His Excellency Jiang Zemin's Speech
Distinguished guests, friends and colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,
On this splendid moonlit night in mid-autumn, as we gather in the beautiful city of Shanghai, located on the coast of the Eastern Sea, let me, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, extend a warm welcome to the friends who have come to take part in the '99 Fortune Global Forum, which is sponsored by Time-Warner Group Inc.
This forum's theme is "China: the next 50 years." China is a large developing socialist country, and its future development will not only directly affect the future of the Chinese people, but will also have important impact on the development and progress of Asia and the world.
Over the past hundred-odd years, the Chinese people have gone through storm and stress, and in the course of vigorous struggle they have accomplished a great historic transformation. New China's 50 years of development have resulted in accomplishments that have astonished the world.
Only six years ago, in this Lujiazui District of Shanghai's Pudong area, where we are gathered this evening, there were only run-down houses and farms. Now it is a vibrant modern financial and business zone, full of highrise buildings. Over fifty years ago, I was in Shanghai attending university. At that time, I had a deep sense of the poverty, backwardness and feebleness of the old China. It was then that I decided to devote myself to the noble task of building an independent, free, democratic, unified, rich and powerful New China, and I have been struggling for that to this very day. Fourteen years ago, I became mayor of Shanghai and experienced the process of reform, opening-up and modernization in this, China's biggest city. I'm sure that all of you have seen with your own eyes the constant and unceasing transformation of Shanghai. The growth of Shanghai is one reflection of the enormous changes taking place in China.
In the first 50 years of the 20th century, the Chinese people made unflagging efforts to change the tragic fate that had been theirs ever since the Opium War. After arduous and valiant struggle, they finally ended their semi-colonial and semi-feudal history, won independence for the nation and freedom for the people, and founded the People's Republic of China under the leadership of the Communist Party of China.
In the latter ha