China Focus: 10 years on, experts from around the world convene for Understanding China Conference


GUANGZHOU, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- The opening ceremony of the 2023 Understanding China Conference (Guangzhou) was held in Guangzhou, the capital of south China's Guangdong Province, on Saturday.

Under the theme of "China's New Endeavors amid Unprecedented Global Changes -- Expanding the Convergence of Interests and Building A Community of Shared Future," officials, experts, entrepreneurs, foreign envoys and representatives of international organizations and multinational companies have engaged in discussions and exchanged ideas on some of the most pressing global topics, such as global security and development issues.

"The Understanding China Conference celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. Over the past decade, we have witnessed the rapid development of China amid global changes. Knowledgeable individuals in China and worldwide have increasingly recognized a significant 'understanding deficit' between different countries and civilizations, and this deficit has adverse effects on fostering mutual trust," said Zheng Bijian, founding chairman of the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy.

Zheng noted that the conference has consistently upheld the principle of three "understandings" -- understanding China, understanding the world, and understanding the changes of the century.

"If this conference could more effectively help the world understand the country and the Communist Party of China, while also assisting China in better comprehending the world and the changes of the century, then through sustained efforts, we can certainly reduce the 'understanding deficit,'" he added.

Former President of Ethiopia Mulatu Teshome said that China's socio-economic development since the beginning of its reform and opening-up has been remarkable, making China's modernization endeavor a reality. The Belt and Road Initiative has contributed to the sound development of economic globalization and helped shore up the global governance system by opening a new path for all humanity to realize modernization.

Former Chancellor of Austria Wolfgang Schussel said that China is a shining example of free trade and globalization. He hopes that China will continue to build a market-oriented business environment, governed by the rule of law and internationalized, demonstrating its commitment to fairness, openness, transparency and dialogue. Both China and the world stand to benefit from these efforts.

British scholar Martin Jacques noted that China was not well understood when the conference was held 10 years ago, particularly in the West. Over the past decade, the conference's importance has been widely acknowledged for fostering an increased understanding of China, promoting global exchanges and cooperation, and working toward a shared and prosperous future.

Zheng Yongnian, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen), said that the key to understanding China lies in understanding Chinese modernization. Chinese modernization is the modernization of a population of 1.4 billion people, and Chinese modernization is not achieved in isolation but in an open state. "China's modernization will also inject vitality into the development of the world economy and globalization."

The Understanding China Conference was initiated in 2013 and has become an important international platform for exchanges between China and the rest of the world. The 2023 conference was co-hosted by the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs and the Guangdong provincial government. Seminars cover a wide range of topics, and a series of activities will be held during the three-day event.

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