5th Sino-German Sustainability Dialogue

Event: Sustainable Growth Model

Marking the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up, the 5th Sino-German Sustainability Dialogue aimed to discuss the future direction of reform in Chinaand its socioeconomic sustainability both domestically as well as in today’s rapidly changing world. An additional topic of the dialogue was the sustainable development of mobility and transport – an area that is advancing faster in China than arguably anywhere else in the world. The German delegation, led by Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel, Vice-Chairperson of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), and consisting of representatives of the SPD, Former German Ambassador to China, Dr. Volker Stanzel, and the German press, visited Beijing and Tianjin during their four-day trip.


At the main conference of the dialogue, members of the German delegation had a remarkably open and fruitful exchange on the past, present and future course of the reform in China and its impact on the world with Qian Hongshan, Vice Minister of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC), who hosted the event, as well as other representatives of the IDCPC and experts from various top academic institutions. The participants talked candidly about the differences in their perspectives, but also worked out a solid common ground and some constructive approaches for future engagement.


To discuss mobility and transport, the delegation visited the Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport and the headquarters of DiDi Chuxing, one of the world leaders in ride-sharing. At the Beijing Foreign Studies University, Mr. Schäfer-Gümbel, who is a professor-at-large there, gave a lecture on the future of social democracy in Germany. Taking the high-speed train to Tianjin, the delegation met with Zhang Guoqing, Member of the CPC Central Committee, Deputy CPC Secretary and Mayor of Tianjin. They also visited the Traffic Management Bureau of the Tianjin Municipal Police, the Tianjin Sino-German University of Applied Sciences, and the Tianjin Container Port.


Through their visits to various institutions and discussions with the representatives there, members of the German delegation gained an in-depth impression of both the enormous challenges faced by China and its megacities like Beijing and Tianjin, as well as the rapid development of technology, business and its industrial model and governance system, which are often both inspiring and, at the same time, raising questions of sustainability that require further study and debate. Overall, this year’s dialogue contributed significantly to fostering inter-party relations and enhancing political, economic and ecologic cooperation between Germany and China.


Before departing, the delegation met with Michael Clauß, the German Ambassador to China in order to discuss the state and perspectives of German-Chinese relations.

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