In 1978, China embarked on a grand journey of reform and opening-up, following the third plenary session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Just like a spring thunder that wakes up the earth, the new revolution led by the Party has written a splendid epic of the country marching toward prosperity and development and creating a vigorous atmosphere of national rejuvenation. Reform and opening-up has not only changed China profoundly, but also deeply influenced the world.
Starting from discussions on the criteria for testing the truth, reform and opening-up has always been the voice of the times over the past 40 years. From countryside to cities, from trials to promotion, and from reform of the economic system to comprehensively deepening reform, China has carried forward the spirit of reform.
In addition, from coastal cities to inland cities, from keeping its door open to opening itself in an all-round manner, and from joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) to taking part in the co-construction of the Belt and Road, China is unstoppable on its way to openness.
Today, the China that was seeking the answer to where the socialist China should go has successfully discovered a unique path to modernization. The country which was on the brink of being excluded from globalization has risen to become the second largest economy in the world. The country which has been dedicated to national rejuvenation has finally made a great leap from catching up with the times to leading the times.
General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping pointed out that reform and opening up is the key choice, the right path, and the path to becoming strong and rich. Because of this, the Party's central committee, with Xi at the core, has been pushing for comprehensively deepening reform with unprecedented efforts since the 18th National Congress of the CPC. More than 1,600 reform schemes were rolled out, propelling socialism with Chinese characteristics to enter the new era.
Without reform and opening-up, China wouldn't become what it is today and what it will become in the future. Reform and opening-up is still the strongest characteristic of China, and to carry reform and opening-up to the end is still the common aspiration of the Chinese people.
To hold higher and more steadily the banner of reform and opening-up, China must follow history by conforming to the people's aspirations for development, innovation and a better life. To unleash and enhance productivity is the starting point and purpose of reform and opening-up, as well as the fundamental method to resolve the major contradictions of society.
Over the past 40 years, China replaced its highly centralized planned economic system with a socialist market economy. The reform of the system has revitalized productivity, unleashing a gigantic wave of vigor among the people and making China stand up and become richer and stronger.
As socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era, the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved. What China now faces is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing need for a better life.
The basic dimension of the Chinese context—that the country is still and will long remain in the primary stage of socialism—has not changed. China's international status as the world's largest developing country has not changed. All these have determined that our primary and most urgent task is to further liberate and develop productivity, and deepen reform and opening-up with firmer confidence and through stronger measures.
To hold higher and more steadily the banner of reform and opening-up, China needs to develop in line with the evolution of the times, and tie its own development with the need of development, cooperation, and a peaceful life of people from all over the world.
Openness brings progress, while self-seclusion leaves one behind. Over the past 40 years, through pursuing development with its doors open wide, China moved its economy from a secluded one, to a semi-secluded one and then to an open one. It has become the largest trader of goods and the biggest player in the tourism market in the world, as well the major trade partner of more than 130 countries.
In recent years, protectionism and unilateralism have been on the rise and anti-globalization sentiment has been mounting. At this moment, we have to be aware of the fact that economic globalization is an irreversible trend, and opening-up is the fundamental way toward national prosperity and strength. China will not close its doors to the world; we will only become more and more open.
Only by continuously pushing for a higher level of opening-up, pursuing an open global economy, and building a community of a shared destiny for humanity can China develop on a stronger basis, giving its people a greater sense of gain. It is only by doing the above-mentioned that China can interact deeply with the world and become a builder of world peace, contributor of global development and protector of the international order.
All great achievements are made with continuous effort and all great causes are moved forward as we carry the baton from our predecessors. Over the past four decades, the Chinese people have worked with concerted efforts, and progressed with sheer endeavor, and the country has accumulated global influence, China has commemorated the past 40 years by starting to write a new splendid history, and paid tribute to reform and opening-up by creating new and bigger miracles.
Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, remaining true to our aspirations and constantly marching forward, China will surely create success in reform and opening-up, and the national rejuvenation will ultimately be realized amid reform and opening-up.