A container terminal at the port of Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province（xinhua）
The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) declared in October 2017 that socialism with Chinese characteristics had entered a new era, charting a new historical direction for China's development.
In this new era, the Chinese nation is experiencing a tremendous transformation: it has stood up, grown rich, and is becoming strong. In recent times, the Chinese nation has become independent and more prosperous. The key to this is the CPC and the Chinese people's correct understanding of the characteristics of the times, as well as the guidance of the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the opportunities availed during 40 years of reform and opening up.
Today, China is still in the primary stage of socialism and this basic national condition has not changed. China's international status as the world's largest developing country also remains unchanged. This determines that China must adhere to and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics and strengthen its confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture that it offers.
Four decades ago, late leader Deng Xiaoping, the initial architect of reform and opening up, raised the questions: where China was going, what socialism is and how to achieve it. The second generation of the CPC leadership, with Deng at its core, pointed out that poverty is not in keeping with socialism. The essence of socialism is to unleash and develop productive forces and ultimately achieve common prosperity. These thoughts and answers to the major problems of China's future and destiny constitute the essence of the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
Profound changes have taken place in the world today. The contemporary international community has become more multipolar, more globalized and more diversified, while technology has become the basis of modern society.
Just as they were 40 years ago, the Chinese people are now facing new questions of the time. On April 10, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony of the 2018 annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) and delivered a keynote speech.
Xi said that for a country and a nation to rejuvenate, it must progress along the tide of history.
The trend of history is moving toward a future in which human society will gradually become a community with a shared future, where the common wellbeing of all mankind will be pursued, and where development will be achieved through peaceful cooperation, openness, harmony, reform and innovation.
Therefore, China should open its mind, adhere to peace, cooperation and openness, and consciously integrate its own development with that of the world.
China will be a responsible, modern, socialist country, and will work together with people in the rest of the world to strive for the establishment of a peaceful, stable, prosperous, open and beautiful global community.
Embrace the world
At the opening ceremony of the BFA, Xi described economic globalization as an irreversible historical trend. China's door to the world will not be closed, he said, but will instead open wider still.
Only by opening its door wider will China have the opportunity to communicate with the international community, integrate into world development, offer wisdom to the progress of human civilization, realize the common advancement of more countries and regions, and contribute to the global economy.
Opening wider is incumbent on China in its role as a responsible major country. Through the Belt and Road Initiative, it can promote peaceful cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, and consultation based on mutual respect and benefit.
Opening is the prerequisite for integration, and integration is the purpose and result of openness. On January 28, 2013, Xi said that China should have a global vision, better integrate domestic development with opening up to the outside world, and combine the interests of the Chinese people with those of all people.
China's reform and opening up represents a voluntary embrace of economic globalization and active integration into the prosperous future of human society.
If China wants to develop, it must not shut its door. The country must continue to integrate into the world and contribute to an open and reasonable international order.
"An integrated world is there. Whoever refuses the world will be refused by it," Xi said at the meeting commemorating the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth.
Reform and innovation
Through reform and opening up, China continues to develop and create. It is no longer simply an imitator or follower, but an innovator and trailblazer.
In the 1950s and 1960s, China gave priority to developing heavy industry, while at the beginning of the reform and opening up the government encouraged and developed relatively small labor-intensive industries, making good use of the country's comparative advantage in cheap and abundant labor. Such industries seized a share of the domestic and international market, greatly promoting China's economic and social development.
With the continuous expansion of the global market and profound changes in the world order, China is moving closer to the center of the international stage. The development mode of China has faced many problems in areas such as human resources, exchange rates and natural resources. Moreover, China should not be satisfied with its role as a world factory. The key to changing this is the development of core technology and the ownership of proprietary intellectual property rights.
Innovation is the primary driving force for development and the bedrock for building a modern economic system. Only through continuous reform and innovation can China continue to generate sustained economic growth.
However, it must be acknowledged that a lack of innovative ability is still an issue inhibiting China's development. Without mastery of core technologies, technical barriers will appear sooner or later.
Economic globalization is both a trend and a means. Its fundamental goal is to let the people of every country share the fruit of social development. China promotes globalization and global governance following the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, so as to make new and greater contributions to humankind, establish and improve the multilateral trading system and promote more open, inclusive, balanced and mutually beneficial global economic growth.
In the modern world, countries are more interdependent, which inevitably brings greater uncertainty and instability. As a representative of emerging economies and developing countries, China is increasingly involved in improving global governance, taking on more important international responsibilities, effectively increasing its overall impact on the development of the world economy, and providing the international community with timely, effective and diversified public goods.
In August 2014, during a visit to Mongolia, President Xi said that all countries are welcome to board the train of China's development. The idea that "to go fast, go alone, but to go far, go together" reflects China's willingness to promote the common progress and wellbeing of humankind. At the core of China's development is the desire to share opportunities and interests, achieve mutually beneficial results, and to make these outcomes bigger and more evenly distributed.
A harmonious world is an ideal envisioned in traditional Chinese culture. The concept of a community with a shared future is a response to historic changes and scientific predictions and preparation. The shared aspect of these visions is that they focus on human liberation, happiness and development.
In this interconnected world, people should seize the opportunity presented by globalization to set up a community with a shared future. People should trust each other, jointly cope with the crises and challenges facing humanity, and achieve shared growth through discussion and collaboration.
The process of reform and opening up that started 40 years ago is the key to determining the destiny of contemporary China. It is indispensable for the liberation and development of social productivity, and is the only way to adapt to the new scientific and technological revolution of our times.
China's reform and opening up is the result of the Chinese people's conscious exploration of scientific socialism in China and their efforts in sinicizing and popularizing Marxist doctrine. It is a path that the Chinese people have chosen to make the country strong. It could be said that reform and opening up is the inevitable result of the combination of scientific theories of socialism with China's own development practices.
China has entered a new era. The best way to commemorate reform and opening up is to continue on the path toward development that it has created, by devoting great efforts to innovation, linking China's national interests with the wellbeing of all human beings, and pursuing the freedom, liberation and happiness of humankind.
The author is a research fellow with the Center for the Study of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences