Currently, Japan is the number one trading partner of China, while China is its second largest partner. Japan's investment on the mainland had hit US$177 billion by the end of 1997. The composition of bilateral trade has changed from the 1980s. Shipments of Chinese primary products have gradually declined, to be replaced by an increased flow of manufactured goods such as textiles and machinery.
Yang Haihua (manager of an advertising company): Born in the picturesque Menghai County in Xishuangbanna, I became crazy about music and painting at an early age. Eleven years ago, I came to Beijing, hoping to enter the Central Academy of Fine Arts. But I failed. Nevertheless, I opted to stay in the city, becoming one of numerous street artists here. Six years ago I began getting involved in advertising. The reform and opening policies make easy for people to communicate. Everything has become flexible, and life has become recharged with vitality and tension. Without reform and opening up, I may have idled away my time like so many people do.
Fabian Furrer (Manager of the Membership Department, Beijing Changan Club): Born in Switzerland, I studied and worked in the United States for six years. In the spring of 1997 I came to the mainland. The one-year life experience in China is worthwhile. I have witnessed the great changes and progress China has gone through as a result of its reform and opening up. The reality is completely different from many Western reports. Materials I collected show that there were only 100 foreign companies in China in 1979. The figure has increased to the present 280,000. In 1979, there were no Western-style fast-food restaurants like McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken in China. But now, McDonald's opens a new restaurant almost every week on the mainland.
With China's economic strength rapidly increasing, more and more people believe that it will become an economic power in the 21st century. In terms of politics, China has also made remarkable progress. For instance, human rights are receiving more respect. China is wise to adopt a policy to balance economic and political reforms because it helps avoid the chaotic and turbulent situation that has occurred in some other countries.
Dr Rainer Kloubert (Chief Representative of the Robert Bosch GmbH in China): When I first came to work in the Beijing Foreign Studies University in 1979, life was very simple. In 1985, through a friend's help, I began to do business.
Before I joined Robert Bosch GmbH, the company had no relationship with any Chinese company. Now, it has established seven joint ventures with a total investment of about 500 million Deutsche marks, which are located in Shanghai, Wuxi, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Fushan, etc. Currently we are applying for the establishment of the Bosch shareholding company, which will be more conducive to our involvement in market competition. In 1997, Bosch set up a new vehicle parts factory, a joint venture in Shanghai, and the living environment there is closer to many cities abroad. My work is basically to help the German people to understand the Chinese people and vice versa.
Ding Bangying (Director of the Chinese Sector of Beijing Radio International): At the end of 1992, as a Beijing Radio International correspondent stationed in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, I was dispatched to the Somali bat-tlefront to gather news. While experiencing to the full the hardness of working amidst the flames of war. I also felt China's evergrowing international status that has come with its reform and opening, and the enhanced respect and friendship shown to the Chinese working abroad.
Inamul Haque (Ambassador of Pakistan to China): China's outstanding economic achievements emanate from the reform and opening policies adopted some 20 years ago. At present China is already the seventh economic power and the 10th largest trading nation in the world, and its people are full of confidence for the future. Chinese economic policies are relevant to, and beneficial for all developing countries. Developing countries can benefit from Chinese experiences by applying them in accordance with their respective conditions. I am equally impressed by China's efforts to promote regional and global peace and stability, and China's wise handling of various international crises that erupt from time to time and pose a threat to international peace.
Liu Yijie (Director of the Law Publicity Department of the Ministry of Justice): In the past 20 years, the Chinese Government has popularized law education in the general public. This may be a characteristic creation in China's modernization drive. The past 20 years have seen dramatic changes in the people's consciousness of law, from total ignorance to using law to safeguard social order, and protect their own and other people's legal rights and interests. This process fully demonstrates the Chinese Government's efforts to complete legislation, improve the democratic system and protect human rights. Socialist China will continue to advance on the track of ruling by law.
Susumu Yabuki (Professor of the Economics Department with the Japanese Yokohama State University): Since China adopted reform and opening policies formulated by Deng Xiaoping in 1978, hibernating economy began to revive. China's economic recovery started in coastal areas. The tide of market economy then gradually spread to the hinterland. Now, I feel the whole Chinese mainland is awakening. Particularly since Deng Xiaoping made his well-known remarks during his 1992 inspection tour of south China, the Chinese economy has enjoyed high growth. I think China's economic growth can last at least for about 30 years. I don't think such development trend of China's economy will be changed due to the turmoil caused by the Asian financial crisis. For example. China's foreign exchange reserves were up from US$20 billion in 1993 to US$140 billion in 1997. a rise of seven fold. The foreign trade entailed a deficit of US$12.2 billion in 1993, but registered a favorable balance of US$40 billion in 1997. In addition, overseas direct investment has increased noticeably.
John C. H. Young (Vice-President of the Shangri-La Hotel Group): I have been personally involved in the group's development in China. When the first Shangri-La Hotel was established in Beijing in 1985, the city's telecommunications facilities were incomplete. The dominant manual dialing phones were quite inconvenient, and communicating with Hong Kong was even harder. In less than two years, however, the situation had greatly changed. Communications became very convenient. Mobile phones appeared and have become a daily communication tool for an increasing number of Chinese. Such fast development is rare in many other developed countries.
(No. 52, 1998)