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Speech by H.E. Wang Ke, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the United Republic of Tanzania, at Tanzania Public Service College
2019/02/27

National Development and the Building of a Strong Public Servant Force: The Experience of China

 

Hon. Captain George Mkuchika, Minister of State, President's Office - Public Service Management and Good Governance,

Hon. Dr. Lauren Ndumbaro, Permanent Secretary, President's Office - Public Service Management and Good Governance,

Hon. Dr. Henry Mambo, Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Tanzania Public Service College (TPSC),

Dear teachers and students,

Invited guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Habari za Asubuhi!

I am very glad to be invited by Dr. Henry Mambo, Principal and Chief Executive Officer of TPSC, to this renowned college to share some of my thoughts. The Tanzania Public Service College, TPSC, is the only institution of comprehensive training for public servants. Since its establishment in 2000, the TPSC, as a training base, has not only provided knowledge and skills, but also built a culture of continuous learning for public servants. I would like to salute your valuable work and important role in national capacity building and economic development of Tanzania.

As the Chinese Ambassador as well as a public servant, I am very honored to visit this college and interact with its teachers and students. The title of my speech today is "National Development and the Building of a Strong Public Servant Force: The Experience of China". I will focus on the main concepts and good practices of China in building its public service against the backdrop of China's reform and opening-up over the past 40 years. I will also give you a briefing on the cooperation between China and Tanzania in exchanging experience in governance and the training of public servants.

I. Major Development Achievements and Experience of China's Reform and Opening-up Over the Past 40 Years

The year 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. On 18 December last year, H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, delivered an important speech, in which he reviewed China's reform and opening-up, summarized its achievements and experience, and expressed firm determination to press on the reform and opening-up.

Over the past 40 years, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), with the diligence and courage of the Chinese people, China has made great achievements in development which has attracted worldwide attention. China has realized a historic leap in increasing comprehensive national strength and building a moderately prosperous society. China has played an increasingly important role in safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.

Over the past 40 years, China's economy had experienced sustained and rapid growth. China has become an anchor of stability and an important engine for world economic growth. The country's GDP has increased from 367.9 billion RMB yuan in 1978 to 90 trillion RMB yuan in 2018, which is equivalent to approximately 13 trillion USD. The annual growth rate of China during the past 40 years is 9.5%, which is much higher than the world average growth rate of 2.9% during the same period. The output of China's major agricultural products ranks high in the world, and the country has built the most complete modern industrial system around the globe. At present, China is the second largest economy, the largest manufacturer, the largest trader in goods, the second largest consumer of commodities, and the No.2 recipient of foreign investment in the world. For several consecutive years China's contribution to global economic growth has exceeded 30%.

Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people's living standard has been enhanced continuously. Currently the Chinese people enjoy richer, higher-quality and more dignified life. The per-capita GDP of China has increased from 385 RMB yuan in 1978 to 59,201 RMB yuan in 2017, equivalent to approximately 9,100 USD, and middle-income groups continue to expand, currently with the total number of more than 300 million. China has lifted 740 million people out of poverty, reducing the incidence of poverty by 94.4 percentage points, which added a glorious chapter to the global history of poverty alleviation. China has comprehensively implemented the nine-year compulsory education system, enhancing the consolidation rate of compulsory education to 93.8%. The nation has built the world's largest social security system, including pension, health care, the minimum living allowance and indemnificatory housing. The basic old-age pension has covered more than 900 million people, and over 1.3 billion people have benefited from medical insurance. Moreover, people's life expectancy had increased from 67.8 years old in 1981 to 76.7 years old in 2017.

The achievements of China's reform and opening-up over the past 40 years relates to numerous aspects, including politics, economy, culture, national defense, diplomacy, etc. What I have just mentioned are only a few most typical facts and figures. The key message I want to convey is as follows: the Chinese people spent only 40 years to complete the industrialization process which the developed countries had used several hundred years to finish, and by doing that, the Chinese people had made the impossible possible. In my opinion, the most important reason why China's reform and opening-up is so successful is because we have adhered to the following principles, which can be summarized as four P's.

The first P stands for "Party". We have upheld and continuously improved the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), making the Party as the backbone of the nation. As a Chinese saying goes, "The high speed of a train owes to the strong driving force of the locomotive." The CPC is the world's largest political party, with nearly 90 million members. It has been the ruling party of the world's most populous country for almost seven decades. It was under the leadership of CPC that the nation achieved independence, and the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949. The process of China's reform and opening-up has not always been plain sailing. We have encountered some unimaginable violent storms. At the crucial time when the fate of China's reform and opening-up was at stake, it was the CPC that led the Chinese people to overcome great difficulties and make the nation prosperous and strong.

