"People are the creators of history," a comment made by President Xi Jinping, best illustrates the theme of this issue's cover story. Ordinary men and women have been the propellers of China's reform and opening up over the past 40 years.
The policy that has driven China's remarkable transformation was introduced in 1978 when the 11th Communist Party of China Central Committee held its Third Plenary Session. Aimed at dismantling the economic straitjacket and unlocking growth potential, it put China on the path to modernization and prosperity. China has since made a historic shift from a centrally planned economy to a dynamic market economy and from a closed or semi-closed society to an open one, with profound changes taking place in the country and its relations with the rest of the world.
Reform conforms to the will of the people, who, for their part, have pushed forward reform initiatives. Individual efforts have combined to promote the unfolding of the reform and opening-up program while favorable national policies have provided support for individuals' development. Over the past four decades, numerous small potatoes like those presented in this issue have contributed to China's social and economic progress realized through reform and opening up.
There is an entrepreneur who made several attempts to start a business, a migrant worker who finds a new home in the nation's capital, a Beijing resident returning home to inherit and spread his mother's handicraft-making techniques after studying overseas, and a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) doctor seeking to use TCM to treat breast diseases and introduce Chinese medical science to more foreigners.
They are not political figures, film stars or business elites, but their stories are a testament to Chinese people's pursuit of better lives. They have arrived at where they are thanks to China's open and inclusive attitude, favorable environment for innovation and abundant opportunities. From their stories, we can get an understanding of the underlining themes of contemporary China.
As China commemorates the 40th anniversary of reform and opening up, the contributions of ordinary people is more than worth noting. History should not forget those who have participated in social development. This issue's cover story honors these average people.