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Wu Jianmin: China Will Embrace Capital Internationalization
and the Fourth Big Trend of Entrepreneur

Source: www. china.com.cn Date: 2015-03-24

With the conclusion of the two sessions of the NPC and the CPPCC, the world’s attention is focused on China. The year 2015 is crucial for China’s reform and opening-up and deepened reforms. In Beijing, in particular, people are able to have a closer look at the rapid development of the country, especially the economic development of China and the world today. The two sessions covered a lot of topics, which showed people’s interest in and thinking about China’s own development and China’s development in the world.

At the luncheon titled “a joint look at the trend of the Chinese and global economy after the two sessions of the NPC and the CPPCC” co-organized by the Center for China and Globalization and www.china.com.cn, Wu Jianmin, former President of the China Foreign Affairs University, former Chinese ambassador to France and CCG Advisor stated that to advance globalization around the world, China, first and foremost, shall be globalized. To be frank, there are not many Chinese with global vision. We are now facing various obstructions just because some people have misunderstanding about globalization. That’s why the following three things should be done: First, seeking truth from facts offers hope. Second, attention should be paid to the big trend of the internationalization of Chinese capital. Third, be prepared to embrace the 4th big trend of entrepreneurship. 

Wu Jianmin said that he greatly endorse China’s advancement of globalization throughout the world. But to do that, the first thing China needs is to globalize itself. He gave three suggestions:

First, seeking truth from facts offers hope.

Wu Jianmin said that it has been almost 94 years since the founding of the Communist Party of China. A review of the history of the CPC tells us that we make great strides forward when we seek truth from facts and otherwise everything is a mess. The Zunyi Meeting was something of too long a time ago. He said that he had not been born by the time of the Zunyi Meeting, but people of his age have been able to see the big falls the country has had since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Why has China had the falls? Wu Jianmin believes that it is because of failure to seek truth from facts. For example, the fallacies of launching satellites, producing several tons of grain on every mu of land (so much that people stood on the hills of grain),overtaking the United Kingdom and the United States, the Great Leap Forward, and the steel making movement. As a result, we experienced big disasters. The Cultural Revolution is also a case in which we failed to seek truth from facts. Without seeking truth from facts, we will bring trouble to ourselves.

Wu Jianmin also mentioned that, during the two sessions of the NPC and the CPPCC this year, the remarks made by President Xi Jinping on many occasions and the press conference given by Premier Li Keqiang on 15 March are perfect examples of seeking truth from facts. At the press conference, when a journalist said that wrist-cutting hurts, Premier Li responded, “Yes, it hurts very much and the hurt is expanding and deepening.” He did not shy away from the challenge, rather he faced up to it quite straight forwardly and told the truth to people. Wu Jianmin said that he was very pleased to hear that answer. Seeking truth from facts really offers hope.

When talking about the internal driving force for development, President Xi Jinping said that “we must comprehensively deepen reform, China will be dead without reform and China will be dead without opening-up.” The Chinese should especially guard against the closed inertia. People all live with inertia and nobody is exception. China had been closed for nearly six centuries, thus a huge inertia. The inertia means that people talk about foreign threats as if a big disaster is coming tomorrow. Actually, two kinds of people exaggerate such threats. Some are indeed good-willed but some are saying so out of the interests of some particular groups. We should be especially cautious about the latter.

Second, attention should be paid to the big trend of the internationalization of Chinese capital.

Wu Jianmin said that Chinese capital is now moving to the world, the trend of which is just in the beginning. Last year alone registered 120 billion US dollars of capital inflows and 140 billion of outflows. That marks a transitional change. The Belt and Road Initiative was put forward exactly against that backdrop. I have been engaged in diplomacy all my life. But the Belt and Road Initiative is probably the first initiative of such a large scale China has ever brought forward in its thousands of years of history, including in the history of the People’s Republic, as it covers 1.4 billion people in 65 countries How many years will it take to complete the initiative. To Wu Jianmin, it may last for the whole of the 21st century. 

