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Why development quality matters to China's modernization

2023-03-07 09:52:00 Source:Xinhua Author:
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This photo taken on July 18, 2022 shows C919 jets in Pucheng County, northwest China's Shaanxi Province. (Xinhua/Ding Ting)

Can China succeed in pulling off its feat of modernization? The ongoing "two sessions" have shed some light on the answer.

In deliberation with his fellow lawmakers on Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping once again fleshed out the idea of high-quality development, after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) last year highlighted it as the "first and foremost" task in building a modern socialist country in all respects.

By laying out the principles and priorities for high-quality development, Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the country's roadmap for modernization much clearer.

As an unprecedented experiment in the history of global development, Chinese modernization demands decades of endeavor. To turn this grand goal into reality, a concrete action plan with long-term thinking is a must.

Pursuing the sheer speed of growth is unsustainable and too costly for today's China, which is already the world's second-largest economy. The improved handling of the relationship between quantity and quality of development will create continuous momentum for the modernization drive.

The annual growth target for this year of around 5 percent, as put forward on Sunday, has sent a clear signal: China will not resort to flood-like stimulus or inefficient investment to seek excessively high growth that would eat into its future.

Instead, efforts will be revved up to make the economy more advanced, balanced and eco-friendly.

The priorities of high-quality development, as Xi set forth during Sunday's deliberation, include achieving greater self-reliance in science and technology, creating a new development pattern, and promoting agricultural modernization.

These directions are vital to the future of Chinese modernization. The fierce global competition on development has created an urgent need to foster new growth drivers and strength, which can only be realized through prowess in science and technology.

Self-reliance in key areas, be it advanced technology or grain production, is key to bringing modernity to over 1.4 billion people in China, and this cannot rely solely on the supply from the international market.

Reforms to let the market play a decisive role in resource allocation will unleash to the utmost the vitality of one of the world's biggest markets, while high-standard opening up will create more development opportunities, both for China and other countries.

Unlike capitalist economies, the immutable goal of China's modernization drive is to meet the people's aspirations for a better life. This entails not just increased incomes and enough jobs, but also a narrower wealth gap, a richer cultural life, clean air and clear waters. All this can only be delivered through an economy of higher quality.

First raised by the CPC leadership in 2017, high-quality development is not an empty political slogan for China. It is a natural call in the new stage of development and can already be seen and felt in numerous areas.

A lot can be seen from the rise and fall of certain numbers. Over the past five years, the contribution of scientific and technological progress to China's economic growth exceeded 60 percent, while its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP fell by 14.1 percent.

In 2022, China's per capita disposable income grew 5 percent in nominal terms year on year, while the tax and fee burden was cut by 4.2 trillion yuan (about 609 billion U.S. dollars).

This year, China aims to create around 12 million urban jobs, up from last year's target of over 11 million, while pledging to further reduce pollutant emissions and energy intensity.

By seeking innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared growth, high-quality development will set China on the right path toward a modern future. And the world will benefit from it too.

While global prosperity is haunted by rising protectionism and geopolitical conflicts, China's high-quality development will not only allow the rest of the world to share its dividends, but also inspire other developing countries to explore their own paths toward modernity.

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