Recently, China's State Council Information Office released a white paper titled "China's International Development Cooperation in the New Era", which shows the world how China conducts international development cooperation in the new era, and demonstrates the country's commitment to building a community with a shared future for mankind.Currently the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging across the world, posing a very grave threat to people's lives and health. At such a critical juncture, China has been actively engaged in the global cooperation against the pandemic, with President Xi Jinping pledging to make China's COVID-19 vaccines a global public good.As a developing country, why does China attach so much importance to development cooperation between countries?What role will China play in a world undergoing profound changes unseen in a century?In this program, we are honored to have Mr. Tian Lin, the spokes person of China International Development Cooperation Agency and Director-General of the agency's Department of International Cooperation to share with us his views and insights.
CHINA.COM.CN: Director-General Tian, welcome to China Talk of CHINA.COM.CN.
Tian Lin: Nice to be here and hello to followers of CHINA.COM.CN.
CHINA.COM.CN: The Chinese government has recently issued a white paper titled "China's International Development Cooperation in the New Era", which gives detailedinformation on China's work in this field in recent years.We learned that previously, the Chinese government had issued two white papers titled "China's Foreign Aid"in 2011 and 2014 respectively.So what is the story behind the release of this new white paper?What is the main content?
Tian Lin: The year 2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China's foreign aid.Over the past seven decades, acting in the spirit of humanitarianism and internationalism and within the framework of South-South cooperation, we have been providing assistance to the best of our ability to other developing countries without attaching any political conditions. And such efforts have been hailed by the international community.
In 2011 and 2014, the Chinese government released two white papers titled "China's Foreign Aid", reviewing the development of China’s foreign aid during the period since the founding of the People's Republic of China (1949) till 2012.
Both China and the wider world have witnessed profound changes since 2012. Globally, the once-in-a-century transformation is accelerating. In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which has since become a common development goal and shared responsibility of the international community.
Domestically, we're in a new era of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, embarking on a journey toward(fully) building a modern socialist country.President Xi Jinping has put forward important new philosophy, ideas and initiatives and announced a series of measures for practical cooperation on major international occasions. Therefore, responding to the call of our times, Chinese foreign aid has also been upgraded to promote international development cooperation.
The recent white paper is the first policy document on international development cooperation that the Chinese government has issued since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and after the establishment of the China International Development Cooperation Agency in 2018.The main content can be summarized in three key words:
First, philosophy. The white paper gives a systematic summary of China's new philosophy, policies and positions on international development cooperation.
Second, action. The white paper highlights the significant progress and achievements China has made in international development cooperation since 2013.
Third,outlook. The white paper elaborates on China's vision and goals in international development cooperation in the future.
CHINA.COM.CN: As you said, this white paper expounds on China's philosophy, policies and propositions on international development cooperation.Can you tell us more about that?
Tian Lin: Since China began to provide foreign aid in 1950, we have gradually found a path of international development cooperation with Chinese characteristics, and developed philosophy and policy initiatives with our own distinctive features. During his visit to Africa in 1964, Premier Zhou Enlai announced eight principles governing China's foreign economic and technical cooperation, with equality, mutual benefits, and no political conditions attached at the core. That became the basic principles guiding China's work in foreign aid.
In the new era, President Xi,aligning the development of China and the world, has put forward the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind and developed new philosophy in international development cooperation.This has also fully demonstrated China's global vision and sense of responsibility.Our ideas and propositions can be analyzed from three levels: firstly, the cultural roots and fundamental value of China's international development cooperation. The emphasis on friendship, justice and good faith is the driving force for our work in this field.
Our international development cooperation is driven by our pursuit of universal harmony in the world, the sincere gratitude of the Chinese people,as well as the spirit of internationalism of China as a responsible major country.
Secondly, we proposed the important view that China's international development cooperation is guided by the lofty goal of building a community with a shared future for mankind. Our work is based on the value of seeking greater good and shared benefits and positioned as part of South-South cooperation. Leveraging the Belt and Road Initiative as a major platform, we strive to help other countries achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Thirdly, we have elaborated on China's policies and positions on international development cooperation. The eight policy initiatives that we put forward are based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and follow the principles of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefits, good faith, openness, inclusiveness as well as doing what we are capable of and keeping pace with the times. These policy initiatives, while in line with the universally recognized norms governing international relations, also follow the trend of our times of seeking peace and development.
CHINA.COM.CN: In recent years, there are concerns that China has spent too much money on international development cooperation, and these money should have been used to alleviate poverty and improve medical services and people's livelihood at home. What's your comment?Why does China, a developing country, attach so much importance to international development cooperation?
Tian Lin: First of all, China's foreign policy and international status require us to do so. Guided by the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, we believe China needs the world for its development and the world also needs China in its pursuit of peace, development, stability and prosperity, as all countries share a common stake. We often say that China will be better in a better world, and in turn, a stronger China will contribute more to further progress in the world. China is the largest developing country in the world, and a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Our international status means that we should do our part in promoting global peace, development and prosperity.
Secondly, we should always bear in mind our own national conditions. Our international development cooperation is carried out within the scope of South-South cooperation as China is still a developing country. That means we should always adhere to the principle of doing what we are capable of without overstretching ourselves. This is a guiding compass when we make contributions to the world.
Thirdly, help is always mutual. China has received tremendous support and help from the international community in its development. After the devastating earthquake in Wenchuan(2008)and at the height of our fight against COVID-19, the international community extended a helping hand to us. Many countries, though not rich themselves,made generous donations to us in cash and kind. I think that we have taken all those factors into account in our international development cooperation. We are helping wherever we can without overstretching ourselves. Our assistance is commensurate with our foreign policy and international status as well as our current national conditions, and also in line with the international practice.
