In his opening remarks at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2008, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said that the unfolding international financial crisis underscores how important it is for China to balance growth with employment creation and environmental protection. “We must ensure sustainable growth in our economy,” he added.
Wen advised the business leaders of the New Champion companies – fast-growing global enterprises from more than 90 countries – to embrace innovation. “If you wish to remain or become New Champions, you must be innovative and take the lead in doing so. Otherwise, you won’t be successful.” He added: “Entrepreneurs must also have the high moral ground. I wish they would have morality in their blood.” Wen hoped that they would transfer useful technology to China. More than 1,400 business, government and civil society leaders are participating in the second Annual Meeting of the New Champions.
With the recent earthquake that hit central China and Beijing’s hosting of the 2008 Olympic Games, this has been a “special year” in which “we have experienced very tragic and most joyful events,” Premier Wen remarked. “Leaders should have the courage to rise to the challenges and not be daunted by the difficulties.” The Chinese people, he observed, “demonstrated perseverance, great courage and an indomitable spirit” in the way they handled the disaster in Sichuan Province.
The Premier also commented on the milk contamination problem that has emerged in recent weeks and raised further doubts about quality and safety standards in China following previous revelations about various products including toys, pet food, dumplings, poultry and vegetables. “In our modernization process, there is still room for improvement in production oversight and supervision,” he acknowledged. “This issue has not been wholly resolved. But we will take speedy action to revitalize China’s whole food industry. We will ensure that all China-made products are safe for consumers to buy.”
Wen called on enterprises to “pay more attention to business ethics and social morality.” He concluded: “When such a problem of food safety occurs, we do not cover things up. We face it candidly and take steps to address it. I am confident that we will not disappoint the entrepreneurs here. We will not let down the Chinese people or the people around the world.”
In his address, Premier Wen assured participants that three decades after it first opened up its economy, China is still focused on pursuing its drive to modernize. “We will continue to deepen economic reform,” he pledged. China will also “continue to promote political restructuring and reform,” he added. “Without democracy, there can be no socialism. We will not only improve people’s lives by developing the economy but also protect their democratic rights by improving democracy and the legal system, and achieving social equity and justice.”
Earlier, Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of World Economic Forum, greeted participants, hailing the New Champion companies as “the next wave of economic growth” and “the architects of a more prosperous, more responsible, more cooperative and more harmonious future.” The Mayor of Tianjin, Huang Xingguo, also welcomed participants to the city, which he stressed is committed to sustainable development, scientific progress and the protection of intellectual property rights.
By People's Daily Reporter Jia Zhencheng