BEIJING, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- The reform and opening-up over the past four decades has changed China and the fate of hundreds of millions of Chinese, and influenced the world, advancing human progress.
The launch of the reform and opening-up policy in 1978 signaled a shift of priorities for the Communist Party of China and the state towards economic development. This propelled China to grow into the world's second largest economy.
China has one-fifth of the world's population. Every success made in poverty reduction and livelihood improvement is a great contribution to human development.
From 1978 to 2017, China lifted 740 million people out of poverty, nearly 19 million each year.
With such large-scale progress made, China has solely contributed more than 70 percent to global poverty alleviation work in the past 40 years. Some people say that without China's progress, the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations would be unattainable.
In just 40 years, Chinese people's per capita disposable income rose to 26,000 yuan (about 3,823 U.S. dollars) from 171 yuan. Life expectancy has increased to 76.7 years from 67.8 years in 1981.
Hunger, shortage and poverty that plagued the Chinese for thousands of years have been left behind.
Reform and opening-up has also contributed to human progress across the globe.
In its rise to global economic powerhouse, China has been a major "factory of the world," producing affordable goods in large quantities to consumers around the world, from stationary, clothes and toys to televisions, ovens, and mobile phones. The list goes on.
Today, as the reform and opening-up deepens, China is turning into the world's marketplace. Its middle-income population, 200 million and still expanding, has a growing appetite for quality products around the world.
For example, with more than 28.87 million motor vehicles sold in 2017, China is a huge market for foreign automakers. BMW has raised the stake in its China joint venture, and Tesla is building a factory in Shanghai.
No matter if it is as a world factory or marketplace, China has shaped economic globalization over the past four decades, benefiting consumers around the globe. The global value chain would not be the same if there were no reform and opening-up.
Last but not least, China has explored a unique path of economic development of its own through reform and opening-up. This has created an alternative path for developing countries to achieve poverty reduction and industrialization that is different to Western models.
Justin Yifu Lin, a former World Bank chief economist, said China's growth model was more relevant to developing countries than ones prescribed by the industrialized West. Because China's model derives from the experience of a developing country and suits the needs of the developing world.
In this sense, the reform and opening-up is making a key contribution to global human progress as more countries can find their paths of development from China's experience and help their people live a better life.