I also want to emphasize that conducting international development cooperation and improving Chinese people's livelihood are not incompatible, and there is no competition of resources.The Chinese government has always adhered to the people-centered development approach.In 2020, all rural residents under the current poverty standard were lifted out of poverty, and decisive achievements were made in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, which shows that we are capable of striking a balance between the two.
CHINA.COM.CN: We know that certain countries are questioning China’s international development cooperation, saying that a stronger China is using international development cooperation as a tool to enhance its influence and promote neo-colonialism in Africa.How do you respond to this?
Tian Lin: The absurd claim that China is using international development cooperation to engage in so-called neo-colonialism doesn't hold water. China has nothing to do with this.
China itself was a victim of colonialism in the past. Having experienced colonial rule and aggression for more than 100 years, we are keenly aware of the immense suffering inflicted on a country and its people by colonialism. We share the same hatred for colonialism with African people, who also suffered from 500 years of colonial rule. Our two peoples know colonialism all too well.
China has always been clean and candid about its international development cooperation.We have made it clear that we never impose any political conditions, nor will we interfere in the internal affairs of recipient countries. We have upheld mutual respect, equality, good faith and mutual benefits for win-win cooperation. What we do is to help other developing countries improve their capability for self-generated development and cope with humanitarian emergencies. Our assistance mainly focuses on areas concerning people's livelihood, such as schools and hospitals, as well as agriculture. As to how the assistance is provided, we fully respect the will and needs of the recipient countries. All the aid projects we have implemented are proposed by the recipient countries themselves.
The implementation process is characterized by joint consultation and contribution. It is the people of the recipient countries that benefit from the projects. What we do has nothing to do with colonialism nor will we ever seek colonialism in our international development cooperation.
The so-called neo-colonialism is hyped up by the West. African countries have never said that. We hope that relevant parties can focus on how to help African countries get rid of poverty and achieve development, instead of clinging to their obsolete mindset, seeing African countries as their own sphere of influence and resorting to every conceivable means to undermine the friendship and cooperation between China and Africa.
CHINA.COM.CN: COVID-19 is still raging all over the world. We have noticed that the white paper has a section about China's anti-epidemic assistance to other countries. Please tell us more about that. And what action will China take in the future to help other countries with their vaccine supply?
Tian Lin: China has been providing assistance for other countries in their COVID-19 response, and this is the longest and most extensive emergency humanitarian assistance campaign since the founding of the People's Republic of China.
By the end of last year, we had sent several batches of anti-pandemic material to 150 countries and more than 10 international organizations.We dispatched 35 medical teams to 33 countries to exchange and share experience with local medical institutions and experts. We provided cash assistance to the World Health Organization, as well as financing for the newly launched COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan of the UN, with the aim of enhancing pandemic response capacity of relevant countries and strengthening their public health system.China also proposed a G20 COVID-19 assistance initiative so that countries could strengthen information communication and policy and action coordination with the support of the WHO.
China will continue to actively participate in international anti-pandemic cooperation in light of the progress of the disease, and provide support and assistance for relevant countries within its capacity.
President Xi has solemnly pledged to make China's COVID-19 vaccines a global public good.At the end of last year, our domestic vaccine was introduced to the market conditionally.We'll provide vaccines for developing countries on a priority basis to fully honor President Xi's commitment.Assistance will be an important part of that. As you may have noticed, China has recently announced that it will provide vaccine assistance for some countries in need. We are convinced that with joint efforts of all countries, we will eventually defeat the pandemic and safeguard the health and well-being of mankind.
CHINA.COM.CN: The world is undergoing changes unseen in a century. With new challenging constantly popping up, what is the future for China’s international development cooperation?What should we do and what can we do?
Tian Lin: First of all, we need to cooperate in COVID-19 response and build a community with a shared future for mankind. In this context, first, we should continue to offer necessary assistance, including all kinds of material and technical support.
Second, we need to focus on capacity-building, providing support and assistance for relevant countries to improve their public health system.
Third, we need to support the World Health Organization, among other international organizations,in playing their important roles. These are the first things we can do.
Secondly, we should join hands with other countries in implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Putting people and their livelihood first, we will earnestly implement the cooperation measures that President Xi has announced on major international occasions. We will align our efforts in advancing Belt and Road cooperation and in implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, so as to help other developing countries achieve economic and social development, and make people feel happier and better served.
Thirdly, it is essential to strengthen solidarity and collaboration in meeting global challenges.We should strive for a global development partnership that is more equal and balanced, firmly uphold multilateralism, and improve global governance in the field of international development cooperation. While fully respecting the sovereignty and will of recipient countries, we are ready for consultations with relevant donor countries as well as regional and international organizations to gradually roll out tripartite international development cooperation.
Fourthly, we need to improve our own ability and performance through capacity-building.This includes, for example, formulation of planning, improvement of the legal framework and systems, better management of the whole process of projects, and establishment of a sound supervision and evaluation mechanism.
In a nutshell, there is no doubt that China will continue to inject positive energy into international development cooperation in the future, by rendering support to other developing countries wherever it can, and by promoting inclusive, balanced and sustainable growth of the global economy. China will make even greater contributions to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
CHINA.COM.CN: Director-General Tian, thank you so much for the excellent interpretation. We are convinced that China will contribute even more to international development cooperation in the future.Thank you.
Tian Lin: Thank you.