Remarks by Ma Jia, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of Chinese Embassy in India at the Media Briefing
2023-03-23 03:05

On 22 March 2023, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of Chinese Embassy in India Ma Jia held a media briefing on Two Sessions and China's economic and social development, Chinese path to modernization, Global Civilization Initiative, Chinese Diplomacy and China-India Relations,etc.. Journalists from Hindustan Times, The Times of India, The Hindu, The Indian Express, Mint, The Economic Times, The Press Trust of India (PTI), Asian News International (ANI), India Writes as well as Xinhua News Agency and China Media Group(CMG) attended the briefing. Full transcript of Ms. Ma Jia’s remarks is as follows:

Friends from media,

Good afternoon! Very pleased to welcome all of you to the briefing. From last year's 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to this year's Two Sessions, the Indian media have followed and paid close attention to the initiatives of China's new leadership, and China's economic and social development, as well as its foreign relations. Today I would like to brief you through 4 topics.

Ⅰ. Two Sessions and China's economic and social development

Two Sessions are major political events in China which provide an important window to learn about China.

2023 marks the first year of implementing the guiding principles of the 20th National Congress of the CPC. It is of great significance for the Two Sessions to draw a new blueprint and start a new journey.

From 4th-13th March, the first meetings of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) and the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) were held in Beijing. The NPC meetings elected and decided to appoint new members of the government, reviewed and approved the "Legislative Law of the People's Republic of China (Draft Amendment)" and the State Council's Institutional Reform Plan. The "Government Work Report" has been approved, which elaborated on China's economic and social development in year 2022 as well as expected goals for the year 2023.

In 2022, China's GDP grows 3% to almost $18 trillion, holding steady as the world's second largest economy. A total of 12 million urban jobs were added, with the year-end surveyed urban unemployment rate falling to 5.5%. The consumer price index (CPI) rose by 2%. China’s total volume of trade in goods exceeded $5.8 trillion, registering an annual growth rate of 8.6%. It has thus been the top global trader for many years running. China is now both a major destination for foreign investment and a leading global outbound investor. The deficit-to-GDP ratio was kept at 2.8%. Fruitful gains were made in scientific and technological innovation. As spending on R&D (Research and Development) increased from 2.1% to over 2.5% of GDP. China’s global ranking of the National Innovation Index has risen from 22nd in 2017 to 11th in 2022. We have made significant strides in building a Beautiful China. Energy consumption per unit of GDP drops and carbon dioxide emissions fall continuously, and forest coverage exceeds 24%.

In 2023, the expected goal is to achieve a GDP growth of about 5%. About 12 million new urban jobs will be created, and the surveyed urban unemployment rate will be about 5.5%; CPI about 3%; residents' income growth will be basically in sync with economic growth; import and export will be stable and quality will be improved, and international balance of payments will be basically balanced; food production remains above 650 million tons; energy consumption per unit of GDP and emissions of major pollutants continue to decline, and the quality of the ecological environment will improve steadily.

With China's large economic volume and high base, coupled with challenges such as instability, uncertainty and unpredictable factors in the world economic situation, it will not be easy to achieve these expected targets. We will make full use of the advantages, such as super-sized market, a well-functioning industrial system, rich supply of human resources and a strong development foundation, and will keep to the general principles of prioritizing stability and seeking progress while maintaining stability, pushing for a turnaround in overall economic performance and making new progress in high-quality development. In practice, in the first three months of the year, China's economy has stabilized and rebounded, and some international organizations have raised their expectations for China's economic growth this year. We are full of confidence in China's economic prospects.

Ⅱ. Chinese path to modernization

Chinese path to modernization was first proposed at the 20th National Congress of the CPC. From the 20th National Congress to the Two Sessions, the goals and tasks of comprehensively promoting the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation through Chinese path to modernization have become clearer, and the implementation path has become more definite.

The Chinese path to modernization shares common characteristics with other modernized countries, more importantly, it bears unique features specific to our own national context. It can be briefly summarized in five features: it is the modernization of a huge population. It is the modernization of common prosperity for all. It is the modernization of coordinated material and cultural-ethical advancement. It is the modernization of harmony between humanity and nature,and it is the modernization of peaceful development.

