BEIJING: Setting the target for a “moderately prosperous society” and a “fully developed nation”, China’s President Xi Xinping has renewed the focus on the development of socialism with Chinese characteristics and focused on promoting balanced development at the 19th Party Congress of the CPC.
Mr. Xi has been a long- time proponent of a more open and inclusive Chinese economy, often facing flak from neo-Maoists who accuse him of moving away from Chairman Mao’s socialist agends. However, President Xi has been successful in consolidating his hold over the Party and has overseen a steady growth of the Chinese economy.
More open China
Laying out his strategy in 14 points that included diverse aspects like national security, elder care and reform, Mr. Xi was firm is declaring that “the party leads everything, everywhere”. A call for greater incentive to investment and serious market-oriented reform of its exchange rate as well as its financial system was made by the Chinese leader, while also emphasizing the authority of the state firms in the market. “Openness brings progress for ourselves, seclusion leaves one behind. China will not close its doors to the world, we will only become more and more open,” he said.
In terms of the challenges that the Chinese growth trajectory faces, the 64-year-old Chinese leader pointed out the difficulties accompanying the transition from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development. “While China’s overall productive forces have significantly improved and in many areas our production capacity leads the world, our problem is that our development is unbalanced and inadequate… This has become the main constraining factor in meeting the people’s increasing needs for a better life,” Mr. Xi said. Therefore a focus on eliminating poverty by 2021 has been incorporated into the centennial goal (the 100th anniversary of the party’s founding). The second centennial goal for 2049, the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic, will focus on narrowing the wealth gap and improving the environment.
In the global scenario of increased protectionism and isolationist sentiments in the US, China is positioning itself as a major international player, aiding and assisting a host of infrastructural and development projects oversees and leading grand connectivity initiatives like the One Belt One Road. Proclaiming China as the future leader of the developing world, Mr. Xi attacked the pitfalls of the Western-style democracy claiming that “No country alone can handle all the challenges that mankind faces and no country can retreat into self-isolation.” “We have every confidence that we can give full play to the strengths and distinctive features of China’s socialist democracy, and make China’s contribution to the political advancement of mankind… We should not just mechanically copy the political systems of other countries,” he added.
However, there are sceptical voices. There are reports of US and European companies being barred from certain sectors and forced to share their technologies with local competitors. A trade investigation into China’s intellectual property practices has already been launched by the US government and will be a sticking point during US President Donald Trump’s talks with the Chinese leader in Beijing next month.
While the Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission announced that China’s GDP is expected to exceed 80 trillion yuan ($12.08 trillion) this year, with a growth rate possibly higher than the annual target of around 6.5 percent, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of China Central Bank, has struck a note of caution. “The so-called systemic financial risk may trigger a financial crisis, lead to a chain of strong reactions in the market, and have severe impact on the whole economy and employment”, he said in a recent conference. With concerns rife over China’s growing debt, it will be a wait and watch for President Xi to bring to fruition his proposed reforms.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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