By Fan Peng Source: Global Times
Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji and Han Zheng attend the fourth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing, capital of China. The session was held from Oct. 28 to 31, 2019. Photo: Xinhua
The Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee will be held in Beijing from October 26 to 29. It is expected that the launch of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) and the 2035 long-term goal will be the most important contents of the session.
The formulation of the 14th Five-Year Plan is at a critical point – as the US’ threat of decoupling is increasing. China is facing a period when its two centenary goals converge with challenges in economy, diplomacy and industrial development amid the COVID-19 pandemic. All of these will provide a backdrop to discussions in the 14th Five-Year Plan.
Therefore, the 14th Five-Year Plan will first involve continuing reform and opening-up unswervingly. Second, it will establish higher-quality independence in key areas, such as scientific research and finance. For example, great importance has been attached to the third-generation semiconductors. Third, it will release more institutional advantages of Chinese government, as well as the strengths of the CPC and state system. These three points are important to counter anti-globalization trends and US threats. Threats from the US will only prompt China to establish higher-quality independence.
The following aspects are also crucial.
The first is income. The 14th Five-Year Plan period will be a critical phase for China’s economic development. China is expected to enter by 2022 the threshold of “high-income countries” as classified by the World Bank.
The second is society. China must solve problems of insufficient and unbalanced development. There are also complex structural differences and unbalanced development issues between urban and rural areas, regions, departments, and individuals that need addressing.
The third is economy. China is in a crucial moment, transitioning from the old normal to the new normal, and from high-speed growth to high-quality development. Therefore, the country needs to concentrate resources and promote the development of market entities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted chains of supply and demand worldwide. Globalization has been severely affected. In this context, China recently proposed, for the first time, a new development concept and strategy. It notes that, the domestic internal circulation is the main body, while the domestic and international dual circulations mutually promoting each other. Analysts say this will become the main theme of the 14th Five-Year Plan.
The above-mentioned concept has multiple implications. Domestically, it is necessary to optimize the business environment, implement self-recycling power, promote reforms in taxation and labor law, and explore legislative guarantees in emerging fields. Regardless of economic development or industrial transformation, China must ultimately rely on consumption to get rid of poverty. This may require tax reforms to enhance residents’ confidence in consumption and enhance their feelings of safety.
In addition, China should strengthen reforms in household registration, education, society, and social welfare. It should also promote high-quality urbanization. Only in this way can China create stronger consumption power and a stable middle class. This will alter conservative forces in society that are not fond of major changes. However, these reforms must be done to better maintain the existing system.
The pandemic and the great changes in the world have also made it clear that there is no political system or path of any country that is suitable for China – except its own path.
It has been affirmed that during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, the national system will achieve significant results in terms of maturity and advancement. The “explicit law and fine governance” system will be basically formed. The advantages of our socialist political civilization will be fully celebrated in terms of development and governance.
From 2021 to 2035, a variety of institutions will be improved and perfected. The modernization of national governance and its full capabilities will be basically in place. From 2035 to 2049, the modernization of the national governance system and its strengths will be fully implemented. Meanwhile, the socialist system with Chinese characteristics will be further consolidated. The international influence and affinity of the Chinese socialist civilization and its fully operational power will be witnessed.
If these goals are achieved as scheduled, the Chinese social landscape will make a fundamental shift with significant progress in various fields. China will become a desirable modern socialist country, serving as an example of alternative system of governance to the whole world.
The author is research fellow from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Political Sciences in Beijing. [email protected]