A Change of Guard

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Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Polish diplomat: "I witnessed China's development"

WARSAW, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- President of the Polish-Chinese Friendship Association Zdzislaw Goralczyk said he had witnessed China's development in its three-decade opening-up.

"I personally witnessed China's development and China-Poland friendship in the past decades," Goralczyk, a former Polish ambassador to China, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The 72-year-old diplomat had altogether spent 24 years in China, first as a student, then ambassador.

Goralczyk, who is fluent in Mandarin, said late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping's pragmatism had found a unique and successful development model for China in the past 30 years.

"China has successfully developed its market economy system. The country has experienced rapid development in various fields, such as economy, science and technology, and culture," he said.

In the past 30 years, China has been the fastest growing economy, he said. The current financial crisis has hit the United States and Europe hard, but it is particularly impressive that China's economic fundamentals remain sound.

Goralczyk, however, warned that the income gap in China is widening despite the fact that absolute poverty is becoming less common in the country.

Goralczyk began to study the Chinese language in Beijing University in 1953 and served as Polish ambassador to Beijing between 1994 and 1999. He is the only Pole to have been awarded honorary citizenship of Beijing. He was invited to attend the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics in August 2008.

Goralczyk, who married a Chinese girl in the 1950s when he was studying in Beijing, had his home decorated in a Chinese style and liked Chinese food, particularly spicy Sichuan cuisine.

After Goralczyk's return to Poland, he served as advisor to one Polish president and two prime ministers. After his retirement, he became president of the Polish-Chinese Friendship Association to help promote bilateral friendship.

Goralczyk hopes that relations between the two countries and the two peoples would always undergo smooth development.

Editor: An

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