Xi's words at "two sessions" reveal China's economic remodeling

(Xinhua) 13:08, March 07, 2022

BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhua) -- China vowed steady economic growth for this year in its government work report as national lawmakers and political advisors gathered in Beijing for the annual "two sessions."

With a GDP growth target of about 5.5 percent, well above forecasts on global growth from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the world's second-largest economy is shaking off the impact of the pandemic and will once again bring certainty and vitality to a world amid conflicts and COVID-19.

The resilience and sustainability of China's economy are built on its difficult but determined transformation over the past decade.

A review of Chinese President Xi Jinping's remarks at the "two sessions" -- which convene annually to map out development priorities -- sheds light on the nation's economic restructuring and decodes its recipe for success in fostering new growth drivers.

Back in 2012, China's economy was trapped in a slowdown and structural imbalance, with traditional industries torpid and new driving forces yet to take shape.

On March 5, 2013, Xi, also a national lawmaker, joined a group deliberation with fellow lawmakers from Shanghai during the first session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC). He said China's economy had shifted to single-digit growth from a long double-digit period and at this stage, innovation, essentially the power of science and technology, was fundamental to breaking bottlenecks and resolving deep-seated problems.

Xi urged major technological breakthroughs and faster strategic adjustments in the economic structure.

With the direction set, reforms advanced in full swing.

Since then, China has fast-tracked its transition to an innovation-driven growth model, placing less emphasis on speed while attaching greater significance to quality.

"New normal" became a new buzzword to describe this phase of development.

In adapting to the "new normal," the key is to shift growth momentum through sci-tech innovation, Xi said during deliberations with NPC deputies from Shanghai on March 5, 2015, stressing that innovation is the "primary driver" of development.

Later that year, China announced its new development philosophy featuring innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared growth, and decided to kickstart the supply-side structural reform to overhaul the economy.

Old, glutted industries from steel smelting to coal mining were downsized, while promising, burgeoning sectors received stronger policy support.

Joining deliberations with deputies from south China's Guangdong Province on March 7, 2018, Xi said that decisive efforts should be made to eliminate enterprises with heavy pollution and emissions in a bid to make room for emerging industries. He highlighted strategic emerging industries such as information technology, high-end manufacturing, biotechnology, digital economy, new materials and the maritime economy.

Joining a discussion of national political advisors from the economic sector on May 23, 2020, Xi said that China's economy is at a pivotal stage for transforming the growth model, improving the economic structure, and fostering new growth drivers. He called for faster progress in advancing sectors from intelligent manufacturing to new materials.

With unswerving resolve and action, the country has made remarkable progress.

China rose to 12th on the Global Innovation Index 2021 released by the World Intellectual Property Organization, making it the only middle-income economy to rank in the top 30.

In 2021, the country had the highest number of patent applications in the world for a third straight year, and its research & development spending also hit a new high of 2.44 percent of its GDP, up from 1.98 percent in 2012.

Having bid farewell to the rapid growth period, China has set off on a new journey of high-quality development, which offers a blueprint in which "innovation is the primary driver, coordination is an endogenous trait, eco-friendly growth prevails, openness to the world is the only way, and shared growth is the ultimate goal."

On March 7, 2021, Xi told fellow lawmakers from northwest China's Qinghai Province to unswervingly pursue high-quality development, which will remain the theme for China's economic and social development in the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025) and beyond.

During the ongoing "two sessions" this year, Xi further underlined the imperativeness of acting on the new development philosophy to ensure the country grows strong and prosperous.

During deliberations with fellow lawmakers from north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region Saturday, Xi urged efforts to speed up building a new development paradigm, promote high-quality development and accelerate the self-reliance of science and technology, so as to enhance competitiveness and sustainability and seize the initiative in global competition.

(Web editor: Peng yukai, Liang Jun)


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