On 5 November 2021, The sub-forum "China’s Modernization and New Opportunity for the World" of the 4th Hongqiao International Economic Forum was successfully held. The forum was hostedby the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China, organizedChina Center for International Economic Exchanges, CGTN, the Institute of Contemporary China and the World, Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China (RDCY) andCCG, and co-organized by the Information Office of Shanghai Municipality. Huang Kunming, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China, attended and delivered a speech via video, and nearly 200 Chinese and foreign guests from more than 40 countries attended the conference online and offline. On November 6, one of the four symposium of the sub-forum, organized by RDCY, “Promoting Common Prosperity and Improving the Well-being of Mankind”, was successfully held, with more than 60 participants from more than 20 countries on five continents, and the seminar was reported by CCTV News, Morning News, Xinhua, China News Network, China Review and Beijing Daily APP.
Some of the guests at the symposium“Promoting Common Prosperity and Improving the Well-being of Mankind”
Wang Wen, Executive Dean of RDCY, delivered an opening welcome speech. He stressed that the Hongqiao International Economic Forum is an important part of the China International Import Expo, which was personally planned and promoted by President Xi Jinping. The Forum is held mainly as a platform for international exchange and connectivity, and as an international public good provided by China to promote win-win international cooperation. He also said that "common prosperity" is one of the key words in the future development of the economy, and that the connotation and extension of "common prosperity" needs to be discussed in greater depth in order to have a clearer understanding of the current economic and social relationship between China and the world. This is the purpose of this seminar.
In the keynote session, ONG Tee Keat, Former Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives of Parliament of Malaysia and Chairman of Centre for New Inclusive Asia, and Gert Johannes Grobler, Former Senior Diplomat at the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation, Senior Researcher of the Institute of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University , and Huang Renwei, Executive Vice Dean of Fudan Institute of Belt and Road & Global Governance, as well as Martin Jacques, the former Senior Fellow of Department of Politics and international Studies, Cambridge University.
ONG Tee Keat shared three points in the context of China's progress from complete liberation from "absolute poverty" to "common prosperity". Firstly, "common prosperity" is a noble concept that is universally applicable and belongs to the common struggle of all welfare of humanity, and is not exclusive to developed economies, specific ideologies or the wealth of a few. The affluence it seeks covers both the material and spiritual lives of people. Secondly, China's "common prosperity" is a manifestation of respect for human rights. At present, China's implementation of "common prosperity" is mainly based on three distributions, with the aim of improving the economic conditions of the disadvantaged groups and forming an "olive-shaped" distribution structure that is people-oriented. Thirdly, China's governance model of "common prosperity" is in line with the current needs of global governance. In the process of achieving the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goal of reducing poverty, "common wealth" is an important component. In promoting the realization of this concept, the "Belt and Road" Initiative and the building of a "community with a shared future for mankind" are being used to make "common prosperity" a public good in order to enhance human welfare.
Gert Johannes Grobler made two points about China's role in promoting international and multilateral cooperation. Firstly, common prosperity is the ultimate goal of socialism. The Chinese Communist Party has long promoted the development of common prosperity and has sufficient continuity in its policies to ensure that the goal of common prosperity is achieved. This reflects the foresight and outstanding leadership of the CPC. Secondly, the achievement of common prosperity requires breaking with the unjust Western interpretations. Due to cultural and institutional deficiencies, Western societies have misconceptions about the concept of 'common wealth', even though they face disparities between rich and poor. China should therefore further engage in global governance in order to reconstruct a new equitable and harmonious order.
