China secures new, hard-won achievements in development

The opening meeting of the first session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) is held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 5, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

BEIJING – China stabilized the economy, steadily enhanced development quality, and maintained overall social stability in 2022, securing new and hard-won achievements in development, according to a government work report submitted on Sunday to the national legislature for deliberation.

China succeeded in maintaining overall stable economic performance while overcoming great difficulties and challenges, and was able to generally accomplish the main targets and tasks for the year amid a complex and fluid environment, the report noted, saying that "such achievements are a testament to the tremendous resilience of China's economy."

The report reviewed the government work last year in a host of areas, including efforts to effectively coordinate COVID-19 response with economic and social development, and decisive and timely macro regulation to tackle new downward pressure on the economy.

Premier Li Keqiang delivered the work report on behalf of the State Council at the opening meeting of the first session of the 14th National People's Congress, held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders attended the opening meeting.

The country gave priority to ensuring stable growth, employment and prices, thus bringing about a steady economic recovery, according to the report.

Citing major efforts made last year to support the economy, the report said the government stepped up relief support to enterprises facing growing difficulties, guided financial institutions on increasing credit supply and lowering financing costs, and adopted a combination of measures to expand investment, stimulate consumption and stabilize foreign trade.

It also boosted policy support to stabilize and increase employment, and strived to ensure market supply and stable prices, particularly those of food and energy in the face of a global surge in inflation, the report said.

Greater support was given to people experiencing increased difficulties in their lives to ensure their basic living needs, the report noted.

China's economy grew by 3 percent last year. Total 12.06 million urban jobs were added, with the year-end surveyed urban unemployment rate falling to 5.5 percent. The consumer price index rose by 2 percent. The total volume of trade in goods rose by 7.7 percent, while the deficit-to-GDP ratio was kept at 2.8 percent.  

READ MORE: China targets economic growth of around 5% in 2023

China will take resolute steps to oppose "Taiwan independence" and advance the process of the country's peaceful reunification, said.

Momentous, remarkable 5 years

The past five years for China have been truly momentous and remarkable as the country has met numerous tests and made major achievements in economic and social development, said the report. 

China's GDP increased to 121 trillion yuan (about $17.5 trillion), registering an annual growth rate of 5.2 percent during the period, it said, adding that the country achieved a medium-high rate of economic growth given its large economic aggregate and transitioned to high-quality development.

With eight years of efforts, close to 100 million poor rural residents and a total of 832 impoverished counties were lifted from poverty, including more than 9.6 million poverty-stricken people relocated from inhospitable areas, said the report.

Fruitful gains were made in scientific and technological innovation, with spending on R&D increasing from 2.1 percent to over 2.5 percent of GDP and the contribution of scientific and technological progress to economic growth exceeding 60 percent.

The economic structure was further improved. Digital economy continued to grow in strength. The value-added output of new industries and new business forms and models accounted for over 17 percent of GDP, the report said.

The country further upgraded infrastructure, with the length of in-service high-speed railways increasing from 25,000 km to 42,000 km.

 Over the past five years, China deepened reform and opening up across the board to create a new pattern of development, and made a notable improvement in the business environment.

 The ecological environment was significantly improved as energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped by 8.1 percent, and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP fell by 14.1 percent.

People's living standards rose steadily, with personal income growing generally in step with economic growth, said the report. 

Improving people's wellbeing

China took concrete steps to improve the people's wellbeing and accelerated the development of social programs over the past five years, the work report said.

We established effective monitoring and assistance mechanisms to prevent people lifted out of poverty from relapsing into poverty and took robust actions in response to natural disasters and COVID-19 to forestall any large-scale relapse into poverty.

Government work report

The country kept annual budgetary spending on education at over 4 percent of GDP and realized a significant increase in spending per student, said the report said, adding that the retention rate in nine-year compulsory education rose from 93.8 percent to 95.5 percent in China.

Annual per capita government subsidies for basic medical insurance for rural and non-working urban residents increased from 450 yuan to 610 yuan. A greater number of urgently needed medicines were approved for reimbursement under the basic medical insurance scheme, according to the report.

China also increased basic pension benefits for retirees for several years running and raised the minimum basic old-age benefits for rural and non-working urban residents, the report said.  

Victory against poverty

China has secured victory in the critical battle against poverty within the set time frame and worked to consolidate and build on achievements in poverty alleviation, said the report.

Following the elimination of absolute poverty, major poverty relief policies remained largely unchanged during the transition period, it added.

"We established effective monitoring and assistance mechanisms to prevent people lifted out of poverty from relapsing into poverty and took robust actions in response to natural disasters and COVID-19 to forestall any large-scale relapse into poverty," it said.  

United ethnic groups 

China will, with a focus on forging a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation, uphold and improve the system of regional ethnic autonomy and encourage all its ethnic groups to strive in unity for common prosperity and development, said the government work report.

"We should follow the principle that religions in China must be Chinese in orientation, and provide active guidance to religions so that they can adapt themselves to socialist society," reads the report.

Progress in housing, medical care

The country will improve the housing support system, support people in buying their first homes or improving their housing situation, and help resolve the housing problems of new urban residents and young people, the report said.

More quality medical resources will be channeled toward the community level and more evenly distributed among regions, it said.

China also vows to improve elderly care services and refine supporting policies on childbirth, while protecting the legitimate rights and interests of women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities, according to the report.

China's COVID-19 response will be more well-conceived, more targeted and more effective in 2023, it added.

Xi Jinping arrives for the opening meeting of the first session of the 14th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2023. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

Progress in major-country diplomacy 

President Xi Jinping and other Party and state leaders visited many countries and attended, online or offline, many major diplomatic events, and China also hosted a number of major diplomatic events, the report said.

