China stepping into 2024 with confidence and strength: Global Times editorial
Published: Dec 29, 2023 01:35 AM
Hopeful new year. Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Hopeful new year. Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

2024 is upon us, and its emerging outline is worth looking forward to. Meanwhile, 2023 will soon come to an end, and its ups and downs have filled us with loads of emotions. People have gained a deeper understanding and more experiences with major changes unseen in a century that are evolving faster: from the prolonged Russia-Ukraine conflict to the new round of the Palestine-Israel conflict; from the historic expansion of the BRICS to the strong rise of the concept of the "Global South" in international politics; from the global AI wave led by ChatGPT to the historic agreement reached at the COP28 to "move away from fossil fuels."

It is expected that 2024 will not be another "year of mediocrity." According to incomplete statistics, in 2024, 76 countries and regions around the world will hold general elections, and more than 100 election campaigns will take place, covering more than half of the global population. This may mean more uncertainty and even the possibility of unexpected conflict and unrest. At the same time, it is still unknown if the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the Palestine-Israel conflict can end next year, while the risk of geo-economic fragmentation, the "decoupling" and "de-risking" will bring more uncertainty to the global economic recovery process.

However, whether it is 2023 full of changes and turmoil, or 2024, which may be an even more volatile year, we can still see some of the basic veins of the direction of history behind the changes and uncertainties. Although the great adjustment of the international landscape is still underway, and the intensity of the great power game will increase, the trend of the international landscape moving toward multipolarity in general has strengthened rather than weakened over the past year, and the driving force has increased rather than decreased. Although some countries have been enhancing trade-restrictive measures, and economic globalization has a tendency to slip into the wrong path of pan-politicization, pan-securitization and alignment, the market logic of win-win cooperation is still dominant, and the stabilization and preservation of coupling still have the upper hand in terms of strength and morality.

In particular, in response to a series of major problems and challenges facing the world today, China advocates equal and orderly multipolarity as well as inclusive economic globalization and has always stood on the right side of history. In 2023, China's economy has withstood external pressures and overcome internal difficulties, with high-quality development being advanced solidly and a firm step forward taken in building a great modern socialist country in all respects. Perhaps there is a gap between the actual outcomes of 2023 on one side and the expectations of some people at the beginning of this year and some people's personal feelings on the other. But it must be seen that China's development is faced with more favorable conditions than unfavorable ones, and that the basic trend of the Chinese economy's rebound and improvement and China's sound economic growth in the long run will remain unchanged. This gives us more confidence and strength to move forward.

Such confidence and strength stem from the accelerated progress of China's high-level opening-up. In 2023, China responded to the US' "small yard, high fence" with a higher level of openness, from the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to large-scale events including the Canton Fair, China International Import Expo, China International Fair for Trade in Services, China International Consumer Products Expo, the Global Digital Trade Expo, and the China International Supply Chain Expo. This pattern is expected to persist and expand in 2024.

Such confidence and strength stem from the new advantages created by the continuous emergence of the new dynamics of development in China. In 2023, strategic emerging industries, represented by new-generation information technology, biotechnology, high-end equipment, and green environmental protection, have developed rapidly in China. The export share of new-energy vehicles, PV and lithium battery products - known as China's "new three items" - has significantly increased. Products with high technology and high added value and those that lead the green transformation have become new drivers of export growth. The concerted efforts of the Chinese people in technological innovation are bearing fruit on a large scale.

Such confidence and strength stem from China's new achievements amid the complex and turbulent external environment. In 2023, China's international influence, appeal, and shaping power have significantly increased: from the talks between Chinese and Russian top leaders at the Kremlin to the summit meeting between the heads of state of China and the US in San Francisco; from successfully mediating the restoration of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran to actively promoting the expansion of the BRICS; from leading bilateral relations to orchestrating multilateral diplomacy; from closely interacting with major powers to deepening South-South cooperation. China's Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative, and Global Civilization Initiative continue to receive broad support and positive responses from the international community.

Such confidence and strength stem from the pragmatic and hardworking nature of the Chinese people and their aspirations for a better life. Chinese people aspire to live better lives and are willing to continuously exert tangible efforts toward this goal. This determination is the fundamental driving force for the ongoing development of Chinese society. At a strategic level, it manifests as the unwavering commitment to advance Chinese modernization, considering it as the "ultimate political goal." In terms of development logic, it is reflected in the concentrated efforts to manage internal affairs effectively and promote Chinese modernization through high-quality development.

Meanwhile, we understand that happiness is achieved through hard work and solid efforts, and no one expects 2024 to be easy and smooth sailing. However, we believe that in response to the questions of China, of the world, of the people and of the times, millions of Chinese people, united under the banner of the Party, will stand together like "a solid piece of steel." With tenacity and unwavering efforts, we are confident that the answers we provide will undoubtedly be outstanding.