THE fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was held in Beijing from October 26 to 29. The Session summarized and spoke highly of the decisive achievements China has made in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and affirmed significant breakthroughs and progress and major advancements made by the country during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020) in comprehensively deepening reforms, advancing law-based governance, and running the CPC with strict discipline. All of this has boosted China’s economy and technological capacity, and substantially brought its overall national strength to a new level, ensuring the stable economic operation and continuous optimization of the economic structure. The Session announced that the goals set by the 13th Five-Year Plan are about to be completed and the victory of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects is in sight. It signifies that China is taking a major step forward in promoting the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, giving more credibility to socialist China in the world.
Outlining a Development Blueprint
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, while visiting the exhibition “The Road of Rejuvenation” in November 2012, pointed out that the Chinese nation will continue forging ahead, breaking through strong winds and raging waves. After arduous efforts braving challenges and difficulties since the 18th CPC National Congress which was held in November 2012, the country is more confident and more capable than ever before of meeting the goal of national rejuvenation a reality.
China’s reform and development is an on-going journey. All the achievements China has made are the result of the continuous efforts of the self-reliant Chinese people. In the future, China will continue to forge ahead courageously in opening up and carrying out innovations. During the session, the international and domestic opportunities and challenges that are confronting China presently were thoroughly analyzed, and the guiding ideology and six major targets for economic and social development during the 14th Five-Year Plan period were set, namely, to make new headway in economic development, take new steps in reform and opening-up, realize new improvements in social etiquette and civility, make new progress in ecological development, lift people’s livelihoods and welfare to new levels, and effect new enhancements in governance capacity. The focus on making “new” achievements in various areas, on the one hand, reflects the full affirmation of China’s decisive achievements in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and adherence to the overall development direction, while on the other hand, shows that the 14th Five-Year Plan has higher requirements for economic and social development, with more focus on guiding long-term development.
A grand blueprint for China’s mid-and-long-term development was also outlined at the session in a practical and pragmatic manner. It proposed the vision that socialist modernization will be basically achieved by 2035. This indicates that during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, China will brave difficulties, take opportunities, start a new journey of building a modern socialist country in an all-round way, and march towards its second centennial goal.
The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee holds a press conference to introduce and elaborate on the guiding principles of the 19th CPC Central Committee’s fifth plenary session in Beijing on October 30, 2020.
Persisting in Comprehensively Deepening Reform
Comprehensively deepening reform is the engine that propels forward the building of a great modern socialist country in an all-round way. China must adhere to comprehensive deepening of reform as an effective means to further free people’s mind, break through the shackles that imprison their minds and practice, comprehensively emancipate and develop social productive forces, and remove obstacles in systems and mechanisms of all aspects, so as to provide a solid guarantee to the building of a strong modern socialist country.
Comprehensively deepening reform is a fundamental strategic issue concerning the overall situation of the Party and the country’s development. General Secretary Xi Jinping has repeatedly emphasized, “It is necessary to coordinate research and deployment, coordinate the work of reform, development and stability, make plans and then move forward, rise upon accumulated strength, and be more proactive in dealing with our own affairs.” No matter how complicated the international environment is, or how difficult and onerous domestic reform and development tasks may be, it is necessary to maintain strategic determination, insist on comprehensively deepening reform, improve our ability, and well manage our own affairs. Only in this way can we wisely embrace opportunities when they come and deal with challenges.
The comprehensively deepening of reform and building of a high-level socialist market economic system was made one of the main targets of economic and social development during the 14th Five-Year Plan period and one of the 12 important measures to achieve the goal of socialist modernization at the Session. It was proposed that the basic socialist economic system be upheld and improved, to give full play to the decisive role of the market in resource allocation, give better play to the government function, and promote better integration of a more effective market and more efficient government. It is necessary to stimulate the vitality of various market entities, improve macroeconomic governance, establish a modern fiscal, taxation and financial system, build a high-standard market system, and accelerate the transformation of government functions.
Reform and development is a systematic, holistic, and coordinated endeavor. To implement reforms, it is necessary to accelerate the development of a vibrant and orderly socialist market economy, create transparent democratic politics, promote a prosperous advanced culture, realize a harmonious and balanced society, and build an ecological civilization which ensures a green and beautiful environment. General Secretary Xi Jinping once gave a profound exposition on the implementation of reforms when he said, “The key to reform is implementation, but implementing it is difficult. Nowadays, there are more favorable conditions for carrying out reform. The foundations in terms of ideology, practice, system, and people’s support for implementing reforms have become more solid. Therefore, we should make more efforts to ensure implementation, strengthen leadership, make scientific overall plans, pay close attention to implementation, and give priority to solving practical problems.” Today, as the victory of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects is in sight and China stands on the threshold of entering the stage to realize its second centennial goal, on the one hand, China must stay firm in deepening reforms, while at the same time should persevere in carrying out the deepening reforms.
