Let me begin by thanking you, Mr. Levin, for your kind invitation and the opportunity to come to Yale to meet young friends and teachers of this world-renowned university.
Coming to the Yale campus, with its distinctive academic flavor, and looking at the eager young faces in the audience, I cannot but recall my great experience studying at Qinghua University in Beijing 40 years ago. Indeed, what happens during one's school year will influence his whole life. I still benefit greatly from the instruction and my interaction with other students.
Yale is renowned for its long history, unique way of teaching and excellence in academic pursuit. If time could go back several decades, I would really like to be a student of Yale just like you.
Yale's motto “Light and Truth,” which is a calling for human progress, represents the aspiration of every motivated young man and woman. Over the past three centuries, Yale has produced a galaxy of outstanding figures, including 20 Nobel laureates and five American presidents. The words of Nathan Hale, an American hero and Yale alumnus, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country,” have also inspired me and many other Chinese. I sincerely hope that Yale will produce more talent and contribute further to the social and economic development of the United States and the cause of human progress.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends.
The Chinese and Americans have always had an intense interest in and cared deeply about each other. The Chinese admire the pioneering and enterprising spirit of the Americans and their proud achievement in national development. As China develops rapidly and steady headway is made in China-U.S. cooperation, more and more Americans are following with great interest China's progress and development.
Understanding leads to trust. Today, I would like to speak to you about China's development strategy and its future against the backdrop of the evolution of the Chinese civilization and China's current development endeavor. I hope this will help you gain a better understanding of China.
In a history that spans more than five millennia, the Chinese nation has contributed significantly to the progress of human civilization. But its course of national development has been an arduous one. In particular in the 160 years and more since the Opium War in 1840, the Chinese people have fought courageously and unyieldingly to rid themselves of poverty and backwardness and to realize national rejuvenation, thus profoundly changing the destiny of the Chinese nation. Ninety-five years ago, the Chinese people launched the Revolution of 1911 that overthrew the feudal autocracy which had ruled China for several thousand years and opened the door to China's progress.
Fifty-seven years ago, the Chinese people succeeded in winning liberation after protracted and hard struggle and founded New China in which people became their own masters. Twenty-eight years ago, the Chinese people embarked upon the historic drive of reform, opening-up and modernization and have made phenomenal progress through unremitting efforts.
Between 1978 and 2005, China's GDP grew from $147.3 billion to $2.2257 trillion. Its import and export volume went up from $20.6 billion to $1.4221 trillion and its foreign exchange reserve soared from $167 million to $818.9 billion. During this period, the number of its poor rural population dropped from 250 million to 23 million. The above review of the profound changes in these 160 years shows one thing, namely, by carrying out persistent and hard struggle, the Chinese people have both changed their own destiny and advanced the cause of human progress.
On the other hand, I need to point out that, despite the success in its development, China remains the world's largest developing country, with per capita GDP ranking behind the 100th place. The Chinese people are yet to live a well-off life and China still faces daunting challenges in its development endeavor. Therefore it requires sustained and unremitting efforts to transform the country and make life better for its people. In the next 15 years, we will strive to make new progress in building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way that will benefit China's one billion and more population. We aim to raise China's GDP to $4 trillion by 2020, averaging $3,000 per person. By then, China's economy will be better developed and its democracy will be further enhanced. More progress will be made in science and education. Its culture will be further enriched, the society will become more harmonious and the people will lead a better life.
To realize these goals, China has adopted a new concept of development in line with its national conditions and the requirement of the times. That is, to pursue a scientific outlook on development that makes economic and social development people-oriented, comprehensive, balanced and sustainable. We will work to strike a proper balance between urban and rural development, development among regions, economic and social development, development of man and nature, and domestic development and opening wider to the outside world. Greater emphasis will be put on addressing issues affecting people's livelihood, overcoming imbalances in development and resolving key problems that have occurred in the course of development. We will pursue a new path to industrialization featuring high technology, good economic returns, low resource-consumption, low environment pollution and full use of human resources. We will bring about coordinated economic, political, cultural and social development. And we will endeavor to ensure sustainable development by boosting production, improving people's life and protecting the environment.