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Chinese Dream, People's Dream and the World's Dream
Speech by Consul General Li Huaxin at China Studies Centre in the University of Sydney

2013-09-30
 

Mr. Kerry Brown, Executive director of China Studies Centre,

Professors, scholars and students from the Sydney University,

Friends from the media,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

Good afternoon!

Firstly, I'd like thank China Studies Centre of the University of Sydney for inviting me to deliver a speech here. I feel very delighted to share my views with you on the topic of "Chinese Dream" tonight.

In China, the "Chinese Dream" has become a hot topic of discussions. From state leaders to ordinary citizens, from people's talking, writings to forums and Weibo (Chinese version of Twitter), Chinese people who were mild in history have never been more excited for dreams like today.

And people all over the world are also talking about the "Chinese Dream". If you search the phrase-"Chinese dream" in Google, you will get 287 million results in less than a second.

I also found an interesting thing. In western media, there are two versions of the translation of "中国梦"-one is the "China Dream", and the other is the "Chinese Dream".

I think these two versions perfectly explained the content of the "Chinese Dream". The "Chinese Dream" is not only the dream of "China", but also the dream of the "Chinese". The "Chinese Dream" aims to building a more prosperous and stronger country, realizing national revitalization as well as providing opportunities for all Chinese people to lighten their lives and make their dreams come true.

Hereby I want to share two stories related to the "Chinese Dream" with you.

In 1932 when China took part in the Olympic Games for the first time, 23-year-old Liu Changchun is the only athlete in the delegation. At that time China was both poor and weak so that the government even could not afford a subsidy for Liu Changchun to carry out pre-competition trainings. As a result, although Liu had very good physical qualities, he was eliminated early because of the lack of systematic training. Thus Chinese people's Olympic debut ended regrettably.

The other story is about a dream once cherished by myself. In 1970s when China saw the end of 10 years turmoil, everything destroyed before are waiting to be reconstructed. After my graduation from high school, although I was dreaming to continue my study in college, it could not be realized at all in an era when educational systems were disorganized. Benefitting from the reform and opening-up policy initiated by Mr. Deng Xiaoping in 1978, I eventually entered college through examination four years after I left high school and my college dream came true, which completely changed my life.

Either Liu Changchun's Olympic dream or my college dream is just an epitome of thousands of "Chinese Dreams". "The small streams rise when the main stream is high; when the main stream is low, the small streams run dry". This plain saying vividly illustrates Chinese people's constant and endless patriotic feelings. Chinese modern history in the past century makes us deeply realize that the dreams of each individual could never exist without the fortunes of the whole nation. The strength and advancement of the country are normally the preconditions for individuals to realize their own dreams.

Therefore, in our mind, the "Chinese Dream" should be a trinity of the country, the nation and the people. "Chinese Dream" is the dream of "a prosperous and strong country, the great rejuvenation of the nation, and people's welfare and happiness", which are the common aspirations of 1.3 billion Chinese people under the accumulation of years of history.

From saving the nation from subjugation and ensuring its survival to building a strong country and enriching the people, China's dream-chasing journey has been rough and rugged for more than 100 years. When the United States newsmagazine Time named Deng Xiaoping "Person of the Year" at the end of 1978, it used 48 pages of series articles to introduce Deng Xiaoping and China and the title of the first article is called "the Dreamer of China".

Reform and opening up brightened the "Chinese Dream". China's economic growth rate kept nearly 10% continuously for more than 30 years; people's income increased more than 30 folds. China's contribution to global poverty reduction is over 70%. As Australian scholar Mr. Hugh White pointed out, China's economic growth brought Chinese people better and more prosperous lives which their elder generation could never even dare to dream of.

Reform and opening up also brought up a large number of Chinese dreamers other than Mr. Deng. The founder of Lenovo Liu Chuanzhi, Ma Yun of Alibaba, and basketball superstar Yao Ming are all outstanding representatives of them. More importantly, tens of thousands of ordinary Chinese people who have their own dreams also gained opportunities and space to use their talents and live their dreams because of the reform and opening up.

Today's China is seemingly quite close to realize its dream. But the road gets tougher as dream drawing nearer. Over the past 30 years, China has been "crossing the river by feeling out for stones". Now we are facing the hidden rocks and heavy waves in the deep water area of the reform. We are increasingly realizing that China is still on the way of chasing dreams and the road ahead is not flat and Chinese people could not lay on the past achievements and doing nothing.

Former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao once described the difficulty of "China's problems" as follows: no matter how tiny the problem is, it will get quite huge when multiply by 1.3 billions. In deed, the problems China faces are not only large in number, but also complicated. In order to achieve the goal of doubling its 2010 GDP and per capita income in 2020, China's annual economic growth rate need to be kept at about 7%, which is very difficult for such a large economy. According to the UN criteria, there are still 128 million people in China living under the poverty line. They could not earn 400 dollars for a whole year even though they live frugally. The gap between the rich and the poor is also expanding. Last year, the per capita net income of the farmers in Gansu Province is less than one fourth of that of the farmers in Shanghai. Employment pressure increases year by year, while the positions provided by the society are decreasing. The number of college graduates who are hunting jobs this year reached nearly 7 million, increased by 190 thousand than last year. Students complain that this year is "the toughest employment season in history". Corruption, environmental pollution, food safety…all these issues are troubling people like the haze weather in Beijing.

