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UPDATED: June 17, 2013 NO. 25 JUNE 20, 2013
Everyone Lives in Dignity

A BIG TENT: People in Tianjin spend the holidays at a park in the suburb (XINHUA)

During a recent interview with Chongqing Daily, Zhou Tianyong, Deputy Director of the Institute for International Strategy at the Party School of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, elaborated on how to relate the Chinese Dream to progress. The following are excerpts of his views:

The Chinese Dream comprises three layers: the dream of the nation, of families and of individuals. Self-dependence of the nation, harmonious families and individual happiness compose the essence of the Chinese Dream. We should not emphasize individual development alone while neglecting development of the whole nation. Meanwhile, we should also avoid overemphasizing the country's development while neglecting the dreams of families and individuals, without asking the government to take on necessary obligations.

To realize such a dream, the Chinese have to undergo different stages. Since entering the 20th century, through unremitting efforts and arduous fighting, Chinese people successfully drove away foreign invaders and founded the People's Republic of China in 1949. From the late 1970s to the first decade of the 21st century, China overcame many negative factors that restrained its development, such as a large population, limited resources and low productivity. Its GDP jumped from $364.5 billion in 1978 to $6.5 trillion in 2010, growing to become the world's second largest economy. Today, our dream is to realize harmony between society and the people, between cultural and material consumption and between development and the environment.

Significance to social progress

The Chinese Dream represents the common aspiration for the great future of people of all social classes and will become the common ideal and belief of the Chinese nation. It has pointed out the objective and direction of the entire society, and is thus able to stimulate the vitality of this nation, strengthen cohesion as well as self-confidence. The proposal of a Chinese Dream is not only giving the Chinese hope and a goal to strive for, but is also presenting to the rest of the world a positive and upward-looking China.

To realize the dream is not a short-term process. The Chinese need to walk on this road for 100 years or even longer. It will decide the nation's status in the international community in the next century. When the direction is clearly set, what we need next is solid confidence to conduct reforms. Reform is the biggest dividend of the Chinese Dream.

Reform needed

To realize the Chinese Dream, we should first solve the problem concerning hope and disappointment. The biggest failure of a society is reflected in the vast majority's disappointment in itself, the country and the system they are living in. The Chinese Dream means giving people hope and the aspiration and ideal for the future. Only when they cherish great needs for the future, will the people work energetically and will the nation stand unbeatably. Second, when we have hope, what kind of road will be taken? Based on the past 30 years' experience, we found that the road of reform and opening up is basically right. But adjustments should be applied in some specific areas. For example, China needs to transform its model of development and adjust its export-oriented industrialization.

The priority for reform is to establish an equal social system and to pave the way for prosperity. Some policies, such as administrative approval, annual examination and inspection, access and amercement, need to be reformed, so as to fully mobilize people's enthusiasm for starting businesses and work.

Today, the cost of doing business is too high. For example, last year, the country's banking sector harvested a profit of 1.1 trillion yuan ($174.6 billion), but small and medium-sized enterprises find it very difficult to get loans, and even if they can, the annual interest rate is very high.

Moreover, the pace of urbanization should be accelerated. In all developed countries, the urbanization rate is above 75 percent. If China is to make itself a modern country, it must change its current population structure. China's current urbanization rate only stands at 49 percent, with 250 million farmers staying in cities without stable dwellings. Farmers should be made urban residents through reforms in the hukou, or household registration system, education, medicare, pension and the aiding system for low-income population, to enable them to contribute to robust economic growth.

We also need to properly handle some relationships, particularly the relationship between freedom and democracy, as well as between centralization and order. On one hand, China needs to expand freedom and push forward democracy, so as to form a vigorous society; on the other hand, this must be a society in order. Great efforts should be made to build a free and democratic as well as orderly and stable livelihood and development environment.

To allow all the people to live affluent lives should be the final goal of the Chinese Dream. The state of strength and prosperity for a country will be temporary if its people cannot share the affluence. People's lives have been greatly improved, but there are still many worrisome problems. China's social security system is not well-developed yet. For example, people find it difficult to see a doctor in hospitals, their children may not have proper schools to go to and housing prices are too high to afford. Nothing is trivial in terms of people's livelihood. Only when the gap between rural and urban areas is removed, can the country ensure that its people will be supported in old age, get treated in illness, have schools to attend and houses to live in. At that time, we can say that the Chinese are provided with a relatively rich material guarantee.

Every person has the right to live in dignity. First, we need to build up an equal primary distribution mechanism, so that everyone can enjoy equal opportunities and, more importantly, people from the lower classes have equal opportunities to move upward. Second, the entire society should set up proper social values. No profession is superior to others and citizens in various classes should have access to national treatment. The choice to enter any profession should be fully respected.

Email us at: zanjifang@bjreview.com

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