Editor’s note: In this column we present to you the phrases used every day in the media and by the Chinese government, so providing a succinct overview of China’s political thinking, its policies and ongoing reforms and transitions.








Regional Ethnic Autonomy


China is a multi-ethnic country, a union of 56 ethnic groups that have been recognized and endorsed by the central government. Of them, the Han ethnic group has the largest population. In contrast to the various different approaches to ethnic issues in other countries with a multi-ethnic makeup, China’s approach focuses on regional ethnic autonomy. Under the leadership of the central government, self-governance is exercised in regions with large ethnic minority populations. Local affairs are administered by autonomous local governing bodies. Regional ethnic autonomy is a fundamental component of China’s political system.


The policies of the CPC and the central government on regional ethnic autonomy were codified into law and promulgated on May 1, 1984 as the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy. The law was revised on February 28, 2001 in response to new developments associated with China’s socialist market economy. The revised law further affirms regional ethnic autonomy as a fundamental component of China’s political system. There are currently 155 ethnic autonomous areas in China, so designated in accordance with the Constitution and laws. They include five autonomous regions, 30 autonomous prefectures, and 120 autonomous counties. There are also more than 1,100 autonomous townships. These areas enjoy extensive autonomy, as prescribed in the Constitution and the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy.






Poverty Alleviation


Considerable economic and social progress in China since the reform and opening-up policy came into effect in the late 1970s has significantly improved standards of living as a whole. Since then, several hundred million people have been lifted out of poverty, representing more than 70 percent of poverty reduction worldwide over that period. Much, however, remains to be done to eliminate remaining but substantial pockets of poverty, bearing in mind that China, with its immense population, is still at the primary stage of socialism, and its diverse regions show varying levels of development.


At the end of 2015, 55.75 million of China’s rural residents still lived below the national poverty line, or subsisted on an annual per capita net income of less than RMB 2,300. China’s poverty alleviation initiatives thus faced daunting challenges.


Against such a backdrop, China launched in 2014 its first National Poverty Alleviation Day, designated as October 17 each year. China will allocate more resources to poverty relief and mobilize all sectors of society to join the fight against poverty. Development aimed specifically at reducing poverty will be stepped up. Effective measures aimed at steadily improving access to adequate food and daily necessities, compulsory education, basic medical services, and housing will also be implemented.






Green Development


A main development concept, green development highlights the importance of harmony between man and nature. The 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), accentuates the eco-friendly approach to development in efforts to promote the harmonious existence of man and nature. Construction of functional regions in which to promote low-carbon and circular development, conservation, efficient resource utilization, and environmental protection that safeguards China’s ecological security will be accelerated. Building an economic structure conducive to green, low-carbon and circular development, and maintaining an eco-conservation perspective on every facet of economic, political, cultural, and social development are now imperative. Our goal is to ensure that the land we inherit remains blessed with green mountains, clear waters, and fresh air.


Selected from Keywords to Understanding China published by China Academy of Translation and China International Publishing Group.