Strong spiritual strength is needed especially in difficult times. At the crucial moment of national rejuvenation, China needs a banner to rally 1.3 billion people to struggle to overcome difficulties. The "Chinese Dream" is exactly a banner to answer the call of the times. It drew a beautiful prospect of happy lives, inspired the Chinese people and sounded the bugle of working solidly to revitalize the Chinese nation. It encourages people to face up to difficulties and hardships bravely, build a beautiful China through hard work and enterprising spirit and create happy lives through hard-working hands.

The "Chinese Dream" has also raised thinking of the whole world on its meaning. The Financial Times of the UK commented: "the dream of China does not only concerns China's destiny but also the World's destiny". Here comes a question- what kind of dream the "Chinese Dream" is to the world?

Firstly, the "Chinese Dream" is a dream of peaceful development.

Frankly speaking, after the "Chinese Dream" was presented, not all of the international comments are positive. Some say that the "Chinese Dream" is a hegemony dream with strong nationalism color. Its ultimate goal is to seek hegemony in the world.

Those negative comments could by no means satisfy us. After calm thinking and observation, we realized that such misunderstandings and prejudice normally root in the rigid and old-fashioned patterns of thinking. During his visit to Russia early this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, if one wants to follow the pace of the times, he could not left his mind in stereotypes of the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game when its body had already entered the 21st century. In deed, as long as one put aside his prejudice, he can view China more objectively and rationally and understand that the "Chinese Dream" is by no means a threat to the world.

The "Chinese Dream" formed in the trend of peaceful development and can only come true through the path of peaceful development. The aims of the "Chinese Dream" are not to conquer, exceed or replace anyone, but to provide Chinese people with better education, more stable occupations, more satisfied income, higher level medical and health service and more beautiful environment. China clearly opposes hegemony and power politics, devotes itself to build a peaceful and stable international environment, promotes peaceful settlements of international disputes and hot spot issues, improves international and regional security cooperation and seeks to achieve collective security, common security and cooperative security.

For a long time, China has been endeavoring to explain its commitment to pursue peaceful development. But it's not easy to dispel long existing misunderstandings. I noticed that the 2013 Lowy Institute poll shows there are still 41% of Australians believe China will pose a military threat to Australia in the coming 20 years. This is more or less disappointing as the current China-Australia relations have gained in-depth development. However, we understand that a country will naturally feel uncomfortable when its neighbor gradually gets stronger. But we also have to illustrate that being strong does not definitely lead to hegemony. In terms of size, China's panda is much bigger than Australia's Koala. But they both have a mild and friendly character. Loving peace is one of the natural instincts of the Chinese nation. In Ming Dynasty, Zheng He led seven ocean journeys which are earlier than Columbus and other colonists, spreading peace and friendship to everywhere he went. China has never invaded any country even in its strongest period in history. It will never threat the world when shouldering the mission of rejuvenation and the expectations of its people.

We are aware of that the key to dispel suspicions, worries and misunderstandings is to strengthen communication and dialogue. Now China has increasingly more opportunities to communicate with the world, wider channels for dialogue and mutual understandings were also unceasingly deepened. Several decades ago, China was still viewed as "the Yellow Peril" and "Red Devil" by the western world. The two sides are completely isolated. This year, President Obama and President Xi Jinping took a walk together in Annenberg Estate. China and Australia built an annual leaders' meeting mechanism. Communications promote mutual trust and dialogues deepen understanding. We have full reasons to believe that the world will eventually recognize that the realization of the "Chinese Dream" does not only mean the enhancement of China's strength, but also the growth of peaceful forces in the world and more opportunities for development.

Secondly, the "Chinese Dream" is the dream of win-win cooperation.

China is an active advocate and practical actor of win-win cooperation. Since China's accession to the WTO, it imported 687 billion dollars' goods per year and created more than 14 million jobs for related countries and regions. China drove one fourth of global economic growth and made universally acknowledged contributions to world economic recovery after the outbreak of international financial crisis in 2008. In the following five years, China will import 10 trillion dollars' goods. The scale of its outbound investment will reach 500 billion dollars. And more than 400 million overseas tourism trips will be made. Friedman, columnist of New York Times even says you can only see future in China. Certainly, during the process of realizing its own dreams, the cooperation path between China and the world will be increasingly expanded and the pragmatic collaborations between China and other countries will be solidly advanced. The "Chinese Dream" will create more cooperation opportunities for China and the world, more convergence of common interests and better benefit the people in all countries.

In the respect of win-win cooperation, continuously growing China-Australia trade relation is no doubt a fine model.

