|Ambassador Li Baodong Delivers a Keynote Speech at the UN Women's International Forum|
On February 10, at the invitation of the UN Women's International Forum, Ambassador Li Baodong delivered a keynote speech entitled "Put China in Perspective" at the UN Headquarters. About 400 people attended the forum, including Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, wife of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Madam Shirley Young, governor and former Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the Committee of 100, Madam Lu Hailin, wife of Ambassador Li Baodong, wives of permanent representatives to the UN, diplomats and local residents in New York.
Ambassador Li cited many facts and data to illustrate China's history, cultural traditions, economic development and achievements, as well as domestic and foreign policies, and help the public gain a more objective and comprehensive understanding of China.
Ambassador Li said that China is an ancient civilization with a history of about 5,000 years. The long history of China's civilization is an epic in which the Chinese people face up to all kinds of difficulties and challenges, forge ahead courageously, and explore new progress. The Chinese people value high moral standards and family ties, respect the elderly, care for the young, and are nice, sincere and honest toward everybody. They value peace, kindness and good relations with their neighbors, and do not do to others what they do not want others to do to them. China has thousands upon thousands of books with case studies based on China's experience on how to run a country, but the Chinese never meddle in the internal affairs of other countries, or lecture others on how to handle their own business. China is also a young country, always innovating and exploring new ways for development. The ongoing reform and opening up program in China is the most epoch-making event in Chinese history. It embarked China on a path of development suited to its national conditions, and in as short as three decades, has brought about sea changes in China and filled the Chinese people with hope and confidence in their future.
Ambassador Li said that, over the past 30 years since the inception of the reform and opening up policy, China has scored remarkable achievements in its development, and there is great potential and space for further growth. China's wealth is not a windfall. The wealth is earned and saved bit by bit, through hard work, good management and frugality. The greatest contribution China can make to world peace and prosperity is to manage its own affairs well. This will also benefit other countries. China's per capita GDP now ranks 104th in the world. It is a mere one-thirteenth of that of America, and about Japan's 1960s level. Some 10 million Chinese have no access to electricity. China's development is faced with many constraints in terms of population, resources and the environment. China still has a long way to go before it becomes a developed country.
Ambassador Li pointed out that, China can view itself and the world in a sensible and objective way. The Chinese are embracing the world with their arms wide open. They are yearning to know more about the world, and hope to have close exchanges and face-to-face dialogue with people from all over the world. They have a dream that is the same as that of the people in other countries and have the same happiness and concerns. On the other side of the earth, 1.3 billion Chinese people are working hard for a better life. The slogan for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing was "one world, one dream". This is also the Chinese people's view on the world and their expectation of the future.
After the speech, Ambassador Li answered questions from the audience on issues such as China's policy on aid to Africa and how to guard against unhealthy impact of the Internet on youths. A host of international media outlets to the UN were present at the Forum. Right after the speech, Ambassador Li took an interview from South-South News.
Founded in 1975, the UN Women's International Forum is an organization with members mainly from the UN organs and agencies, and the diplomatic community, NGOs and local women's groups in New York. The Forum invites, on a regular basis, political dignitaries and diplomats from various countries to talk about international and regional issues related to the United Nations.