Achieving modernization for a country of more than 1.4 billion people will be an unprecedented feat in human history, one of profound global significance in itself. China has completed in a few decades the industrialization process that western developed countries have taken hundreds of years to complete. The total economic volume has jumped to the second place in the world, the scale of manufacturing industry, foreign exchange reserves, and the total trade in goods ranks the first in the world. Economic growth has remained at 6.6% for 10 consecutive years, contributing to an average of over 30% of world economic growth. China's 770 million rural poor people have been lifted out of poverty and achieved the poverty reduction target of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. Chinese modernization creates a new form of human advancement, and demonstrated 5 traits:

Independence. Every country has the right and ability to choose its own path, and to hold its future firmly in its own hands. ②Putting people first. People around the world should all enjoy the rights to seek development as equals and pursue happiness. ③ Peaceful development. Chinese modernization is a new path different from Western modernization. It is not pursued through war, colonization, or plundering. It is dedicated to peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, and is committed to harmony between humanity and nature. ④ Openness and inclusiveness. It is important to respect the right of every country to pursue a modernization path tailored to its national reality, and encourage exchange and mutual learning. ⑤Working hard in unity. Partisan rift, empty talk and frequent policy flip-flop goes nowhere.We have been carrying out the set blueprint until it becomes reality.

The process of Chinese modernization is a boost to the force for peace, justice and progress in the world. We hope and believe that as more and more countries begin their own journey of modernization, the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind will become true.

Ⅲ. Global Civilization Initiative

After the Global Development Initiative(GDI) proposed in September 2021 and the Global Security Initiative(GSI) in April 2022, President Xi Jinping further proposed the Global Civilization Initiative(GCI) on 15th March 2023 when he delivered a keynote speech in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting held in Beijing.

The background of the initiative is that we have to answer the question as: In the long river of history, every civilization has its ups and downs, and civilization integrated and confronted with each other. As we human society develop to this stage, is it still inevitable that differences will lead to confrontation and war? Now the modernization process has once again reached a crossroads of history. Polarization or common prosperity? Pure materialistic pursuit or coordinated material and cultural-ethical advancement? Draining the pond to catch the fish or creating harmony between man and nature? Zero-sum game or win-win cooperation? Copying other countries' development model or achieving independent development in light of national conditions? What kind of modernization do we need and how can we achieve it?

The GCI proposed: “We advocate the respect for the diversity of civilizations. Let cultural exchanges transcend estrangement, mutual learning transcend clashes, and coexistence transcend feelings of superiority”. “We advocate the common values of humanity. Peace, development, equity, justice, democracy, and freedom are the common aspirations of all peoples. Countries need to refrain from imposing their own values or models on others and from stoking ideological confrontation”. “We advocate the importance of inheritance and innovation of civilizations. Countries need to push for creative transformation and innovative development of their fine traditional cultures”. “We advocate robust international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. Countries need to explore the building of a global network for inter-civilization dialogue and cooperation, jointly advance the progress of human civilizations”. The GCI has received active support and response from leaders of more than 500 political parties and political organizations from over 150 countries.

From the GDI, the GSI to the GCI, China shows the responsibility to face the common challenges and its willingness to contribute China’s solutions to advancing global modernization and progress of human civilizations.

Ⅳ. Chinese Diplomacy and China-India Relations

As to China’s foreign policy under the new leadership, China will continue to pursue the independent foreign policy of peace, and will continue to implement the mutually beneficial strategy of opening up. China will always be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a defender of the international order, and a promoter of progress of human civilizations.

As two neighboring ancient civilizations and the two largest developing countries and representatives of emerging economies with a combined population of 2.8 billion, both China and India are committed to national development and rejuvenation, stick to the general direction of multilateralism and firmly defend the rights and interests of developing countries. China and India share the same or similar positions on many regional and international issues, and have extensive common interests in South-South cooperation, development and poverty reduction, climate change, energy security, etc. President Xi Jinping has put forward promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. India advocates "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakum" (the world being one family) as well. We could draw strength from our ancient civilizations, and share oriental wisdom with the world, so as to jointly maintain stability of the international and regional order. In a world intertwined with changes and chaos, China and India could speak out loud for more institutional rights of developing countries. China and India working together will bear on the future of Asia and beyond. Both sides should follow the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries that “China and India are not threats to each other, but an opportunity for each other’s development”, and “be cooperation partners to each other instead of being  competitive rivals”. The Chinese side has always viewed and handled China-India relations from a strategic and long-term perspective. Although the relationship faces some difficulties, China’s position has never wavered and we have been committed to pushing it back on the track of healthy and steady development.

Since last year, China-India relations have caught positive momentum. President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi commonly attended 3 Summit meetings and exchange greetings on the sidelines of the G20 Bali Summit. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar 3 times in Year 2022. Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Qin Gang, during his visit to India to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting, held a bilateral meeting with Minister S. Jaishankar and had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and multilateral cooperation. The current border situation is overall stable. The two sides continue to maintain communication via diplomatic and military channels , promoting the transition of the border situation to normalized management and control at an earliest date. China and India’s bilateral trade continues to grow. People-to-people exchanges begin to resume.

China supports India in fulfilling its responsibilities as the presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization(SCO) and the G20, willing to strengthen communication and cooperation, safeguard the common interests of developing countries and international fairness and justice. We believe that China and India could find a way for neighboring major countries to live in peace and develop together, so as to realize the "Asian Century".

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