninety-five years ago, the Chinese people launched the Revolution of 1911 that overthrew the feudal autocracy which had ruled China for several thousand years and opened the door to China's progress.
4. Fifty-seven years ago, the Chinese people succeeded in winning liberation after protracted and hard struggle and founded New China in which people became their own masters. Twenty-eight years ago, the Chinese people embarked upon the historic drive of reform, opening-up and modernization and have made phenomenal progress through unremitting efforts. Between 1978 and 2005, China's GDP grew from $147.3 billion to $2.2257 trillion. Its import and export volume went up from $20.6 billion to $1.4221 trillion and its foreign exchange reserve soared from $167 million to $818.9 billion. During this period, the number of its poor rural population dropped from 250 million to 23 million. The above review of the profound changes in these 160 years shows one thing, namely, by carrying out persistent and hard struggle, the Chinese people have both changed their own destiny and advanced the cause of human progress.
5. On the other hand, I need to point out that, despite the success in its development, China remains the world's largest developing country, with per capita GDP ranking behind the 100th place. The Chinese people are yet to live a well-off life and China still faces daunting challenges in its development endeavor. Therefore it requires sustained and unremitting efforts to transform the country and make life better for its people. In the next 15 years, we will strive to make new progress in building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way that will benefit China's one billion and more population. We aim to raise China's GDP to $4 trillion by 2020, averaging $3,000 per person. By then, China's economy will be better developed and its democracy will be further enhanced. More progress will be made in science and education. Its culture will be further enriched, the society will become more harmonious and the people will lead a better life.
6. To realize these goals, China has adopted a new concept of development in line with its national conditions and the requirement of the times. That is, to pursue a scientific outlook on development that makes economic and social development people-oriented, comprehensive, balanced and sustainable. We will work to strike a proper balance between urban and rural development, development among regions, economic and social development, development of man and nature, and domestic development and opening wider to the outside world. Greater emphasis will be put on addressing issues affecting people's livelihood, overcoming imbalances in development and resolving key problems that have occurred in the course of development. We will pursue a new path to industrialization featuring high technology, good economic returns, low resource-consumption, low environment pollution and full use of human resources. We will bring about coordinated economic, political, cultural and social development. And we will endeavor to ensure sustainable development by boosting production, improving people's life and protecting the environment.
7. This concept of scientific development is based on the experience China has gained in its modernization drive and put forth in response to the trends of the times. It is also rooted in the cultural heritages of the Chinese nation.
8. The Chinese civilization is one that has continued uninterrupted for more than 5,000 years. The distinct cultural tradition of the Chinese nation that developed in the long course of history has exerted a strong influence on contemporary China, just as it did on ancient China. Putting people first, keeping pace with the times, maintaining social harmony and pursuing peaceful development: these values that are being pursued in China today are derived from its tradition. But they also give expression to the progress of the times.
9. The Chinese civilization has always given prominence to the people and respect for people's dignity and value. Centuries ago, the Chinese already pointed out that "people are the foundation of a country; when the foundation is stable, the country is in peace." "Nothing is more valuable in the universe than human beings." The ancient Chinese emphasized the value of serving the people, enriching them, nourishing them, and benefiting them. We are pursuing today a people-oriented approach toward development because we believe that development must be for the people and by the people and its benefit should be shared among the people. We care about people's value, rights and interests and freedom, the quality of their life, and their development potential and happiness index because our goal is to realize the all-around development of the people. Ensuring the right to survival and development remains China's top priority. We will vigorously promote social and economic development, protect people's freedom, democracy and human rights according to law, achieve social fairness and justice and enable the 1.3 billion Chinese people to live a happy life.
10. The Chinese civilization has always given prominence to unremitting self-improvement, reform and innovation. As an ancient Chinese motto puts it, "As Heaven keeps vigor through movement, a gentleman should unremittingly practice self-improvement." Throughout its 5,000-year history, it is thanks to their perseverance, determination, stamina and innovation that the Chinese nation has grown after surviving numerous setbacks and adversity. The Chinese people have shown enterprising spirit and reform and opening-up creativity in national development and great tenacity in overcoming difficulties on the road to progress. And all this gives expression to the spirit of ,unremitting self-improvement embodied in China's cultural tradition.
11. The Chinese civilization has always given prominence to social harmony, unity and mutual assistance. Back in the early days of the Chinese nation, the Chinese already advocated that "harmony is most valuable." They strove for harmony between man and nature, among people and between man's body and soul, and yearned for an ideal society where "everyone loves everyone else, everyone is equal and the whole world is one community." Today, China is endeavoring to build a harmonious society. It is a society of democracy and rule of law, fairness and justice, integrity, fraternity, vitality, stability, order and harmony between man and nature. It is a society where there is unity between the material and the spirit, democracy and rule of law, fairness and efficiency, and vitality and order. The Chinese people take the maintenance of ethnic unity and harmony as their bounden duty and the defense of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity their sacred mission. Any act that promoted ethnic harmony and national unity will receive the warm welcome and support of the Chinese people. On the other hand, any act that undermines China's ethnic harmony and national unity will meet their strong opposition and resistance.
12. The Chinese civilization has always given prominence to good neighborliness. The Chinese nation cherishes peace. In foreign relations, the Chinese have always believed that "the strong should not oppress the weak and the rich should not bully the poor" and advocated that "all nations live side by side in perfect harmony." The Chinese held that "one should be as inclusive as the ocean, which is vast because it admits hundreds of rivers" and called for drawing upon the strength of others. Today, China holds high the banner of peace, development and cooperation. It pursues an independent foreign policy of peace and commits itself firmly to peaceful development. It seeks to accelerate its development by upholding world peace. The world peace is, in turn, enhanced by China's development. China firmly pursues a strategy of opening-up for mutual benefit and win-win outcomes. It genuinely wishes to enter into extensive cooperation with other countries. It is inclusive and is eager to draw on the strength of other civilizations to pursue peace and development through cooperation and play its part in building a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity.