China to further open doors, says Premier Li Keqiang

A flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square to mark China's national day yesterday. More than 115,000 people gathered at the Beijing landmark at daybreak to watch the ceremony.
A flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square to mark China's national day yesterday. More than 115,000 people gathered at the Beijing landmark at daybreak to watch the ceremony.PHOTO: XINHUA

He highlights multilateralism and new contributions to global governance as country marks 68th national day

BEIJING • China will further open its doors to create and share development opportunities with other nations, Premier Li Keqiang said, ahead of the country's national day.

China, Mr Li added, will make new contributions to global governance and the promotion of world peace and development, Xinhua news agency reported.

He made the comments at a reception attended by President Xi Jinping and other top leaders at the Great Hall of the People last Saturday, which marked the eve of the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Mr Xi, who is set to start a second term in power after the 19th congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) later this month, did not give a speech.

Mr Li's speech ran on a now-familiar theme of multilateralism that Mr Xi has been championing. At the World Economic Forum in Davos early this year, Mr Xi called China a champion of free trade and globalisation. And at an international conference in Beijing in May, he laid out its grand vision of promoting global integration by linking Asia, Europe and beyond through a new network of roads, railways and sea routes.

Last Saturday, Mr Li said that the CCP congress comes at a "crucial moment" in China's development and called for unity with Mr Xi at the core, the South China Morning Post reported.

"This party congress will be held at a crucial moment for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all aspects and for the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics," said Mr Li. "We must unite even more closely around the CCP Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, forge ahead with one heart and one mind."

The Premier also signalled Beijing's uncompromising stance on Hong Kong, which has seen waves of discontent as well as democracy drives in recent years amid fears of creeping mainland influence, and on Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a breakaway province.

China will uphold its "one country, two systems" policy in Hong Kong and Macau, and will firmly oppose "Taiwan independence", said Mr Li.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was in Beijing on a trip to prepare for President Donald Trump's state visit later this year, said a strong and constructive US-China relationship was important to the prosperity and stability of the world, as he congratulated China on its national day.

"Now, more than ever, a strong, constructive relationship between the United States and China is important for the prosperity and stability of our two countries as well as the world," Mr Tillerson said in a press statement released by the State Department.

At daybreak yesterday, more than 115,000 people from across China gathered at Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing to watch the raising of the country's flag, reported Xinhua.

"We got really emotional when we sang the national anthem on this occasion," Mr Yang Yuanyang, a freshman from Beijing Information Science and Technology University, was quoted as saying.

China's national day is celebrated with a week-long holiday, and this year coincides with the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Major parks in Beijing have been decorated with around 1.6 million potted flowers of 150 different species, while attractions such as the Badaling section of the Great Wall opened earlier than usual to welcome holiday tourists.

Yesterday also saw the national anthem law take effect. The March Of The Volunteers can now be performed only at formal political gatherings, including flag-raising ceremonies and major celebrations.

Playing the anthem during funerals, "inappropriate" private occasions or commercials, or as background music in public places, could land offenders in detention for up to 15 days.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2017, with the headline 'China to further open doors, says Premier Li'. Print Edition | Subscribe