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Faculty Speech on PKULS Graduation Ceremony Chen Yongsheng: Fully understand the difficulty of China's rise



Dear guests:

I am very happy to have the opportunity to give a speech as a teacher representative. A few days ago, when Lu Jiangnan called and wanted me to speak as a teacher representative, I happily agreed. Because I have taught most of our graduating classmate, and have deep feelings with everyone. For the 2017 undergraduate, I have taught two courses: "Criminal Procedural Law" and "Criminal Investigation"; I have taught "Criminal Procedural Law" for the Juris Master of 2018; I have taught "Criminal Procedural Law Topics" for the Master of Laws of 2019. So far, I have been deeply impressed by your concentrated eyes during class, the blushing face of arguing with each other during the discussion class, and the awkwardness of some classmates during the exam.

Today is a Joyful day. After years of study, you have successfully completed all of your courses, passed the academic check, and the thesis defense. Today, you finally put on your academic uniforms as expected. Your school career generally lasts for nearly 20 years, even more than 20 years, which represents your long-term efforts! However, I want to remind everyone that today only marks the end of your school career. As far as your professional career is concerned, the curtain has just been pulled.

When you are about to leave PKULS, I hope that in your future life, you will not only work hard to achieve personal career success, but also remember the spirit of the May Fourth Movement and contribute to the rise of China. The world today is undergoing drastic changes, which has brought huge opportunities and challenges both to China and everyone. The most significant change in the development of the times is that the total GDP of China is rapidly approaching the United States, and will surpass the United States in the near future, changing the political pattern of the world’s dominance.

After China's total GDP surpassed Japan at $5.75 trillion in 2010 and became the second largest economies in the world, it has narrowed the gap with the United States rapidly. By 2019, China's total GDP has almost tripled compared to 2010, reaching $14.22 trillion, far surpassing Japan and quickly approaching the United States. In 2019, the total GDP of the United States is $21.34 trillion. According to the economic growth rate of China and the United States in the previous 10 years, China's GDP can catch up with the United States in about 10 to 15 years. After the outbreak of the COVID-19 last year, China quickly contained the epidemic and the economy recovered very fast. However, the United States has been slow to control the epidemic and blocked the recovery of economy.. In 2020, the total GDP of the United States is $20.93 trillion. Compared with 21.34 trillion U.S. dollars in 2019, instead of increase to a higher figure, it shrunk by 1.9%. On the contrary, China is the only major country in the world to maintain economy growth in 2020. China's total GDP in 2020 has increased by 3.6%, reaching $14.73 trillion. Because the epidemic has dragged down the U.S. economy, scholars have estimated that the time for China's GDP to surpass the U.S. may be shortened in about 10 years, that is, it can surpass the U.S. in 2030. China’s GDP is about to catch up with the United States, which makes many of us happy.

What I want to remind everyone is that the rise in total GDP to be the world's largest does not mean that China has become the world's superpower. It is the per capita GDP rather than the total amount of GDP that can better reflect the overall strength of a country. From a historical point of view, from 1840 to 1865, our country's total GDP remained the world's largest. However, during this period, countries such as the United Kingdom, France, the United States, and Russia, which total GDP smaller than China, have continuously invading China. In terms of GDP per capita, China is still a typical developing country, not a developed country. Taking 2020 as an example, our country’s per capita GDP is $10,484, which is only 63rd in the world, close to Panama, Costa Rica, Seychelles, Malaysia, Maldives, Bulgaria, Mauritius and other typically Developing countries. However, the per capita GDP of the United States reached $63,416, ranking fifth in the world, more than six times that of China.

Moreover, the growth of per capita GDP is different from the growth of total GDP. China has a vast land and abundant resources, and the total GDP can achieve rapid growth; but China has a large population and is the world's largest, so it is difficult to achieve rapid growth in per capita GDP. It can only move forward slowly step by step. In 1952, our country's per capita GDP ranked 90th in the world. After 70 years of development, by 2020, my country's per capita GDP has risen from 90th to 63rd, only 27 places higher. According to the growth rate of the previous 70 years, it will take at least 50 years for our country's per capita GDP to catch up with the United States. Therefore, there is still a long way to go for our country to truly become the world's number one power.

In fact, not only in terms of per capita GDP, but also in many other areas, such as technology, military, rule of law, finance, education, culture, and many other aspects, there is a big gap between our country and the world’s superpower, and there is still a long way to go.

Now is the sprint stage of China's re-emergence. As a graduate of Peking University Law School, you should make your own contribution to the advancement of the rule of law in China. If you become legislators in the future, I hope you can keenly discover the shortcomings of China’s current system, and be brave to start a reform, eventually establish a new system that conforms to the development of the times; if you become police or prosecutors in the future, I hope you can be fearless and brave to investigating crimes, in order to provide comfort to those who have been illegally violated; if you become lawyers in the future, I hope you can do your best to protect the legal rights of your clients; if you become judges in the future, I hope you can uphold justice and be brave to rule out a wrong conviction.

Finally, as a representative of all faculty members of PKULS, I hope that no matter where you are in the future, you will always think of PKULS. PKULS is your eternal spiritual home. No matter whether you succeed or fail in the future, we hope you will go back to Peking University Law School to take a look, PKULS will always be by your side.

Thank you!

Translated by: Zhang Dayuan

Edited by: Liu Shuyu