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  Ambassador's Speeches
Keynote Speech by H.E. Ambassador LU Kang At the President University
 2023-05-31 22:55

On 31 May 2023, Ambassador Lu Kang was invited to deliver a keynote speech on China’s Path to Modernization at the President University, and exchanged views on related issues with teachers and students. After the speech, Ambassador Lu Kang interacted with Chinese students and alumni. The full transcript of the speech is as follows: 

Distinguished Dr. Darmono,

Distinguished Dr. Chairy,

Dear faculty members,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to join you faculty members and students of President University here, and thank you for giving me this opportunity.

President University may not have a long history, yet it has become an outstanding, modern, international institute in just 21 years. Highly recognized by authorities and the public, this University has contributed much to the development of Indonesia. President University has also provided scholarships to about 500 Chinese students, who will play their part in China-Indonesia friendly exchanges, especially economic and trade cooperation. Being here, I am already impressed by the vitality of young students and diversity of cultures.

I am told that President University is devoted to preparing future leaders with entrepreneurship, cross-cultural integration and global vision. Whichever area you might choose to provide leadership, from the perspective of the above three dimensions, China is surely a topic that you are to keep an eye on. In fact, China's development, policy choices and their impact on the world have been very topical these days. That's why I am here today, to share my views and listen to yours.

Let me start with a real story. In the late 1960s, a teenager in Beijing went to a small village in Northwest China. He spent seven years there as a farmer. At that time, people lived a very hard life in China's rural area. They all lived in "earth caves" and slept on "earth beds". There was no meat in their diet for months. What the villagers wished most was to have meat and have it often. Later, this young man became the village's secretary of the CPC branch and was determined to lead the villagers out of poverty through development. One of his goals was to let the villagers have meat, and have it often.

Decades have passed, this young man has grown to become the President of China, and this is the story of President Xi Jinping. When he returned to this small village half a century later, he saw blacktop roads. Now living in houses with bricks and tiles, the villagers have Internet access and medical care. Elderly folks have basic old-age care. Children can go to school. Of course, meat is readily available.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This story can be anyone's story in China during the past few decades. This is the story of "Chinese Modernization".

Chinese modernization, explored by the Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), is a development path suited to China's conditions. Two years ago, on the occasion of the centennial of the CPC, I invited some foreign diplomats to visit a historical compound in Beijing where the CPC had led the Chinese people win the revolution. Those western diplomats were also thinking about why the CPC can succeed and win the support of the vast majority of the Chinese people.

Chinese modernization is a people-oriented modernization, quite different from the western style. There are five basic features therewith:

— It is the modernization of a huge population. China is working to achieve modernization for more than 1.4 billion people, a number larger than the combined population of all developed countries. This is a task with unparalleled difficulty and complexity. China is committed to a path suited to its own conditions. We are determined to take full control of our country's own development and progress.

— It is the modernization of common prosperity. It is fundamentally different from the kind of capital-centered modernization. The Chinese Communists adhere to the people-oriented philosophy of development. Achieving common prosperity is a defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. China strives to maintain and promote social fairness and justice, so that modernization benefits all our people fairly.

—It is the modernization of both material and cultural-ethical advancement. China keeps improving the material conditions for people's well-being, while carrying forward China's cultural heritage.

— It is the modernization of harmony between humanity and nature. China is committed to sustainable development. President Xi Jinping pointed out that “lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets” and “we should protect nature and preserve the environment as we protect our own eyes”. These words are very popular among the Chinese people. We will continue to pursue sound development featuring improved production, higher living standards, and better environment.

— It is the modernization of peaceful development. Not like western powers in modern world history, China has become a major economy, never through war, never through colonization, never through plunder. Instead, China has committed to the path of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit. This brand-new approach proves that a major country can pursue development without leaving numerous bombs, ethnic conflicts and backwardness on others.

Chinese modernization entails new opportunities for other economies including Indonesia, and provides more options for other developing countries in their pursuit of modernization.

Ladies and gentlemen,

How is China's development relevant to Indonesia? Let me share with you my understanding from my personal 15 months experience in Indonesia, and if I may, through the story of "one person” and “one road".

— One person. Her name is Fitriani, a fresh engineer in Tsingshan Industrial Park, a modern China-Indonesian joint venture of nickel industry in Central Sulawesi. I met her during my visit there months ago. She is a little bit shy, but like many young Indonesians, she is full of passion and does not hesitate to tackle challenges. She just graduated from university and became the first Indonesian employee in the technology department of the project, responsible for quality improvement of nickel products, which requires high skills. With guidance and help from her Chinese colleagues, she mastered job skills in only 4 months, and translated all production manuals into Indonesia Bahasa, facilitating technology transfer and knowledge sharing between workers from both sides. In the second year, another 7 Indonesian employees joined the technology department. Fitriani taught them all the knowledge and skills learned from her Chinese colleagues. Very impressive!

