Friday, 30 October 2020 – 10:37
The leaders of the Communist Party give few clues about what was agreed at their great economic summit with which they intend to set the course for the Asian giant in the coming years.
The secret hotel from which China decides its economic future (and that of the world) for the next five years
For four days, the most powerful people of the second world power have met in a hotel west of Beijing to decide the future of the country. Although the hermetic inner doors of Chinese politics were closed again. It is not known whether there have been internal disagreements in the debates. And only a few calculated images have transcended. The conclave was held in a large room to accommodate the 364 members of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the decision-making body within a party that has 89 million members. If the CCP were a country, it would be the seventeenth most populous in the world. On the scale it will go just behind the Democratic Republic of the Congo and ahead of Germany.
This week, with President Xi Jinping at the helm, Chinese politicians have drafted the XIV Five-Year Plan, which will mark the rumbo of the economy until 2025. Although the novelty in the most important economic meeting of the year has been that the development path of the Asian giant has also been traced for the next 15 years. This had never happened in the meetings to draw up the five-year plans.
Then, in 2035, as agreed at the meeting, China will achieve modern socialism. And at the forefront of development will probably be Xi Jinping, who has strengthened his absolute power over China, and who will extend his political dominance to become a president for life. Xi, according to the official summary of the conclave written by the public news agency, is the “navigator and main helmsman” who will propel the Asian country in its new Great Leap Forward.
Ambitious long and short-term plans (technological advances to increase domestic consumption, improve trade, clean the atmosphere and defend the nation from external threats) that can only be implemented in a country governed by an authoritarian system that guarantees the political stability, since it is not allowed to question the decisions of the single party that commands.
Daily plenary reports are not approved and published until the National People’s Congress (the annual meeting of Parliament), which is usually held in March. Today, after all, has only been an aperitif of homeland propaganda a few days before his great rival, the United States, holds a presidential election. For now, only an outline has been offered to the public, through a statement and a press conference held this morning in Beijing, of a plan focused on high-tech self-sufficiency and a shift towards the domestic market so as not to depend on technology. growing uncertainty abroad.
Among the published objectives is to achieve sustained and healthy economic development between 2021-2025. Regarding GDP, Chinese leaders expect its value to exceed 100 trillion yuan (12.77 trillion euros), a slight rise compared to 2019 but which hinders the purpose of ending 2020, having doubled GDP in the last decade. To achieve this, the economy will need to grow 5.6% this year. It is true that, in these times of coronavirus, China’s economy is the only one that grows compared to the rest of the G-20 powers. GDP rose 4.9% in the third quarter of the year, but is still several digits short of reaching its purpose. In a break with previous five-year plans, this time an annual growth target will not be included.
The meeting also spoke of the so-called “dual circulation”, a new form of development that takes the domestic market as its main pillar, while trying to benefit from globalization. It will be an inward economic shift to encourage home consumption, which is the source of 57.8% of the country’s wealth. A new approach, incentivized these months involuntarily because of the coronavirus, which seeks an economy based on self-sufficiency.
But for the new model to prosper, it requires a series of reforms that increase the income of families. At the press conference on Friday, Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said that the government will increase the income of low-income groups and expand the middle class during the period 2021-2025. Although he did not reveal more concrete details about how China would implement the dual circulation model.
Another key point is the objective of achieving technology self-sufficiency as a central element of modernization. The statement published after the leaders’ meeting points out that “technological self-sufficiency will provide strategic support for national development,” with the aim of achieving important advances in key technologies by 2035.
“Integrated into the five-year plan is a network of new technologies and financial reforms designed to transform manufacturing, transportation, healthcare and finance, driven by a domestic semiconductor industry that will challenge US dominance in the industry. China has already launched a set of new technologies that the West has not begun to implement, “reads an analysis in the Asia Times newspaper. “These include remote vital sign detection for epidemic control, predictive artificial intelligence algorithms to identify potential super-spreading events, digital payments (including an official digital currency) that will replace conventional banking and self-programming industrial robots that can design their own production processes. ”
On the political side, it has transpired that China “will maintain long-term stability” of its special administrative regions, such as Hong Kong and Macao. On Taiwan, the island with a young democracy that Beijing considers a difficult province, Chinese leaders say they will promote its reunification with the rest of the continent. In addition, it will strengthen national security and invest in “building a thoroughly modern military by 2027” that is on par with that of the United States.
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