In the context of "Common Wealth and Human Well-being", Huang Renwei proposed "one question" and "one solution". The "one question" is where does global wealth come from and where does it flow to? According to him, wealth in the contemporary world is concentrated in three places: firstly, the capital flow brought by financial globalization, which leads to wealth growth; secondly, the wealth growth related to technological innovation, which leads to new wealth by mastering technological innovation; and thirdly, the wealth platform combining technological innovation and financial concentration, which leads to huge wealth concentration. Huang Renwei believes that China needs to innovate a method of "common wealth" based on the creation of the world's sources of wealth. This is to promote the flow of wealth in three directions: first, to enable China's poor people and poor regions to reduce the gap with the rich people and rich regions as soon as possible; second, to enable China's total wealth and structure to reduce the gap with the developed economies as soon as possible; third, to enable China's wealth elements to flow appropriately overseas to promote the world's poor regions to keep pace with the world's development.
Martin Jacques believes that "common prosperity" will be one of the most important initiatives in China since the reform and opening up of the country, in four main ways: firstly, China is a vast country with an imbalance of resources. China has made remarkable achievements in eliminating these imbalances. The next task for China is to continue to address the problem of inequality, which is the only way to build a modern society and promote its stable development. Secondly, building an equitable society is a long-term project that requires great patience, perseverance and creativity. Thirdly, "shared prosperity" requires a major shift in social and cultural attitudes, and the previous inequalities must be broken down in order to move towards a more equitable, just, inclusive and open society. Fourthly, the challenges posed by inequality are global in nature. China's goal of "common prosperity" and the development opportunities that exist in the process of poverty eradication are essential for China to become a global leader in the fight against inequality. Such a common wealth can show the world how to build a new, fairer, more equal and inclusive society for the 21st century.
In response to the theme of this year's Import Expo and the Hongqiao International Economic Forum, the RDCY, while hosting the sub-forum, launched the research report "China's Economy in the Post-pandemic Era: New Opportunities and New Future" in English and Chinese, which was released by Liao Qun, Chief Economist in Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies of Renmin University of China and Chief Expert of the Center for Global Governance Studies.
The report concludes that China will cross the "middle-income trap" and return to its pre-pandemic or potential medium-to-high growth trajectory. Although GDP growth was as high as 9.8% in the first three quarters, the slowdown in growth in the third quarter was noticeable. The reasons for this are manifold: firstly, the recurrence of the new crown epidemic. Secondly, the effect of tightening macroeconomic policies in the first half of the year became apparent. Thirdly, the government rectified some enterprises in order to regulate the development of the industry. These undoubtedly had some negative effects on production and the economy. However, from the perspective of historical logic, cultural logic, economic logic and common sense logic in many ways, the good prospect of our economic recovery is the general trend. Annual growth is expected to reach around 8%. The report emphasises that the four major trends leading China's future economic development - the leap forward in technology, the rise of urban agglomerations, the upgrading of the economic structure and further reform and opening up - will form the four main engines for China's economy to continue growing rapidly at a medium to high speed in the future. According to Liao Qun, China is facing two serious, but not insurmountable, challenges, namely the decoupling of trade and commerce between China and the US and the accelerated relocation of industries out of the country. He is optimistic about the Chinese economy and expects China to cross the "middle-income trap" within two years; become the world's largest wealthy body within four years; become the world's largest economy within eight years; and enter the ranks of developed economies within 12 years. With continued firm reforms and appropriate economic policies, China will achieve its "Vision 2035" and its goal of becoming a modern socialist power step by step.
In the panel discussion, 22 Chinese and foreign guests exchanged their views on two topics: "Promoting Common Prosperity and Achieving Development of Modernization" and "Improving Global Governance and Well-being of Mankind". The seminar 1 was moderated by Jia Min, Associate Researcher, Institute of Marxism, Fudan University; Visiting Fellow of RDCY. Nine experts discussed the theme of "Promoting Common Prosperity and Achieving Development of Modernization", which is the essence of socialism and an important feature of Chinese modernization, including John Ross, the former Director of Economic and Business Policy of London, Senior Fellow of RDCY; He Weiwen, Former Economic and Commercial Counselor at Chinese Consulates General in San Francisco and New York; Senior Fellow of RDCY; Peter Koenig, Former Senior Economist of the World Bank; Yury Tavrovsky, Head of the Expert Council of the Russian-Chinese Committee for Friendship, Peace and Development;former head of Information department in the Russian State TV Company; Jean-Guy Carrier, Former Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC); Executive Chairman, Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce (SRCIC) ; Song Luzheng, Researcher of China Institute, Fudan University; Arkhipova Violetta, Senior Researcher of Institute of Economics at Russian Academy of Sciences; Natee Taweesrifuengfung, President of Siam Intelligence Unit in Thailand; William Jones, Washington Bureau Chief for the Executive Intelligence Review (EIR), USA. During the seminar, the experts generally agreed that shared prosperity embraces the concepts of social equity and human development, and that every society should strive to promote its economic harmony and balanced development.
