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Together to Build a China-U.S. Relationship Oriented Towards the New Century

Jiang Zemin

Jiang Zemin

The Chinese nation has a glorious tradition of loving peace. Since ancient times, the Chinese people have believed in the value of peace. We Chinese people hope to see peace prevail in the world and to live in amity with the people of other countries. We are focusing on modernization and need a long-term peaceful and stable international environment. Therefore, to promote world peace and development is the fundamental objective of China's foreign policy. We will continue to develop friendly relations and cooperation with all countries on the basis of the five principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence. A developed China will play a positive role in maintaining world peace and stability and will by no means constitute a threat to anybody.

The Chinese people love democracy and freedom. In modern times, they waged an unyielding struggle for national independence and democratic rights, The founding of the People's Republic of China represents a great achievement of this struggle. The Chinese Government has made unremitting efforts to protect and promote the democratic rights of the Chinese people. Their civil and political rights as well as their fundamental freedoms have been ensured and protected according to law. Their living standards have been improved to such an extent as has never been seen in history. The average life expectancy of the Chinese has increased from 35 years in 1949 to 70.8 years now. In the past 20 years alone, China has lifted out of poverty more than 200 million people, or roughly the population of the United States. Since 1988, hundreds of millions of rural folk have participated in direct elections at the grassroots levels. China has more than 2,000 radio and TV stations, over 2,000 newspapers and over 8,000 magazines. Every year, over 100,000 new books are published in the country. There are over 16 million netizens, more than 27,000 worldwide web sites, over 70,000 Chinese domain names and 61 million mobile phones in China. The Chinese people are enjoying extensive and full access to information and many channels through which to express their views.

The Chinese nation is a big multi-ethnic family. The 56 ethnic groups have established among themselves a new-type relationship of equality, mutual help and unity. Areas inhabited by ethnic minorities have registered substantial progress in all undertakings and comprehensive social progress. Not long after the founding of the People's Republic of China, the people in China's Tibet carried out democratic reforms. The serfdom under theocracy was done away with once and for all, the millions of serfs who had suffered tremendously from oppression in the old days became masters of their own fate. The Chinese nation features pluralism in unity. Because of this feature, the diversified ethnic cultures in China are rich and colorful. The languages, religions and customs of ethnic minorities in China, including the Tibetans, are protected and respected and their cultural traditions have been carried forward and developed. In Tibet, many Tibetan children study every day in schools with the Tibetan language as the means of teaching. This is a fair conclusion that all those who respect facts would come to.

As is clearly stipulated in the Constitution of China, Chinese citizens have freedom of religious belief. The Chinese Government protects its citizens' freedom of religious belief and their normal religious activities. No state agencies, social groups or individuals shall force citizens to believe in or not to believe in a religion. Nor should they discriminate against religious believers or non-believers. More than 100 million people believe in various religions in China. Religious figures are elected deputies to the people's congresses or members of the political consultative conferences in China. But Falungong that has been outlawed by the Chinese Government according to law is a cult that has broken up, ruined and displaced many families. It is by no means a religion. All governments in the world would oppose cults like this and would bring to justice those who have done sever harm to the people.

Democracy, freedom and human rights are the common aspirations of mankind. However, because of differences in the history, culture, social system and the level of development, different countries would inevitably adopt different approaches to ensure these things to their people and would give them different contents and connotations. This is quite normal. The differences among countries should not become an obstacle to the development of their relations. Ours is a diverse and colorful world. To ask all countries to institute the same political system and to judge the various choices made by the people of various countries according to the values of one country are not democratic at all. No country is perfect. China and the United States should strengthen their exchanges and dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect.