By H.E. Li Bijian, Consul General of China in Karachi
TEXT: Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
72 years ago, we had arduous struggles and toppled the three mountains of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat-capitalism and established the People's Republic of China, and made the people masters of the country. We thus secured our nation's independence and liberated our people. It created the fundamental social conditions for realizing the national rejuvenation.
After 72 years, through the continued efforts of the whole Party and the entire nation, we have realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. This means that we have brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China, and we are now marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects.
In 2020, facing shocks of a severity rarely seen before, based on what we had done to ensure stability on six key fronts, we carried out the task of maintaining security in six key areas-particularly job creation, basic living needs, and the operations of market entities. By maintaining security, we were able to deliver stability while also pursuing progress. Thanks to all these arduous efforts, China was able to take the lead in reopening its economy. With gross domestic product (GDP) for the year growing by 2.3 percent, a better-than expected recovery was achieved. We thus not only gained fresh experience in macro regulation, but also delivered the best possible outcome at an acceptable cost. A total of 11.86 million urban jobs were added, and the year-end surveyed urban unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent. We carried out major projects for protecting and restoring key ecosystems in the Yangtze River and Yellow River basins and along the coastlines, and stepped up our ecological conservation endeavors. We took prudent steps to defuse local government debt risks and acted swiftly to defuse a number of major financial risks and potential dangers.
In 2020, steady progress was achieved in the joint pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Major measures to develop the Hainan Free Trade Port and other major initiatives were launched. The third China International Import Expo and the China International Fair for Trade in Services were hosted successfully. China played an important role in the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. China's industrial chains and supply chains were kept stable. And its foreign trade and utilized foreign investment posted steady growth. Online school teaching was introduced nationwide, and students returned to school for the autumn semester. Over 10 million high school graduates successfully completed the college entrance examination. We pushed ahead with the comprehensive reform of education, and we achieved the goal of increasing student enrollments in vocational colleges by one million. Efforts were redoubled to strengthen the public health system. We scaled up the capacity for conducting large-scale nucleic acid testing, and all the medical bills for treating Covid-19 patients were covered by the government. We took a full range of measures to maintain law and order, and continued to combat organized crime and root out local criminal gangs, thus making further headway in pursuing the Peaceful China initiative. We implemented the Party Central Committee's strategic plan for exercising full and strict Party self-governance, and did more to improve Party conduct, build a clean government, and fight corruption. We consolidated the gains from the initiative to raise awareness of the need to stay true to the Party's founding mission. We strictly complied with the central Party leadership's eight-point decision on improving work conduct, and we made sustained efforts to ease the burdens of those working on the ground.
The year of 2021 is an extraordinary year in the history of the Chinese nation. We celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. Over the past hundred years, the Party has united and led the Chinese people in writing the most magnificent chapter in the millennia-long history of the Chinese nation, embodying the dauntless spirit that Mao Zedong expressed when he wrote, "Our minds grow stronger for the martyrs' sacrifice, daring to make the sun and the moon shine in the new sky." The great path we have pioneered, the great cause we have undertaken, and the great achievements we have made over the past century will go down in the annals of the development of the Chinese nation and of human civilization.
Over the past hundred years, the CPC has grown from a small party with just over 50 members into the largest governing party in the world, with more than 95 million members in a country of more than 1.4 billion people. It is a party of major international standing. It has governed the world's largest socialist country for more than seven decades. It has led the Chinese people onto the path towards national rejuvenation and modernization, and it enjoys extensive support from the Chinese people. With a per capital gross national income surpassing US$10,000, China has joined the ranks of upper-middle income economies, and is on her way to become a high-income country. The urban-rural income gap is steadily shrinking, and China has a middle income group of 400 million people, the biggest in the world. The employment market in China is stable. At the end of 2020, almost 751 million people in China were in employment. China has built the world's largest social security network, with basic medical insurance covering 1.3 billion people by the end of June 2021. During the same period, one billion people were covered by basic old-age insurance, 222 million by unemployment insurance, and 274 million by work-related injury insurance.
The year of 2021 is an extraordinary year in the course of Chinese recent history. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations. Over the past 50 years, China, with concrete actions, has lived up to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and has served as an important builder of world peace, the biggest contributor to global development, and a firm defender of international order. From once being excluded from the UN to now being a member of almost all universal inter-governmental organizations and shouldering important responsibilities as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has all along committed to the UN Charter, spoken up and acted for justice, and played a key role in upholding international equity and justice.
As the coronavirus continues to mutate and wreak havoc, China takes an active part in global cooperation against the Covid-19 pandemic, and has done her best to offer help to international organizations and other countries. By June 2021 China had provided US$2 billion in aid for the international Covid-19 response, and as aid to social and economic recovery in developing countries hit by the pandemic. It has sent medical supplies to more than 150 countries and 13 international organizations, and supplied more than 290 billion masks, 3.5 billion protective suits, and 4.6 billion testing kits to the world. It has also provided more than 520 million doses of vaccines to over 100 countries and international organizations, and sent 33 medical expert teams to 31 countries in need of help.
The year of 2021 is an extraordinary year in the development of China-Pakistan relations. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan. In the seven decades ever since, the two countries have stood together, rain or shine, and built an exceptional, ironclad friendship. This friendship has become a strategic asset, most dearly cherished by both sides. This year, China and Pakistan inaugurated grand and warm celebrations to honour the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations, including high-level visits, business exchanges and cultural activities etc.
Recent years, we have put in place a "1+4" cooperation structure that centers on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and priorities the Gwadar Port, transportation infrastructure, energy and industrial cooperation. Under CPEC, 70 early-harvest projects have been identified, among which 46 have been launched or completed. A total of $25.4 billion has been invested, creating 70,000 jobs for Pakistan. CPEC, as a signature project under the Belt and Road Initiative, has served as a fine example as China and other Islamic countries work to synergize their development strategies. As an all-weather strategic cooperative partner, China always gives priority to its cooperation with Pakistan in its overall external cooperation. We will continue to firmly support Pakistan in safeguarding its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity; in deepening reform and opening wider and raising self-reliance ability; in enhancing political unity, national security and social stability; and in playing a bigger and more constructive role in international and regional affairs.
Finally, I wish the People's Republic of China prosperity and everlasting friendship between China and Pakistan.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021