John Ross said that the path to common prosperity is not a society where everyone is equal, but a more balanced one, using China's existing economic model, both in terms of policy and theory, to move towards common prosperity.
He Weiwen said that achieving common prosperity is a better guarantee of human rights. This is not only a Chinese concept, but also the concept of "Belt and Road" to realize the community of human destiny and the concept of UN 2030 sustainable development. We must continue to promote coordinated regional development and narrow the development gap.
Peter Koenig said that China is building a modern socialist state in a comprehensive manner, realizing the vision of "common prosperity" that everyone can share. Common prosperity is a noble and worthy goal that helps to connect the world in peace and prosperity.
Yury Tavrovsky said that the Chinese Dream and the Community of Human Destiny are both powerful positive energies that China offers to the world, a positive trend that can be shortened to "new socialism" and epitomizes a new "spirit of the times".
Jean-Guy Carrier said that China and its people are a major force for a new era of development in addressing the pollution, climate change and poverty challenges of the 21st century, and that China is using different and better ways of governance to promote greater welfare for humanity.
Song Luzheng analyzed three reasons for promoting common prosperity. Firstly, the CPC has no self-interest whatsoever. Secondly, the CPC takes Marxism-Leninism and others as its guiding ideology and guide to action, and firmly follows the path of socialist development. Thirdly, it is the influence of Chinese civilization.
Arkhipova Violetta believes in using the experience of different fields to enhance mutual understanding and promote mutual learning, as well as to strengthen Russian-Chinese cooperation in the overall achievement of common prosperity and human well-being.
Natee Taweesrifuengfung said that common prosperity is a typical feature of "Chinese modernization" and a modern civilization that has never existed before in human history, which has a double meaning from the essence of the socialist system and from the adherence to the people-centred development ideology.
William Jones believes that by convening the China International Import Expo(CIIE) for the second time after the pandemic, China is sending a clear signal to the world to further open up to the outside world and optimize the business environment. The post-pandemic era calls for a rethink of the mechanisms of global governance, and Chinese solutions can provide more assistance to world development.
Moderated by Wang Wen, Executive Dean of RDCY, Seminar 2 was attended by 11 speakers on the theme of "Improving Global Governance and Well-being of Mankind". Guests discussed how the Chinese modernization of common wealth is an important manifestation of the new form of human civilization, enriching the content and vision of the global governance system and providing more public goods for the international community.They are - Marco Fernandes, Research fellow, Tricontinental Institute for Social Research Panelists; Astrid Skala-Kuhmann, Former China Country Director of GIZ, Co-Chair of T20 Task force, Germany; Tamas Hajba, Senior Advisor for China, Head of the Beijing Office, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); Yu Hongyuan, Director, Institute for Comparative Politics and Public Policy, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS); Mostafa Mohammadi, Head of Youth Committee, Iran-China Friendship Association, Visiting Lecturer of Management in Shahid Beheshti University of Iran; Radhika Desai, Professor, Department of Political Studies, University of Manitoba; Zamir Awan, Deputy Director of Center for China Studies, National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan; Jaya Josie, Visiting Professor, Zhejiang University International Business School (ZIBS), South Africa; Vijay Prashad, Executive Director, Tricontinental Institute for Social Research; Tang Bei, Associate Professor, School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Shanghai International Studies University; Ligia Maura Costa, Professor at Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo - Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV-EAESP). In the midst of the world's unprecedented changes in the century, China's proposal for common prosperity will effectively promote mutual support, solidarity and cooperation among countries, solve the common challenges faced by mankind and enhance human well-being.
