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The “13th Five-Year Plan” (13th FYP) period (2016-2020) is the decisive stage for China’s victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Confronted with a complex and volatile environment internationally and formidable tasks in promoting reform, growth, and stability at home, especially the severe impact of Covid-19, the Communist Party of China (CPC) unites the entire Party and all Chinese people to forge ahead and made all round achievements.

The economic strength consolidated. China’s average annual economic growth rate reached 6.7% between 2016 to 2019, 3.9 percentage higher than the world average. China’s GDP reached 99.1 trillion RMB ($14.4 trillion) in 2019, accounting for 16% of the world total, and its contribution to world growth exceeds 32%. The GDP will exceed 100 trillion RMB by the end of the 13th FYP. In 2019, the per capita GDP exceeds $10,000 and the national per capita disposable income of residents reached $4,465 with an 39.9% increase compared with that of 2015. The annual income of 140 million Chinese households reached $15,000 to $75,000. The international payment is balanced, and foreign exchange reserves remains over 3 trillion USD.

The economic structure optimized. In 2019, the R&D expenditure reached 2.17 trillion RMB ($315 billion), accounting for 2.19% of GDP, ranks second in the world. China ranks 14th in the Global Innovation Index and its number of international patent applications submitted ranks first in the world. China has become the world’s largest market with the total retail sales of consumer goods reached 41.2 trillion RMB ($ 5.99 trillion), the contribution ratio of final consumption expenditure to economic growth remains around 60%. The grain production remains over 650 million tons. The value added of high-tech industries accounts for 14.4% of GDP, and the service value added accounts for 53.9% of the GDP with an increase of 3.4 percent compared with that of 2015. The average annual growth of emerging service industries reached 19.4%, which has become a new driving force for the growth of the service industry.

Remarkable results achieved in major areas. The targeted poverty alleviation has achieved a decisive victory. As many as 55.75 million rural poor people have been lifted out of poverty since 2016. The absolute poverty problem, which has plagued the Chinese nation for thousands of years, will be historically solved by the end of 2020. The pollution control has made huge progress. In 2019, energy consumption per unit of GDP decreased by 13.2% compared with that of 2015. The proportion of days with good air quality in 337 cities was 82%, and the proportion of surface water quality reaching or better than Grade III water-body reached 74.9%. The environment and ecosystem has greatly improved. The substantial risk prevention in financial and the relevant fields has achieved positive results. China has achieved important success in controlling Covid-19.

The integrated urban and rural development promoted. The living and working conditions in rural areas improved significantly, new forms of business such as rural tourism and leisure agriculture have been continuously emerging. The quality of new urbanization has been steadily improving. The urbanization rate rose to 60.6% in 2019, an increase of 4.5%. The integrated regional development strategy has been fully implemented.

Reforms made remarkable breakthroughs. The system of socialism with Chinese characteristics has been notably improved, frameworks for institutions in major areas have basically been established, the reform of the party and state institutions has achieved remarkable outcomes, and the modernization of China’s system and capacity for governance has been advanced. The business environment has been continuously optimized and the global ranking steadily elevated. The property rights protection system develops rapidly and the reform of the market-based allocation of factors of production deepens. The decisive role of the market in allocating resources has been significantly enhanced.

New pattern of open economy shaping up. The joint promotion of belt and road initiative continues to deepen and 138 countries and 30 international organizations have signed 200 cooperation documents. Jakarta-Bandung speed railway, China-Laos Railway, Gwadar Port etc. have made positive progress. By the end of August 2020, the total number of China-Europe Freight Express is nearly 29,000. The total value of goods trade reached 31.54 trillion RMB ($4.58 trillion) in 2019, ranking first in the world. 21 pilot free trade zones established, Hainan becomes the first free trade port in the Mainland. In 2019, China’s foreign investment in actual use reached 138.1 billion USD, and non-financial foreign investment recorded 110.6 billion USD.

People’s living standards improved greatly. In 2019, the Engel coefficient dropped to 28.2%, a decrease of 2.4 percentage points from 2015, and the number of cars per 100 households reached 35.3. Since 2016, more than 60 million new urban jobs were added. The per capita housing area of urban and rural residents reached 39.8 and 48.9 square meters respectively. The consolidation rate of nine-year compulsory education reached 94.8%, the gross enrollment rate of higher education exceeded 50%, the average years of education of the working-age population was 10.7 years. The coverage rate of radio and television programs exceeds 99%. China has established the world’s largest social security system, with basic medical insurance covering more than 1.3 billion people and basic pension insurance covering nearly 1 billion. The average life expectancy reached 77.3 years in 2019, which is 5 years higher than the world’s average.

The great achievements of the 13th FYP fully demonstrate the strong leadership of CPC and the advantages of China’s socialist system. The ever-growing China has provided unprecedented opportunities and resources for countries including Pakistan in the world. Let’s work together to make our planet even better.

(The writer is Consul General of China to Karachi)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

Li Bijian

The writer is Consul General of China in Karachi

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