Liu Qibao, a senior Chinese Communist Party official in charge of information,
media and culture, granted The Jerusalem Post an exclusive interview before his
visit to Israel this month. He shared with us his views on the China-Israel
relationship, China’s economic, social and cultural development, cultural
exchanges between the two countries, and what is termed the “Chinese
Israel is the first country you visited after you became a member
of the political bureau of the CPC central committee. How do you view the
friendship between China and Israel, and what do you expect from the development
of this relationship?
The Chinese and the Jews are both great nations in the
world with long histories and splendid cultures. We have made indelible
contribution to the world civilization and have gone through various hardships.
Because of these similar experiences, we have been giving each other mutual
understanding, sympathy and assistance.
The touching stories of the
Chinese people and the Israeli people helping each other during World War Two
have been cherished and passed down by generations.
The passage of time
has not changed the spirit of mutual affection and assistance between the two
In 2008 when I was the party secretary of Sichuan Province, a
devastating earthquake hit the province on May 12. Immediately after that, the
Israeli government sent us the message of condolence and provided valuable
assistance. Two university students from Israel were trapped [and] in danger
when the quake occurred, [and] local people risked their own lives and finally
rescued them successfully. These are testimonies of the long friendship between
our two countries.
The friendship between our two peoples makes us feel
warm in heart and also lays the solid foundation for the comprehensive
development of China-Israel relationship.
Our bilateral relationship has
grown robust and mature over the past 21 years of diplomatic
The exchange of visits between senior officials is frequent,
which builds up mutual political trust. Trade and economic ties grow fast. China
is now Israel’s largest trading partner in Asia and the third largest as [far
as] the whole world is concerned.
Cooperation in science and technology
Cultural and people-to-people exchanges are more and more
active. I believe that with the joint efforts from the leaders and peoples of
our two countries, China-Israel relationship will undoubtedly embrace a bright
The sustained, fast economic growth in China over the past 30
years has been an astonishing success. But as we understand, the growth
rate is not as fast now as it was at the beginning of this year. This created
concerns about China’s economic future. What’s your view on this?
has made enormous economic and social progress in the past 30 years of reform
and opening up, significantly lifting up the national strength. The economy has
grown by 10 percent on average during this [period]. China’s GDP grew from 360
billion RMB yuan in 1978 to 51.93 trillion yuan in 2012, ranking second in the
world. The income of the population has risen sharply. The disposable income of
urban residents grew from 343 yuan in 1978 to 24,565 yuan in 2012 in per capita
terms. The net income of rural residents increased from 134 yuan to 7,917 yuan
over the same period.
Compulsory education has been provided free of
charge and the basic pension insurance scheme has been established in both urban
and rural areas. Universal health insurance has been basically set up. All this
secures social harmony and stability, as well as people’s livelihood.
present, the global economy is on a difficult road to recovery. The Chinese
government has stayed poised to tackle complex situations both at home and
abroad and successfully maintained economic stability. China’s GDP grew by 7.6%
in the first half of this year, a lower rate compared with the past, but still
higher than most other countries in the world.
This is the outcome of
China’s active efforts to rebalance its economy.
In the face of macro
economic policies, we are determined to push ahead economic restructuring to
realize the transformation and upgrade of the Chinese economy.
priority is no longer solely given to the GDP.
Rather, greater attention
is placed on the quality and effectiveness of the growth. We would rather slow
down the growth rate a bit in order to address the problems affecting long-term
We are confident about realizing sustainable and
healthy development of the Chinese economy.
Last year saw the transition
of party and government leadership in China. President Xi Jinping proposed the
“Chinese Dream” for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. What’s the
Chinese Dream about, and what does it mean to the world?
The Chinese Dream of
national rejuvenation is a strategic notion which spells the long-cherished
wishes of generations of Chinese people. It sets forth for us an aspiring goal
and depicts a bright prospect of development in China. The Chinese Dream is
about realizing prosperity, national rejuvenation and people’s happiness through
peaceful and civilized means. As a dream of peace and harmony, its essence
conforms to the dreams of other nations. The Chinese Dream will not only bring
benefit to the Chinese people, but also to others, including the people of
The Chinese people are nowadays working hard for the Chinese
Dream. We aim to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020,
where both the GDP and per capita income will be doubled on the 2010 basis. By
the middle of this century, we aim to develop China into a modern socialist
country of prosperity, democracy, cultural progress and harmony.
realize these goals, we need a peaceful and stable international environment.
China will be firm in following the path of peaceful development and committed
to a development approach that promotes opening up, cooperation and win-win
outcomes. We will also call upon all other countries to follow the path of
The development of China will bring the world more
opportunities. It’s estimated that China will import $10 trillion of goods,
raising its overseas investment to $500 billion, and [will] see more than 400
million people traveling abroad as tourists in the next five years.
hope that China and Israel can work together in the days ahead to realize our
shared dreams of peace, development, cooperation and win-win outcomes. We have
no doubt that the close cooperation between China and Israel will be conducive
to the region and the world at large.
China has achieved a great deal in
cultural development in recent years. As a senior official in charge of cultural
affairs, could you tell us more about this?
Great importance has been [assigned]
by the Chinese government to cultural development. Cultural reform and
development have [gained] pace in recent years.
The Chinese people have
enjoyed richer and more diversified cultural activities.
In general, the
overall strength of the cultural industry has been beefed up and [has] become
Major progress has been achieved in developing the
public cultural service system. The population coverage of radio and TV
broadcasting reached 97.5% and 98.2% respectively in 2012. Public access to
books, films, radio and TV broadcasting was made much easier.
production is booming.
In 2012, China became the biggest publisher in the
world both in terms of categories and total numbers of publications. In that
single year, about 4,000 novels were written. A total of 506 TV dramas and 893
films were produced, making China the biggest producer of TV dramas and
third-biggest producer of films.
The market of cultural consumption keeps
growing. In 2012, the box-office revenue of films amounted to RMB 17 billion,
representing a 36% increase from the previous year. China thus became the
second-largest film market in the world, [second only to] the United
What can you tell us about cultural exchanges between China and
Israel? What do you expect from these exchanges?
Cultural exchanges are a
heart-winning enterprise that may shape our future. Cultural ties help enhance
mutual trust between countries and bind peoples together as friends. Recent
years saw much closer cultural cooperation between China and Israel,
particularly in education, tourism, information, publication, health, radio and
We have launched a number of cultural exchange activities,
such as “Celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between
China and Israel” and “Experience China in Israel.” In Tel Aviv University and
The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Confucius Institutes have been established,
which provide Israeli friends with a platform to learn about Chinese
Walk into Israel – A Land of Milk and Honey, a documentary made
by CCTV, was very well received by Chinese audiences. It’s because of our
long-running efforts in developing cultural exchanges that China- Israel
friendship can flourish and our two peoples can understand each other so well.
We will continue to sponsor various kinds of cultural exchange activities and
reinforce our cooperation in science, technology, education and tourism, so that
the deepgoing cultural and people-to-people exchanges between us will make
China-Israel friendship more popular and long-lasting.