"With courage and ability to stand our ground, we resolutely safeguarded China's sovereignty, security, and development interests. We actively expanded global partnerships, worked to build an open world economy, safeguarded multilateralism, and promoted the building of a human community with a shared future," reads the report.

As a responsible major country, China played significant and constructive roles in enhancing international COVID-19 cooperation and addressing global challenges and regional hotspot issues, thus making important contributions to global peace and development, it said.  

Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative

China stands ready to work with the international community to put into action the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative and promote the shared values of humanity, said a government work report.

"We will stay committed to an independent foreign policy of peace and to peaceful development and pursue friendship and cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence," according to the report submitted Sunday to the national legislature for deliberation.

ALSO READ: Central govt to maintain stability, prosperity in HK, Macao

"We will remain firm in pursuing a strategy of opening up for mutual benefit. We will continue working to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development, and uphold the international order.”

Modernization of industrial system

China will accelerate the modernization of the industrial system, the report said. "We should, with a focus on key industrial chains in the manufacturing sector, pool quality resources and make concerted efforts to achieve breakthroughs in core technologies in key fields.”

"China should speed up the digitalization of traditional industries and small and medium-sized enterprises to make them higher-end, smarter, and more eco-friendly."

China should redouble efforts to explore and develop important energy and mineral resources, discover more reserves, and boost production, the report said.

The country should speed up the digitalization of traditional industries and small and medium-sized enterprises to make them higher-end, smarter, and more eco-friendly, it added.

Research and development and the application of cutting-edge technologies should be accelerated, it said, adding that China should improve the modern logistics system.

China should strive to develop the digital economy, step up regular oversight, and support the development of the platform economy, the report said.

Green and low-carbon development 

The country strengthened environmental protection and pursued green and low-carbon development over the past five years. It worked harder to prevent and control pollution. In cities at and above the prefectural level, air quality was good or excellent on 86.5 percent of the days over the past five years, a 4-percentage-point increase, said the report.

China also strengthened efforts to prevent and control soil pollution risks and restore polluted soil, and stepped up the treatment of solid waste and new pollutants, it added.

China launched major ecological projects and instituted systems of river, lake, and forest chiefs nationwide. China made steady progress in energy conservation and carbon reduction, said the report. The country worked toward the targets of peak carbon emissions and carbon neutrality with well-conceived and systematic steps.

The energy mix was further improved. The share of clean energy in total energy consumption increased from 20.8 percent to over 25 percent, it added.

The energy consumption per unit of GDP and the discharge of major pollutants in China will continue declining in 2023, added the report.

This photo taken on March 5, 2023 shows the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

Domestic demand, regional development

Pointing out that China expanded effective domestic demand and promoted coordinated regional development and new urbanization over the past five years, the report said the country promoted personal income growth through various avenues and saw the earnings of middle- and low-income groups rise, said the report.

Overall, the central and western regions outpaced the eastern region in terms of economic growth rate, according to the report.

China kept land costs, house prices and market expectations stable, and adopted city-specific measures to facilitate sound development of the real estate sector, it added.

Support for private sector

China will unswervingly consolidate and develop the public sector and unswervingly encourage, support and guide the development of the non-public sector, the reports said. It will deepen reform of state-owned capital and state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and enhance the core competitiveness of the SOEs, said the report.

The country will also encourage and support the private sector and private businesses in growing and expanding and support micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises and self-employed individuals in business development, it added.

READ MORE: Govt plans more measures to stabilize industrial growth

China will create an environment in which enterprises under all forms of ownership can compete and grow on a level-playing field.

Transition to green development

Stressing the need to transitioning to green development, the report said China should intensify pollution prevention and control, and move faster to develop a new energy system.

The country should also improve policies for green development, advance energy conservation and carbon reduction in key areas, and continue working to keep its skies blue, waters clear and lands clean, it said.

Grain output, rural revitalization

The country plans to keep total grain acreage at a stable level and launch a new drive to increase grain production capacity by 50 million tonnes, the report said.

China will also invigorate the seed industry and support the development of agricultural science, technology, and equipment, it said.

Calling for fostering rural industries with local features to create more channels for increasing rural incomes, it said: "Our achievements in poverty alleviation should be consolidated and expanded to prevent large-scale relapse into poverty," it said.

Social governance innovation

During the past five years, efforts were stepped up to develop a law-based government and ensure economic and social activities were carried out in compliance with the law, the report said.

We advanced the modernization of urban social governance, improved primary-level governance, and provided better community services.

Government work report

"We in governments at all levels, in compliance with the law, subjected ourselves to the oversight of people's congresses and their standing committees at the corresponding level and readily submitted to the democratic oversight of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, public oversight, and oversight through public opinion," it said.

"We also strengthened oversight based on audits and statistics. We continued to make government affairs more transparent.”

New and better forms of social governance were developed, the report said, adding: "We advanced the modernization of urban social governance, improved primary-level governance, and provided better community services," it said.

The government tightened supervision over food, drugs, and vaccines and took a full range of measures to maintain law and order. It cracked down hard on illegal and criminal activities of all types and launched campaigns to combat organized crime.  

Urban job creation

China aims to create around 12 million urban jobs in 2023 and targets a surveyed urban unemployment rate of around 5.5 percent, said the work report.

Food security, rural revitalization

China ensured food security and vigorously implemented the rural revitalization strategy during the past five years, according to a government work report submitted Sunday to the national legislature for deliberation.

The country increased the area of high-standard cropland by 30.4 million hectares during the period, while raising the rate of mechanization in crops plowing, planting and harvesting from 67 percent to 73 percent, the report said.

Tap water coverage in rural areas increased from 80 percent to 87 percent, and dilapidated houses of more than 24 million rural households were rebuilt over the years, it said.