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Home >> Opinion
UPDATED: 11:01, February 14, 2007
What will China be like in 2050?
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"An Outline of Sustainable Development in China: State Volume", a 20-volume book series compiled by 184 Chinese experts and scholars over two years and eight months, was published Sunday in Beijing.

The publication is China's first large-scale academic work summarizing the experience and laws of sustainable development. It proposes strategic objectives for sustainable development in China by 2050: reaching the sustainability level of moderately developed countries in an all-round way and entering the ranks of the world's top ten countries in terms of sustainable development capability.

Many indicators related to people's livelihood

The outline proposes concrete indicators to be attained by 2050 in sustainable development, with many of them closely related to people's lives.

The average life expectancy is to reach 85.

The four major coefficients will average at the following points: Engel's coefficient below 0.15; the Gini coefficient between 0.35 and 0.40; the human development index over 0.900; and the dual structure index around 1.5.

The average number of years of education for the whole population will grow from the current 8.2 years to over 14 years.

Scientific development will contribute more than 75 percent to the national economy as a whole.

Energy and resource consumption per unit of GDP will generate a value between 15 and 20 times higher than that in 2005.

Poverty will basically be eliminated nationwide.

Zero growth in the degeneration rate of the environment will basically be achieved.

Three steps in the course of development

China must pass through three stages before reaching its sustainable development objectives, the Outline suggests. These are the three basic "zero growths" �C zero growth in the natural growth rate of the population by 2030; zero growth in the consumption rate of energy and resources by 2040; and zero growth in the degeneration rate of the environment by 2050.

These three stages are a must for every country implementing a sustainable development strategy, said Niu Wenyuan, chief scientist and team leader of the sustainability studies group at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Of them, zero growth of the population is the most important. Before 2050, China will pass through the peaks of three reversed-U curves as it makes a positive shift.

Timetable formulated for modernization

The Outline makes predictions about when each Chinese region will realize modernization, or reach the level of moderately developed countries at that time.

Shanghai is believed to be the first to realize modernization, in around 2015, followed by Beijing around 2018. Thirteen Chinese provinces and municipalities are expected to realize modernization ahead of schedule, prior to 2050.

By 2050, China as a nation will reach the level of moderately developed countries in an all-round way, and then march forward dynamically towards higher objectives.

Before 2060, 27 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities will have reached their development goals, followed by the remainder of the nation by 2075.

By People's Daily Online

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