Recognizing the situation during the decisive push to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects
Building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the year 2020 represents a solemn promise that our Party has made to the Chinese people and to history. The period of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) overlaps with the deadline we have set for the attainment of this goal, which means that the 13th Five-Year Plan will be the last five-year plan in the push to realize the moderately prosperous society. The tasks of the Party and government over the coming five years therefore boil down to one thing: clinching the final victory in the decisive push to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and realizing the first of our "Two Centenary Goals."
In the early stages of the reform and opening up drive, Deng Xiaoping first used the term "moderate prosperity" to describe Chinese-style modernization, introducing the goal of "establishing a moderately prosperous society in China" by the end of the 20th century. Thanks to the combined efforts of the whole Party and all Chinese people, this goal was attained on schedule at the end of the last century. The Chinese people had on the whole attained a moderately prosperous standard of living. Building on this foundation, the Sixteenth National Congress of the CPC in 2002 introduced the goal of comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society of a higher level for the benefit of more than one billion people in the first 20 years of this century. Since then, with a firm grasp on this goal, our Party has surged forward in relay fashion, making remarkable progress in pursuit of an all-round moderately prosperous society.
Now, with the finishing line in sight, it is time to make one final push in this journey that will traverse the first 20 years of this century. Completing this strategic task is both our historical responsibility and our greatest honor. We must be soberly aware that while we have what it takes to attain the goal of comprehensive moderate prosperity on schedule, the task we face is still enormous and the road ahead will not be easy going. As various problems overlap and risks mount, we are still facing grave and complex challenges. If we fail to respond to these challenges properly, or if we encounter systemic risks or commit disastrous errors, then the process of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects will be delayed, and could even cease entirely. Therefore, the entire Party must be fully prepared for what lies ahead, not just mentally but also in our work. We must recognize the situation, strengthen our confidence, and continue to work with strong determination.
There is no use in knowing how to act if we do not understand our present situation. Despite the profound and complex shifts that have taken place in both international and domestic environments, our assessment that China is in the midst of an important period of strategic opportunity for development still stands. Internationally speaking, the current political and economic situation is on the whole conducive to preserving the overall trend of world peace and development. The world economy is making a difficult recovery amidst deep adjustments, the global governance system is undergoing profound changes, and the world balance of power is becoming increasingly equitable. These factors have created a relatively stable external environment for China's development. Domestically speaking, our considerable material foundations, abundant human resources, vast markets, and enormous potential for development all indicate that our economic fundamentals remain favorable for long-term growth. Though we have experiencedan unavoidable change of gear in economic growth upon entering a new normal of economic development, it should be noted that the transformation of our growth model is gaining momentum, the structure of the economy is constantly improving, new growth drivers are replacing old ones, and reform and opening up is unleashing new impetus for development. All this suggests that the sound trend of economic development we are currently seeing can be sustained.
Building on the targets and requirements set forth at the Sixteenth National Congress of the CPC, and in view of new situations and developments, the Recommendations for the 13th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development (hereinafter referred to as the Recommendations) have set forth new goals for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects over the coming five years. These targets and requirements, together with those introduced at the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth national congresses of the CPC in 2002, 2007, and 2012 respectively, constitute a pledge we have made to the people. We must do everything in our power to see that they are realized. As these tasks and requirements have already been covered in the Recommendations, what I would like to talk about here is how to take control of and advance these initiatives.
The targets and requirements laid out in the Recommendations are directed towards the entire country, but that does not mean they can be applied uniformly to all localities. For example, to achieve the goals of doubling China's 2010 GDP and per capita personal income by 2020, we will need to sustain an average economic growth rate of 6.5% and raise the per capita disposable incomes of urban and rural residents by at least 5.8% per year for the duration of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), which in effect means synchronizing the growth of the economy with the growth of incomes. Apparently, it is not possible for all parts of the country to sustain this rate of growth. A more realistic scenario is that some areas will see higher growth while others will see lower growth. For certain central and western regions, old revolutionary base areas, ethnic minority areas, border areas, and impoverished areas, and particularly agricultural production zones and key ecosystem service zones, our primary goals in these areas will be guaranteeing national food security and ecological security, and achieving notable progress in various social programs, seeking in particular to raise standards of living and improve public services by a notable margin. We must guarantee the basic needs of those living in poverty and ensure that they have adequate access to education, medical care, and housing, whilst working to raise their incomes above the poverty line. It is not the case that GDP per capita and income per capita in all areas throughout the country must reach the national average before moderate prosperity across the board can be achieved.
What must be stressed is that to bring about a moderately prosperous society in all respects is not simply another all-out effort to make quick progress. We cannot realize the goal of doubling GDP and income per capita by relying on an extensive mode of development or by turning to strong stimulus measures to boost the pace of growth. That would only take us back down the same old road and create new conflicts and problems. As we are working to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, we also need to afford consideration to more long-term development and accelerate our efforts to create a mode of economic development that is suited to the new normal. Only in this way will we be able to build a moderately prosperous society of high quality and lay down a stronger foundation for realizing the second of our "Two Centenary Goals."
Steering the way with new principles of development
Principles are precursors to actions. All actions in development are guided by principles of development, and it is these principles that ultimately determine the effectiveness of development and its success or failure. Experience tells us that development is a process of constant change, and that the environments and conditions in which development takes place are equally subject to change. Therefore, it is only natural that principles of development should also be subject to change.
