In the coming decades it will be incredibly important that China continues to open up its economy and political process, and it's good to see that President Hu Jintao is saying many of the right things. I'm not sure how sincere he is, and it's important to remember that we can't trust China, but in the long run I think China is moving in the right direction.

This is quoted from a Drudge flash report, so the link will go bad pretty quick.

Chinese president stresses commitment to peaceful development in New Year Address Sat Dec 31 2005 09:22:59 ET

BEIJING Chinese President Hu Jintao reiterated China's strong commitment to peaceful development in his New Year Address broadcast Saturday to domestic and overseas audience via state TV and radio stations.

"Here, I would like to reiterate that China's development is peaceful development, opening development, cooperative development and harmonious development," Hu said.

"The Chinese people will develop ourselves by means of striving for a peaceful international environment, and promote world peace with our own development," Hu said in the address broadcast by China Radio International, China National Radio and China Central Television.

Notice there's no mention of Taiwan or terrorism, but holidays are the time for vague platitudes, not concrete policy.

He said the Chinese people are willing to join with peoples of all nations in the world to promote multilateralism, advance the development of economic globalization toward common prosperity, advocate democracy in international relations, respect the diversity of the world and push for the establishment of a new international political and economic order that is just and rational.

I'm not sure if "democracy in international relations" is the same as regular old democracy, or if it means equal representation and voting among nations, as is seen in the UN General Assembly. If it's the former, great, if it's the latter, then it's meaningless.

He pledged that China will adhere to its fundamental national policy of opening to the outside world, continue to improve the investment environment and open the market, carry out international cooperation in a wide range of areas and seek to attain mutual benefits and win-win results with all countries in the world.

If they continue to open their economy, it's inevitable that their political process will follow.

He mentioned in particular that China will do its best to help developing countries accelerate development and help people suffering from war, poverty, illnesses and natural calamities in the world.

I don't think they have the resources to help other countries much at this point, considering that most Chinese subjects live in third-world conditions, but it's a nice thought.

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