40 years of achievements spur us on in the new era
Francis Bacon said: "Histories make men wise." In the case of China, history has always been a source of wisdom and strength for this oriental civilization with a time-honored history of 5,000 years.
The year 2018 is a memorable year and a good time to draw on historical achievements. Forty years ago, the third plenary session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China started the courageous endeavor and still on-going process of reform and opening-up in China.
A line-up of grandiose accomplishments
I was doing my MA in the United States in the early 1980s shortly after my first overseas posting in Africa. China was only a couple of years into reform and opening-up, and I could never forget the shock at seeing the huge gap between China and the US then.
The ensuing four decades painted a completely different picture. China maintained an average annual growth rate of more than 9 percent and became the world's second-largest economy; China's share in the world economy increased from 2.7 to 16 percent; its per capita GDP rocketed from around $100 to over $8,000; 800 million Chinese were lifted out of poverty.
The fact that China has accomplished in 40 years what had taken the Western industrialized countries several hundreds of years to achieve is truly a miracle in human history.
A symphony of glorious courage
The 40 years of reform and opening-up is a great new revolution. The CPC has led the Chinese people to take on difficult issues and navigate treacherous rapids, "cutting a path through the mountain rocks and building a bridge across the rapid currents". With these courageous efforts, China has continuously released and developed the productive forces, and succeeded in blazing a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
From the rural household contract responsibility system to the urban economic system reform, from the establishment of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone to the accession to the World Trade Organization, from opening the coastal and border areas to developing the western inland region, and from pilot free trade zones to the Belt and Road Initiative, China has continued to remove institutional barriers to development.
These vigorous measures of reform and opening-up have helped release and boost social vitality and invigorate the Chinese nation. China is now more confident and capable than at any time in history to realize national rejuvenation.