Currently China has become the largest trading partner of Australia. The volume of trade between China and Australia has exceeded 122.3 billion dollars in 2012 from less than 100 million dollars in 1972 when the diplomatic relationship was established. Australia's trade relationship with China is worth $14,480 a year to the average Australian household, which has increased more than 50 per cent since the global financial crisis. Almost no one would deny one indispensable reason for the Australian economy to keep sound momentum and continuous economic growth during global financial crisis is the close trade cooperation between China and Australia.

Meanwhile, China and Australia have become each other's important investment partners. Up to the end of last year, China has approved around 10 thousand investment programs from Australia in aggregate terms, and actually utilized 7.2 billion dollars' capital from Australia. The investment from Chinese companies in major projects in Australia has also increased continuously. The cooperation of investment between China and NSW was also deepened. China ranks the 3rd of 16 prior countries of external business cooperation in the International Engagement Strategy published by the government of NSW in May this year.

China has also become the largest source of tourism profits and international students to Australia. It is reported that from May last year to May this year, the number of Chinese tourists travelling to Australia exceeded 680 thousand. They spent 4.8 billion dollars during their trips. The proportion of Chinese students in all international students in Australia reached 22%, which ranks the first of all. NSW became the first choice of tourism destination for Chinese tourists. The latest international tourism research report shows that from June last year to June this year, Chinese tourists coming to NSW reached 396 thousand, increased by 18% than last year, brought 1.3 billion Australian dollars' benefit to the economy of NSW. China overtook New Zealand as the largest source of overseas tourists for the first time.

If we may say that the demand of iron ore from China created the mining boom in Australia, then the "Chinese Dream" shows us broader and far-reaching potential of economic and trade cooperation between China and Australia. Now the relevant departments from both countries are working hard to negotiate on the signing of a free trade agreement. I'm convinced that under the joint efforts of both sides, we are sure to eliminate the unfavorable factors constraining bilateral economic and trade cooperation, further expand cooperative opportunities on a wide range of fields including agriculture, service industry, science and technology, education and culture, so as to ensure more diverse and in-depth development of China-Australia economic and trade cooperation. I'm more firmly convinced that an "upgraded version" of Chinese economy will bring Australian economy broader market and stronger impetus, and the "Chinese Dream" of win-win cooperation will benefit the people in both countries in a long term as an inexhaustible treasure.

Thirdly, the "Chinese Dream" is also a dream of openness and inclusiveness.

The policy of cutting off China from outside world cost a heavy price. Today's China has realized the importance of embracing the world with an open attitude more than ever. The "Chinese Dream" not only belongs to China, but also the whole world. We will not close our door to have a "Chinese Dream", but to share the "Chinese Dream" with the world in deepening reform and opening up. In chasing the "Chinese Dream", we will not shut ourselves up in a room making a cart, but to fully take advantage of international talents, technology, resources, capital and market, further integrate into the world and create opportunities for the common development of the world.

In 2000, a subject of the composition examinations of China's college entrance examination caused wide discussion. The subject is "the answers are colorful". Many students wrote that one question may have more than one correct answer because of different understandings and perspectives towards the question.

This subject also gives us many inspirations. It is natural that different countries have different opinions on different issues because of totally different history, culture, traditions and national conditions. The answers are colorful. The "Chinese Dream" and the dreams of other countries in the world are different but they can coexist harmoniously and advance together. Only by living in harmony can those dreams complement each other compatibly; only by allowing differences can those dreams learn from each other.

After the Opium War in 1840s, China once lost its way. The modern history during the past 100 years is not only Chinese people's journey to pursue the "Dream", but also a journey to seek a "path". Where is the path for China? In order to answer this question, generations of Chinese people went through arduous and painful search. The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the answer to the question after Chinese people summarized historical experience and lessons. It's also the only path we should take to realize the "Chinese Dream".

We are confident in the development path, theories and systems directed by history and our elder generations. We also respect development paths chosen by the people in other countries. We can listen to suggestions and voice of criticism, but could never accept anything imposed on us by others. We believe that different civilizations should replace confrontation with dialogue, defuse disagreements by inclusiveness; different social systems and development models should learn from each other and seek common development. We are firmly convinced that as a great nation which created "the four great inventions", China will certainly bring new shines to the splendid world civilization with its dreams, and will also make distinctive contributions to the exploration of development path of the human society.

Ladies and gentlemen!

History has proven again and again that a nation which has dreams in mind could always go through hardships and achieve its goal. The "Chinese Dream" gives us confidence to realize its established development targets as well as hope and strength to resolve "China's problems".

When 1.3 billion Chinese people are striving hard for the realization of the "Chinese Dream", the international society is also spending unremitting efforts to realize the dream of the world-building a world with lasting peace and common prosperity. The "Chinese Dream" is an inseparable part of the dream of the world. The "Chinese Dream" will bring to the world new hope, new opportunities and new driving forces. It also needs more understanding, support and assistance from the world.

Thank you.

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