Leading the Chinese delegation to Davos this year, Wang Qishan, Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China, reiterated the virtues of the rising global superpower. “China remains committed to building world peace, promoting global growth and upholding the international order,” he told the participants in a special address at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, in a year that marks 40 years of relations between China and the Forum.
“Today, China’s interests and future are closely linked to those of the world,” said Wang. “While developing itself, China also wishes to work with all countries for common development and a community with a shared future for mankind.”
To understand China, he observed, one must turn to the lessons of history. “The advances in China in the past 70 years are not a godsend, nor a gift from others. Rather, they are made by the Chinese people through vision, hard work, courage, reform and innovation,” he said.
Pointing to decisive economic progress in China, such as the number of rural people living in poverty reduced by more than 80 million since 2013, Wang told participants at the meeting that China is committed to reform and continued opening up, guided by its unique economic and political system.
“China has moved up from the low end to the medium and high end of the global industrial chain. The nearly 1.4 billion Chinese who are enjoying greater prosperity have unleashed huge demand backed by purchasing power. This has unlocked enormous market potential that no one can afford to ignore,” he said. “We will further improve and enrich socialism with distinctive Chinese features through reform and opening up. This is a path we believe in, and we will steadily forge ahead along this path.”
Identifying the economic gaps that have emerged from globalization, Wang noted that, in market economies, there is a disproportionate emphasis on efficiency, often at the cost of equity.
“What we need to do is make the pie bigger while looking for ways to share it in a more equitable way,” he said. “The last thing we should do is to stop making the pie and just engage in a futile debate on how to divide it. Shifting blame for one’s own problems onto others will not resolve the problems.”
The Fourth Industrial Revolution – with its speed, scale and complexity, and the way it shapes human society – represents a significant evolution of the globalization process, said Wang, but requires international unity and a respect for multilateral institutions and international rules. “We must work together to shape the global architecture in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution with the vision to create a better future for all mankind,” he added.
“In this changing world, making advances is like climbing a mountain. It is commitment, conviction and confidence that drive us forward. In this era of unfolding economic globalization, all of us share a common stake,” he noted. “As a Swiss proverb goes, ‘Torches light up each other’.”