Huang Kunming, Executive Vice Minister of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, delivers a keynote speech at the BRICS Seminar on Governance in Quanzhou, Fujian Province, on August 17 (DONG NING)
Dialogue on governance is expected to feature prominently in BRICS cooperation, which involves Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Huang Kunming, Executive Vice Minister of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, underlined its importance in a keynote speech at the BRICS Seminar on Governance in Quanzhou, southeast China's Fujian Province, on August 17. Edited excerpts of the speech follow:
Promoting exchange of governance experience is an important consensus of BRICS leaders, to which President Xi Jinping attaches great importance. Xi has stressed the need to enhance mutual understanding, exchanges and learning on a number of occasions. The BRICS Seminar on Governance is a concrete step taken to put the leaders' consensus into practice as well as a major event within the framework of the BRICS Summit in Xiamen in early September.
Over the past decade, BRICS cooperation has borne abundant fruit. A multi-level and all-dimensional cooperative framework led by the summit and covering a variety of areas has taken shape. The five BRICS countries are becoming a community of common interests and joint action characterized by solidarity and collaboration for shared progress. Today, BRICS cooperation has flourished to assume an increasingly greater status and role in the international community.
The reasons are at least three-fold: (1) We have given depth and substance to our cooperation in keeping with the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation; (2) We have been active in promoting the reform of global governance, safeguarding international fairness and justice and helping increase the representation and voice of emerging markets and developing countries; (3) We have given top priority to development, improved national governance and made every effort to raise people's living standards and advance their well-being.
Against the backdrop of a fragile world economic recovery, BRICS countries have scored an eye-catching performance with their great development potential. Their combined GDP accounts for nearly a quarter of the global total. Also, the group's contribution to world economic growth exceeds 50 percent. It's no exaggeration to say that they are the economic bellwether of the world.
Given their own national conditions, the countries have put in place governance systems and state policies in line with their respective realities. They have found their own development paths while gaining valuable governance experience in the process. In China, for instance, since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012, President Xi has proposed a series of new concepts, thoughts and strategies on governance based on the national conditions and development practices of contemporary China. These have helped bring about historic changes in the undertakings of the CPC and the state.
First, pursuing a development path suited to China's national conditions. Only when it comes up with a suitable path, can a nation accomplish its development goals. After long-term exploration, Chinese people found their development path—socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the CPC. China's achievements have proven that the path is correct and valid. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi as the core has focused on adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics, promoted innovation in theory and practice and put forward the Chinese dream of national renewal, which has become a distinctive banner under which all Chinese people forge ahead in unity. The CPC Central Committee has pushed for economic, political, cultural, social and ecological progress in a coordinated way. It has adopted the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy, which calls for completing the process of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, pursuing all-round in-depth reform, implementing a comprehensive framework for promoting the rule of law and launching an all-out effort to enforce strict Party discipline. The strategy has become the master plan for China's governance.
It has also called for establishing and implementing new development concepts centered on innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, providing scientific guidelines for China's economic and social progress.
Second, adopting a people-centered development philosophy. Enabling all ordinary people to live a good life is the starting point and objective of the governance of the CPC. It is our mission to meet their aspiration for a happy life. We need not only to make the pie bigger by developing the economy, but also ensure it is shared by all. We have carried out a number of projects concerning people's livelihood. For instance, we have established the world's largest basic medical care and old-age pension systems, through which people have shared in the benefits of the country's reform and development.
By implementing the strategy of poverty alleviation and elimination with a targeted approach, the number of people living in poverty in China has fallen by more than 60 million in the past five years, a remarkable contribution to international poverty reduction. By 2020, China will eliminate poverty, enabling all regions and people under the poverty line to transition into a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
While continuing to promote economic development, we are committed to pushing forward the holistic development of various sectors. We have made efforts to advance all-round development of the individual and comprehensive social progress, with the aim of speeding up the improvement of people's material life and fulfilling their intellectual needs. We have fostered and practiced the core values of socialism, made nine-year compulsory education universally available for free and devoted ourselves to promoting equitable access to basic public services.
