Minister Jiang Jianguo,
Chairman Zheng Bijian,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a real delight to join you at the opening ceremony of the Seminar on "China in the New Era".
I think this seminar is highly timely as it draws our attention to two very important questions.
First, why is it important to understand China in the new era?
Second, what should we do to understand China in the new era?
With regard to the question of "why", I have three answers:
First, the world needs to understand China in the new era in order to seize the "Chinese opportunities".
Today, China is the second largest economy in the world and contributes over 30% to world economic growth. It is an important contributor to world economy, a firm upholder of world peace and an active participant in global governance.
Last year’s 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China ushered in a new era for socialism with Chinese characteristics.
In the new era, China will move forward with firm and steady steps:
China will complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020.
China will realize socialist modernization by 2035.
China will strive to become a modern socialist country, namely, a prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful country, by the middle of this century.
In this process, China will create new opportunities for all countries. To be able to seize these opportunities and catch the express train of China's development, one needs to truly understand China in the new era.
Second, the world needs to understand China in the new era in order to appreciate the true meaning of building a community with a shared future for mankind.
The world is undergoing profound changes and transformation. Globalization has turned the world into a village, namely, a community with a shared future.
The overarching goal of China's diplomacy in the new era is to promote the building of a new type of state-to-state relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.
This is not the work for one or a few countries. Everyone must pitch in. We should all take part in the global governance. We should push for common progress. And we could all share the fruits of development.
China is the largest developing country and an emerging economy with growing global influence. China and the world certainly need each other in this great endeavour of building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Third, to understand China in the new era helps bridge the "divide in mutual knowledge" between China and the West.
In my over 40 years of diplomatic career, I have experienced too much of this "divide" between China and the West.
China has seen tremendous improvements in the life of its people and a huge increase in its global influence since reform and opening up policies were introduced 40 years ago. However, there is still a knowledge deficit in the West when it comes to China. Bridging of this "divide in mutual knowledge" requires the efforts of both sides.
The West needs to change its old mindset, discard "Western-centrism" and look for the origin of China's thoughts, principles and policies in its history, its culture and its heritage. This could be the beginning of a comprehensive, objective and deep understanding and appreciation of contemporary China.
China for its part needs to take more initiatives in telling the West about China’s thoughts, China’s views and China’s story. That is why, I think, it is so meaningful and important to have this seminar on China in the New Era.
Now, let me turn to the second question, that is, how to understand China in the new era. I want to share with you my three suggestions.
My first suggestion is to fully understand the Communist Party of China.
This is the first step to understanding China.
The Communist Party of China is different from any political party in the West.
This Party has nearly 90 million members and is leading nearly 1.4 billion Chinese people into a beautiful new era.
This Party has fine traditions and strong vitality, and is devoted fully to serving the people.
This is a Party that sets the goal to achieve long-term development for China, to pursue happiness for the Chinese people, and to promote progress of all mankind.
The Communist Party of China takes as its mission to make new and greater contribution to mankind.
My second suggestion is to read and study the book Xi Jinping: The Governance of China.
I had the honor to attend the launch of the multi-language editions of Xi Jinping: The Governance of China (Volume II) earlier this morning.
This book tells the evolvement and reflects the essence of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. It embodies the Chinese wisdom and Chinese solution that the Communist Party of China contributes to building a community with a shared future for mankind and promoting world peace and development.
This is the most systematic and authoritative book on China. It offers a golden key to a comprehensive understanding of China.
My third suggestion is to visit China and get to know the country and its people at close range.
Seeing is believing.
Many of my British friends marvel at what they see in China. In their words, the "real China" is completely different from the "Western media version".
They have seen with their own eyes the "new four great inventions" of China, namely, high-speed rail, mobile payments, e-commerce and bike-sharing. In these inventions, they have witnessed China’s tremendous achievements in the new round of technological revolution. They have also applauded the rapid growth, met the vigorous people and experienced the open and inclusive culture of China.
President Xi said, "Understanding China requires two-way communication".
This is also the requirement of our times and our shared future. As we have learnt from history, only those who follow the trend of the times and care about the destiny of the world will win a bright future.
I sincerely hope that everyone present today will actively engage in this "two-way communication".
I hope you will try to gain a better understanding of China's new development and new plans, and then join us to tell the world about China’s story.
With enhanced exchanges and cooperation between China and the world, we could make greater contribution to building a community with a shared future for mankind.
We could make our world a more colorful, more splendid and more beautiful place.
In conclusion, I wish the Seminar on "China in the New Era" a great success!