Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Thursday, February 27, 2003

Review of Historic Leap in 5-Year Economic Development

China's economy is now on a new starting point. In the past five years since the First Session of the 9th NPC and the First Session of the 9th CPPCC National Committee , China's economy has achieved a historic leap; GDP has exceeded 10 trillion yuan and the people have been basically living a relatively comfortable life.


EDITOR'S NOTES: the First Session of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) and the First Session of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) will be held very soon. The convening of the "two sessions" is a major event in the political life of the people of all Chinese ethnic groups.

Five years have passed from the First Session of the 9th NPC and the First Session of the 9th CPPCC National Committee to the upcoming "two sessions". These five years are an extraordinary period of brilliant achievements.

Under the leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), people of the whole country, united as one, overcame numerous difficulties, thus bringing about sustained, rapid and sound development of the national economy, the continued advance of reform and opening up and new progress in the construction of democracy and the legal system and in cultural and ethical progress.

Beginning from today (February 25), People's Daily will publish a series of special articles on the coming "two sessions", which will review the great achievements gained in the past five years, look forward to new development in the future and greet the successful convocation of the "two sessions".

The coming NPC session and the CPPCC session will draw the outline of a new development blueprint.

China's economy is now on a new starting point. In the past five years since the First Session of the 9th NPC and the First Session of the 9th CPPCC National Committee , China's economy has achieved a historic leap; GDP has exceeded 10 trillion yuan and the people have been basically living a relatively comfortable life.

Against the background of continued world economic depression, the Chinese economy has scored a leapfrog, brilliant achievements through arduous efforts.

"Triple Jump" to New Stage
The just over year 2002 has added a glorious chapter on China's economic development in the past five years: economic growth rate reached 8 percent, GDP exceeded 10 trillion yuan for the first time, and per-capita GDP approached 1000 US dollars.

Between 1998-2002, China's GDP maintained an average annual growth of 7.6 percent, which jumped in succession to three stages: 8 trillion yuan, 9 trillion yuan and 10 trillion yuan. Per-capita GDP, after leaping to US$800 and US$900, is now pressing on toward US$1,000. Some NPC deputies and CPPCC members coming from the frontline of the economic field appraised these two "triple jumps" as a historic leap and an important milestone showing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

The economic aggregate stepping onto the 10 trillion yuan stage shows the further enhancement of China's overall national strength, the more solid material foundation of economic construction and the tremendous economic strength of today. At present, the GDP China creates in one day exceeds 27 billion yuan, whereas the GDP created in the whole year of 1952 was only 67.9 billion yuan.

The rapid development of China's economy has brought forth an amazing amount of energy. In 2002, China's industry consumed 240 million tons of rolled steel, exceeding the combined total of the annual output of steel products of Japan and the United States. The pour cement on China's construction site was equivalent to 40 percent of the world's annual output and 30 percent of the glass produced annually worldwide were used in China's high-rise buildings. In 2002, the total amount of China's imports and exports reached as high as US$620 billion; foreign direct investment (FDI) actually used topped US$50 billion, surpassing the United States for the first time, and jumping to number one in the world. Of the world top 500 enterprises, over 400 had invested in China.

Per-capita GDP close to US$1,000 indicates that after basically becoming well-off, the people have begun to march toward a comfortable life in an all-round way, the quality of life has been improved, the consumption pattern has been upgraded, and livelihood has been getting better and better.

The country enjoys flourishing national strength and its people are in good health. Economic development has brought greater hope to poverty-stricken population in the vast rural areas. Lu Feijie, a CPPCC National Committee member and director of the Aid-the-Poor Office under the State Council, said, "The past five years were a period in which the State put in the greatest investment to help the poor, the central government put in a total of 124.5 billion yuan worth of help-the-poor funds, exceeding half of the total investment made by the central government in the 22 years since 1980. This intensified effort has helped the overwhelming majority of poor people basically solve the problem of getting enough food and clothing.

As we review the past five years, we are not only inspired by the new records set one after another for the Chinese economy, but are also gratified at China's economic development and better quality. In the early 90s of the 20th century, the absolute amount increased by around 20billion yuan with every 1 percentage point GDP increase; in recent years, with every 1 percentage point increase of GDP, the growth amount was around 80-90 billion yuan. The achievement of sustained and rapid growth on such a high base number implies that China's economy has become more steady and mature than anytime before.