Third, resolving challenges in development through deepening reform. The reform and opening-up endeavors of China in the past four decades have helped the country swiftly develop into the world's second largest economy. In the meantime, we should be aware that China remains the world's largest developing country. The challenges and problems it faces in its development have rarely been seen in both scale and complexity. Deepening reform is the fundamental way to settle China's existing problems.
In 2013, the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee decided to deepen reform comprehensively. In the past four years, reforms in fields such as the economy, politics, culture, society, ecological conservation, national defense, the military and Party building have continued to deepen. We have resolved challenges that remained unresovled for long and made major accomplishments that we were eager but unable to make before.
Take economic reform as an example. By grasping and guiding the new normal of China's economic development, seeking progress while ensuring stability, pushing forward supply-side reform and furthering innovation-driven development, we have optimized China's economic structure. The quality and performance of the economy have been improved. The Chinese economy remains a major stabilizer and engine of the world economy, as China's GDP expanded 6.7 percent year on year to surpass $11 trillion in 2016, with its contribution to global economic growth exceeding 30 percent. The momentum persisted in the first half of this year, when the Chinese economy grew 6.9 percent.
Fourth, upholding the rule of law to provide support for development. We have made the rule of law the fundamental principle under which the CPC leads the people in exercising national governance. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, in particular, we have taken a strategic decision to promote the rule of law in an all-round way by establishing effective institutions and the rule of law in all sectors of the state and society.
The constant improvement of the socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics has provided a fundamental, comprehensive and long-standing institutional guarantee for healthy economic and social development. The law is virtue put down in words, and virtue is the law borne in people's hearts. We stand for integrating the law and virtue in state governance.
We emphasize the importance of integrating socialist moral values into legal norms and judicial processes and using legal measures to address prominent moral issues, so that law and virtue can promote each other and the rule of law and the rule of virtue can reinforce each other.
Fifth, conducting win-win cooperation to contribute development wisdom. As an active participant in global governance, China has set forth a series of proposals. We call for fostering the sense of a community of shared future for mankind and developing a new model of international relations centered on win-win cooperation. We stand for mutual respect, exchanges and learning among different cultures. The concept of a community of shared future for mankind has been written into the resolutions of the UN Security Council, the UN Commission for Social Development and the UN Human Rights Council. The Belt and Road Initiative, in particular, has become a vision for China's opening up and international cooperation under new circumstances. It has been turned from an idea into action and from a vision into reality.
As it takes an active part in global governance and integrates itself deeply into the world, China is able to exercise state governance on a larger platform. Also, the country has contributed its wisdom and solutions to the ongoing debate over where the world is heading.
Development is of overriding importance and holds the key to solving every problem. Similar development stages and common challenges make it even more significant for BRICS nations to learn from each other's governance strategies and practices so that we can choose the right and better path for the way ahead.
First, we should set up a mechanism for communication and exchange of ideas. We should incorporate dialogue on governance into the overarching framework of BRICS cooperation, build a regular dialogue platform, uphold the principles of mutual respect, seeking common ground while setting aside differences, and mutual learning, and explore effective ways to address challenging development problems. We should make exchange of ideas on governance a booster and accelerator of BRICS cooperation.
Second, we should include more participants in our discussions. BRICS nations' top-notch think tanks should play a major role. Political parties, companies, media and social organizations should be encouraged to take part. All this aims to create a grand channel for people-to-people exchanges among BRICS nations, provide intellectual wisdom for the advancement of BRICS cooperation and consolidate public support for it.
Third, we should make more friends who are willing to share and join. BRICS countries belong to the big family of emerging markets and developing economies. We are proud of the achievements and precious lessons each family member makes and learns. We welcome friends who are interested in sharing their governance experience from more countries to join our discussions.
Copyedited by Chris Surtees
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