I was told in the Industrial Park that one skilled Chinese worker is responsible for knowledge and skills sharing with an average of 5 to 10 local Indonesian employees. The level of mastery by the local Indonesian trainees would be important KPI for the Chinese trainers, and have bearings on the latter's income. Now nearly 80,000 local Indonesian employees work in the Park. A large number of them are skilled workers. An aggregated US$ 2.2 billion of tax revenue has been turned over to the Indonesian Government.

— One road. This is a 50-kilometer concrete road built for Pollala village in East Sulawesi by the Delong Industrial Park, also known as VDNIP Industrial Park, another China-Indonesia joint venture. This road cuts the travel time to the airport from 2 hours to 50 minutes by car. Many “warungs” boomed along the way, and a bustling commercial street came into being at the end of the road. This road is called the "Belt and Road" highway by the local people. President Joko Widodo, during his trip there, spoke highly of the contribution made by Chinese investors to the Indonesian economy and social development.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As two major developing countries and emerging markets in today's world, China and Indonesia share similar historical and development experience. Both are striving for modernization,  and there are even greater cooperation potentials.

We maintain frequent high-level exchanges. Last July, President Joko Widodo paid a successful visit to China, becoming the first foreign leader visiting Beijing since Winter Olympic Games. In last November, President Xi Jinping came to Bali for the G20 Summit and met with President Joko Widodo again within half a year. The two Presidents reached important consensus on jointly building the China-Indonesia community with a shared future, providing an overarching blueprint for our bilateral relationship.

Economic and trade cooperation is booming. According to China Customs, bilateral trade volume was 149 billion US dollars in 2022, up by 19.8% year on year. China has been Indonesia's largest trading partner for 10 consecutive years. According to Indonesian Ministry of Investment, the direct investment from Chinese companies to Indonesia increased 160%, reaching 8.23 billion US dollars in 2022. This record-high number makes China Indonesia's second largest source of foreign investment. Flagship projects such as the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway, Regional Comprehensive Economic Corridor, and "Two Countries, Twin Parks" are advancing steadily. New areas of cooperation such as digital economy, green development, and maritime cooperation continue to expand, injecting new impetus into the building of the China-Indonesia community with a shared future.  

The public support from our two peoples becomes ever stronger. People-to-people exchanges, especially cooperation in travel facilitation, sub-national exchanges and tourism, have cemented public support for our bilateral relations. The first "Social Responsibility Report of Chinese Enterprises in Indonesia" was officially released last October, which illustrates that the sincerity by Chinese companies in taking up social responsibilities, benefiting communities and pursuing common development have been increasingly understood, felt and recognized by local Indonesian people. According to the "2022 Chinese Enterprise Global Image Survey Report" jointly released by Kantar and other think tanks, Indonesian respondents' favorable overall impression of Chinese companies increased by 9% last year, which is the highest among the 12 countries surveyed.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Many Indonesian friends, especially young people, follow China's development closely. I can assure you that China's economy will stay on the upward trajectory. Long-term cooperation with China will surely bring greater opportunities. Global economy was sluggish in the past three years. But China registered a 4.5% average annual growth rate, one of the fastest globally. In the past decade, China contributed 38.6% to global growth, exceeding G7 countries in total. In 2023, as China comes out of COVID-19, its economy is recovering at a faster pace. The IMF, WTO, and the OECD raise their outlook for China's economic growth this year. Morgan Stanley's projection is that China will contribute over 40% to global growth in 2023.

In the first quarter this year, Chinese economy has seen a sound momentum of recovery. Growth rate was at 4.5%. Main indicators improved steadily. Market entities are more vibrant. Expectation has strengthened markedly. Short-term data suggest that the economy will grow faster in the second quarter. Friends from BCA and Mandiri told my colleagues in the Embassy that they raised their outlook for Indonesia's economic growth this year because they are optimistic about China's. We are confident to achieve a 5% growth this year, faster than most major economies.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I also wish to touch upon three issues that some media tend to hype up when it comes to China. These are, the so-called "debt trap", the religious issues, and democracy.

First, the "debt trap". The so-called China’s "debt trap", fabricated by certain western governments, often becomes headline on some media. But in fact, from history we can find that the "debt traps", if there are any, came from Western countries themselves. In 1875, the Western colonists used debt to snatch the ownership of the Suez Canal from Muslim Egypt. During the 1980 Latin American debt crisis and the 1997 Asian financial crisis, certain Western countries seized a large number of quality assets via debt restructuring. What about China? Since its founding in 1949, no matter how difficult we were, China provided a large amount of loans and funds to our brotherly developing countries, no political strings attached. In more than 70 years, there has never been a single case of China using debt to steal the interests of others. Facts speak for themselves.

Moreover, no matter how eye-catching articles on some media are, facts and figures do not lie. Multilateral financial institutions and commercial loaners are creditors of over 80% of the total debt of developing countries, and their average interest rate is about twice that of Chinese loans. They are the biggest creditor. They constitute the main source of debt pressure. China stays committed to easing the difficulties of relevant countries, and has contributed the most to G20 Debt Suspension Initiative. According to Johns Hopkins University, China only holds 30% of all government debt, but it has assumed 63% of global debt relief.

