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Xi Refuses Outside Pressure to Reform (Plus Latest EU Policy Paper)

19 December 2018

19 December 2018

In a major speech on 18 December marking 40 years since the reform and opening up of the Chinese economy by Deng Xiaoping, President Xi Jinping praised the country’s great development from poverty to prosperity and warned that ‘no one is in a position to dictate to the Chinese people what should or should not be done.’ China would develop at its own pace, in its own style, without outside interference or pressure. ‘We must resolutely reform what should and can be changed, we must resolutely not reform what shouldn’t and can’t be changed,’ Xi stated. He stressed the role of the Party, as guide in every aspect of Chinese society, and as key to China’s future development.

President Xi stated that China would never seek to be a global hegemon and China’s development ‘will never constitute a threat to any other country.’ Xi made no direct mention of the current trade dispute with the US but emphasised China’s role as a defender of world peace and the international order. 

Simultaneously, the Chinese government published a third policy paper on relations with the EU. It said that despite current problems, including Brexit, the EU was a force for good playing a major role in regional and international affairs. Despite differences in history, culture, social systems and development stages, China and the EU ‘have no fundamental strategic conflicts but share much more common ground than differences.’

It listed many areas for future cooperation and promised ‘to significantly ease market access’ and treat EU and Chinese firms as equals. In return it expected Chinese firms in the EU to be treated without discrimination. 

There were warnings to handle Taiwan-related issues ‘with prudence,’ not to interfere in Hong Kong, and refrain from meeting the Dalai Lama. 

The English version of the report can be found here.