The second P stands for "people". We have persisted in the people-oriented approach. To seek happiness for the Chinese people and pursue rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is the original aspiration and mission of the CPC. It is also the original purpose of China's reform and opening-up. The CPC has always taken the fundamental interests of the Chinese people as the starting point and the purpose of all its work, and taken the people's aspiration for a better life as its primary objective. The CPC respects public opinions, pays close attention to people's livelihood, and makes great efforts to improve it.

In the early years of China's reform and opening-up, to "make the cake bigger", the Chinese Government put forward such slogans as "we should allow part of the population to become rich first", which had greatly stimulated the vigor of the economy. However, such policies inevitably generated the problems of widening gap between the rich and the poor and the imbalance of development among different regions. Forty years later, when "the cake" has become quite big, the Chinese Government lays greater emphasis on "sharing the cake in an equitable way" so that every Chinese citizen can benefit from the fruits of the reform and opening-up. Currently we are concentrating on fighting an uphill battle to lift the remaining 16.6 million poverty-stricken people in rural areas out of poverty by 2020. (The Chinese poverty standard is 2,300 RMB yuan per capita per year, which is a little bit lower than the international standard, 1.25 USD per day.) We have been continuously improving the public service system, prioritizing the development of education sector, strengthening the social security system and vigorously implementing the "Healthy China" strategy. While delivering basic public services to all the the people, we have adopted special polices to favor vulnerable groups, such as women, children and the disabled, so as to promote social fairness and justice.

The third P stands for "path". We has steadfastly followed the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. President Xi Jinping said on many occasions, "Only one who wears the shoes knows whether they fit." This simple sentence tells us a truth, that is, we should let the people who live in a country to choose the development path for themselves because it is them who know best whether a certain development path fit their own county or not. For a country with nearly 1.4 billion people, there is no precedence or textbook to follow for reform and development. Proceeding from China's actual conditions, the CPC has led the Chinese people to address various challenges and achieve one success after another.

While following the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, China has unremittingly conducted institutional innovations, yielding many systems suited to the country's actual conditions. For instance, we have established a basic economic system with public ownership as the mainstay and multiple forms of ownership developing side by side. This system can not only enable the government to better play its due role and pool resources to solve major problems, but stimulate the vigor of various players in the market and ensure the decisive role of the market in resource allocation. Another example is the system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation under the leadership of the CPC. This system can not only incorporate various social forces into the national political system and realize the broadest political participation, but help reach the maximum consensus in decision-making so that the frictions among political parties and interest groups could be reduced greatly.

Now let me come to the fourth P, which stands for "plan". We have been attaching great importance to advance planning and vigorous implementation. We often say that, "A blueprint doesn't work until it becomes full reality". The Chinese Government, at various levels and in different fields and stages, formulates and promulgates guiding documents for development, based on overall planning and scientific verification. For instance, since 1953, the Chinese Government has been formulating "Five-year Plan" every five years, to set up objectives and directions for realizing the national vision in economic and social development, and to make designs on the layout of productive forces and major development projects in the country. At present, we are implementing the 13th "Five-year Plan". Once the plan is released, every related department and unit will do everything possible to implement it and achieve the goals on time. President Xi Jinping often says, "Clutch a piece of iron and leave your handprint on it; step onto the stone and leave your footprint on it." That is a vivid description of his requirement on the implementation of various work plans.

II. China's Practice and Experience in Building a Strong Public Servant Force

Public servants are the implementer of a country's policies, the provider of public services, the defender of national interests, and the protector of people's rights. In this sense, public servants can be regarded as the bridge between the government and the citizens, crucial to the implementation of national policies in the civil society.

China always attaches great importance to the building of its public servant forces, including capacity-building. In particular, since 1993 when its public servant system was officially adopted, China has been constantly strengthening and improving it, with a view to creating a patriotic, clean, honest and highly competent team of public servants who love the people, and work selflessly for the interests of the general public. By the end of 2016, the number of public servants of all levels in China reached 7.19 million. They work as the main force in facilitating the undertakings of the ruling Party and the country.

China's public servant system draws upon the experiences of Western countries' civil official systems. However, it is not a copy but a system developed based on the specific conditions of China. It has been proved effective by practice. The features of China's public servant system are as follows:

Firstly, the system has a very strict selection mechanism. According to the Public Servant Law of China, an applicant for the public servant position has to go through open tests, strict examinations and equal competition before being employed on the basis of excellence. A large number of university graduates and talented persons from the society apply to take part in the annual examination for public servants. For example, at the end of 2018, 920 thousand people registered for the national examination and the ratio of applicants to the employed is 63:1.

