The launch ceremony for the German and English editions of Xi Jinping's book Zhejiang, China: A New Vision for Development is held in Frankfurt, Germany, on October 15 (CNSPHOTO)
From February 2003 to March 2007, when President Xi Jinping served as secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Zhejiang Provincial Committee, he wrote more than 200 short essays for a column in the local newspaper Zhejiang Daily. They were later compiled into a book, which was first published in August 2007.
The English and German editions of the book, titled Zhejiang, China: A New Vision for Development, were launched in Frankfurt, Germany, on October 15, a day before the opening of the renowned Frankfurt Book Fair. Before these two editions, the book had been published in French, Spanish and Japanese.
“President Xi’s book provides a unique window on the processes that underpin China’s renewal,” said Martin Albrow, a noted British sinologist, at the launch ceremony, which was attended by more than 200 people including diplomats, officials, scholars and industry professionals. “It deserves to be read not just by Chinese specialists, but is a must for all those who want to understand what it takes for a country to survive and prosper in a world of unprecedented change.”
The book discusses the issue of governance, including how to develop the local economy in the eastern province, how to integrate political and economic theories with policymaking based on situation on the ground and how to realize the harmonious development of humans and nature, and the economy and society. Many concepts elaborated in the book have become guiding principles for the Chinese Government.
Du Zhanyuan, President of China International Publishing Group (CIPG), said at the launch ceremony that the book traces the origin and development process of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and the power of his thoughts are contained in every word and line.
Du added that many foreign readers are interested in Xi’s political career and how he formed his theories and hope to learn why China and the CPC are able to make such great achievements. “My suggestion is to read this book along with the other two books by Xi--Xi Jinping: The Governance of China and Up and Out of Poverty,” Du said. “It can help readers get a clearer understanding of how the CPC is leading the country on the road to prosperity.”
Xi Jinping: The Governance of China is a compilation of the Chinese president’s speeches, interviews, letters and other works from November 2012 to September 2017 published by CIPG’s Foreign Languages Press in two volumes. Up and Out of Poverty features Xi’s speeches and articles from 1988 to 1990 when he was secretary of the Ningde Prefectural CPC Committee in Fujian Province in the southeast.
While working in Zhejiang, Xi focused on what development concepts the province should follow and how to improve development. He proposed the concept of green GDP. In August 2005, he put forward the idea that “clear waters and green mountains are invaluable assets” during an inspection tour in Anji County, underlining the importance of an environmentally friendly society.
Xi also attached great importance to the private sector and designed a roadmap for its development in the province. Zhejiang occupies 1.1 percent of China’s area but creates more than 6 percent of China’s total economic volume. More than half of the provincial GDP is created by the private economy. For example, before reform and opening up began in the late 1970s, Yiwu was a small town with scarce farmland and low productivity. Now it has grown to be the world’s largest small commodity center. The rapid development of the city is a strong testament to market forces at work in the world’s most populous nation.
Albrow observed that one of the articles in the book contains detailed data about Zhejiang residents’ investment in other provinces. “The message for his readers was clear. He told them to think broad, strategic and pragmatic. But they needed to know the facts,” he said.
“China has risen on a platform of policies that have the maximum intellectual range and depth but also command relevant data that reach into the intricate interactions of people going about their daily work and life,” Albrow said. “Just think of the sophistication and complexity of the administrative operations needed to collect this type of data. This is being replicated all over China.”
An aerial view of the International Trade Center in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, in August 2017 (XINHUA)
Albrow continued, “Ancient wisdom comes into play when Xi wants to emphasize the importance of self-awareness. He quotes Confucius saying, ‘I should reflect on myself thrice a day,’ which was part of the sense of responsibility of officials that had its origins going back to the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220).”
Albrow regarded the book from both its historical depth and global vision. “ ‘China,’ writes Xi, ‘must avoid the trap of Western modernization and achieve sustainable development.’ That was particularly true for Zhejiang, lacking natural resources and needing to create a conservation-based society,” he said.
“China has become the world’s second largest economy,” commented Alexander Broich, President of Global Businesses at Cengage Learning Group, an education and technology company based in the United States. “The life of the people continues to improve, there is constant social progress and ideas are undergoing drastic changes. People are curious about this emerging economic power, but at the same time, most foreigners still know very little about China.”
Broich said that China’s political, economic and educational systems are so different from those in the West that to understand China, people in the West must put aside notions of what China is and listen to what China is actually saying.
“This gives us an opportunity to publish more books about China,” Broich said. “Its rapid economic growth has brought about the vigorous development of the publishing industry. We can always find meaningful topics from China’s extensive and profound culture.”
Wu Ken, China’s Ambassador to Germany, said that Chinese people are proud of the great achievements that the country has made and many foreigners, while applauding this, are also wondering about the governance theories behind this remarkable progress.
The launch of the English and German editions will allow more foreign friends to understand the CPC's governing philosophy and the strategy and wisdom of the Chinese leader, Wu said.
Copyedited by Rebeca Toledo
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