Open Door Policy Opening up China and the World for Development

By Yek Raj Pathak 

Beijing, May 6. Discourses on the development and prosperity of China after its adoption of the “open door policy” are rife in China. According to the analysis of experts, the open policy that China took forty years ago has helped China to become the second largest economy and a major donor country of the world.

The “open door policy” is a reformative policy declared by Deng Xiaoping, the then leader of the Chinese Communist Party, in 1978. His declaration hinted China’s opening up to the world and made clear its intent to enter the scenario as a partner in the development of the world.

China had entered the global market with the policy termed as ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’. This helped China enter the World Trade Organization in 2000 AD easily. Analysts are of the opinion that China has been able to stand tall in the world map because of the adoption of this policy and it has been successful in presenting its humongous and most ambitious project like the Belt and Road Initiatives, BRI, in front of the world only on this foundation.

They are comparing today’s China with the China that was four decades ago. At that time, China’s economic development was limited to 5% only whereas by 2013, it had reached up to 9.5% and it has been increasing year per year. Global Chinese trade has increased manifold, and the projects being constructed and the aid provided by China to different countries amount to billions of dollars.

By this time, China has established itself as the second largest economy of the world and its contribution in the world economy has increased to at least 30 per cent. Not only has China been decreasing poverty but also has been increasing employment opportunities in large scale recently. Chinese policy makers opine that this is the most important contribution of the open door policy. Hence, scholars have reached to the conclusion that the basis to China’s present prosperity is the open door policy.

Deng Xiaoping declared reforms in the agricultural sector first after the declaration of open door policy. This presented the Chinese agricultural system, production and distribution process as a model to the world. He opined that a quick-paced development of a country was possible with improvement in agriculture. The result was seen within a decade. There was a 25 per cent increment in agricultural production in between 1975 to 1985 AD. This eventually helped in the increase and development of factories and industries based upon agriculture.

His reform policy was directed towards development of industries and industrial products. He categorized these products into governmental and private and rural and urban products and set a scientific pricing system for them. This brought a heavy reform in the production and distribution system of China. Because of this, rapid progress is seen in the productivity sector of China.

In the same way, China opened up for foreign investment and huge foreign investment was funneled to China. To prepare for an investment friendly environment, improvements were made in the bureaucracy and special economic sectors were opened in a rapid pace. This helped facilitate foreign investment. These policies remained the major engines for the development and improvement of the national economy.

Following the same trend, many innovative efforts for economic development are still being made. The miraculous development of high speed train service, the progress of companies like Alibaba and Huawei and the ambitious project like BRI aspiring to connect the world – are some of the examples.

Prof. Chen Wenling, the head economist of China Center for International Economic Exchange, says that China’s open door policy is the main pillar in the construction of modern China and BRI is the basis to establish China as a major economy and world power. In an interaction in Beijing with journalists from ten different Asian countries, he said – as the proposed BRI is a new form of China’s open door policy, after expanding it and connecting the world, prosperity will be spread in the world via China.

He said that connectivity of the countries with each other via sea or land could be a solid foundation for the sustainable development and management in the world. He informed that China has adopted the policy to connect its neighbors first and then whole Asia through an economic corridor in the beginning and later through railroads and seaports.

Chinese think tanks say that it has been possible for China to come to this state because of the open door policy it took 40 years ago. They say that China had to face many challenges to join the World Trade Organization and to overcome those, thousands of local laws had been amended. Hence, there won’t be major hurdles in the years to come.

Similarly, researcher Dr. Fang Zheng of International Cooperation Center of National Development and Reform Commission, a Chinese organization of experts, presented an instance in which growth in China’s GDP was only 5 per cent in the pre open-door policy era whereas it had rose up to 15 per cent last year.

He also added that China’s economic sector has developed after the declaration of the policy in 1978 and also there have been noticeable improvements in the social, educational, technical and foreign relations sector. There has been huge infrastructural development and expansion and a massive industrial development that has made the country the second largest economy in the world.

In a conference with the journalists of 10 Asian countries held in Beijing last week, he said- China has made bilateral transport agreements with 130 countries of the world for physical connectivity and it will move ahead with ambitious plans to take the lead for world prosperity and social development.

Communist Party Secretary Fang Bing of Xian University of China said that there had been an unprecedented development in the economic, technical, educational and other miscellaneous fields in China because of the open door policy and that all Chinese hope that the BRI, proposed by the incumbent president, will take China’s prosperity and development to a new height.

He says – BRI is not just China’s but also the solid foundation for sustainable development of the world. As this mega project links not only china with its neighbors but the whole world with road, sea and information networks, the prosperity of the entire world is not far behind.  RSS