INSIDE CHINA: INSIGHTS FROM THE RED BARON
“Jean Christophe Iseux, Baron von Pfetten, in
an interview with Li Hui Wei of Contemporary
World, the official monthly publication of the
International Department of the Communist
Party of China’s Central Committee (CPCCC),
reveals unique insights gained over a decade of
working inside China. This interview was published
in Chinese in the November 2010 edition of the
publication and translated into English for Asean
Q: As a French scholar with a noble family background, you
are regarded as an “overseas Lei Feng” in China. What attracts
you to China?
A: The two most attractive elements of China for me are:
a. The Chinese people – particularly the good-natured
Chinese farmers. I am fond of Chinese cleverness (street wisdom),
humor, hospitality, friendliness and sense of honor (face). Since
1997 I have stayed a few days each month in the countryside living
with Chinese farmers.
b. The Chinese culture. I am particularly fond of Tang
Dynasty porcelain, Ming Dynasty furniture, Qing Dynasty architecture,
Beijing Opera and Chinese modern paintings (like the one
next to my home). I have visited every Chinese province at least
once. On every visit I try to better understand the local culture.
Q: You’ve stayed in China for more than 10 years. How do
you perceive China’s achievements in reform and opening
|Baron JC hunting at his estate in Burgundy, France, Nov 2010
A: The last 30 years of Chinese achievement since the start of the
open door policy is straight-forward:
Major macroeconomic developments in terms of gross
domestic product growth, making China the engine of growth for
Major microeconomic achievements with 20 state-operated
enterprises listed in the Fortune 500, with Petrochina topping
China’s rapid response when faced with major catastrophic
events such as the 1998 flood and the 2009 earthquake.
I would like to particularly praise the People’s Liberation Army
when more than 1 million soldiers were dispatched for humanitarian
relief in both cases.
Major achievements in terms of giving a better standard
of life to the Chinese farmers after successful ongoing land reform
China’s entry into the World Trade Organization.
Chinese government’s intelligent use of the LU Xun “Yang
Qi” model to take the best from the West and leave the rest.
China’s international status as a “responsible” member of
the international community with well recognized China involvement
in United Nations peace forces and the exceptional marketing
of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2010 Shanghai Expo.
Q: What problems do you think China is still faced with in
her economic development?
A: The most important problem facing the Chinese economy is the
increasing gap between the countryside and the city. China is still
a developing country with a rather low gross domestic product per
I would like to add the following:
Continue to expand domestic demand and stimulate the
consumer market away from foreign direct investment and the
export oriented economic growth model. Efforts are needed to
increase the income of residents in raising the minimum wage
standard. It would be helpful to raise the minimum purchase price
of grain and boost the income of farmers.
Manage the growth of urbanization carefully. Implementation
of land reform raises the possibility that farmers will trade
their land use rights, thus depriving them of an important security.
Support the service sector, which is environmentally
friendly and instrumental in job creation. The government can provide
incentives for starting one’s own business, effectively giving
more support to the rising private economy.
Bolster the international influence of the renminbi and
encourage Chinese companies to establish international footholds
and acquire valuable resources and assets overseas.
I would also suggest that China’s current development transformation
be accompanied by a profound reform of people’s ideas:
The phrase “economic growth” should be replaced with
Local government officials should switch from “rich nation
first” mentality to “rich people first”.
The economic cake should be made “better” instead of “bigger”.
- State-owned capital should change from “profit-oriented”
to “public interest oriented”.
Such change of the people’s mindset is a prerequisite for a
sound implementation of new rules and regulations enacted from
the central government...............................
|JC Iseux, left, with General Fidel Ramos, former president of the
||In 2005, Professor von Pfetten, left, is greeted by General Cao
Ganggquan, then Chinese Minister of Defense, right.
||Professor von Pfetten in 2006 , left,with Zohong Nan Hai, center,and Zeng Peiyan, then Chinese deputy prime minister, right.
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