Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon and Namaste! It is my great pleasure to meet all of you to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China through internet. I would like to extend my warm welcome to all the guests attending this event, and my sincere greetings and thanks to all the Indian friends from all walks of life who have long cared about China's development and supported the cause of China-India friendship.
The year 2021 is a very special one for the Chinese people. It marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). On July 1st, President Xi Jinping solemnly declared that we have realized the first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. We have brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China. We are now marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects.
All the struggle, sacrifice, and creation through which the Party has united and led the Chinese people over the past hundred years could be tied together by one ultimate theme: To bring about the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. As President Xi Jinping pointed out, the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has been the greatest dream of the Chinese people since the beginning of modern times. The "Chinese Dream" proposed by President Xi spans the past, today and tomorrow of the Chinese nation. The idea in essence is to make the country prosperous and strong, rejuvenate the nation, and see that the people are happy. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my understanding about the Chinese Dream.
The Chinese Dream is the dream of both the country and the nation, and we must follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics to achieve it. Since modern times, China was reduced to a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. The Chinese nation has suffered unprecedented disaster. In order to achieve national independence and liberation, countless Chinese patriots made various attempts, one after another, yet they all failed. Only the Communist Party of China, combining the fundamental principles of Marxism with China's specific conditions, leading the Chinese people through struggles and battles with unswerving efforts, established a new China where people are their own masters, carried out the socialist revolution and construction, promoted reform, opening up and modernization, and made great achievements in building socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era. The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has entered an irreversible historical process.
The path determines the future. The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the fundamental achievement of our Party and our people made through countless hardships at enormous cost. It is the correct path proved by history and practice. The Party and the Chinese people will keep moving confidently forward in broad strides along the path that we have chosen for ourselves, and we will make sure the destiny of China's development and progress firmly grasped in our own hands. The determined strides of over 1.4 billion Chinese people will never be stopped by anyone or any force.
China always maintains that every country has the right to follow the development path suited to its national conditions. There doesn't exist a fixed model for the path to modernisation, and the one that suits you well will serve you well. Cutting one's feet to fit the shoes will lead nowhere. This applies to both China and India. Both of us are ancient oriental civilizations and populous developing countries.China is willing to strengthen exchange and mutual learning with India to jointly enrich the pathways towards modernisation.
The Chinese dream is also the dream of all the Chinese people, and we must rely closely on the people to achieve it. President Xi Jinping has pointed out that the people's aspirations to live a better life is the goal of the CPC. Ultimately, the Chinese dream is the dream of the people, and we will continue to enhance people's sense of gains, happiness and security.
The sense of gains means that people can truly enjoy the fruits of reform and development. In the past, the problem China faced was that we didn't have the neccessities, now it's how we can provide high-quality goods. For example, the dietary habit of the Chinese has changed from feeding themselves to eating in a green and healthy way. In terms of education, it has changed from getting access to school into receiving high quality eduction. At present, the middle-income population in China is about 400 million. In 2021, China's total retail sales of consumer goods are expected to reach 44 trillion yuan, amounting to about 6.8 trillion US dollars, increasing approximately 12.5% over last year.
The sense of happiness means that people have goals to strive for. Under the country's great dream, every Chinese person has his own dream. In the early 1980s, the Chinese people were living in the era of scarcity, and my wish at that time was to own a bicycle. Nowadays, the dreams of many Chinese young people are to have their own start-ups. In China today, people all enjoy opportunity to live a brilliant life and realize their dreams. Every generation can achieve their goals with the development of the country.
The sense of security comes from sound social security system and good public security. We have established the world's largest social security system, providing old-age pension, health care, basic allowances and welfare housing. Nearly 1 billion people are covered by basic old-age insurance and 1.36 billion people are covered by basic medical insurance. In 2020, 118.6 lakhs new jobs were created in urban areas. China has maintained long-term social stability. In the Law and Order Index issued by Gallup in its latest report, China ranks among the best in the world. In China, people can safely walk on the streets at night without fear of being shot or robbed.
The rights to subsistence and development are the basic human rights. Without human beings, where do human rights come from? In the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, we have always put people and life first. Through our enormous efforts, China has made a major strategic achievement in fighting the virus. Now the new local cases in China are limited to double digits every day. In recent months, China has occasionally reported imported cases and sporadic outbreaks. Even in a city with millions of people, when we meet an outbreak of COVID-19 of unknown source, the government will immediately carry out tests for all people in order to find and control the source of infection, and break the transmission chain as soon as possible. As President Xi Jinping said, we are willing to do whatever it takes to protect people's lives.
The CPC will continue to practice a people-centered philosophy of development, develop whole-process people's democracy, safeguard social fairness and justice, resolve the imbalances and inadequacies in development and the most pressing difficulties and problems that are of great concern to the people. Based on a moderately prosperous society in all respects, China is making solid efforts to promote common prosperity for everyone. We will make the pie even bigger, and at the same time, share it fairly. By doing so, we will make more substantive progress toward achieving well-rounded human development and common prosperity for all.
The Chinese dream is a dream of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit for all, which will not only benefit the Chinese people, but also people around the world. Right now, COVID-19 is still raging in the world, and profound changes are taking place in human society. The world has entered a period of new turbulence and transformation. At the same time, the world we live in is full of hope, where peace, development and cooperation form an irresistible trend of the times.
China is committed to follow the path of peaceful development. We will never seek hegemony or expansion. We advocate peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are the common values of humanity. We promote the building of a new type of international relations and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. We practice true multilateralism, which is about having international affairs addressed through consultation and the future of the world decided by everyone working together. We firmly uphold the international system with the United Nations as its core, the international order anchored upon international law, the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.