According to Marco Fernandes, the two main challenges facing society today are poverty and climate change. China has achieved remarkable results in poverty reduction and its experience is worthy of global replication. Now China is aiming for carbon peaking and carbon neutrality, which will promote the development of a global ecological civilization.
Astrid Skala-Kuhmann stressed the huge role of the G20 in global governance and the urgent need to depoliticize communication and cooperation in global governance. Global governance is not about competition and confrontation, but about realistic re-connections and linkages to solve global crises and challenges in order to truly safeguard human well-being.
Tamas Hajba pointed out the need to prioritize balanced development in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Strengthen global cooperation in climate change, carbon trading, digital technologies, connectivity. Better recovery in the post-epidemic era to provide answers that truly address global development.
Yu Hongyuan argues that the gap in per capita energy affluence will lead to an energy crisis and that major powers will have to have new ways to deal with global climate governance. An ecological civilization based on green development and green modernization will be the best answer China can give to the global common wealth in the future.
Mostafa Mohammadi pointed out that the world is currently facing six major challenges: digital, environmental, bio-security, ageing, terrorism and the economy, which together make up the English word “DEBATE”, to seize the last chance to create a peaceful world for humanity.
Radhika Desai said that the US dollar system is notoriously volatile, speculative and predatory, and that the financialisation of the US has led to various bubbles and hazards. The reform of the world's international monetary system in the context of global multipolarity is the general direction for the future.
Zamir Awan said that no one should be above the law and refrain from politicizing the United Nations or any other international organization. The future of the global governance side must be better than the past and it is our responsibility to make a better world for the next generation.
Jaya Josie believes that crucial to economic recovery after the pandemic is technical support. The universal use of digital currencies needs to be explored now to provide better support for the facilitation of international trade.
Vijay Prashad believes that the UN Charter must be embraced to combat the pandemic and the challenges posed by climate change, and hopes that the world will join together to tackle the challenges.
According to Tang Bei, global governance must serve all member states and public attributes. Participants in global governance must effectively practice multilateralism and implement their commitments. The institutional system of global governance must remain open and communicative, enhance dialogue and exchange, and prevent a move towards closure and confrontation.
Ligia Maura Costa says that the COVID crisis has revealed the inadequacies in problem solving and that there is a need to integrate some public domain and public universal approaches to help solve the challenges of our time.
Finally, Wang Wen, Executive Dean of RDCY, made his concluding remarks. He said that today's conference was probably the first academic conference in history where scholars from five continents gathered to discuss the topic of "common wealth", which is of great theoretical importance. He made three points: Firstly, there is a consensus among scholars from different countries that they are concerned about the current development of the world and the growing inequities and imbalances in various countries. The current trend of populism and localism in many places, where the world seems to be becoming more and more regionalized and localized, and where the divide between countries is deepening and economic cooperation is becoming more and more difficult, also reflect the urgency of global common prosperity. Secondly, although there are more and more countries, the vast majority have not really changed the fate of poverty, and even some formerly developed countries have gone bankrupt or even relegated to the third world, and the world does not seem to be getting better. One study estimates that the emergence of the COVID pandemic has led to 80 million people returning to poverty. This reminds us that much more needs to be done to reach the UN goal of ending absolute poverty worldwide by 2030, and reinforces the importance of the concept of "shared prosperity". Thirdly, many scholars hold China in high regard and have raised high expectations for China. There is an old Chinese saying: "If you are poor, you can be good to yourself, but if you are rich, you can help the whole world", and as China gradually rises out of poverty, it is gradually providing more help to the international community. We have always believed that China is willing to make its due contribution to the common progress of the world, and at the same time needs the cooperation of all countries in the world to build a better future.
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