China's reform and opening-up: Pakistani perspective

Zamir Ahmed Awa
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, 06 06, 2018
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The author pictured with his math teacher at Shanghai University of Technology in 1981. [Photo provided to]

Deng Xiaoping, the architect of economic reforms, who shaped China to become the second-largest economy in the world, introduced reform and opening-up policy in 1978.

As a student in China from 1980-1987, I experienced the reform and opening-up of the country. I witnessed the agricultural reform of 1978-1984. I saw the changes in the society. When I arrived in China in 1980, there was shortage of food and coupons were used for purchasing basic food items such as rice, flour, meat, cooking oil, eggs, etc. We had to stand in long lines to buy items of daily use. But gradually, with the introduction of the reform of agricultural, the food shortage was not only overcome but abundant production led to export of excessive amount of agriculture produce. Food coupons were removed, or became obsolete, a big variety of food items were available in the market. The status of farmers changed completely and prosperity among farmers surged. Around 500 million people were lifted out of poverty in just a few years.

After the success of reforms in agriculture, reforms were extended to industrial and business sector, etc. The whole society was transforming rapidly. A visible change was visible in day to day basis. Every time we went to downtown, we could see repair of roads, laying of pipelines of water, gas, electricity, etc. Bridges were being constructed, high-rise buildings were constructed, and infrastructure was developing at an accelerated pace. Dressing also changed. People became well dressed and colorful attractive dresses were becoming popular. Prosperity was obvious from their faces.

I served as a diplomat in Pakistan embassy in 2010-2016 and witnessed the modern China. New era was marked with Xi Jinping as president of China in 2013. Introduction of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was beginning of globalization and international role of China in world affairs. The initiative also got approvl in UN and more and more countries have shown interest to this initiative.

Chairman Mao liberated China, Comrade Deng Xiaoping made China economically strong, while President Xi Jinping made China a global power. Domestically, reform and opening-up in China has changed the fate of Chinese. China from a country of severe shortage of food has turned into exporter. With development in social sector, standard of life has improved immensely. Quality of education, healthcare and entertainment has improved tremendously. Chinese have complete different approach and different outlook. Material life as well as spiritual life has improved. The whole nation has reformed its thinking approach. Completely transformed into a modern, advance nation.

People of Pakistan always inspired and appreciated China’s developments and wanted to learn from Chinese experiences. In fact China’s rapid development is a ray of hope for all developing countries. China has proved that developments are not only possible for West, if developing countries work hard and opt for good governance, they can also achieve the desired high rate of growth. Wish China will achieve even more progress and development. China has emerged as a role model for developing countries. Pakistan being the closest friend and ally of China must especially learn from Chinese experience. Long live China-Pakistan friendship.

The author is a Sinologist (ex-diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.

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