China has worked vigorously to promote common development. China has been contributing over 30 percent to world growth for many years. A few days ago, President Xi Jinping solemnly proposed the Global Development Initiative, called on the international community to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals for more robust, greener and more balanced global development, and foster a global community of development with a shared future. This major Initiative has set out a blueprint for the development of countries and international development cooperation, and pointed the way forward for global development.
China has actively promoted global solidarity in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. To date, China has provided 1.2 billion doses of finished and bulk vaccines to more than 100 countries and international organizations and provided assistance of anti-epidemic supplies to over 150 countries and 14 international organizations. China will strive to provide a total of 2 billion doses of vaccines to the world by the end of this year. In addition to donating 100 million US dollars to COVAX, China will donate another 100 million doses of vaccines to other developing countries in the course of this year. This fully demonstrates that China is a responsible major country.
It is worth noting that a few countries are going against the trend of times. Out of selfishness,they hold a zero-sum Cold War mentality, vigorously seek closed and exclusive ideological "small cliques" and military alliances targeting a third party, stoke arms race, tension, division and bloc confrontation, turn the Asia-Pacific region into an arena of major powers' game, and destabilize the world. These activities will find no support and lead nowhere.
Now, there are concerns on whether China would also seek hegemony once it gets more developed. This kind of worry is totally unnecessary. Although China has made significant development achievements, there is still a long way to go. We will focus our efforts on dealing with our own business. China hopes to grow into a better country in the process of realizing the Chinese dream, instead of replacing other countries. We believe that the world will be a better place with China's development. China will always be a member of big family of the developing countries, and China's vote in the United Nations is always for the well-being of developing countries. At the same time, our firm resolve to safeguard sovereignty, security and development interests will remain steadfast forever. Any attempt to view China as a threat or even an"imaginary enemy"and gang up for containing and suppressing China is totally unacceptable to the Chinese people. It is bound to fail.
China and India are the two largest developing countries and emerging economies in the world. If we live in harmony and join hands in cooperation, it will be not only good for the future and well-being of two fifths of the world's population, but also of great significance to Asia and the globe. At present, the China-India relations are facing difficulties, but it should not change our basic assessment of the relations. We should boost confidence, step up dialogue and cooperation, and bring the bilateral relations back on track.
China and India should stick to the right direction of the bilateral relations. Bearing in mind the fundamental interests of our two countries, we should view the bilateral ties from a historical and strategic perspective, and uphold the strategic consensus that China and India are opportunities of development and cooperation partners to each other instead of being threats or competitive rivals. We should adhere to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, respect the core interests and major concerns of each other, uphold strategic autonomy, and refrain from interfering in each other's internal affairs or engaging in any "alliance" or "quasi alliance" targeting the other. As two neighboring major countries, China and India should take the right path of mutual respect, dialogue, cooperation and mutual benefit.
China and India should expand mutually beneficial cooperation. When India was hit by the second wave of Covid-19, China immediately offered a helping hand and provided large amount of medical supplies to India. Despite the impact of the pandemic, our economic and trade cooperation has bucked the trend. In the first eight months this year, bilateral trade reached 78.5 billion US dollars with a growth of about 52% year-on-year. We should provide a fair and just business environment for companies from both countries to invest and operate rather than impose discriminatory and restrictive measures on them. The two countries should jointly promote multilateral cooperation through organizations such as the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). As major Asian countries, China and India should work together with other countries in the region to promote Asian solidarity and cooperation. The two countries should also strengthen communication and coordination in areas such as combating the pandemic, disaster prevention, poverty eradication, energy security and climate change, so as to safeguard the common interests of developing countries.
China and India should properly handle differences. As neighboring countries, it is normal to have differences between the two countries. It is crucially important to manage them and not allow individual issue to disrupt the overall development of bilateral relations. We should place the boundary question in an appropriate position in bilateral relations and seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through dialogue and consultations. The current overall situation in the border area was gradually de-escalated. Going forward,both sides need to meet each other halfway to move the situation towards stability and shift it from urgent dispute settlement to regular management and control, so as to jointly safeguard the peace and tranquility of the border area.
China and India should strengthen the foundation of people-to-people friendship. Historically, the two ancient civilizations of China and India had exchanges,learned from each other, and enriched each other's culture. Just now, in the warm-up video, The Longmen Grottoes showed is a reflection of historical exchanges and mutual learning between the two countries. We should promote dialogues on the two civilizations and strengthen people-to-people bond. Lack of exchanges and mutual understanding between the two peoples is a long-term drawback to the bilateral relations. The Covid pandemic also brings difficulties to personnel exchanges. We need to tap our potentials and create innovative formats to advance communications in areas such as culture, education, think-tanks and media. It is important to form an objective and friendly "View on China" and "View on India" among the people of the two countries. China will host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games early next year. We welcome Indian athletes to actively participate .
All the guests attending the event today are far-sighted people who have always supported and advanced the development of China-India relations. Among them, there are India-China friendship associations, which have been sowing the seeds of friendship between the Chinese and Indian peoples for so many decades. There is the relative of Dr. Kotnis who is a great international warrior. There are Xu Fancheng Culture Study Center and Dr. Kotnis Acupuncture Health and Education Center dedicated to promoting Chinese culture and carrying forward the China-India friendship. There are experts and scholars who have been publishing articles and books, making arduous efforts to boost economic, cultural and educational exchanges. There are also social organizations firmly committed to youth exchanges between China and India. All you have done reflects the strength supporting China-India friendship among the Indian people. It is my firm belief that our great cause will gain more and more support.
The Chinese side has the sincerity and goodwill to improve the bilateral relations. Meanwhile, it requires joint efforts of both sides. Let us join hands to bring China-India relationship back on the track of healthy and stable development, in order to benefit the two countries and the two peoples.