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Reform and opening up hailed at Boao Forum

Source: Xinhua | 04-14-2008 08:56

Special Report:   BFA Annual Conference 2008

BOAO, Hainan, April 13 (Xinhua) -- "In 1978 when the reform and opening up was launched, my parents had to send my two younger sisters to other families since they were so poor that they could not afford to bring them up," said Pan Shiyi, who is now a Chinese real estate tycoon.

Participants paste photos taken at the important moments during the development of their enterprises, during a session retrospecting China's 30-year reform and opening-up to the outside world and prospecting the process, a sideline of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2008, in Boao, south China's Hainan Province, April 13, 2008.(Xinhua Photo)
Participants paste photos taken at the important moments 
during the development of their enterprises, during a 
session retrospecting China's 30-year reform and opening-up 
to the outside world and prospecting the process, a sideline 
of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2008, 
in Boao, south China's Hainan Province, April 13, 2008.
(Xinhua Photo)

Pan reviewed his experiences during the past 30 years with affectionateness at a round table dialogue titled "Retrospects and Prospects: 30 years of China's Reform and Opening to the Outside World" held here Sunday on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia(BFA) 2008 annual conference.

Hundreds of entrepreneurs, government officials and experts from home and abroad attended the dialogue to discuss what the reform has brought about to China by providing their own experiences during the three decades. All the speakers, with their own experiences, hailed China's great achievements in the past 30 years.

Pointing at a picture taken in 1994, Liu Yonghao, CEO of a feedstuff enterprise New Hope Group, explained that in the picture he was giving a keynote speech at the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) as a representative at the Great Hall of the People in front of thousands of delegates.

"It was the first time that private businessmen were elected as representatives at this China's top advisory body," Liu said.

He said private business has enjoyed a leaps-and-bounds development in the past three decades.

His opinion was echoed by Chen Feng, Chairman of Hainan Airlines Group which was established in 1992 as the first ever share holding private airlines in China.

Chen said when his company was established, the aviation industry in China was monopolized by state enterprises and it was very difficult to get an air ticket then.

"Thanks to the opening up and reform, after management restructuring, our company has become China's fourth largest carrier," Chen said.

Wei Jiafu, president of China Ocean Shipping (Group) Company (COSCO), also applauded the great achievements of the reform and opening up. He said it facilitated COSCO to develop from a small company of five million net-weight tons in 1978 to a giant fleet of 52 million net-weight tons with 830 vessels.

He said COSCO has now become the world second largest ocean shipping company. And many Chinese companies are not only big companies but very powerful and strong world-class companies after emerging into the outside world.

"The three decades of reform and opening up are really eventful and innovative," said Chi Fulin, executive president of the China Institute for Reform and Development.

He said in the early stage of the reform and opening up drive, China was trying to provide basic living necessities for its people. After 30 years of development, the Chinese people are enjoying initial prosperity and the government is trying to build an even better and harmonious society. "That is a historical breakthrough," Chi said.

At the opening ceremony of the BFA annual conference, Chinese President Hu Jintao said the reform and opening-up policy is a "crucial choice" that has shaped today's China, and a choice made by the 1.3 billion Chinese people.

"China has successfully made the historic transition from a highly centralized planned economy to a robust socialist market economy and from a closed and semi-closed country to a country that is wide open to the outside world," the president said.

Hailing China's rapid economic growth, Hu said the Chinese people, once lacking basic living necessities, are now enjoying initial prosperity. The poor rural population in China has dropped from over 250 million to about 10 million.

But Chi warned that China is now facing new challenges and new imbalances such as the imbalance between sustainable economic growth and environmental protection and resource constrains, economic growth and social progress versus inadequate public service structure and public governance.

"All of these imbalances reflect the new challenges we are facing. But more importantly, it shows that we are not at the end of the reform process and our reform is still in its initial stage," Chi stressed, calling for promoting the reform in an all-round way in the new stage.

Established in 2001, the BFA is a pan-Asian platform of dialogue for key issues relating to Asia and the world.

More than 1,700 officials, business leaders, intellectuals and journalists from around the globe gathered in the scenic town for the conference that concludes on Sunday.


Editor:Du Xiaodan