The promotion standards for Chinese public servants are even stricter. Government organizations have to evaluate the performance of the public servants, mainly from five dimensions, namely ethics, ability, diligence, achievement and honesty before promoting the public servant to a higher level. This system, based on a series of selection and the rule of selecting the best among the good, can not only ensure the selection of real talents, but also create a good environment for all public servants to do a better job. H.E. Xi Jinping, our president is the "best spokesman" for the effectiveness of this selection and promotion system. Starting from the lowest rank as a party secretary in a village, President Xi worked in the leading position step by step from village to county, city, province and ultimately the central committee of the CPC. At each of his positions, President Xi made outstanding performances which led him to be the core of the CPC and the leader of the Chinese people.

Secondly, the system has very harsh and impartial restraints by law and disciplines. The Public Servant Law of China explicitly specifies on the responsibilities and rights of public servants, guaranteeing the legitimate rights and interests of them in legal sense while expressly stipulating on their behavior. Most of the public servants in China are members of the CPC who must behave under the "dual restraints" of national laws and Party disciplines. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China has been vigorously stepping up the building of a clean government and the combat against corruption. All these efforts has succeeded in cracking down the "black sheep" in the team, carrying forward the culture of honesty and improving the political environment. These laws and disciplinary restraints create the orientation of strictly keeping the rules for reward and punishment and thus encourage the public servants to execute the public power correctly.

Thirdly, the system has a relatively comprehensive training mechanism. The Chinese Government attached great importance to the training of public servants. From the grass-root level, we call for "assigning important tasks to ordinary public servants", creating space and opportunities for them, especially the younger ones, to develop themselves. We focus on fostering the abilities of public servants to fulfill their responsibilities, implement the policies in a down-to-earth manner, solve problems and blaze new trails in a pioneering spirit. In China, many government departments, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have formulated detailed programs and relevant rules for the training of public servants. In order to broaden the horizon of the public servants and help them get to know the status quo of the grass-root units and establish the consciousness of the need to think in big-picture terms, our government often provides public servants with the opportunities of job rotation, inter-department exchange and temporary position in local government or state-owned companies. Our public servant team boasts the fine tradition of "the old ones passing on their experience to the new ones". For instance, our embassy will assign an experienced diplomat to be the mentor of a new staff who is dispatched to a foreign country for the first time in order to offer guidance in work and learning.

III. Exchange of Experience in Governance and Cooperation in Education and Training Between China and Tanzania

China and Tanzania are traditionally good friends whose friendship was fostered by the older-generation national leaders of our two countries, including Chairman Mao Zedong, Premier Zhou Enlai of China, and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, former President of Tanzania. Our two countries had in the past similar historical experiences, and now both are faced with strenuous development tasks. For that reason, our development concepts share many commonalities. For example, we both insist on putting people first, making it our goal to improve people's welfare, committing to building a clean, efficient and accountable government based on the rule of law and sparing no effort in combating corruption, lazy governance, abuse of power and other evils that people feel as abominations. Therefore, our two countries enjoy good foundation and broad space in the exchange of experience in the governance.

Last July, the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting Africa Thematic Event was held in Dar es Salaam. Senior representatives from nearly 40 political parties and political organizations from China and Africa have discussed the theories and practices for the CPC and African political parties to explore development paths suited to their specific national conditions. This meeting served as an important action made by the CPC and African political parties to carry out exchange of experience in governance. Important consensus reached at the meeting offered good advice to the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) held last September. When Hon. Kassim Majaliwa, Prime Minister of Tanzania headed a delegation to Beijing to attended the FOCAC Beijing Summit, H.E. Xi Jinping, President of China, held a cordial meeting with him. During that meeting, the two leaders reached consensus on strengthening inter-party interactions, exchange of experience in governance, development and poverty reduction, as well as the participation of Tanzania in China's Belt and Road Initiative.

China and Tanzania have conducted good cooperation in education and human resource development. In recent years, we provide about 200 scholarships each year for Tanzanians to study in China, which include 120 government scholarships, and those provided by the Confucius Institute Headquarters and Chinese universities. Besides, a large number of Tanzanian students are studying in China at their own expense. Moreover, the Chinese government provides training opportunities for professional talents from various fields in Tanzania to receive relevant training in China. From 2016 to 2018, we have arranged about 1000 Tanzanians with many public servants involved to go to China and receive skill training.

Exchanges and training for public servants are both important carriers for the exchange of experience in governance and an integral part of personnel exchange between our two countries. In this sense, the Chinese Embassy in Tanzania will continue to offer the opportunity of studying in China for more Tanzanian public servants. We are also willing to help the TPSC establish working relations with public servant training institutions in China, so that you can improve mutual understanding and learning. The Chinese Embassy in Tanzania is always ready to contribute to the promotion of experience exchange in governance and development between our two countries, which in our view is beneficial for both countries.

As a support from our embassy, I would like to donate 20 laptops to the Tanzania Public Service College. I hope these equipment can help you in your teaching work. I wish the college can make greater achievements in imparting knowledge, educating people and training more excellent public servants for Tanzania.

Thank you! Asante sana!

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