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Hu's vow to double average income seen as good

2012-11-13 09:07 China Daily     Web Editor: Wang YuXia comment

When President Hu Jintao pledged in his opening speech at the 18th Party Congress on Thursday that China would double the 2010 average income by 2020, the French politician Jean-Pierre Raffarin said in Paris it was "very welcome news" for debt-ridden Western countries.

"This is not only good for Chinese citizens, whose increased incomes will boost their consumption, but also encouraging for European countries such as France," Raffarin said.

Raffarin, vice-president of the French Senate and the prime minister from 2002 to 2005, said in an exclusive interview that this goal could help China switch the focus of its economic development from investment and foreign trade to domestic consumption.

The new development model will encourage China's expanding middle class to spend more on goods imported from Europe, travel overseas and send more students to Western universities. In addition, China's further industrialization and urbanization will offer more opportunities for European technologies and know-how.

"These trends will help tap the potential of European countries," said Raffarin, who added he has been busy giving interviews on China's development, the role of the Communist Party of China, the outgoing leadership's legacy and what he knows about the incoming leaders as the 18th National Congress of the CPC progresses in Beijing.

"The world is watching this political event because the message from Beijing is vital for the rest of the world," he said.

Looking back, Raffarin said, China's current leadership, led by Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao, consisted of "strategic people" whose endeavors to boost global economic pace are the cornerstones of its legacy.

That they kept China's growth at a fast pace for the past 10 years is a remarkable achievement, he said.

"Regarding peace and growth, Chinese leaders have performed a service to the world," said Raffarin, who first visited China in 1971.

Raffarin said he would not characterize himself as a China expert, but he has visited the country many times and gone to many places.

"China is the kind of country that can change your impression and attitudes when you go there and see it," he said.

Raffarin has urged France's new leaders to visit China as soon as possible after the new leadership takes power in Beijing.

China is a big country, he said, and there are more CPC members than people in France, so it must be a "tough job" to guide so large a Party, he said.

"I am very impressed by the efficient and professional organization from the top to bottom of the Party," he said, noting that he has visited many grassroots CPC organizations.

Raffarin said it was difficult to compare the CPC with Western parties, but that the CPC's administrative and managerial approach are crucial to China's stability and unity.

China's strength, he said, results in part from its "collective leadership".

"I always remind the Western media that China is led by a team of sophisticated and devoted leaders and politicians."

"I am very confident in the future of China," he added.

Raffarin said that the main external challenge facing China's new leadership will lie in maintaining the momentum of peaceful development. "China's new leaders should continue this positive approach," he said.

At home, he said, China should keep developing its economy and encourage the development of its culture, and it should balance its economic growth and cultural development.

"Culture should have the same importance as the economy in China," Raffarin said.

"I think Confucius is very modern, a man of today. So I hope the new leaders will remain in touch with the past to help the world understand the Chinese way of thinking,"

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