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China’s central government published a white paper titled “China and the World in the New Era” on Friday, a policy document  outlining  China’s meteoric economic development in the past 70 years, its growing contributions to the world peace and growth, and the country’s significant role to play in an evolving world where opportunities and challenges loom large.

Chinese and foreign scholars believe that the white paper could help the rest of the world  to build a comprehensive understanding of China’s development and position, including how the nation has been sharing its development results and experiences with the world, and how its rise will offer a unique model to other developing countries to learn.

The experts anticipate China will continue to uphold multilateralism and join hands with other countries to tackle future challenges, such as building a new global system of multilateralism, poverty reduction, and global peace.

The white paper, released by the State Council Information Office, states that the country has undergone numerous great changes in the last 70 years under the leadership of CPC and managed to create an unprecedented development miracle in human history. The publication came just a few days ahead of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

“China now has an impact on the world that is even more comprehensive, profound and long-lasting, and the world is paying even greater attention to China,” it said.

China has managed to achieve something that developed nations took several hundred years to achieve, the white paper noted. The nation’s GDP has grown from 67.9 billion yuan in 1952 to 90 trillion yuan in 2018. China is now the world’s second-largest economy, has sufficed the material needs of its nearly 1.4 billion people, and achieved moderate all-round prosperity.

China’s astonishing development in the past 70 years, as emphasized by the white paper, has gained wide recognition from the outside world. 

Jean-Pierre Raffarin, former French prime minister, described China’s changes in the past several decades as “incredible and very impressive” in an interview with the Global Times on Friday.

Michele Geraci, the undersecretary in the Italian economic development ministry, also told the Global Times that he is impressed with China’s efforts on poverty reduction, including helping poverty-ridden urban citizens as well as poor rural residents. 

“In China, modern infrastructure has been laid out, incomes are constantly rising, and poverty is being addressed, and people are enjoying rising affluence and relaxed atmosphere compared to the past decades……[There are all ] impressive changes,” Srikanth Kondapalli, a professor in Chinese studies at India-based Jawaharlal Nehru University, told the Global Times on Friday. He noted that China has grown from a poor and weak Asian nation 7 decades ago to a ” bubbling nation” and a true economic power. 

The white paper is issued at a time when global society is closely watching and adjusting their views on how China’s relation with the world evolves along with its rise. 

The country’s development is an opportunity for the world rather than a threat or a challenge, the paper stressed. It reiterated  that China will not  follow the path of ” power leading to hegemony,” while vowing that the nation will “always be the builder of world peace, the contributor to the global development and defender of global peace.”

Li Haidong,  professor with the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times that  the white paper, which explains China’s relationship with a changing world, will help China make more friends. 

“For nations which have friendly relations with China, the paper will add to their trust that China has made a significant positive contribution to the world. This will boost  their confidence and make them more resolute in developing ever closer ties with China,” Li noted.

An opportunity for the world

China has become the major stabilizer and driving force of the world economic growth, the paper said. With the nation’s firm commitment to reform and opening-up, China is sharing the “Chinese dividends” with the world and creating more opportunities. 

“In the past, China has been focused on trade ties with developed nations and manufacturing the goods to be consumed in those countries. As the economy transitions to services and a consumer driven market, stronger ties are being forged with developing nations and neighboring countries as China’s wealth and prosperity create economic opportunities in these markets,” James Macdonald, Senior Director and Head of Savills China Research, told the Global Times on Friday.

What’s more important to learn is of a unique development path with Chinese characteristics that will lead to win-win cooperation, which is different from the paths that many Western economies have trekked.

Geraci explicated it with the example of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which he said enables Chinese and Italian companies to form partnerships not only in Italy but also in third markets along the BRI routes. 

China shares with France that cooperation is better than playing hardballs. An initiative such as BRI and the China Import Exposition are both pointing to the right path of cooperation and win-win, Raffarin said.  Kondapalli noted that some aspects of China’s model of development are inspirational for India. 

As the world is confronting with new challenges such as rising protectionism, observers believe that China, as a responsible economic power, could play a bigger role in uniting other nations to reshape the world order and defend the system of multilateralism. 

“The world needs an open China that participates in the global balance of this  planet…[China and France]  are obliged to work together,” Raffarin said.