When we started drafting the Recommendations, I stressed the need to begin by clarifying the principles of development that we were going to establish. Strategic in nature, principles of development represent a program that provides guidance, and a concrete manifestation of the approach, direction, and focus of development. Once the right principles have been set, it becomes easy to define targets and tasks. Policies and measures can then be set accordingly. In the Recommendations, we have introduced the principles of innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development. These principles have not simply been conjured up; rather, they have been formed on the basis of deep reflection on the experiences and lessons of development in China and abroad, and on the basis of a penetrating analysis of major development trends both domestically and internationally. They reflect our Party's deepened understanding of the underlying laws that govern economic and social development, and have been introduced in view of pronounced problems in our country's development.
The focus of innovative development is to address the issue of growth drivers. China lacks an adequate capacity for innovation. Our overall level of scientific and technological development is not high, the support that science and technology provide for economic and social development is insufficient, and the contribution of science and technology to economic growth is much lower than that of developed countries. This is the "Achilles heel" of China's huge economy. As a new technological revolution progresses, competition in science and technology is becoming increasingly intense. Without raising our capacity for innovation, it will be impossible for us to switch to new drivers of economic growth, and we will be at a disadvantage in global economic competition. For this reason, it is essential that we identify innovation as the primary driving force for development; regard talent as the number one resource underpinning development; and place innovation at the very heart of China's development. Innovationshould be promoted in every field, from theory to institutions, and from science and technology to culture. It should permeate the entire work of the Party and government, and become an inherent part of our society.
The focus of coordinated development is to address the issue of unbalanced development, which has long been a problem for China. Imbalances are most pronounced between different regions, between urban and rural areas, between economic and social development, between the material and the non-material, and between economic development and national defense. When our level of economic development lagged behind, our main task was to develop at a rapid pace. But having developed rapidly for a period of time, we now need to direct our attention to the rebalancing of relationships and to the overall effectiveness of development, otherwise the "law of the minimum" will become increasingly apparent and social problems will only worsen. For this reason, with a keen awareness of the overall plan for the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics, it is essential that we properly balance major relationships in development and work constantly to make development more rounded.
The focus of green development is to address the issue of harmony between humankind and nature. Green, circular, and low-carbon development represents the trend of the current technological revolution, and the direction in which industry is shifting. With unparalleled future prospects and considerable potential for development in China, green, circular, and low-carbon development will help us to create a number of new growth points. China currently faces grave problems in the form of tightening resource constraints, serious environmental pollution, and ecological degradation, and the public's demand for fresh air, clean drinking water, safe food, and beautiful environments is becoming increasingly strong. For this reason, it is essential that we uphold the fundamental national policy of conserving resources and protecting the environment; pursue a civilized path of development that consists of developed industry, affluent standards of living, and fine natural environments; and accelerate the establishment ofa resource-conserving, environmentally friendly society, with a view to building a beautiful China and contributing further to the protection of global environmental security.
The focus of open development is to address the issue of internal and external coordination in development. As international economic cooperation and competition undergo profound changes, major shifts are expected to occur in the system and rules of global economic governance. The depth, breadth, and pace of China's "bringing in" and "going global" efforts are now greater than they have ever been, as is the pressure that the country is coming under to address external economic risks and safeguard national economic security. The question now is not whether or not to open up, but rather how we can raise the quality of opening up and the coordination of internal and external development. China's overall level of openness is not yet high enough. We still lack sufficient capacity to leverage international and domestic markets and resources, to respond to international economic and trade friction and make our voice heard in international economic discourse, and to use international economic and trade rules toour advantage. These shortcomings need to be shored up as soon as possible. For this reason, it is essential that we uphold the fundamental national policy of opening up; pursue a mutually beneficial opening up strategy; deepen people-to-people exchanges; improve the regional layout of our opening up as well as the layout of trade and investment; establish a new framework for opening up; develop an open economy of a higher level; and use opening up as a means of promoting innovation, reform, and development. The Belt and Road Initiative represents a major strategic initiative for expanding China's opening up and the top-level design for economic diplomacy. In carrying out this initiative, we need to locate breakthrough points, identify successful experiences and apply them to broader areas, and take steady steps forward with strong determination. We need to promote the reform and improvement of the system of global economic governance, steer the global economic agenda, uphold the multilateral trade system, accelerate the implementation of a free trade zone strategy, and actively assume the international responsibilities and obligations in accordance with China's capacity and status.
The focus of shared development is to address the issue of social equity and justice. The ancients said, "To bring order to the land there must first be fairness. Where there is fairness there is order." Letting all people benefit from the fruits of reform and development is the essence of socialism. This not only reflects the superiority of the socialist system, it is also an important manifestation of our Party's wholehearted commitment to serving the people. If the issue of fairness can be properly addressed, the enthusiasm, initiative, and creativity of the people will be at our disposal. Only then can our country reach its maximum potential for development. Though China's economy is continuing to grow and the "pie" is getting bigger, inequality in the distribution of wealth is highly pronounced, and the urban-rural gap in incomes and public services is considerable. In terms of both actual conditions and institutional design, there is still much that needs to be improved in order to ensure that thefruits of reform and development can be shared by all people. For this reason, it is essential that we remain committed to the principle that development is for the people, reliant on the people, and that its fruits are shared by the people, and make more effective institutional arrangements to lead all people steadily towards common prosperity. Under no circumstances can we tolerate a situation in which the rich have everything and the poor have nothing.
As this plenary session has emphasized, the introduction of the principles of innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development represents a profound change that will have a bearing on our country's overall development. Interconnected and mutually reinforcing, these five major principles form a whole that requires unified implementation. None of the principles can be emphasized over, or in place of, any of the others. If our implementation of any one of these principles falls short, our entire process of development will be adversely affected. This means that all Party members must raise their capacity to uniformly put these five principles of development into practice, in order to constantly open up new horizons for development.