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(2021) Concluding Remarks in the China Development Forum 2021

Ma JiantangBeijing, 

March 21, 2021

Mr. Co-Chair Oliver Zipse,

Distinguished Guests and Dear friends,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With our joint efforts, the China Development Forum 2021 annual meeting is about to successfully complete its agenda. The forum is convened at a good time as this year marks the beginning of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan period, and it has a highly relevant theme—“China on a New Journey of Modernization”, which once again vividly demonstrates the purpose and relevance of the forum— "dialogue with the world for common development”.

I wish to take this opportunity to summarize the outcomes of the forum in the following four aspects.

First, we exchanged ideas. During the last four days, we held a total of 63 formal discussions in which we had in-depth and valuable exchanges on important issues facing China and the world, including China’s macro policy orientation, high level opening-up, and comprehensive green transformation of the economy and society in the 14th Five-Year Plan period. Dr. Henry Kissinger believed that China and the United States are two great societies, and that peace and prosperity of the world depends on mutual understanding between China and the United States. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Mr. Robert Rubin argued that as the two largest economies in the world, both China and the United States have the responsibility to demonstrate leadership on issues such as global climate change and public health. The participants also offered insights on issues such as bridging the global inequality gap, shaping new rules of global competition and cooperation, and writing a new chapter of global digital governance.

Second, we shared practices. The participants, based on their national and professional background, shared the modernization practices of their countries or industries. For example, Minister Huang Runqiu of China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment shared the major initiatives to promote the comprehensive green transformation of China’s economy and society. Governor Yi Gang of the People's Bank of China briefed the main practices of China’s monetary policy and green finance. President Xie Fuzhan of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences introduced the key measures China will take to promote common prosperity in the next five years. Prof. Joseph Stiglitz shared his thoughts on the impact of the massive stimulus policy on inflation and the K-shaped recovery in the United States; Prof. Jason Furman offered his ideas on anti-trust initiatives the United States has taken on the digital economy; and Mr. Elon Musk updated us on the new practices of Tesla in promoting education, especially robotics programming. Such sharing on practices will enlighten and inspire our efforts in pursuing global common development.

Third, we increased understanding. This forum is the second time that we hold it both online and offline. Modern technologies have brought many of our friends faraway near. The forum has not only attracted long-time friends, but also welcomed the participation of new friends. Nineteen international companies and institutions join the forum for the first time. In the forum, we had candid exchange of views, covering challenges we face and brainstorming together for solutions. This would enhance mutual understanding and laid the foundation for cooperation in the next step.

Fourth, it demonstrated its relevance. In the past 22 years since its establishment, the forum is always committed to building a platform for dialogue, exchange and cooperation for common, mutually beneficial and win-win development between China and the world, and a witness and participant in this process. In the forum discussions, we saw that China’s sincere desire to work closely with the rest of the world for a shared future. China, in its new journey of modernization, needs active participation and sharing of opportunities by all the other countries in the world. This shows the relevance of the China Development Forum.

The success of the forum proves once again that, first, dialogue is better than confrontation. President Xi Jinping stressed that human beings live in the same global village and are an increasingly intertwined community of a shared future. In building this community, some doubts can be alleviated through dialogue, and some problems can be resolved through dialogue and coordination. 

Second, communication is better than isolation. The world is defined by diverse human cultures, and communication is an important way for human progress. Closeness will not bring benefits and isolation cannot offer a way out. In the era of globalization, cultural exchange and mutual learning is a powerful driving force for the progress of human society and, more importantly, a major bond in maintaining world peace. Third, cooperation is better than decoupling. Regardless of skin color, we all live on one and only Earth. At present, some unprecedented challenges are threatening the survival and development of human society, such as Covid-19 and climate change. The whole world should share weal and woe and conduct sincere cooperation as passengers in the same boat if it is to overcome a myriad of global challenges.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

The forum this time is a complete success, demonstrating once again its relevance, I believe for the following reasons:

First, active participation of all the participants. In this forum, government officials, renowned academics, and business leaders overcame such challenges as Covid-19 and time difference to meet online and offline, making the forum bigger than ever. According to our statistics, as many as 165 foreign delegates participated, and 190 Chinese senior participants, a new record.

Second, strong support from the Chinese leadership and government ministries. At the opening ceremony, Vice Premier Han Zheng, on behalf of the Chinese government, briefed China’s remarkable progress in the 13th Five-Year Plan period, its major initiatives to address climate change and promote ecological civilization, and its propositions on further opening-up and international cooperation. Tomorrow, Premier Li Keqiang will meet with principal overseas participants via video link for in-depth discussion. During the forum, Mr. He Lifeng, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, Ms. Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and ministers and vice ministers from eight central government ministries participated in our in-depth discussions.

Third, robust media coverage. More than 500 journalists from 48 Chinese mainstream media, including People’s Daily and Xinhua News Agency, and 29 overseas mainstream media, actively covered the forum. In just four days, they wrote tens of thousands of news and commentaries. Yesterday, it even became the most searched hashtag, indicating the growing influence of the forum.

Fourth, the wonderful service provided by the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. Since 2000, the forum has been held here for 22 consecutive sessions. The Diaoyutai State Guesthouse has provided first-rate services, providing a strong support for the forum. I hope that all the participants online will come to Diaoyutai for the forum next year to enjoy the excellent environment and the attentive services that make you feel at home.

Fifth, the hard work of my colleagues. The forum secretariat and all the staff have made enormous efforts from planning, preparation to on-site organization. Many of them slept little in the past few days to ensure the forum is as successful as ever.

On behalf of the Development Research Center of the State Council, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all the participants, to all the friends who care about and support the forum, and to all the partners who contribute their wisdom and efforts to the forum.

Here, I would like to thank Mr. Lu Mai in particular. The forum couldn’t be so influential today without his hard work and contribution. For health and age reasons, he will no longer be Secretary General of the forum after this session. Of course, he will continue to serve the forum in one way or another. I propose that we all give a warm round of applause to express our heartfelt respect and appreciation to Mr. Lu for his outstanding contribution to the forum over the past 21 years.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

In conclusion, please allow me to quote a Chinese poetic line, “return with your zither tomorrow when red peach blossoms and green willow leaves rustle in the pleasant spring breeze.” May the world overcome the pandemic soon, and may you and your families be in good health. I look forward to seeing you all next spring in Diaoyutai, Beijing.

I would like to declare the successful conclusion of the China Development Forum 2021 annual meeting.