REPORT ON THE WORK OF THE GOVERNMENT
Delivered at the Fourth Session of the 13th National People’s Congress of
the People’s Republic of China on March 5, 2021
Premier of the State Council
On behalf of the State Council, I will now report to you on the work of the
government and ask for your deliberation and approval. I also ask members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference(CPPCC) for their comments.
I. A review of Our Work in 2020
Last year was an extraordinary year in the history of the People’s Republic of
China. Facing the severe combined impact of a sudden coronavirus epidemic and a deep global economic recession, we the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, responded with tremendous tenacity. We achieved major strategic success in our response to Covid-19 and China was the world’s only major economy to achieve growth. We attained a complete victory in the fight against poverty, and we scored decisive achievements in securing a full victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Indeed, our achievements, which have won the approval of our people and global recognition, will be remembered in history. Our development goals and tasks for the year were accomplished, and major headway has been made in China’s reform, opening up, and socialist modernization drive.
Throughout this fierce battle against Covid-19, the CPC Central Committee put
protecting the people and human life above everything else, with General
Secretary Xi Jinping personally taking charge and making response decisions.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of all of us, our gains in controlling Covid-19 were continuously consolidated. In response to evolving epidemic dynamics, we made well-timed adjustments to our response approaches. We improved routine control mechanisms and effectively suppressed several local outbreaks of the epidemic. With these actions, we protected the health and safety of the people to the greatest extent possible, and created the conditions for returning to normal life and work.
Last year, we carried out the following work in implementing the decisions
and plans of the Party Central Committee, and to respond to Covid-19 and
advance economic and social development:
1. We formulated and implemented macro policies to meet the urgent needs of market entities and kept the fundamentals of the economy stable.
Facing shocks of a severity rarely seen before, based on what we had done to
ensure stability on six key fronts, we carried out the task of maintaining security in six key areas—particularly job security, basic living needs, and the operations of market entities. By maintaining security, we were able to deliver stability while also pursuing progress. Based on China’s realities, we refrained from adopting a deluge of strong stimulus policies but took swift, decisive and well-considered steps, thus maintaining a desired balance between various macro policies. Using approaches of reform and innovation, we eased the difficulties of our enterprises and energized them. And we helped micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and self-employed individuals, which are large in number, extensive in scope and took the most direct hit from Covid-19, weather what was a very tough time. By making both time-limited large-scale tax and fee cuts and institutional arrangements, we reduced the burden on market entities by more than 2.6 trillion yuan for the year, including 1.7 trillion yuan in social insurance premium cuts and exemptions. We adopted new approaches in implementing macro policies. The central government established a mechanism to directly allocate two trillion yuan of new funding to prefecture- and county-level governments, while provincial-level governments also increased their funding allocations to governments at these levels. With these two steps, we provided prefecture- and county-level governments with additional and timely fiscal resources to assist local businesses and residents. Banks were given support to increase loans to businesses and lower interest rates in a targeted way. MSMEs were allowed to postpone principal and interest repayments on their loans, and inclusive finance lending by large commercial banks to micro and small businesses increased by more than 50 percent. The real economy thus received an infusion of 1.5 trillion yuan from financial institutions. Point-to-point transportation services were provided to large enterprises to help them resume operations. Thanks to all these arduous efforts, China was able to take the lead in reopening its economy. With gross domestic product (GDP) for the year growing by 2.3 percent, a better-than-expected recovery was achieved. We thus not only gained fresh experience in macro regulation, but also delivered the best possible outcome at an acceptable cost.
2. We gave top priority to stabilizing employment and ensuring living standards and effectively safeguarded people’s wellbeing.
Employment is pivotal to people’s wellbeing. Our efforts to keep market
entities afloat are aimed at maintaining stable employment and meeting basic
living needs. Local governments across the country provided more incentives to stabilize and expand employment, thus enabling businesses and their employees to work hand-in-hand to overcome their difficulties. Multiple channels were tapped to ensure employment for key groups, and startups and innovation were encouraged as a way to create jobs. The number of new market entities began growing rapidly again, leading to the creation of a large number of new jobs. A total of 11.86 million urban jobs were added, and the year-end surveyed urban unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 percent. It is truly remarkable that China, the largest developing country in the world, has kept overall employment stable in the face of such an enormous shock. The supply and price stability of daily necessities was ensured; the consumer price index (CPI) posted a 2.5 percent growth. Practices like working from home, online shopping, and contactless delivery were widely adopted. We expanded the coverage of unemployment insurance schemes, and extended timely assistance to those who were hit particularly hard by Covid-19. Close to six million additional people received subsistence allowances or extreme poverty aid, and more than eight million temporary assistance grants were disbursed. We fought against severe floods, typhoons, and other natural disasters and spared no effort to provide rescue and relief to disaster victims and make appropriate arrangements for them, thus protecting people’s lives and property and ensuring their basic living needs.
3. We made decisive progress in the three critical battles against poverty, pollution and potential risk, achieving major targets and tasks as planned.
We increased funding for poverty alleviation by a considerable sum. Counties
and villages facing difficulty in poverty eradication were placed under special
supervision to see they fully implemented all assistance and support policies. We assisted on a priority basis poor workers in securing jobs and poor rural migrant workers who had returned home in finding new jobs, thus keeping rural residents’ incomes from nonagricultural work stable. We worked harder to reduce poverty through the development of local industries and promote consumer spending on products from poor areas. We strengthened monitoring for groups who are liable to return to, or fall into, poverty, and provided them with assistance. All remaining poor rural residents, totaling 5.51 million in early 2020, were lifted from poverty, as were all of China’s remaining 52 poor counties. We continued working to keep our skies blue, our waters clear, and our lands pollution-free, and accomplished the objectives for pollution prevention and control for the current stage. We carried out major projects for protecting and restoring key ecosystems in the Yangtze River and Yellow River basins and along coastlines, and stepped up our ecological conservation endeavors. We took prudent steps to defuse local government debt risks and acted swiftly to defuse a number of major financial risks and potential dangers.
4. We continued to advance reform and opening up and further boosted the vitality and momentum of development.
We improved the systems and mechanisms for the market allocation of production factors and strengthened the protection of property rights. We furthered reforms to streamline administration and delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services; and the Regulations on Improving the Business Environment were implemented. We adopted a three-year action plan for SOE reform and supported the development of private businesses. The underlying systems of the capital market were improved. We made solid strides in reforms related to agriculture, rural development, and social programs. Steady progress was achieved in the joint pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Major measures to develop the Hainan Free Trade Port and other major initiatives were launched. The third China International Import Expo and the China International Fair for Trade in Services were hosted successfully. China played an important role in the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, and it concluded negotiations on an investment agreement with the European Union. China’s industrial chains and supply chains were kept stable. And its foreign trade and utilized foreign investment posted steady growth.