October 6, 2009
The following greeting is addressed to Chinese readers
Happy Anniversary! Who would have thought, sixty years ago, that we would be celebrating 60 years of the PRC amidst such remarkable progress? To mention just some of results of the Chinese miracle:
• 3-400 million citizens have been lifted out of poverty.
• China will become the world’s second largest economy.
• Successful entry into the WTO.
• An annual trade surplus of around $300 billion – the largest in history.
• Foreign exchange reserves of some $2.2 trillion – the largest in history.
• A brilliantly organized Olympic Games.
• Peace with its neighbours.
I had the good fortune to be in Beijing on 1 October. Only superlatives describe the quality and organization of the parade and gala concert. This was a happy occasion of which the Chinese people can be proud.
What of the next 60 years? Despite the difficult global economic and financial climate, it is hoped, and indeed expected, that China will be able to consolidate. Key challenges include:
• Recovering from the economic recession.
• Resisting global protectionism against China by improving domestic market access to foreigners.
• Fighting climate change and strengthening environmental protection.
• Reducing the economic gap between regions.
• Further democratization of the Party, as laid down by Hu Jintao.
• Improving the non-domestic communication and explanation of Chinese government policies.
• Strengthening its international role.
• Improving its international image.
China and Europe are both seeking unity in diversity. The concept of e pluribus unum (out of many, one) has been with us for two millennia. It requires harmony and peaceful coexistence. A strong and responsible EU and China, seeking sustainability and not hegemony, is the best hope for us all.