Sticking to High-Level Opening-Up
The fruitful results of more than four decades of reform and opening-up and the decisive achievements in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects prove that opening-up and reform are the inevitable way to realize national prosperity and social progress. “Openness brings progress, while self-seclusion leaves one behind. China’s development is inseparable with the world, and the world’s prosperity also depends on China. We must consider both the domestic and external situations in a coordinative way, adhere to the basic national policy of opening-up, implement a proactive opening-up policy, and form a comprehensive and multilevel new pattern of opening-up, creating a good international environment for China and a broad development space,” said General Secretary Xi Jinping.
During the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, China’s opening-up was originally limited to the category of national policy at the macro level, and then enriched and developed through active participation in global governance and efforts to maintain international fairness and order and provide international public products.
Openness and integration is an unstoppable trend in the present world as well as an overall trend of social development. However, there are still some traditional hegemonic countries that are not willing to give up their vested interests and established status when facing the general trend of adjusting the international order towards fairness and justice. They create obstacles by adopting isolationism, anti-globalization, and populism, and put pressure on the development of emerging countries. Although these “clouds” of anti-globalization often dampen the momentum of world development, they will eventually dissipate by the “sun” that contains vitality and hope. China’s economy has sufficient development resilience. In today’s economic globalization, countries and peoples are closely integrated, and no one can survive or develop in isolation. The market economy is essentially an open economy. Whether at home or abroad, openness embodies the distinctive characteristics of economic modernization. Therefore, boosting the interconnectivity among countries, regions, as well as various fields, and accelerating integrated and coordinated development is an inevitable course for world development and also the necessary choice for China to build a strong modern socialist country.
At the Session, it was proposed that high-level opening-up should be realized and a new dimension of win-win cooperation be pioneered. It is necessary to implement broader and deeper opening-up to the outside world that relies on the advantages of China’s large market to promote international cooperation and achieve mutual benefit and win-win results. It is also necessary to build a new higher-level open economic system, comprehensively improve the level of opening-up, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, advance trade development in an innovative way, push forward the high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road, actively participate in the reform of the global economic governance system, lubricate domestic circulation, and make the domestic and international markets reinforce each other.
The series of forceful measures fully demonstrate just how China has put both international and domestic situations into consideration. China will maintain strategic determination, adhere to the correct development direction unwaveringly, keep the true nature of a socialist country, and focus on dealing with domestic affairs. Meanwhile, China will open its door wider, face challenges fearlessly, and embrace opportunities with confidence.
A briefing is held on November 9 in Beijing for foreign diplomatic envoys to China on the fifth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee. Senior diplomats from over 100 countries, including more than 60 foreign ambassadors, attend the meeting. A foreign diplomat on the floor is raising a question at the briefing.
Upholding Technological Innovation and Self-Reliance
Innovation stands at the center of China’s new development philosophy, the core of the modernization drive, and is the primary driving force leading social development. Since the beginning of its reform and opening-up, China has always given priority to science and technology which has been taken as the primary productive force. Technological progress, in essence, is technological innovation. Reform and opening-up itself is an innovation-centered great revolution, and innovation is the soul of reform and opening-up. Therefore, China’s innovative development has always been driven by both technology and institutional mechanisms.
From a global perspective, a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial revolution are on the rise, and the times have endowed the best opportunity to embrace technological changes. Whoever can grasp the opportunity will be able to seize first opportunities in crises and create new opportunities amidst the changing trends, and win out in the world competition. From a domestic perspective, one of the essential requirements for building a great modern socialist country is to use innovation to drive development. It was also pointed out at the session that innovation should be the core of China’s modernization drive. Technological self-reliance can provide the strategic support for promoting national development. Targeting the frontiers of world science and technology, the country’s major demands, and economic development, as well as improvement of people’s health care, the Chinese government will carry out the strategy of rejuvenating the country through science and education, the strategy of reinvigorating China through human resource development, and the strategy of innovation-driven development, while improving the national innovation system and speeding up the enhancement of its science and technology power.
China sticks to achieving self-reliance through scientific and technological innovation, which not only inherits the fine tradition of self-dependence and independent innovation, but also echoes the historical global trend of openness and win-win cooperation. China is on its journey towards a strong modern socialist country by promoting innovation, deepening reform, and advancing high-level opening-up with innovation, so as to achieve high-quality economic development and allow its people high-quality life.