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With poverty tamed, China eyes common prosperity

By ZHANG YUNBI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-10-21 11:07
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Ruan Zongze, a leading Chinese scholar of international relations, told the audience at the online Vision China event on Wednesday that while he was working with the United Nations about a decade ago, he was amazed by the power his country's fight against poverty had to inspire others.

Ruan Zongze

As the executive vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, Ruan served as an advisory panel member on the UN Development Programme's Human Development Report.

"Poverty reduction was the hot issue on the agenda at every meeting," he said.

Ruan was especially impressed by an African colleague telling him that China's work on fighting poverty was inspiring. "If you can do it," he said, quoting the colleague, "we can, too!"

Following the official conclusion of China's decisive fight against extreme poverty, the State Council Information Office issued a white paper last month.

Entitled "China's Epic Journey from Poverty to Prosperity", the document provides a panoramic account of the country's journey to what President Xi Jinping terms "moderate prosperity in all respects", or xiaokang in Chinese.

"For the first time in its history, China managed to eliminate absolute poverty throughout the country," Ruan said, referring to the document and citing China's success with poverty relief as a major contribution to the world, the UN and global development.

As the world's largest developing country, China has been able to create "two miracles": rapid economic growth and enduring social stability.

"Thanks to the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, we made the impossible possible," he said. "However, China will not stop here. Next, it will embark on a new journey forward to common prosperity, leaving no one behind."

Echoing his African colleague's comment, Ruan said, "China can do this, and we believe other developing countries can also do it."

As the world faces threats like COVID-19, food shortages, energy security and climate change, Ruan warned that "none (of these issues) can be effectively addressed without international cooperation."

Making things worse, he said he believed that a Cold War mentality was coming back, creating tensions and trouble in the world, adding that the right way to avert division is to maintain a universal system.

"The UN, as the most universal, representative and authoritative intergovernmental organization, is the most important platform for the practice of multilateralism," he said.

As a scholar with a wide reach, with colleagues around the world and the media, Ruan is often confronted by concerns over China's role in the international order.

"China is a defender of the international order. Beijing put forth the five principles of peaceful coexistence in the 1950s. So far, China has joined almost all universal intergovernmental organizations," Ruan said.

In particular, he cited the fact that China safeguards the UN-centered international system and upholds the international order as underpinned by international law. He underlined China's pursuit of equality and justice in terms of handling global affairs and advancing global governance.

"To build a community with a shared future for mankind, it is important to adhere to the principle that all countries, big or small, are equal and take an active part in the reform and improvement of the global governance system," he said.

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