The year 2014 marked the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. China is now the world's second largest economy, and an important contributor to global growth and prosperity. With the rapid development of China, there are ongoing efforts in China to define itself and its place in the world. This year also witnessed China's continuing involvement in world affairs and strong willingness and actions to deepen its internal reforms.
1. Comprehensively Advancing Rule of Law
The Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee was held in Beijing from October 20 to 23. According to the communique issued after the meeting, the overall target of the CPC's current drive to advance rule of law is to "form a system serving the socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics" and build a country with socialist rule of law.
It also adopted a decision from the CPC Central Committee on "major issues concerning comprehensively advancing rule of law," which is also the first specific decision and programmatic document made by the party in history aiming at strengthening rule of law and giving detailed instructions on how to comprehensively advance rule of law in China.
As outlined by the meeting, in order to comprehensively advance rule of law, China needs to undertake six major tasks; 1. to improve a socialist system of laws with Chinese characteristics, in which the Constitution is taken as the core, to strengthen the implementation of the Constitution; 2. to promote administration by law, to speed up building a law-based government; 3. to safeguard judicial justice, to improve judicial credibility; 4. to promote the public awareness of rule of law, to enhance the building of a law-based society, 5. to improve legal team building; 6. to sharpen the CPC's leadership in pushing forward rule of law.
With the rapid development of Chinese society and economy in recent years, China also accumulated many issues and problems which are all interconnected with the imperfection of the country's laws. The emphasis on rule of law also takes place at a time when Chinese citizens are expecting more fairness and justice and looking forward to the country's prosperity and long-term stability. This is the first time in the Party's history that a plenary session of the CPC Central Committee has taken rule of law as its central theme, and should be billed as a milestone in China's political reforms and progress.
2. Joining the Fight Against Ebola
Since the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in West African countries early this year, the disease has been spreading, even going beyond Africa into Europe and the US, causing global panic. Despite the fact that China is still a developing country, it has taken the global lead in stepping into the breach and already provided four batches of assistance to the peoples and countries concerned, showing the sincere friendship between China and Africa, who share weal and woe with practical actions.
We had provided, in April, August and September, three batches of humanitarian assistance to West African countries worth a total of 250 million yuan ($40 million). The fourth batch of assistance to West African countries announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping on October 24, 2014, which includes 60 ambulances, 100 motorcycles, 10,000 health-care kits, 150,000 sets of personal protection equipment as well as other materials such as hospital beds, pick-up trucks and incinerators, etc., are already partly in place and many more follow-ups will come.
The main features of our assistance are as follows: First, promptness. All the four batches of assistance were delivered in a timely manner, and many more follow-ups will come very soon. Second, sincerity. Chinese ambassadors to the affected countries and staff of the Chinese embassies there remain at their posts. Several Chinese medical teams were sent to the affected countries to provide medical services for local residents. Third, practicality. We have provided a great variety of practical assistance such as anti-epidemic supplies, cash and food, as well as the deployment of experts and medical workers, medical training and joint study which the affected areas need badly. Fourth, thoroughness.We not only intensify anti-epidemic aid to the Ebola-stricken countries, but also endeavor to help the epidemic-afflicted areas and other African countries with institutional and capacity building in public health security, addressing both the symptoms and the root causes.
At the same time, the Chinese government is making active efforts to prevent the Ebola epidemic inside the country. We have enhanced the screening of body temperatures of those entering China and made epidemic prevention preparations. Some places also hosted exercises on fighting the epidemic. We will remain on high alert and will never let down our guard.
At present, the Ebola epidemic has become a common threat faced by the international community, and a major task for us all in the field of public health. China stands ready to work with the international community to help relevant African countries weather this epidemic and win the battle against it.
3. Hosting the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting
APEC is a forum that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It was founded in 1989. It now has 21 members and three observers. The theme of the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting is "Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership." The meeting concluded on November 11 in Beijing, and significantly boosted Asia-Pacific partnership.
There were four practical results achieved by the meeting. First, the meeting issued "The 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Declaration: Beijing Agenda for an integrated, innovative and interconnected Asia-Pacific" and " Statement on the 25th Anniversary of APEC, Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership," summing up historical experience and blueprinting the future prospects. Second, all member economies agreed on a roadmap for promoting the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and charted the course for Asia-Pacific cooperation. Third, all member economies agreed to advance innovative development in economy, reform and growth, injecting new vigor into the long-term development of the Asia-Pacific region. Fourth, an APEC Connectivity Blueprint 2015-2025 and a strategic blueprint to promote global value chain development and cooperation were also approved at the meeting, which would lay a solid foundation for all-round connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Beijing meeting witnessed the charm of living in harmony while retaining diversity. Though each APEC member economy has different interests, they sit and talk and move forward toward common prosperity. The successful meeting mapped out clearer goals and blueprints to guide the advancement of Asia-Pacific partnership and economic integration.
China took the important mission of host for APEC this year, and used this great opportunity to actively promote liberalization and facilitation of regional trade and investment, accelerate regional economic integration and strengthen the members' capability in economic and technical cooperation, so as to jointly push forward development and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and build an Asia-Pacific partnership for the future.
During the meeting, China put forward a series of practical proposals ranging from the FTAAP roadmap to an APEC connectivity blueprint. Among the over 100 initiatives proposed by APEC economies this year, more than half came from China and many were accepted by member economies at this meeting. In this regard, China is a beneficiary and more, an active advocate and promoter of regional cooperation.
At present, China is comprehensively deepening its reforms and opening up, speeding up transformation of its economic development mode, intensifying adjustment of economic structure and implementing innovation-driven strategy, therefore, its economy will maintain medium-to-high growth for a fairly long period and its economic quality will improve constantly. We welcome countries all over the world to actively participate in the process of China's economic and social development, and together share the opportunities and results brought by China's reform and development.
The writer Mme. Gao Yanping is Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the State of Israel.