China - Interviews
Watershed - How do you see China after these 30 years of economic reforms?
Deng Xiaoping - I am very happy and not surprised at all. The four planned modernizations, namely Agriculture, Industry, Science and Technology and Military, were set to achieve long term results for all the Chinese people. We did not copy any ready-made models, not because we did not respect them, but rather because they would not have worked in a country like China. We had to face huge challenges in order to bring China back to its leading place. Today, China is one of the main global economies, a member of the World Trade Organization, a country that has been able to tackle many problems and raise the standard of living of its citizens. We have opened up ourselves, welcoming foreigners and wishing to learn from them and share our history and capabilities with them. Many countries have been investing in China and China has been investing in many places abroad. We won the Olimpic Games…well, in these 30 years we have achieved great things, but we have to work harder for the next 30.
WS - Which are China´s challenges in the next 30 years?
DX - To reduce the income gulf between the coastal provinces and those of the hinterland; to guarantee food and energy security; to grow in a sustainable way, caring about the environment; to invest heavily to transform China in a high-tech economy; to fight terrorism; and to keep fostering and deepening cooperation with other countries.
WS - India seems to be recovering its erstwhile global stature. How should China´s relations to its big neighbour be in the 21st century?
DX - Cooperation and pragmatism are key-words. As two ancient civilizations that enjoyed long term supremacy and are now coming back to their natural places in the world, China and India can work toghether to promote stronger trade and enhance a strategic partnership. Even though we have chosen different paths to achieve development and have some historical disputes, it is time to put all that aside and think about our common future. This should continue to be done in a regular basis, through high level visits of Presidents and Prime Ministers. Besides, multinational companies of both sides should have strong support to create new business opportunities and make more investments. And last, but not least, increase cultural exchange and educational joint projects.
WS - Is the present global financial crisis worse than the Great Depression of 1929?
DX - Only time will tell. I was then a only 25-year-old young optimist…The world will undergo a series of transformations as a consequence of this economic turmoil. But it is not the end of capitalism, a new type of capitalism will surge from the ashes. Why not the Socialism with Chinese caracteristics? As I said many years ago, planning and market forces are both ways of controlling economic activity. But let´s keep one thing in mind: to get rich is still glorious.
WS - Which world leader would you like to meet first?
DX - Mr. Obama. I believe the world has begun a new phase of multilateralism, where dialogue and cooperation will prevail. China and America can strenghthen their economic and political ties, which will bring prosperity and peace for all. Mr. Obama is a very well-prepared man, and despite criticisms about his lack of experience, he is a leader, and a leader has the wisdom to choose the best people, make the right questions and guide Americans to a better future.
WS - Which Chinese would you like to meet first?
DX - The astronaut Zhai Zhigang, to congratulate him for the historical spacewalk that crowns the Chinese determination to achieve greatness.
WS - Any advice to Brazilians?
DX - To establish long term goals and do their best to achieve each and every one of them; to earmark huge investments for education; and foremost to always believe they can do it.