Wen Jiabao (Speech of China’s Prime Minister in London;  27 Jun 2011)


Wen Jiabao: “Since the process of reform and opening-up began in China, people outside the country have seen the development and changes there in different ways. There is also an intense interest in our future path. On my visit to London, I wish to take the opportunity to address this subject.“


Tomorrow’s China will be an economically advanced country, with its people enjoying prosperity. Indeed, to pursue economic development and improve people’s lives has always been the top priority of the Chinese government. We will stick to scientific development, work hard to shift the model of economic development, and achieve green, low-carbon and sustainable growth.


We will expand domestic demand, particularly consumer demand, fully tap into the potential for consumption by the urban and rural population, and make consumption the fundamental driver of economic growth.


The key to this prosperity and sustainable development is science and technology. Globally, science and technology are also crucial for overcoming the financial crisis and ensuring stable, balanced and sustainable economic development. The world is seeing the advent of a new revolution in science and technology and a new Industrial Revolution. Exciting breakthroughs will be made in many fields. This new revolution will deepen our understanding of the universe, nature and ourselves as human beings. It will open up new frontiers, unleash productive forces, create new social demand and exert a profound impact on our modes of production, way of life and way of thinking. The revolution in science and technology will thus bring about a fundamental change in the development of human society in the 21st century.


Tomorrow’s China will be a country that fully achieves democracy, the rule of law, fairness and justice. In the course of human history, struggles against feudal autocracy gave birth to the concepts of democracy, the rule of law, freedom, equality and human rights. These ideas have greatly emancipated the human mind, although they may be achieved in different ways and forms in different societies and countries.


People’s democracy is the soul of socialism. Without democracy, there is no socialism. Without freedom, there is no real democracy. Without a guarantee of economic and political rights, there is no real freedom.


We will steadfastly advance structural political reform, and build socialist democracy under the rule of law. We are committed to respecting and protecting human rights. Pursuant to the law, we protect the right of all members of society to equal participation in that society and its development. China was long under the influence of feudalism. After the founding of the new China, the country went through the turmoil of the decade-long Cultural Revolution. Since China opened itself up, some new developments and problems have occurred. To promote democracy, improve the legal system and strengthen the effective oversight of power remains a long and arduous task for us.


We need to create conditions for people to oversee and criticise the government, to make the government live up to its responsibilities and prevent corruption. With a keen sense of responsibility and democracy, people will spur social progress. The more the people participate in social management and public affairs, the greater the momentum there will be to sustain social progress.


Tomorrow’s China will be a more open, inclusive, culturally advanced and harmonious country. We should continue to open up not only in the economic, scientific and technological fields, but also be bold about learning from others in promoting cultural progress and social management.


We should create a better political environment and a freer academic atmosphere, in which people can pursue truth, exercise reasoning and respect science, in which the mysteries of nature, the laws governing society and the true meaning of life can be fully explored.


Tomorrow’s China will be a country committed to peaceful development and ready to shoulder its responsibilities. To the rest of the world, China’s peaceful development is an opportunity, rather than a threat. China has become an engine driving global economic growth, having contributed more than 20 per cent of world economic growth in each of the past five years. Since joining the World Trade Organisation in 2001, China has imported close to $750 billion of goods every year, creating more than 14 million jobs in the relevant countries and regions. China’s imports are expected to exceed $8 trillion in the next five years, which will provide more business opportunities for other countries.


The 21st century should be a century of co-operation, rather than conflict and rivalry. China is committed to upholding world peace.


To build socialism with distinctive Chinese features has been the solemn choice made by the country’s 1.3 billion people. Reform and opening-up will be carried out throughout the entire process of China’s modernisation endeavour. To stall or reverse course is not an option. We must move on with confidence. Only by doing so can China turn itself into a prosperous, democratic, culturally advanced, modern and harmonious socialist country, and can the Chinese people enjoy a happy, dignified life in a more extensive way and at a higher level. Whatever difficulties and obstacles may lie ahead, they cannot block this historic process.


(Wen Jiabao is the Premier of China. This is an edited version of his speech to the Royal Society in London yesterday, after receiving the King Charles II Medal. )


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