Editor’s note: In this column we introduce phrases frequently used in the Chinese media and by the Chinese government, thereby providing a succinct overview of China’s political thinking, its policies, and ongoing reforms and transitions.
After adopting the policy of reform and opening up, the Communist Party of China (CPC) laid out three strategic goals for achieving socialist modernization in China. The first two — ensuring that people’s basic needs are met and that their lives are generally decent — have been accomplished ahead of time. Building on this, the Party then developed the vision that by the time it celebrates its centenary, it will have led the Chinese society into a moderately prosperous one with a stronger economy, greater democracy, more advanced science and education, thriving culture, greater social harmony, and a better quality of life. After this, with another 30 years of work, and by the time when celebrating the centenary of the People’s Republic of China, the country will have basically achieved modernization and turned it into a modern socialist country.
The period between the 19th and the 20th National Congress is the period in which the timeframes of the two centenary goals converge. Based on a comprehensive analysis of the international and domestic environments and the conditions for China’s development, the report delivered by General Secretary Xi Jinping at the 19th CPC National Congress drew up a two-stage development plan for the period from 2020 to the middle of this century.
In the first stage from 2020 to 2035, we will build on the foundation created by the moderately prosperous society with a further 15 years of hard work to see that socialist modernization is basically realized. The vision is that by the end of this stage, the following goals will have been met:
China’s economic and technological strength has increased significantly. China has become a global leader in innovation.
The rights of the people to participate and to develop as equals are adequately protected. The rule of law for the country, the government, and society is basically in place. Institutions in all fields are further improved; the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance is basically achieved.
Social etiquette and civility are significantly enhanced. China’s cultural soft power has grown much stronger; Chinese culture has greater appeal.
People are leading more comfortable lives, and the size of the middle-income group has grown considerably. Disparities in urban-rural development, in development between regions, and in living standards are significantly reduced; equitable access to basic public services is basically ensured; and solid progress has been made toward prosperity for everyone.
A modern social governance system has basically taken shape, and society is full of vitality, harmonious, and orderly.
There is a fundamental improvement in the environment; the goal of building a Beautiful China is basically attained.
In the second stage from 2035 to the middle of the 21st century, we will, building on having basically achieved modernization, work hard for a further 15 years and develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful. By the end of this stage, the following goals will have been met:
New heights are reached in every dimension of material, political, cultural and ethical, social, and ecological advancement.
Modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance is achieved.
China has become a global leader in terms of composite national strength and international influence.
Common prosperity for everyone is basically achieved.
The Chinese people enjoy happier, safer, and healthier lives.
The Chinese nation will become a proud and active member of the community of nations.