Consuls general in Shanghai share their understanding of China’s development during the past 70 years

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/29 0:03:39

Editor's Note

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China (PRC). The Global Times interviewed 14 foreign consuls general in Shanghai about their understanding of China's development, and in their opinion what are the most impressive changes that China has gone through during the past 70 years. 

Deny Wachyudi Kurnia

Consul General of Indonesia in Shanghai

China's development during the past 70 years has been amazing. We see how China has developed into this modern China today, making itself the biggest exporter as well as one of the largest countries in the world in terms of GDP and purchasing capacity.

China's internationalization is also taking place. There are more welcoming attitudes shown in America, Africa, Europe, South Asia as well as Asia-Pacific region. China hosted APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting) in 2014 and the G20 in 2016. 

China is the largest country in the world in terms of population, and Indonesia is the fourth largest. Therefore, the two countries will be important players in this region as well as in the world.

Deny Wachyudi Kurnia, Consul General of Indonesia in Shanghai

H.E. Rashed AlQemzi

 Consul General of the UAE in Shanghai

China is a peaceful country in all aspects. I can feel the peace in my daily life and in my daily work as a diplomat. The country has witnessed a fast increase during the past 70 years, such as in the science and technology sectors. For some countries, they can grow fast but they may stop at a certain level. However, China maintains stable development on a daily basis.

Decades ago, China was more like an agricultural field, with more farming, more agriculture. But now China is the second-largest economy in the world. A few years later, I believe myself it will be the first economy, not the second. That shows the development and changes between the past and nowadays. 

I'm in Shanghai. I witnessed a lot - like Shanghai is an international city. The city has achieved a lot of things during the past 70 years. People all want to come here.

H.E. Rashed AlQemzi, Consul General of the UAE in Shanghai

Sabri Tunc Angili

Consul General of Turkey in Shanghai

China has become one of the leading powers guiding the way that the global community goes as the second-largest economy and the most populous country in the world. Now China is much more significant in global politics and economics than 70 years ago.

Since the beginning of the reform and opening-up policy, progress is one of the defining features of China's development. I recognized [that] with my own eyes when I first came to Shanghai in 2008. Now Shanghai is much more developed. 

China's development is good for Chinese people of course, but also good for the world at large. Because during this rapid development of China, especially in the last 40 years, millions of Chinese people got rid of poverty, which is good for global prosperity. It had a positive impact on United Nations developments. I think China's development or progress models inspire many developing countries around the world.

Sabri Tunc Angili, Consul General of Turkey in Shanghai

Andrew Robinson

Consul General of New Zealand in Shanghai

China's development since 1949 has been remarkably wide ranging. It covers just about every sector, from education to healthcare standards, in a range of other social well-being measures as well. 

China's development in the past 70 years has been really the result of an incredible amount of dedication and hard work from the top right down to the average person on the street. China's development therefore is real accredit to Chinese people.   

Andrew Robinson, Consul General of New Zealand in Shanghai

Pablo Obregón

Consul General of Argentina in Shanghai

It is the most impressive progress for China taking people out of poverty in just a few decades. Right now hundreds and millions of people have a better life.

I want to use the word "openness" to describe China's development during the past 70 years. Because it relates to how China sees [its] relationship with other countries in the world. I personally worked for Argentina in the WTO several years ago. I started to work in 2001 when China entered the WTO. I can see myself how China was becoming such an important participant of the multilateral system in a very constructive way. 

China is creating a new type of development which is inclusive, as the country cares [about] people to improve their quality of life.

Pablo Obregón, Consul General of Argentina in Shanghai

Lorena Larios Rodriguez

Consul General of Mexico in Shanghai

The most important thing that China has achieved is the alleviation of poverty.  That is easy to say, but very difficult to achieve. This is a major success of the Chinese government. 

There is an important change that I see in China - the combat against climate change and the way Chinese people are tackling pollution. I mean not only air pollution but also water management, which means Chinese people are cleaning out the rivers, the lakes, the ocean, and also the waste in the garbage regulation. All of this is part of a larger effort that China is now conducting to comply with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda, that has set 17 sustainable development goals.

Lorena Larios Rodriguez, Consul General of Mexico in Shanghai

Richard Krpač 

Consul General of the Czech Republic in Shanghai

China throughout 70 years went through incredible development. Some parts of the stories are not very good, but the huge part of the story is extremely important and successful. He [Deng Xiaoping] recognized the potential of Chinese people and he basically just opened the door for Chinese businessmen and incredibly hardworking Chinese people to realize their dreams, their China dreams. What happened in the next 40 years, us, the rest of the world were watching with open mouths.

Richard Krpac, Consul General of the Czech Republic in Shanghai

Vassilis Koniakos

Consul General of Greece in Shanghai

The growth China has achieved is certainly unprecedented in the history of mankind, and this is why it is called the "Chinese miracle." 