While considering this initiative remarkable, Wu Jianmin also reminded Chinese to be always clear-minded. Singapore reminded us that all the countries along the Belt and Road are small ones. Small countries have a natural, inevitable misgiving and fear of big countries. If we do not bear this in mind and just think that the step taken toward the Belt and Road Initiative would make everybody happy, we will have falls or even repeat our past mistakes. How can we alleviate such fears? In China, there is a phenomenon, something like showing muscles. It sounds very effective in working off the anger. But Wu Jianmin believes that it is not proper. He asked, “Can you show muscles to solve problems between husband and wife or between father and son?” And can you beat someone to successfully persuade him or her. It doesn’t work between husband and wife or between father and son. It works even less between countries. The Chinese have a lot of work to do in this regard. Wu Jianmin was confident that the big trend of the internationalization of Chinese capital will change China and the world. It will be a difficult process but he believes that as long as we take a serious approach and work in cooperation with others, we will do a good job of it.

Third, be prepared to embrace the fourth big trend of entrepreneurship.

Wu Jianmin pointed out that three big trends have taken place since the start of reform and opening-up. By big trend, he meant the trend for promoting productivity. The businesses of China, in the final analysis, are all about developing the productive force, which is a task on the top of all other things. Without the development of the productive force, nothing is possible.

The first big trend was about the rural enterprises in early 1980s. Wu Jianmin stressed that the vitality of a society lies in bringing out the potential of the smartest people. Otherwise, it would be like a pond of dead water. The first big trend enabled the smart people to make good use of their strengths, which has contributed to the great development of China.

The second big trend happened after Deng Xiaoping’s remarks during his trip to south China in 1992. Those remarks were really remarkable. There is hardly any other speech in history that has changed a country. That is the great role of Deng Xiaoping’s remarks during his south China trip. There are some elites among the public servants in China, who have left the public office to do business. Liu Chuanzhi and Wang Chaoyong are examples of them.

The third big trend refers to the return of overseas Chinese at the beginning of this century. Two factors were crucial in that process. First, China joined the WTO, bringing huge impetus to China. In 2001 when China joined the WTO, our foreign trade was 510 billion US dollars but last year reached 4.3 trillion US dollars. Wu Jianmin believes that Minister Long Yongtu had much credit for China’s accession to the WTO. What is great about Minister Long Yongtu is that he concluded that there was much likelihood of China’s accession after he talked with the United States in 1999. So he quickly called Zhu Rongji. Zhu Rongji and President Jiang Zemin talked about it and then President Jiang Zemin said that “I give you the mandate to negotiate in full power”. Wu Jianmin hopes that this example of being bold to tell the truth will be passed on to future generations. He believes that the Chinese nation calls for this spirit, without which China would be unable to make faster progress. The second factor was the Internet revolution. As a result, many overseas Chinese came back to China and have since worked with the people in China.

Wu Jianmin said that from 2001 to 2014, China’s development had been very fast and probably there were already signs of the coming of the fourth big trend. There are mainly two reasons:

First, more and more young people are starting businesses. Now those born in the 1980s and 1990s have huge enthusiasm for entrepreneurship, which was unprecedented in Chinese history. It is linked with the Internet revolution. At the press conference, Premier Li Keqiang said that “despite the slowdown, employment is rising, and it’s because some people are starting businesses, some very active and young people are starting businesses.” Wu Jianmin said that he had some contacts with young entrepreneurs and their entrepreneurial energy was so exciting.

At the same time, more and more public servants have resigned from public office to start businesses. Wu Jianmin mentioned the fact that the Foreign Ministry is no exception. It is quite challenging to get recruited by the Foreign Ministry, possibly with just 200 recruited out of 20,000 applicants. Some have chosen to switch to businesses, which is just a social phenomenon and not a bad thing from the perspective of the development of the world.

Wu Jianmin believes that this fourth big trend of entrepreneurship, connected with the host of initiatives made by China, will surely benefit China and the world.