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Challenges, goals and proposals from China’s ruling party plenum communique

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The 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) concluded its fifth plenary session in Beijing on Thursday with the release of a communique.

The 14th Five-Year Plan (FYP) (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 are the key topics of the communique.

Here is a look at all the highlights from the communique of the meeting.

The CPC’s fifth plenum and China’s 14th Five-Year Plan 2021-2025

Decisive success made in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects

This year is the final year of China’s 13th FYP period (2016-2020), and the communique highlighted that the implementation of the 13th FYP has been smooth.

By adhering to the new development concept and unswervingly advancing reform and opening-up, great achievements have been made since the fourth plenary session, the communique said.

During the past year, China has deepened supply-side reform, enhanced macro-economic regulation and expanded domestic demand as the strategic foundation.

Economic growth has been better than expected, people’s livelihood has been improved and social stability has been maintained.

During the 13th FYP period, which is coming to an end in 2020, China has made great progress with stable economic growth and better economic structure, the communique said, noting China’s GDP is expected to surpass the 100 trillion yuan ($14.9 trillion) mark in 2020.

More than 55 million people in China have been lifted out of poverty in the past five years.

China has built the world’s largest social security system in the 13th FYP period, the communique said, adding that the country’s basic medical insurance has covered over 1.3 billion people, and basic old-age insurance has covered nearly 1 billion people.

Meanwhile, during the past five years, more than 60 million new jobs were created in China’s urban areas, it said.

As for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole country coordinated the prevention and control work with economic and social development and put people’s safety and health first.

Major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics was vigorously promoted, and major achievements were made in various undertakings of the Party and state.

The strength of the leadership of the CPC and the Chinese socialist system has been further demonstrated in the past five years, it added.

New challenges, opportunities ahead

With regards to the blueprint for the future, the communique stressed that the whole Party must take into account the overall strategic plan for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation with major changes in the world that have not occurred in a century.

A thorough understanding is necessary about the new characteristics and requirements brought about by the changes in the evolution of the principal contradiction facing Chinese society, it said.

Also, given that China is in the primary stage of socialism, more attention should be paid to the new contradictions and challenges brought by the complex international environment.

The communique underlined the importance of strengthening awareness of opportunities and risks and cultivating opportunities amid crisis.

Additionally, the CPC has raised a set of long-range objectives for China to achieve socialist modernization by 2035.

China’s economic, technological and composite strength was also stressed, as well as development in new industrialization and the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance.

The communique also said effort was needed in boosting the well-rounded development of society, including social etiquette and civility and the advancement of eco-friendly ways of work and life.

China’s opening-up, per capita GDP, the implementation of the Peaceful China initiative and well-rounded human development were also highlighted.

As for the goals to be reached during the 14 FYP period, the communique said that the overall leadership of the CPC must be upheld to realize the 14th FYP and efforts should be made to mobilize all positive factors and rally all the forces that can be rallied to form a strong synergy to promote development.

Proposals to reach the goals

– Uphold the central role of innovation in its modernization drive and implement an innovation-driven strategy.

– Build a modern industrial system and upgrade the economic structure. It will continue to support the real economy, improve manufacturing power and modernize the industrial and supply chain to improve high-quality growth and core competitiveness.

– Nurture a strong domestic market and establish a new development pattern. The country will smooth domestic circulation and let domestic and international circulation reinforce each other, spurring consumption in an all-round way and expanding investment.

– Deepen reform comprehensively in pursuit of a high-level socialist market economy.

– Prioritize the development of agriculture and rural areas and fully advancing rural vitalization.

– Advance coordinated regional development and a new type of urbanization.

– Promote the cultural sector and improve its cultural soft power.

– Accelerate green and low-carbon development, continuously improve the environment and quality and stability of ecosystems and raise the efficiency of resource utilization.

– Pursue high-level opening-up and explore new prospects of win-win cooperation.

It will continue to widen the opening-up and leverage the advantages of its huge market to promote international cooperation and achieve win-win results.

– Improve people’s standard of living and actively implement strategies to address the aging population.

– Strengthen national security capabilities and increase the capacity to deal with traditional and non-traditional security challenges to protect people’s lives and security and maintain social stability.

– Maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and promote the reunification of the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, as well as peaceful cross-Strait development.

It aims to keep a stable external environment and promote the building of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for humanity.

A total of 198 members and 166 alternate members of the CPC Central Committee attended the meeting.

Also present were members of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and senior officials of relevant sectors, as well as experts, scholars and several deputies of the 19th CPC National Congress who work at the grassroots level.

