BEIJING — As a key meeting of the Communist Party of China (CPC) draws near, the large Asian country it has been leading over the past nearly seven decades is attracting more and more global limelight.
In the economic dimension, observers from across the world agree that under the leadership of the world’s largest political party, the world’s largest developing country has scored tremendous achievements and is on the right development path toward the future.
Particularly, they point out that since the incumbent CPC leadership took office five years ago, China, now the world’s second largest economy, has been pushing for comprehensive reform and has further consolidated the foundation for future development.
REFORM IS MAIN KEYWORD
Reform has been a main keyword of China’s economic policy for decades, and in recent years it has been assigned even higher priority.
In late 2013, the CPC set up the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform, an institution chaired by General Secretary Xi Jinping — who is also Chinese president — and tasked with steering forward China’s reform endeavors.
Among various specific policies, the major reform in the economic realm China has been pushing forward with full resolve in recent years is the supply-side structural reform.
Launched in 2015, the effort carries the recognition that China’s economic growth model over the last three decades — mainly driven by investment, exports and consumption — has played its due role and now needs to be adapted to the new circumstances.
China’s supply-side structural reform shifts the focus from demand to the other side of the lever — supply. It is aimed at five major goals: cutting overcapacity, destocking, deleveraging, lowering costs and improving weak links.
Guo Shengxiang, dean of the Academy of APEC Creative Finance, an Australian think tank, said specific measures related to the five major goals have raised equality and efficiency of the Chinese economy, as manifested by the rise of domestic consumption, expansion of the services sector and surge in high-end products.
Alongside the supply-side structural reform, the Chinese government has also rolled out corresponding monetary, financial and fiscal reforms, as well as industrial policies and regional planning.
The reform and related measures, added Guo, have together laid a solid foundation for China to step across the so-called middle-income trap, a situation where a country’s economic growth slows after reaching middle-income levels as it loses the original competitiveness.
Guo also highlighted the poverty alleviation efforts of China, which has pledged to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020. That entails lifting all its poor population out of poverty.
Speaking highly of the progress China has made, Guo noted that relevant work has been executed with great efforts, appropriate methods and unwavering confidence.
Beijing’s determination not to leave anyone behind, he stressed, has shown the advantage of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
DEVELOPMENT ON RIGHT PATH
Another shift of the Chinese economy in the past five years, experts say, is that the government has continuously lowered the growth target for the gross domestic product (GDP) in a bid to gain healthy development.
Following a target range of 6.5-6.7 percent for the previous year, in which the actual growth rate ended up to be 6.7 percent, Beijing has set the GDP growth rate for 2017 at 6.5 percent, the lowest for China in 25 years.
Yet even with growth rates between 5.5 and 6.5 percent in the coming years, China will still outpace the developed countries, which have realized much more moderate rates averaging 2-3 percent during the past five years, noted Gerishon Ikiara, a senior lecturer of international economics at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.
He estimated that with an annual growth rate of around 6 percent, China could replace the United States as the world’s largest economy in just several years.
Perhaps more importantly, he added, China can continuously infuse new vigor into the world economic development, offsetting the headwinds from Washington’s slide towards an “inward-looking, protectionist and anti-globalization” posture.
“China’s economic development and its rising international status have proved that the country is on the right development path,” said David Fleischer, a professor of sociology at University of Brasilia in Brazil.
Noting that the CPC is to hold its 19th national congress in the second half of this year, he commented that the party congress plays a decisive role in setting the direction of China’s future development.
China’s governance ideas “are unique and suits the country’s national conditions,” he said.