Underdevelopment is the real "trap". Here is a most relevant example. Last year, President Xi Jinping and President Joko Widodo witnessed the successful trial operation of the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway. This is the first high speed railway in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. We won't wait for too long before it is in commercial operation. When you take the bullet train to Bandung and enjoy the trip, you will realize whether this is a “trap” or progress.

Compared with some other countries, we Chinese might do more than talk. Maybe this is something we need to catch up with.

Second, the religious issue. Islam plays an important role in China-Indonesia relations. China attaches great importance to deepening exchanges with Islamic groups in Indonesia. Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang visited the Istiqlal Mosque during his trip to Indonesia last February. I learned a lot by going to the Al-Tsaqafah Institute and learned from Professor Saeed the considerable contribution made by Chinese Muslims to “Islam in the Indonesian Archipelago”.

I also notice that, misguided by certain outside forces, some Indonesian Muslims have some misperceptions about China's Xinjiang and our ethnic and religious policies. In fact, Chinese Muslims enjoy religious freedom guaranteed by our laws, and have the same rights as Indonesian Muslims to pray, fasting, and Hajj. Certain Western politicians accuse China of the so-called "genocide" of the Uighurs in Xinjiang. But the fact is that over the past 60 years, the Uighur population in Xinjiang has grown from 2.2 million to about 12 million, a growth rate exceeding the global average. Is there any “genocide” like this? The so-called Xinjiang issue is fabricated by certain Western governments to contain China's development, and sow discord between China and the Islamic world. The Qur'an teaches that the human heart is for thinking, the eyes are for seeing, and the ears are for hearing. Only by listening, observing and thinking can one find out the truth.

Third, on democracy. There are forces hyping up so-called “democracy versus authoritarianism”, stoking ideological confrontation. They even organized the so-called “summit for democracy”, inviting some while excluding the others. What is democracy? Democracy is all about whether the people are satisfied. It is the people of each country that have the final say on the democracy in their home country, not the outsiders, not the few arrogant countries that always assume that they are in the position to dictate the world. There are various ways toward democracy. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. It is not democratic in itself if someone assesses various political systems with a single yardstick and examines diverse political cultures in monochrome. I appreciate what President Joko Widodo once said: Democracy should not be used as a political tool to suppress other countries.

The CPC remains committed to its founding mission. It always puts people first, and serves the people whole-heartedly. China pursues a democratic process that involves all the people through the whole process. People have both the rights to vote and to participate in national governance. Any major decision-making and any issue concerning people's keen interests must go through broad-based deliberation. Decisions are thus made in consensus or general agreement to reflect people's will and serve people's interests. Most of the problems and conflicts of interests thus have been resolved and suggestions accepted in prior consultations. The policy implementation would be easier as a result. According to Harvard University, Chinese people's satisfaction with the Government has been above 90% for many years.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Recently, President Xi Jinping put forward the Global Civilization Initiative, advocating respect for the diversity of world civilizations and the common value of humanity. The Initiative resonates across the international community. The seeds of friendship are most likely to take root in the hearts of young people. We Chinese say that a country will be strong when its young people are. The Chinese Government encourages young Chinese to study in Indonesia and vice versa. I am happy to see that President University is committed to enhancing youth exchanges between the two countries. It reflects the strategy and international vision of this University. It is hoped that our young people will do their best to fulfill the lofty mission of promoting friendship and bilateral cooperation, so as to make new contributions to intercultural exchanges and mutual learning, as well as world peace and development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of China-Indonesia Comprehensive Strategic partnership, and the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” proposed in Indonesia by President Xi Jinping. We are delighted with the fruitful outcomes of bilateral cooperation. More importantly, we are full of confidence in the great potentials and promising future. Let us join hands to expand mutually beneficial cooperation and common interests, make the China-Indonesia community with a shared future more substantive, and deliver more benefits to our two peoples.

Thank you.

 ·  Keynote Speech by H.E. Ambassador LU Kang At the President University  (2023-05-31)
 ·  Keynote Speech by H.E. Ambassador LU Kang At the The National Resilience Institute of RI  (2023-05-22)
 ·  Ambassador Lu Kang Publishes an Article Entitled “China's economic resilience injects confidence into global growth”  (2023-02-03)
 ·  Ambassador Lu Kang Publishes an Article Entitled “To construct a China-Indonesia community of shared future”  (2022-11-14)
 ·  Remarks by H.E. Lu Kang Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China To the Republic of Indonesia At the Online Reception on the Occasion of the 73rd Anniversary of the Founding of The People’s Republic of China  (2022-09-29)
 ·  Ambassador Lu Kang’s Exclusive Interview with TVRI’s Talking Point Program  (2022-08-10)
 ·  Transcript of Ambassador Lu Kang’s Interview with Metro TV on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Visit to China’s Taiwan  (2022-08-05)
 ·  Ambassador Lu Kang's Interview with Medcom.id  (2022-05-30)
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