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What We Learned From The 2020 G20 Riyadh Summit

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The 2020 G20 Leaders’ Summit formally concluded on November 22, bringing into view a series of multilateral commitments and collective interventions aimed at breaking ground during the pandemic, and in its immediate aftermath – all for a world in need.

Leaders expressed their collective determination to strengthen COVID-19 vaccine distribution channels and production capacities, extend social protection guarantees to low-income countries, cement crucial debt-relief extensions, and communicate their “highest possible ambition” under the Paris Accord.

On the question of navigating the pandemic collectively, the G20 correctly indicates that the “unprecedented” financial and humanitarian costs can be best challenged through an even stronger focus on COVID-19 related health, economic, and social exigencies faced by developing countries at present.

More importantly, leaders render this diagnosis tangible by aligning their support with key collaborative efforts – notably the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) initiative and its COVAX facility – and zeroing in on swift, organized financial support for developing economies.

Nearly four dozen countries have already requested debt relief under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), equaling some $5.7 billion in critical debt service deferral for this year alone.

It is here that the G20’s latest decision to endorse “The Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI” extends relief timelines to mid-2021, consistent with the deteriorating economic outlooks of numerous low-income countries that may face challenges beyond a set timeline.

In a welcome move, finance officials from all 20 states will continue to monitor global economic behavior into the next year, and determine whether further extension of DSSI debt freeze merits consideration.

The logo of Group of Twenty (G20) being projected at a historic site in Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 20, 2020. /Xinhua

Therefore, the G20’s demonstrated desire to internationalize economic recovery prospects, instead of confining them within its own territorial bounds, signifies its commitment to equitable global recovery.

Interestingly, part of that growth also owes to the effective and timely distribution of COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, as well as enduring partnerships that help prepare against future infectious and non-communicable diseases.

The G20’s embrace of its newly established Global Innovation Hub for Improving Value in Health is therefore a step in the right direction. The Hub serves as a dedicated platform for knowledge sharing that positions itself as a gateway for better Universal Health Coverage across countries.

It seeks to accomplish this goal by collecting evidence-informed expertise, and determine which health policies nations should fund, whether these health interventions reflect that country’s actual needs, and how financial risks to a given populace are best minimized.

Building on prior efforts of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Hub could play a key role in mainstreaming pandemic preparedness expertise and form a valuable front against future outbreaks.

Given pronounced contrasts between developed and developing countries in terms of income equality, education access, and living standards, it is only logical for the post-pandemic growth vision to identify as truly sustainable and inclusive.

G20 leaders offered an array of policy insights to realizing this ambition, including the sustainable integration of less developed economies into the global trading system – a point of reflection ahead of the World Trade Organization (WTO) reforms.

As far as a result-yielding framework for post-pandemic growth goes, Chinese President Xi Jinping demonstrated all-important focus on implementing the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG).

The agenda, significant to narrowing the “North-South gap,” does not necessarily limit headway on inclusive growth to the turn of the decade. China’s accelerated gains against absolute poverty – nearly a decade ahead of the 2030 Agenda schedule – is evidence that the conditions for achieving such sustainable growth can evolve with leadership imperatives, especially during the pandemic.

The G20 offered a clear conception of some of its own such imperatives, led by the 2020 Financial Inclusion Plan, which will serve as a catalyst for preexisting partnerships that help countries implement their financial inclusion SDGs for the next three years.

On climate, governments, civil societies, environmental activists, as well as broader coalitions for dedicated change may find plenty to seek comfort in. The G20 employed international cooperation as its lens to reiterate the disclosure of Member States’ “long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies” in 2020, and encouraged updates to countries’ highest possible “nationally determined contributions” under the Paris Accord.

By taking climate initiative into its own hands, the G20 dispels the notion that an external stimulus may be necessary to trigger progression on climate-aligned SDG commitments. Instead, the desire to commit to voluntary climate communication is a welcome departure from previous evidence that found G20’s climate commitments to be at relative odds with the emissions reductions goals set out under the Paris Accord.

A determined G20 alliance, therefore, can thrive on the back of clearly chalked-out priorities. Balancing resolve with instruments of delivery can end up accelerating the cause of a strong, sustainable, balanced, and inclusive post-COVID-19 era.

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Xi Jinping At G20: Three Things To Do For Planet Earth

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Chinese President Xi Jinping proposes three things for the Group of 20 (G20) nations to do in his speech via video link at the G20 summit side event about safeguarding the planet on Sunday.

Strengthening the response to climate change

Xi Jinping said the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement should be respected.

“Not long ago, I announced China’s initiative to scale up its nationally determined contributions and strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060,” Xi said. “China will honor its commitment and see the implementation through.”

