Full text of Reuters' Q&A with Chinese President Xi Jinping
Updated: 2015-10-19 09:10
Q: China has asked for international help from countries including Britain to return corruption suspects who have fled overseas. Some of these countries have complained that China is reluctant to hand over the evidence needed for them to be able to process deportation orders in court, and that China has illegally sent agents to try and induce these people to return. How will China improve its cooperation with foreign countries to get these suspects back?
A: China's judicial departments would readily provide solid evidence on specific cases in international anti-corruption cooperation. China is a country with rule of law. It acts according to law and on the basis of facts both in fighting corruption within the country and carrying out international anti-corruption cooperation.
In any country, corruption is most detested by the people. International cooperation in this area is aimed at bringing criminal suspects who have committed acts of corruption and absconded overseas back to China to face justice. China and the UK have maintained sound cooperation in jointly fighting corruption and concluded the treaty for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, which has laid the legal foundation for jointly fighting corruption.
In today's world, no country or place should provide shelter or even safe haven for corrupt elements and their proceeds of crime. What baffles the Chinese people the most is that some corrupt elements for whose crimes there are solid evidence should be able to stay at large in some countries and escape the punishment of the law by citing all kinds of excuses. Due to differences in legal systems between countries, some technical legal matters need to be worked through in international cooperation against corruption. This requires various parties to explore solutions together. In particular, anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies need to strengthen cooperation in investigation and information sharing on individual cases. I am convinced that as long as we have the political will to fight corruption, international cooperation in this field will surely yield more results.
Q: Your government has set a target of growing the economy by around 7 percent this year. However, the economic situation appears to have deteriorated in the last several months, and many investors and economists now see this target as highly unlikely to be reached, creating great concern in global financial and commodity markets. Do you expect to meet this target? What further measures do you stand ready to take in order to keep growth from slowing too much? Will that include more fiscal spending, and if so, will those moves derail your government's stated aim of forging ahead with reforms aimed at giving the market more of a role in allocating capital and bringing the economy to rely more on consumption?
A: The Chinese economy grew by 7% in the first half of this year, which is consistent with the growth target of the whole year and is the fastest growth rate among major economies around the world. It is normal that an economy may grow at different speeds in different periods. It would be against the law of economics to aim for ever higher growth without any slowing down. The 7% growth in the first half of this year was achieved on the basis of an economy of over US$10 trillion. The increment is already equivalent to the annual GDP of a medium-sized country and still exceeds what was generated by double-digit growth several years ago.
As an economy closely linked to international markets, China cannot stay immune to the lacklustre performance of the global economy. We do have concerns about the Chinese economy, and we are working hard to address them. We also worry about the sluggish world economy, which affects all countries, especially developing ones.
Historian Dr. Arnold Toynbee believes that "challenge and response" is an important factor underpinning the development of human civilization. China's economic development is adjusting to the new normal and experiencing growing pains of shifting from old drivers of growth to new ones. Yet the fundamentals of a steadily growing economy have remained unchanged. The new type of industrialization, IT application, urbanization and agricultural modernization that is in full swing has generated strong domestic demand and great potential for future growth. It has also made the economy more resilient and adaptable. All this, coupled with deepening structural reforms, means that China will have very promising economic prospects.
We are making coordinated efforts to promote steady growth, continued reform, structural adjustments, and higher living standards, and forestall economic risks. We will enhance macro regulation in creative ways to improve the quality and efficiency of economic development and address the lack of balance, coordination and sustainability in the economy. We will put more emphasis on innovation and consumption-driven growth. The policy on utilizing foreign investment remains unchanged. We will improve the rule of law in the commercial field, protect intellectual property rights, and promote fair competition. We will continue to promote the development of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and carry out international cooperation on production capacity. Both the Chinese economy and the world economy stand to benefit in this process.
In the face of changes in the domestic and international financial markets, we have taken a number of steps including lowering the required reserve ratio and interest rates and improving the RMB exchange rate regime. These measures have helped to largely defuse risks and restore stability in the markets. Going forward, we will deepen market-oriented financial reforms according to law to cultivate an open and transparent capital market that enjoys long-term, stable and sound development. We will improve risk management, stabilize market expectations and make it easier for private capital to operate in the financial sector to better support the real economy.
Q: You have said that you hope one day China will be able to host the World Cup, and that one day China could win it. You care about the sport enough that you announced big reform plans for Chinese football earlier this year. Britain is the birthplace of modern football. Is there anything China can learn from Britain in raising the level of Chinese football, and making the Chinese football industry as successful as Britain's? What is your biggest hope for Chinese football?
A: Football is the most popular sport in the world and there are over 100 million football fans in China alone. My greatest expectation on Chinese football is for the Chinese team to be one of the best in the world and for football to play an important role in making people stronger in body and mind. We will find a new way forward for the sport to flourish in China that is both consistent with the general pattern of football development and fits well with Chinese conditions. We will pursue the goals of strengthening football training for the youth, reforming the professional football system, enhancing international cooperation and boosting the football industry.
The UK has a long and proud history of football and a wealth of experience in this sport. The Premier League is one of the most influential and successful professional football leagues in the world. China and the UK have had good cooperation on football in recent years. In 2012, a cooperation program was launched to promote football in schools and the UK started to train Chinese football coaches at the grassroots level. In 2013, the Premier League and the Chinese Super League signed a letter of intent on cooperation, and David Beckham was named "ambassador for the youth football program in China and the Chinese Super League". Last month, the two countries signed an MOU to produce future stars in football. In the next five years, football training will be introduced to 20,000 Chinese schools, which means huge potential of cooperation between China and the UK in the training of players, coaches and referees.
I am confident that Chinese football will do better and make its own contribution to world football.