REPORT ON THE WORK OF THE GOVERNMENT
Delivered at the First Session of the 13th National People’s Congress of the
People’s Republic of China on March 5, 2018
Premier of the State Council
On behalf of the State Council, I will now report to you on the government’s work of the past five years and lay out what we propose for this year’s work for your deliberation and approval. I also invite comments from the members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
Review of our work over the past five years
The five years since the first session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) have been a truly remarkable five years in the course of our country’s development. Facing an extremely complex environment both at home and abroad, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, has rallied and led the Chinese people of all ethnic groups to forge ahead. We have moved forward in a coordinated manner with the five-sphere integrated plan and the four-pronged comprehensive strategy, and made new advances on all fronts of reform, opening up, and socialist modernization. At its 19th National Congress, the Party established the position in history of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and mapped out an inspiring blueprint and a program of action for securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and for striving for the success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era. This is of great immediate significance and far-reaching historical significance. All regions and all government departments have strengthened their consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment. The new development philosophy has been thoroughly acted upon, the 12th Five-Year Plan has been successfully completed, and implementation of the 13th Five-Year Plan has seen smooth progress. In economic and social development we have made historic achievements and seen historic change.
Over the past five years, economic strength has reached a new high.China’s gross domestic product (GDP) has risen from 54 trillion to 82.7 trillion yuan, registering average annual growth of 7.1 percent; and its share in the global economy has grown to roughly 15 percent, up from 11.4 percent. China’s contribution to global growth has exceeded 30 percent. Government revenue has increased from 11.7 trillion to 17.3 trillion yuan. Consumer prices have risen at an average annual rate of 1.9 percent, maintaining a relatively low level of growth. More than 66 million new urban jobs have been added, and our country, with its population of over 1.3 billion, has achieved relatively full employment.
Over the past five years, the structure of the Chinese economy has seen a major transformation. With the share of the service sector rising from 45.3 to 51.6 percent of the economy, consumption’s contribution to growth has increased from 54.9 to 58.8 percent, becoming the main driver of growth. High-tech manufacturing has achieved an average annual increase of 11.7 percent, and the annual grain yield has reached 600 million metric tons. China’s urbanization rate has risen from 52.6 to 58.5 percent, and more than 80 million people who have relocated from rural to urban areas have gained permanent urban residency.
Over the past five years, innovation-driven development has yielded fruitful outcomes. China’s investment in research and development (R&D) has grown at an average annual rate of 11 percent, ranking second in the world in scale. The contribution of technological advances to economic growth has risen from 52.2 to 57.5 percent. In manned spaceflight, deep-water exploration, quantum communications, large aircraft development, and more, China has seen a stream of major outcomes of innovation. In high-speed rail, e-commerce, mobile payments, and the sharing economy, China is leading the world. The Internet Plus model has permeated many different fields and industries. Business startups and innovation are thriving all over the country, and the average number of new businesses opened daily has risen from over 5,000 to more than 16,000. Rapidly emerging new growth drivers are reshaping China’s growth model, are profoundly changing the way we live and work, and have become a new hallmark of China’s innovation-driven development.
Over the past five years, significant headway has been made in reform and opening up.In reform, we have made strong moves across the board, secured major advances in many areas, and driven deeper in pursuing progress, making breakthroughs in reforms in important fields and at key links and seeing that in the main areas the general frameworks for reform are basically established. Reforms to streamline administration and delegate powers, improve regulation, and optimize services, have driven profound shifts in the functions of government, and significantly strengthened market dynamism and public creativity. Notable achievements have been made in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The composition of both Chinese foreign trade and foreign investment in China has been improved, with volumes ranking among the largest in the world.
Over the past five years, living standards have been constantly improving.We have made decisive progress in the fight against poverty: More than 68 million people have been lifted out of poverty, including a total of 8.3 million relocated from inhospitable areas, and the poverty headcount ratio has dropped from 10.2 to 3.1 percent. Personal income has increased by an annual average of 7.4 percent, outpacing economic growth and creating the world’s largest middle-income group. Tourist departures have grown from 83 million to over 130 million. Education has seen all-around development. Social old-age pension schemes now cover more than 900 million people, and basic health insurance plans cover 1.35 billion people, forming the largest social safety net in the world. On average, life expectancy has reached 76.7 years. Over 26 million housing units have been rebuilt in rundown urban areas and more than 17 million dilapidated houses have been renovated in rural areas, with the result that more than one hundred million Chinese have moved into new homes.
Over the past five years, the environment has seen gradual improvement.To address air, water, and soil pollution, we have designed and enforced a ten-point list of measures for each and achieved solid progress. Both energy and water consumption per unit of GDP have fallen more than 20 percent, the release of major pollutants has been consistently declining, and the number of days of heavy air pollution in key cities has fallen 50 percent. Forest coverage has increased by 10.87 million hectares, and the area of desertified land has been reduced by close to 2,000 square kilometers on average each year. Encouraging progress has been made in green development.
In the year just passed, all main targets and tasks for economic and social development were accomplished and performance exceeded expectations. GDP grew 6.9 percent and personal income rose 7.3 percent, both beating the previous year’s growth rates. Around 13.51 million new urban jobs were created, and the jobless rate was at its lowest level in years. Industrial growth began to rebound, and corporate profits increased 21 percent. Government revenue grew 7.4 percent, reversing the slowdown in growth. The total import and export value rose 14.2 percent. Inward foreign investment reached 136.3 billion U.S. dollars, hitting a new all-time high.The state of play in the economy was good, with growth and quality, structural improvement, and performance each reinforcing the other. This is the result of the cumulative effect of a raft of major policies over the past five years and of consistent efforts in all areas of endeavor.
The past five years have seen groundbreaking achievements on every front and profound and fundamental changes, attracting global attention and bringing all of us in China pride and inspiration.
Over the past five years, we have worked with dedication to implement the decisions and plans made by the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core. The following are the highlights of that work:
First, with a commitment to the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, we have focused on developing new and better approaches to macro regulation, kept major indicators within an appropriate range, and achieved stable, positive economic performance.The past few years have witnessed anemic world economic recovery, volatility in global financial markets, and a sharp rise in protectionism. In China, structural issues and underlying problems have become more acute, downward pressure on the economy has continued to mount, and we have met with no small number of dilemmas.In facing this new environment, we have maintained strategic focus and refrained from resorting to a deluge of strong stimulus policies. Instead, we have adapted to, addressed, and steered the new normal in economic development, and taken coordinated steps to ensure steady growth, advance reform, make structural adjustments, improve living standards, and guard against risk. We have made fresh innovations in and refined macro regulation, developed the idea of and ways to achieve range-based regulation, and enhanced targeted, well-timed, and precision regulation.We have been clear that as long as the major economic indicators are within an acceptable range, with employment growing, incomes increasing, and the environment improving, then our energies should be focused on advancing reform, making structural adjustments, and adding growth drivers.We have adopted measures that are good for the near term and even better for the long term, made strong moves to advance supply-side structural reform, appropriately expanded aggregate demand, and worked for a dynamic equilibrium of supply and demand at a higher level.With grit and determination, we have overcome downward pressure on the economy, avoided a “hard landing,” maintained a medium-high growth rate, and promoted structural upgrading. The economic fundamentals that will sustain long-term growth have been cemented and enhanced.