Reform and Opening Up is China's "success code"

China Plus Published: 2018-12-18 21:23:06
Share this with Close
Messenger Messenger Pinterest LinkedIn

Note: The following is an edited translation of a commentary from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs."

"China miracle" and "an incredible achievement in the history of human development"... These are often terms used by the international community to assess what has taken place in China since reform and opening up. But how was this miracle created? What does it bring to China and the world?

Events are held in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, to mark the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up, December 18, 2018. [Photo: VCG]

Events are held in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, to mark the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up, December 18, 2018. [Photo: VCG]

At a grand gathering celebrating the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening up held Tuesday in Beijing, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered the keynote speech, summing up the history, achievements, significance and experience gained in China over the past 40 years. He issued a mobilization order, saying China will continue pushing forward with reform and opening up in the new era.

The world can take lessons from the "success code" found in China's reform and opening up. But the process is also a window into why Chinese leaders and the Chinese people have the determination and confidence to continue moving forward with the process.

So how did this "China miracle" come to be? In his speech, Xi Jinping pointed to the results of hard work, wisdom and courage of the Party and the people from all nationalities!

Xi said China's experience in handling the relationship among reform, development and stability is of particular significance for developing countries. According to historical stats, since the 1980s, there have been about 30 Eurasian countries that have transitioned from a centrally-planned economy, or an economy of a similar nature, to a market economy. However, until 1997, the GDP of the vast majority of these countries wasn't able to recover to levels they had in 1989 when most of the former Soviet-bloc countries began their economic transitions. One of the important reasons for this is that they didn't deal well with reform, development and stability in managing their economic transformations. In his speech on Tuesday, Xi Jinping expanded on China's experience: "We must be bold in trialing new reform initiatives and, at the same time, be cautious and properly coordinate reform, development and stability. We must stick to the road of reform, maintain its intensity and work to ensure the steady and long-term success of reform and opening up in the new era."

He particularly emphasized that the fundamental measurements determining what should be reformed and how reforms should proceed must be in line with the overall goal of improving and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, while at the same time, promoting the modernization of the state governance system and governance capacity.

"We will resolutely reform what should and can be reformed, and make no change where there should not and cannot be any reform," said the Chinese President. These experiences and judgments have effectively guaranteed that the reform and opening up of China in the new era will always proceed on the correct channel.

With 40 years of reform now behind the country, present-day China is going to continue with reform and opening up from a new historical starting point: Xi Jinping pointed out in his speech that China is like a ship "at a critical period now, where we face even more turbulent waves or even steeper mountains as we move ahead. But we have to move forward, and if we do not advance, we will be pulled backward. "

"Faith, conviction and confidence are of the utmost importance at any time," he stressed.

If China has made the world marvel at its creation of a "miracle" for the past 40 years, then in the next 40 years and beyond, China will still use practical action to legitimize the prophecy of Nobel Prize winner Ronald Coase. That is: "An open, tolerant, confident and innovative China will surprise the world even more in the years to come."

Related stories

Share this story on


LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.