A huge segment of Chinese people was lifted out of poverty. A very robust middle class has emerged. Almost every aspect of the daily lives of Chinese has been improved, including education, healthcare and social security.

China's development is not focused on itself exclusively. It has a very particular understanding vision of international relations, which is a very cooperative one. China wants to engage in a win-win cooperation, and it does that with very tangible projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative, which Greece has also benefited from. 

The most obvious changes that China has gone [through] are the impressive rise in life expectancy, the mandatory nine-year education system being applied across the country and the emergence of China as a major global power.

Chinese development has been extremely innovative and interlinked with innovation in every field such as renewable energy, information communication technology and others.

Vassilis Koniakos, Consul General of Greece in Shanghai

Kristin Iglum

Consul General of Norway in Shanghai

China has been able to achieve tremendous growth. Even if the growth is now slowing down a little bit, it's still really a very high number.

China has lifted such huge amounts of people out of poverty during the past 70 years, which is the most impressive development. There are some other aspects like the opening-up of China, which is not only for business from abroad but also now Chinese are traveling more - they are going abroad as students.

China is now entering into an age of high technology and innovation, bringing Chinese business to the next level, not only being a place where a lot of companies come to produce things, but now China has become an inventor itself. 


Kristin Iglum, Consul General of Norway in Shanghai

Olivier Zehnder

Consul General of Switzerland in Shanghai

A lot of countries are really impressed by what China has achieved in the recent years. It's just evident now [that] China is a global power worldwide which means it goes with a global responsibility. Whatever decision China takes, it will have a global impact.

I think this means China is now in the league of the most powerful nations on earth which is the biggest development I can see from myself.

I find it very interesting that a lot people are coming from Switzerland to China. They are here to learn from China. Last April, we had 16 groups from Swiss universities coming to Shanghai, saying "we want to learn from this great country."

Olivier Zehnder, Consul General of Switzerland in Shanghai

Michele Cecchi

Consul General of Italy in Shanghai

During the past 70 years, China's development has been stunning, harmonious and increasingly sustainable.

Chinese development has been without precedent in history from [being] a rural poor country. It has experienced strong growth through manufacturing and has become today the second-largest economy in the world, at the epicenter for new technologies and innovation. It is important that this development has been managed by the same time as safeguarding social harmony and promoting the eradication of poverty. 

I believe that Italy, being universally recognized as the country of beauty of quality and innovation, is the perfect partner for China to proceed along this path.

Michele Cecchi, Consul General of Italy in Shanghai

Yok Yee Chan

Consul General of the Republic of Fiji in Shanghai

In the span of 70 years, China has transformed itself from a relatively poor country to now a modern and progressive society. China is the only country in the world, in such a short span, to lift 700 million people out of poverty. I think it's something about the Chinese leadership in terms of planning and the policies in place.

China is taking a global leadership [role], especially now, its role in defending the global trading system. Countries need to trade with each other and not be protective. Like for Fiji, we need countries to open doors and have market access. That's why the CIIE (China International Import Expo) becomes important.

Chinese leadership in the global stage is also a peaceful one. For Fiji, we welcome China's Belt and Road Initiative, which focuses on the building of infrastructure, having more people to people exchange and better understanding of each other's culture. 

Yok Yee Chan, Consul General of the Republic of Fiji in Shanghai

Isomata Akio 

Consul General of Japan in Shanghai

The development of China, especially since 1978 (when the policy of reform and opening-up started), has brought about big changes to the economic welfare of the people. It has also brought about a big change in the status of China in the world, having China assume greater roles in world affairs. 

The reform and opening-up policy has provided chances to people inside and outside China, especially in the economic field. That is why we see China as it is now. As China continues to develop, it has to consider not only the speed of growth, but also the way it develops, such as an inclusive way of growth or an environmentally friendly way of development.

As China faces these challenges, Japan, as a good partner for tackling global issues and pursuing quality of life for people, is willing to cooperate further with China, in fields such as world economy and free trade, innovation, energy saving and environment, medical and health care, food [and] tourism.

Isomata Akio, Consul General of Japan in Shanghai

Manorie Mallikaratchy

Consul General of Sri Lanka in Shanghai

The most obvious change that China has gone through for the last 70 years is that from its foundation up to now, it has upheld its beliefs in governance. [It has] ensured that the development is all across the country. And that it has continued to be innovative in all areas of modern technology, while preserving its traditional culture. The impressive changes in China for us are that it has built its infrastructure with great standards. It has built its education system as well as social assistance systems in order to ensure that the development is people-centric and that uplifts living standards of all Chinese citizens.

Manorie Mallikaratchy, Consul General of Sri Lanka in Shanghai

Global Times


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