New Development Stage, Philosophy and Paradigm Guide China to New Journey
Ambassador Wang Ke’s Article on China’s 14th Five-Year Plan
17 December, 2020
The Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee was held in Beijing from October 26 to 29, 2020, which is an important meeting of overarching and historic significance. The session approved “The CPC Central Committee’s proposals for formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035”, serving as a guide to action for China’s economic and social development over the next five years and beyond.
I. The formulation and implementation of the five-year plan is the most important experience of China’s good governance
The formulation and implementation of the Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development is an important way for the CPC to govern the country and it can be said to be the most important experience of China’s governance. China has formulated and implemented thirteen development plans since 1953. Especially since the reform and opening up in 1978, there are long-term strategies, medium-term plans, and annual implementation measures, which are integrated and complementary to each other, and have played an important role in promoting the sustained, rapid and healthy development of China’s economy and society. From the First Five-Year Plan to the 13th Five-Year Plan, China has built up from scratch to a fairly complete industrial system and national economy, turning from a planned economy to a socialist market economy. Currently, China is the second largest economy in the world. The country’s development plans have been implemented continuously generation after generation, without suspension due to the change of leaders. By doing this, policy continuity and stability are ensured, promises are fulfilled and actions are resultful. This has been a core experience of China in achieving long-term steady economic growth. China is now at a crucial historic time when the victory of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects is in sight, and the new journey of building a modern socialist country is about to start. The major changes in the world unseen in a century are evolving at an accelerated pace. The significance of preparing and implementing the 14th Five-Year Plan is extraordinary and will become another important milestone in the history of China’s economic and social development.
II. New achievements during the 13th Five-Year Plan Period
The formulation of the 14th Five-Year Plan is based on the successful implementation of the 13th Five-Year Plan. In the past five years, China has developed steadily, with its economic strength, scientific and technological strength, and comprehensive national strength reaching new heights. It is estimated that China’s GDP this year will exceed RMB 100 trillion yuan. In 2019, China’s share in the global economy has grown to roughly 16.3 percent, up from 15.5 percent in 2015. China’s contribution to global growth has reached 32.4 percent. More than 1.3 billion Chinese people are under the umbrella of medical insurance. Nearly 1 billion people enjoy basic pension insurance. November 23, 2020 is a day worth remembering, because by that day China has lifted the last remaining 832 impoverished counties and 55.75 million rural poor people out of poverty. The absolute poverty problem that has plagued China for thousands of years has been solved historically. Since the beginning of this year, sticking to the principle of “people first and life first” in the fight against COVID-19, China has been playing a leading role in epidemic prevention and control as well as economic recovery. China has put the domestic epidemic under control and become the first major economy in the world registering positive economic growth, with a growth rate of 4.9% in the third quarter.
III. New concepts guide China to a new journey
Facing the complex international situation and increasing downward pressure on the global economy, the whole world pays great attention to China’s next step. The 14th Five-Year Plan has become an important window to observe and understand China. The core elements of the 14th Five-Year Plan can be summarized as three “new concepts”, namely new development stage, new development philosophy, and new development paradigm.
The new development stage implies the new historic juncture China now stands. China will enter a new development stage in the 14th Five-Year Plan period, when the country is going to start a new journey towards realization of its second centenary goal, i.e. to build China into a modern socialist country in 2049, when the country celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding. It is a new stage in which high-quality economic and social development is promoted and people’s increasing needs for a better life are met; it is a new stage featuring deepened reforms, expanded opening-up, and fostering of new development momentum. It is also a new stage focusing on people’s well-being and the enhancement of people’s sense of gains, happiness and security. This stage is of great importance in China’s development process and will further consolidate the foundation for realizing the Chinese dream of the nation’s great rejuvenation.
The new development philosophy points out the direction for China’s high-quality development. As early as in the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012 , the Party proposed to pursue the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, and open development for all. “High-quality development can meet the people’s ever-growing desire for a better life. It reflects the new development philosophy: In high-quality development, innovation is the primary driving force; coordination is an endogenous feature; go-green is a prevailing mode; openness is the only path; and sharing is the fundamental goal,” President Xi Jinping said at the Central Conference on Economic Work in December 2017. The near-term goals for the 14th Five-Year Plan period, or six “new” in short, include new results in economic development, new strides in reform and opening-up, new improvement in social etiquette and civility, new progress in building an ecological civilization, new heights in people’s well-being, and new levels of efficacy in state governance.
The new development paradigm clarifies China’s strategic focus during the 14th Five-Year Plan period. China will promote the new development paradigm with domestic circulation as its mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other, continuously upgrade industrial technology level, improve the supply and demand structure. What I want to make clear to my Tanzanian friends is that, the new development paradigm emphasizes the dual-cycle, not a single cycle of China’s domestic economy, and that China’s door to the world will not close. On the contrary, China will be more deeply integrated into the international market, participate in the international cycle, and expand opening-up at a higher level. This is not only conducive to enhancing the resilience of China’s economic development, but also helpful for driving the international economic cycle, promoting the high-quality development of Belt and Road cooperation, and achieving win-win results and common prosperity for all countries.
In the coming years, China will persist in opening to the outside world on a greater scale, in wider fields and at deeper levels, placing innovation at an important position in the overall modernization, and will implement supply-side structural reforms as well as expand domestic demand as the strategic basis, so as to transform the country from the global high growth center to innovation center, and from the world factory to the world market. With a population of 1.4 billion and a middle-income group of more than 400 million, China has been the world’s second largest importer of goods for ten consecutive years. In the next ten years, China’s cumulative merchandise imports are expected to exceed US$22 trillion. China’s development will bring greater confidence to the world economy. China welcomes African countries, including Tanzania, to share the opportunities and dividends of China’s development.
In late October, Tanzania held its sixth general election in a smooth and successful manner. A few days ago, President John Pombe Magufuli delivered a speech at the opening of the 12th National Assembly of Tanzania, drawing the blueprint for the national economic and social development in the next five years. Both China and Tanzania have entered a new stage of development. At this important juncture, Chinese President Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with his Tanzanian counterpart John Pombe Magufuli on 15 December. The two heads of states reached consensus on a series of issues relating to the deepening of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Tanzania, and pointed out a clear direction for the future development of China-Tanzania relations. The two countries will further expand the common ground in development concepts and goals, and enhance the compatibility of development strategies. We are ready to strengthen policy communication with the Tanzanian side, and synergize the 14th Five-Year Plan and the Tanzania Development Vision 2025 as well as the CCM Election Manifesto 2020-2025, with the purpose of strengthening comprehensive cooperation between our two countries in trade, investment, infrastructure, information technology and other fields. By doing so, the bilateral cooperation can play a greater role in accelerating industrialization, creating more jobs and improving people’s livelihood in Tanzania, as well as bringing greater benefits to our two countries and peoples.