BEIJING — The Communist Party of China (CPC) will convene the fifth plenary session of its 18th Central Committee to outline the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) for national development on Oct 26, with extraordinary achievements in the 12th plan period (2011-2015).
During the past five years, China has made major progress in various sectors despite complicated international environment. The economy has kept growing steadily, the society remains harmonious and stable, and various reforms have been carried out to offer impetus for China’s sustainable development.
Under the leadership of the CPC, Chinese people have laid a firm foundation to accomplish the first Centenary Goal of comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society by 2020.
The first Centenary Goal, marking the 100th anniversary of the CPC’s founding in 1921, is to double the 2010 GDP and double the 2010 income of both urban and rural residents by 2020, completing the building of a moderately prosperous society.
The second Centenary Goal, commemorating the 100th anniversary of founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, is to build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the middle of this century — the great renewal of the Chinese nation.
Stable economic growth
Voices concerning China’s economy like “hard landing” and “collapse” were often heard in the past five years, but they have all been dumb in front of the solid economic performance.
China is expected to achieve an average GDP growth of 7.8 percent from 2011 to 2015, much higher than the global average rate of 2.5 percent. It has become the second economy valuing more than $10 trillion and contributes to more than one quarter of global economic growth.
China continues to be the world’s No 1 in manufacture and trade sectors, meanwhile, it has been listed among the middle-class countries in terms of per capita GDP. Its urbanization rate has exceeded 50 percent.
China is changing from a country exporting clothes, shoes and hats to one exporting high-speed trains.
In September, it was announced that the first US high-speed railway project with Chinese investment would be started as early as September 2016. The 370-km Xpress West high-speed railway project will connect Las Vegas, Nevada and Los Angeles, California.
China has ranked the first in terms of using foreign investment during the period and invested more than $400 billion overseas. It also remains one of the most attractive investment targets.
“Chinese goods and investments have spread across the world, and China’s influence on world economy will continue to rise,” said Valikhan Tuleshov, director of the Institute for Regional Development of Kazakhstan’s International Academy of Business.
On Oct 21, China’s central bank announced it had issued 5-billion yuan-denominated notes in London, in the first offshore issuance of such debts outside China, an important move to promote the yuan’s globalization strategy of increasing its presence in the global bond market.
China has also entered a “new normal” with slower but more balanced and sustainable economic growth. The new situation is a result of long-term efforts to transform economic growth mode and restructure the economic frame, which will provide more impetus for future development.
“Chinese economic development has entered a new phase of relying on quality and innovation instead of export and investment,” said economist Chen Dongqi, vice president of the Academy of Macroeconomic Research of the National Development and Reform Commission.
Higher living standards
“To meet the people’s desire for a happy life is our mission,” President Xi Jinping vowed when he became general secretary of the CPC Central Committee in late 2012.
Despite increasing pressure from slowing economic growth, the Chinese government has spent more than 70 percent of its fiscal revenue in improving the people’s lives.
During the past five years, urban unemployment rate has been kept at a low rate. The Chinese average life span has been lifted by one year, and almost all Chinese people have been covered by medical insurance.
China was the first developing country to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of reducing the population living in poverty by half ahead of the 2015 deadline. The Chinese population below the poverty line has decreased by 100 million.
To improve living conditions, infrastructure and public services have been improved in rural areas. More people in poverty-stricken regions have enjoyed better houses, cheap electricity, clean water, improved medical services and education.
The central treasury allocated 480 billion yuan (about $76 billion) for subsidizing people in need, and more than 32.3 million houses have been or are being built for low-income groups.
Last year, more than 100 million people traveled abroad and they spent more than one trillion yuan during their foreign travels.
Reform, anti-corruption and more
Reform is an important keyword for the 12th five-year period. Waves of reform have arisen since the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee in 2013, with new measures coming out targeting various sectors including administrative system, taxation, finance and state enterprises.
China built its first pilot free trade zone (FTZ) in Shanghai in 2013 as a test bed for pushing forward reforms and opening the economy wider. In the first eight months this year, a total of 1,959 foreign-funded enterprises opened in the FTZ, accounting for nearly half of the total registered in Shanghai Municipality.
The Belt and Road Initiative is bringing together countries in Asia, Europe and even Africa, with the purpose of boosting infrastructure construction, financial cooperation and cultural exchanges in those regions.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a China-advocated multilateral development institution tasked with financing infrastructure construction across Asia, has been signed by 53 out of the 57 founding members as of Oct 9.
China has advanced the cut of administrative approvals to give more say to the market. Since May 2013, the central authorities have issued more than 20 documents to encourage the public, especially the graduates, to start their own businesses, in a bid to motivate creativity.
The CPC central authorities have also prioritized eco-system protection, shifting away from the GDP-obsessed official evaluation system and urging lower governments to accelerate the building of a beautiful China.
Adhering to the rule of law, China has also intensified anti-corruption efforts since the CPC’s 18th National Congress and dealt with a large number of corrupt officials, including some who used to hold very high offices.
Looking forward to the coming five years, China will remain composed and focused on its own development, with the Party and the people marching hand-in-hand on the road to prosperity.
The final countdown to reaching the first Centenary Goal is coming.