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Speech by President Jiang Zemin of The People's Republic of China

Jiang Zemin (

Jiang Zemin (

At Luncheon
by the America China Society
And Five Other Organizations
October 30, 1997


Mr. Conable,
Dr Kissinger,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to get together with you at today's luncheon hosted by the America China Society, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Asia Society and the Committee of 100. Over the years, you have made positive contributions to deeper understanding and friendship between the Chinese and American peoples. Allow me to express, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, our heartfelt thanks to you and our deep gratitude and best regards to all our American friends who have cared for and supported the improvement and growth of China U.S. relations.

Now, let me take this opportunity to brief you on China's domestic and foreign policies and share with you some of my thoughts on China-U.S. relations.

China has gone through quite a few extraordinary events since the beginning of the year. On February 19, Mr. Deng Xiaoping, the chief architect of our reform and opening up program, passed away. The Chinese people of all ethnic groups cherished a profound memory of this great man, and were determined to carry forward unswervingly his unfinished cause. On July 1, the Chinese Government resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, wiping out the century-old humiliation caused by its occupation and succeeded in maintaining Hong Kong's prosperity and stability in accordance with the policy of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy. In the middle of September, the Communist Party of China convened its Fifteenth National Congress, whose main theme was to promote an all round advancement of the cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics to the 21st century by holding high the great banner of Deng Xiaoping Theory.

This Congress also clearly answered the important question as to how China's reform, opening up and modernization drive will go forward.

Between now and the end of the first decade of the next century we will work to establish a fairly ideal socialist market economy while maintaining a sustained, rapid and sound development of the national economy so as to lay a solid foundation for basic achievement of modernization by the middle of the next century.

After reviewing our experience of the past and present, we made it clear that keeping public ownership in the dominant position while allowing diverse forms of ownership to develop side by side is a basic economic system that we must always adhere to in the primary stage of socialism. Public ownership can take diversified forms, and all management methods and organizational styles that embody the laws of socialized production, such as the joint stock system and the joint stock partnership should be utilized without hesitation. The nonpublic sector is an important component of our socialist market economy, and we should continue to encourage and guide their sound development.

Along the line of establishing a modern enterprise system, we will accelerate the reform of state owned enterprises, giving greater play to their dominant role in the national economy and quickening the market-oriented reform of the national economy with better play of the basic role of the marketplace in the allocation of resources and improved mechanism of macro control. We will continue to readjust and optimize the economic structure and stick to the strategies of revitalizing the nation through science and education and sustainable development. We will further improve our pattern of openness which is all directional, multi-leveled and wide-ranging, develop an open economy and open China still wider to the outside world. We will ensure that our people will reap the benefit of continued economic growth and gradually achieve common prosperity.

We will further enlarge democracy, run the state according to law and turn China into a socialist country ruled by law. As early as over 2,000 years ago, ancient Chinese came up with such plain ideas of democracy and the rule of law as "people being essential to a state while their governance following prescribed laws". Today, these thoughts have been further developed to reflect the new times. We believe that without democracy there can be no modernization. We will ensure that our people hold democratic elections, make policy decisions democratically, carry out democratic management and supervision and enjoy extensive rights and freedoms under the law while giving greater play to their creativity and their sense of being the masters of state affairs. We will continue to safeguard the dignity of the Constitution and other laws, further improve the legal system, strengthen supervision on government organs and leading officials at all levels to ensure that all work of the country is carried out according to law. The overall goal of our political restructuring is to build socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics while upholding and improving our basic political system.

We will build a national, scientific and popular socialist culture that is geared to modernization, the world and the future and endeavor to raise the ideological, ethical, scientific and educational standards of the whole nation. At the same time, we should conduct multi-formed cultural exchanges with other countries, drawing on their strong points while introducing our own achievements to the world.

What the Congress has achieved has given expression to the common desire of the Chinese people of all ethnic groups. The Congress, as commented by world opinion, sent out an unequivocal message: China's reform and opening-up is irreversible. This judgment is correct.