Doing Three Things Simultaneously
There was a buying spree of State treasury bonds early this year. On the morning of February 20, the Industrial and Commercial Bank, Beijing branch alone sold out 1.4 billion yuan worth of new State treasury bonds of the year 2003, the continuation of a flourishing scene related to the issuance of national bonds in recent years.

There was continuous global economic depression under the impact of the Asian financial economic crisis; over the past five years, challenges have come one after another, difficulties have emerged in a continuous stream, these include insufficient domestic demands, the worst flooding disaster in 1998 and the grim employment situation. In the face of a variety of challenges and difficulties, the Party Central Committee and the State Council, showing great foresight while devising strategies, firmly grasped the central task of economic construction and solved outstanding contradictions and problems by the method of reform and development; they adhered to the principle of expanding domestic demand, pursued a proactive fiscal policy and a stable monetary policy, trying everything possible to enlarge exports, doing the above three things simultaneously to push China's economy forward.

The central government has, since 1998, issued additional national bonds for several years in a row to strengthen infrastructure construction. By the end of 2002, a total of long-term construction national bonds worth 660 billion yuan had been issued. The projects using funds of national bonds directly spurred regions, departments and enterprises to put in supporting funds and bank loans to the tune of 1 trillion yuan, which injected great strength into economic growth. The government successively promulgated a series of policies to encourage non-governmental investment and lowered the threshold of market access, thus livening up non-governmental investment.

Today, small cities and towns have been mushrooming in rural areas and have become a flash-point in rural economic development. Construction of many small towns relies on the farmers' own strength. Yuan Chongfa, deputy director with the small town reform and development center under the structural reform office of the State Council, pointed out that in the development of small cities and towns, farmers have gradually become the important investment mainstay, the government's financial burden is being reduced.

As a result of encouraging and stimulating consumption, the common people's consumption field has kept expanding and consumption level rising, the total volume of retail sales of social consumer goods surpassed 4 trillion yuan for the first time last year. Consumption growth gave a direct boost to production increase. Motor vehicles, telecommunications, real estate and other industries increased rapidly. In 2002, the output of motor vehicles topped 3 million units nationwide, telephone users exceeded 400million, and personal housing purchase was booming.

Rectifying and standardizing foreign economic and trade market order, carrying out the strategy of vitalizing trade through science and technology, adjusting the mix of export commodities and implementing a series of policy measures for expanding exports-all these have given a boost to the growth of export. In 2002, the nation registered a 20 percent growth of exports, which gave a positive impetus to economic growth.

The superb ability and high level of the Party Central Committee and the State Council in controlling the complicated situation and macro-economy during the past five years provided a reliable guarantee for the sustained, rapid and healthy development of China's economy.

"Three Main Contradictions" Remain to Be Diffused
China's economic aggregate has presently in the front ranks of the world, but it still lags behind that of developed countries, its per-capita level is even lower. In terms of overall national strength and the entire development level, China remains a developing country, so development is its primary task.

The 16th CPC National Congress set forth the goal of building a well-off society in an all-round way, the prospect is bright and tasks are arduous. Continuous economic development is most fundamental for the realization of the goal of building a well-off society in an all-round manner, we must not for a moment slacken effort for development.

Current economic development is faced with three major sharp contradictions, namely, insufficient effective demands, slow increase in farmers' income, and the grim employment situation. Some NPC deputies and CPPCC members have noted that going all out to alleviate these three major contradictions is the key to maintaining rapid economic growth.

Duan Yingbi, CPPCC member and deputy director of the office of the central finance and economic leading group, holds that in building a well-off society in an all-round way, the focal and difficult point is laid in rural areas. The slowdown in farmers' income growth not only holds back the pace of building a well-off society in rural areas, but also hampers the expansion of effective demand. Liu Dechun, a newly elected deputy to the NPC and village Party branch secretary in Tujia Autonomous County of Hubei Province, said that raising farmers' income by every possible means remains a primary and arduous task for us, grassroots rural cadres.

There are still opportunities despite the many difficulties. The Central Economic Working Conference held late last year decided that this year China will persist in the principle of expanding domestic needs, continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy and a stable monetary policy, and set forth a series of policy measures. Resolutely implementing these policy measures will make it possible to diffuse the sharp contradictions and boost economic growth.

The spring of 2003 has unusual significance. This year is the first year for implementing the spirit of the Party's 16th National Congress, as well as an important year for taking new steps in building a well-off society in an all-round way. The upcoming "two sessions" will plan fundamental policies for building a well-off society in an all-round way and accelerating economic development, the train of China's economy, now on a new starting-point, will continue to rumble ahead.

By People's Daily Online

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