Deepen the transition toward clean energy

Xi Jinping spoke highly of Saudi Arabia’s Circular Carbon Economy initiative. Then, he described China’s contribution to clean energy.

“China has put in place the world’s biggest clean energy system,” Xi said. “And [China] has led the world in the output and sales of new energy vehicles for five years running.”

Xi, who is also the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), said the Party have recommended the country to “pursue clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient use of energy” and “accelerate the growth of new energy and green industries” for the next 15 years.

Protecting the ecosystem with a respect for nature

Xi expressed China’s support in reducing land degradation, conserving coral reefs, and cleaning up plastic from the ocean.

Xi welcomed all parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity to participate in the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) in China’s Kunming City in May 2021.

He hoped the meeting can “set goals and take actions to ensure the protection of global biodiversity in the years ahead.”

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China To Boost Economic Growth Through Innovation And Opening-up, Nurturing Joint Development In The Asia-Pacific Region

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As the COVID-19 pandemic is still sweeping through the globe, with the Asia and Pacific region hit hard by the contagion, growth uncertainties are clouding economies to varying degrees.

Economic activity in the Asia and Pacific is expected to contract by 2.3 percent in 2020, and to grow by 6.7 percent in 2021, compared to a contraction of 5.8 percent in 2020 and a growth of 3.9 percent in 2021 for advanced economies, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

China, whose economy saw positive overall growth in the first three quarters this year, shared its vision for continuing to foster domestic economic recovery and mutual beneficial cooperation with Asia-Pacific economies, as Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Dialogues on Thursday via a video link in Beijing.

APEC, Asia-Pacific’s premier economic forum, was established in 1989 to leverage the region’s growing interdependence and boost regional prosperity through initiatives promoting free and open trade among member economies.


The Malaysia delegation of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) is hosting the forum for setting priorities in the aftermath of COVID-19, as Malaysia is the host of APEC this year.

Addressing leaders of Asia-Pacific’s business community, Xi said that China’s sound economic recovery has proven the resilience and vitality of the Chinese economy and he is confident that “steady unleashing of the China market potential will create vast business possibilities for other countries” and create stronger impetus for maintaining stable growth of the global economy.

Pursue innovation-driven growth

As science and technology have been playing an even more significant role in boosting social productivity, Xi said to achieve high-quality growth driven by domestic demand, China will vigorously boost scientific and technological innovations in the country.

He noted that innovation has always been the primary driver of development to China, and the country has made major achievements by implementing an innovation-driven development strategy.

“We will fully leverage the demand of our super-sized domestic market and the strengths of its complete industrial system and redouble efforts to turn research outcomes into real productivity,” the Chinese president said.

To sustain China’s long-term economic development, Xi added “we will endeavor to build an innovation system that integrates science and technology, education, industries and the financial sector, and upgrade the industrial chains.”

Nanshan district in the city of Shenzhen, Guangdong Province. /CGTN

Deepen reform and opening-up through mechanism improvements

The Chinese president also stressed that the country will continue to deepen reform and energize the market as reform is crucial for unleashing and boosting productivity.

The ratio of China’s foreign trade to GDP dropped from 67 percent in 2006 to less than 32 percent in 2019, while the ratio of current account surplus to GDP has come down from 9.9 percent in 2007 to less than 1 percent today.

In seven years since the 2008 global financial crisis, the contribution of China’s domestic demand to GDP exceeded 100 percent, making domestic consumption the main driver of its growth.

Xi said that China has entered a new stage of development with new tasks of reform, emphasizing that the country will be adopting a new “dual circulation” development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other.

However, by fostering a new development paradigm, Xi pointed out “we are not pursuing a closed-door circulation, but open and mutually reinforcing domestic and international circulations.”

In addition, the president added that China will take more steps to remove deep-seated systemic and institutional barriers to modernize China’s governance system and capacity along with some market restrictions, from strengthening protection of property and intellectual property rights, set up a high-standard market system to improve mechanisms for fair competition.

Hopes for the Asia-Pacific business community

The APEC’s 21 member economies together represent roughly 60 percent of the world economy and take up almost half of the world trade volume in 2018.

Xi highlighted that the Asia-Pacific business community is an engine driving economic growth, and it carries an important role of shaping the future of the region.

He expressed hope for the community as he suggested that the business sector should put its efforts in promoting open trade and investment as well as development, exploring ways to achieve innovation-driven growth, and cooperating with each other and lending hands of help to the disadvantaged if needed for maximizing development outcomes.

On Friday, Xi will be attending APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, which is expected to see the launch of the region’s Post-2020 Vision – the key policy document that is set to elaborate the goals and guidelines for APEC member economies’ future cooperation.

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