China has achieved rapid economic development in the past 20 years and has been playing an increasingly significant role in the world. This has sparked off the debate on whether China is still a developing country or not.
Gao Qiufu, senior reporter of Xinhua News Agency and an expert in international studies, addressed this issue at the seminar "Perspectives on Hot World Issue" hosted by Xinhuanet on Monday. He said that China is still a developing country and will remain so for decades to come.
Some people in the west say China today has already become the engine pulling the world economy out of the mire of economic crisis. A report released recently described China as the "second largest military power in the world". Gao referred those statements as "pure exaggerations".
According to Gao, the reason why some people in the west try to cite China as a developed country is that they want China to shoulder a greater responsibility in coping with global issues, such as global warming.
Gao pointed out a few neglected facts. He said that China's GDP per capita has just reached 3,000 U.S. dollars, which only ranks 104th in the world. It is way behind developed countries and even some developing countries.
He also pointed out that China's comprehensive strength combining its "hard" and "soft" strength is still inadequate. Besides, China still lags behind in terms of the development of science, technology, education, and the capability of making innovations on its own.
Moreover, China faces a host of lurking problems and obstacles in its economic and social development, he added.
He said that those claiming China is already a developed country evade the crucial points and only dwell on what are favorable to their own argument, and that their secret motive is to load heavier responsibilities on China's shoulders so as to retard its development.
He warned against this tendency and concluded that the remarkable achievements China has made do not suffice to change its social nature: a developing country in the primary stage of socialism.