China’s five major development concepts of innovation, coordination, greening, opening up and inclusiveness were repeatedly commended by foreign journalists during field tours around the country ahead of the opening of a pivotal party congress.
On Oct 18, the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will be convened in Beijing. It is set to be a new milestone in the Party’s success and in national rejuvenation.
The CPC, with more than 89 million members, is not only the largest political party in the world, but more importantly, it is the ruling party in the largest developing country.
Journalists from a number of developing countries, among many from countries and regions around the world, will cover the upcoming CPC national congress, which they believe to be of vital importance.
“The 19th CPC National Congress is so important that it can be listed as one of the top three events in modern world, because it will provide the CPC an opportunity to explicitly declare its policies and plans in the next five years before the next congress and even beyond,” said Caciuc Anatolie, a producer from Moldova’s state broadcaster.
The new policies and plans in the pipeline concern the world, as China is the second-largest economy, contributing over 30 percent to global growth since the global financial crisis in 2008, Caciuc said.
The country’s fast growth has benefited from its advanced development concepts, he said, specifically noting that innovation and inclusiveness will bring more economic vitality to both China and the world.
Caciuc made the remarks when he visited Chengdu Qingbaijiang Railway Port Area, a pilot free trade zone (FTZ) in Southwest China’s Sichuan province. China currently has 11 pilot FTZs; the first was opened in Shanghai in 2013.
Innovation has played a bigger role in leading and boosting economic and social development. China has moved up the list of the world’s top 25 innovative economies, rising three positions from 25 to 22, according to a key index jointly released in June by the World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University and INSEAD.
Policy makers are steering the economy onto an innovation-driven growth path, encouraging an entrepreneurial wave, initiating reforms in research and development, and rolling out the “Internet Plus” and “Made in China 2025” plans.
About 1.57 trillion yuan ($230 billion) was spent on research and development in 2016 after a double-digit average annual increase over the past five years, making it second in research and development spending after the United States. Thanks to its big spending, China now ranks second in scientific papers published worldwide and third, after the United States and Japan, in joining the “million patent club.”
China aims to become an “innovative nation” by 2020, an international leader in innovation by 2030, and a world powerhouse of scientific and technological innovation by 2050.
“I visited China more than ten years ago and witnessed the country’s great changes brought by opening up,” Malkhaz Gulashvili, president of The Georgian Times, said when meeting with local officials in Chengdu.
“China and Georgia have close cooperation in sectors including power stations, banking, infrastructure and e-commerce. I would like to see the two countries open wider to each other so that more Chinese companies can invest in Georgia in industries such as chip and aircraft making,” he said.
China will roll out a nationwide negative list to further open up to foreign investment. The negative list model, which states the sectors and businesses that are off limits to foreign investment, will be adopted nationwide as early as 2018.
The approach was initially tested in Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangdong and Fujian, before expanding to other places, including Zhejiang and Hubei, for further testing.
On Aug 16, the State Council issued a document saying that China would make its foreign investment environment “more law-based, internationalized and convenient” to promote growth and raise the quality of foreign investment.
“The country should continue to reduce market access restrictions for foreign capital,” the document said.
The negative list will help China develop an open economy and lead to comprehensive reforms to the country’s economic and social management, according to Gao Yuwei from the Bank of China.
China will introduce more fiscal and taxation support policies to encourage overseas investors to expand investment, the State Council said in August.
It has also accelerated the opening of its financial markets to spur economic growth. For example, overseas investors gained direct access to the Chinese mainland’s 10-trillion-USD bond market with the launch of the Bond Connect in Hong Kong in July.
In regard to inclusiveness, a case in point is the Belt and Road Initiative, initiated by China in 2013 to connect the vibrant Asian economic circle at one end and Europe at the other, and then extending it further to other regions.
“Inclusiveness is the key for us Belt and Road countries to participate in the China-proposed strategy. Sino-European freight trains provided a good way,” said Serik Korzhumbayev, editor-in-chief of a Kazakh newspaper, when looking at a map showing a railway line connecting the city of Chengdu with the Kazakh capital Astana.
Sino-European freight trains now connect China with 29 cities in 11 Belt and Road countries including Russia, Germany, Poland and Spain, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Their cargo has expanded from electronic products such as mobile phones and computers at the initial stage to clothing, daily necessities, grain and industrial products.
More such train services are expected to be launched.
“I hope Sino-European freight trains will travel to Moldova one day,” said Caciuc.
By introducing the five major development concepts and highlighting supply-side structural reform, China has chosen the correct path in improving its growth quality, while benefiting the world, according to Guo Shengxiang, dean of the Academy of APEC Creative Finance, an Australian think tank.