Editor's Notes: "We will continue to give high priority to education development, build China's self-reliance and strength in science and technology, and rely on talent to pioneer and propel development. We will speed up work to build a strong educational system, greater scientific and technological strength, and a quality workforce. To build a modern socialist country in all respects, we must develop a socialist culture with Chinese characteristics and be more confident in our culture, " President Xi Jinping said in a report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. These transformations have been witnessed firsthand by Fernando Bernal, a long-term overseas resident of China and popular YouTuber.
Chongqing- Fernando Munoz Bernal first came to China in 2000 from his native Colombia in South America. Over the following two decades, he has run a successful language academy and is now a popular content creator through his YouTube channel FerMuBe. He posts regularly about his life, work, and travel inside China and provides insightful commentary on current world affairs. In 2011, he was officially recognized as an honorable Dongguan, Guangdong Province citizen. As the 20th National Congress approached, Fernando joined iChongqing to share his experiences and views about the rise in China's international status, the achievements he has witnessed, and his hopes for the future.
Fernando commented that China had become a powerhouse in innovation, where new technologies are being developed and manufactured domestically. Additionally, countries worldwide are looking to china for support in the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative, making China a leader in the international community. This development has created many benefits for non-western countries.
"For example, new alliances have allowed these countries to trade on better terms. It's become an alternative to older partnerships in the past, and as we can see, this is a more positive partnership for the global south. They can see there's another way to develop and move forward."
While Fernando has seen the economic growth rate slow down over the past decade, he notes the critical fact to understand is not the lower rate but the kind of growth that has occurred. In the past, the Chinese industry used to focus on labor-intensive products manufactured at the lowest possible cost. In contrast, the national GDP of today is based on knowledge, technology, and innovation.
Among his many examples, Fernando discussed new cutting-edge frontiers in space exploration, precision manufacturing, telecommunications, and other hi-tech industries that have taken root in China, providing rich sources of innovation and breakthroughs applied in the world market. This is also reflected in the upward rankings for Chinese universities worldwide. As in previous decades, the country has become a top destination for overseas students rather than a traditional exporter of students.
Rapid developments in new energy have also impressed Fernando greatly, and he can already see the environmental benefits produced in Chinese cities today. "The advent of new energy, green transport, solar power, and electric vehicles are measures people speak much about but don't truly grasp the importance of. In some cities, every public bus and taxi are new electric vehicles, which has a huge impact on pollution, which has been reduced dramatically because of action taken at the start of the century."
As the 20th National Congress progresses, Fernando hopes that China will consolidate on the achievements reaped so far. At the same time, he has been happy to witness greater inclusiveness nationwide. For instance, everyone once thought it impossible to obtain a green card in China, officially known as a foreign permanent resident's card. Many applications are being granted, and the requirements have become more transparent. As a green card holder, Fernando now enjoys greater stability and equal rights to Chinese people without actually being a citizen.
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