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Time:March 23-25, 2019
Beijing Diaoyutai State Guesthouse
Sponsor:Development Research Center of the State Council
Organiser:China Development Research Foundation
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The Birth of CDF

19 years ago, a crowd gathered in Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, Beijing, for the 1st China Development Forum (CDF). Wen Jiabao, Vice Premier of the State Council at the time, opened the forum and noted on his assured confidence in the importance of CDF to China’s development. Notable personages such as Maurice Greenberg, Edouard Michelin, Dwight Perkins and Peter Nolan are among the list of 32 formal delegates. Issues including entering WTO, reform of state-owned enterprises, globalization are discussed. 

(Vice Premier of the State Council Wen Jiabao delivering the opening speech at the 1st CDF in 2000) 

What is CDF? Why is it held? To answer these questions, we have to look back to the year of 2000. 

The millennium is a turning point. China survived 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, achieved goals in its 9th Five-Year-Plan, and formulated and began to implement the 10th Five-Year-Plan. Many important decisions were made in this year. The country was about to join WTO and to embark on its Western China Development Strategy. 

With the changes and challenges, China has the strongest-ever need to communicate with the world, especially the business world. A proposal was brought up by Wang Mengkui and Chen Qingtai, Chair and Vice-Chair of Development Research Center of the State Council at the time. They suggested that a platform should be built for voices and suggestions to be told, heard, and discussed. The proposal was much valued by Premier Zhu Rongji. 

Then in March 2000, what is proposed came to truth. The 1st CDF themed China’s 2010 Goals, Policy and Perspective was held. The event hosted over 150 attendees, including representatives of international organizations, government officials, entrepreneurs, experts, and scholars. Wang Mengkui, and Maurice Greenberg, Chairman of American International Group, co-chaired the forum, and both believed that it marked China entering a new era of development.


(Wang Mengkui and Maurice Greenberg)

 The first forum established the tradition of CDF characterizing small-scale, high-level and face-to-face, bridging conversations among entrepreneurs, scholars and government officials both from home and abroad.


(The 1st CDF in 2000) 

Premier Zhu Rongji affirmed the significance of CDF, its theme and the discussions. After the forum, he met with many representatives and answered their questions, and expected on further and more diverse discussions in the forums to follow. 

(Premier Zhu Rongji meeting with some of the forum delegates at CDF) 

Kondo Seiichi, Deputy Director-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, also acclaimed the founding of CDF. He wrote to CDF committee after the forum: it is impressive that the issues being discussed are equally important for China, and for the rest of the world.


(Kondo Seiichi hosting a discussion at CDF) 

Since then, CDF has become an important annual event and continues to serve as a platform to exchange and communicate. Till the end of 2018, 19 forums has been held. With the notion of engaging with the world for common prosperity, every year in the first weekend after China’s Two Sessions, the forum opens, focusing on the most pressing issues of China’s economic and social development and addressing hot spot topics of the world. 

This is the birth of CDF.