THOSE who have been following China's development should be familiar with the country's Five-Year Plan (FYP), which is part of China's top-level policy design to guide its overall economic and social development, securing China's steady and immense progress in its course of development since its initiation in 1953.
By far, China has formulated and implemented thirteen Five-Year Plans, a good witness of China's progressive development into a modernizing country.
The 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) concluded its fifth plenary session in October 2020, which approved "The 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035". It has made a comprehensive summary of China's past five years' overall achievements and set a new blueprint its next five to 15 years' development.
The past five years have seen intermittent international turbulence and demanding domestic tasks. Against this backdrop, the Chinese people have made a decisive victory in achieving comprehensive moderate prosperity under President Xi Jinping's leadership.
During the last five years, China has made tremendous progress in its economic development, with its total GDP nearing 100 trillion RMB and GDP per capita exceeding US$10,000. China's development contributed to 30% of the world's economic growth. We also witnessed a miracle in China's national poverty alleviation. China has helped a total of 55 million people and 832 counties work their way above the poverty line since 2016. By 2020, China has eliminated absolute poverty, which has been a biting and lingering pain to Chinese people. More than 1.3 billion people (above 95% of China's whole population), including the ones in rural and remote areas are covered by the government's nationwide basic medical insurance system. China has been committed to environment protection and green development, boasting the largest sewage and waste treatment capacity in the world.
During the last five years, China has been steadfast in carrying out its opening-up policy. The Belt and Road Initiative alone has embarked numerous cooperation with 138 countries and 30 international organisations. Besides, China continues to make great efforts in providing a foreign business-friendly environment. For two consecutive years, China is listed as one of the top 10 countries in making the fastest improvements in improving foreign investment environment.
With the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan drawing to an end, China has shifted its development focus from quantity to high quality. Yet, imbalance and inadequacy still exist, and the task of reform in key areas and core links remains arduous. The goals of the latest mid to long-term development plan are of historical significance with three "NEW"s being the core.
The first "NEW" is the new stage of development. From 2021 onwards, China will embark on a new journey to fully build a modern socialist country and enter a new stage of development. According to the goals set, China's economy, science and comprehensive national strength will rise to a new level by the year 2035. GDP per capita will reach the same level as that of a moderately developed country.
The second "NEW" is the new development concept. China will pursue innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development. Innovation is the driving force for development. Coordination is the inherent character of healthy development. Green is the common format of sustainable development. Openness is the chosen road through which to further development. Inclusive development means that the fruits of development are to be shared by all. All in all, with common prosperity as priority, China is dedicated to providing a better life to all Chinese people.
The third "NEW" is the new development pattern. China will quicken the pace to establish a new development pattern that will nurture a strong domestic market, with an emphasis on domestic circulation and at the same time letting the domestic circulation and international one reinforce each other, spurring investment and consumption in an all-round way. Rather than closing its doors, China will further the opening-up and leverage the advantages of its huge market to further promote international cooperation with win-win results.
With unprecedented changes taking place, the world is mired by instability and uncertainty due to the rise of deglobalisation and protectionism, worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic. All countries are working around the clock to combat the pandemic, stabilise their economies and protect their people's livelihood. Despite the global slowdown and the bleak performance of major economies, China has become a major and most reliable force in maintaining and recovering world economy with its immense and steadfast contribution to world economy and its consistent adherence to open market and globalisation. World Bank forecasted that China's economy would increase 2% in 2020 and it would be the only major economy in the world to achieve positive growth in 2020. China's economy is tipped to grow 7.9% in 2021. In the first half of 2020, China's total imports and exports with Asean rose by 5.6%. Asean has since become China's largest trading partner and the prospect of future cooperation is promising. The robust economic recovery of China has provided all Asean countries with a strong impetus for their economic recovery and growth.
China's further opening-up will provide a huge market opportunity for the whole world. China has a population of 1.4 billion people with more than 400 million being in the middle-income group. It is a huge market with great potential. According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), from January to July this year, China's share of global imports was 11.3%, having an increase of 0.8% from that of last year. It is estimated that China will import more than US$22 trillion worth of goods in the next 10 years. The 3rd China International Import Expo which was held in Shanghai last month saw more than 861 deals worth US$72.62bil signed by over 2,000 corporations from 124 countries, 2.1% higher than that of the previous year's expo. This once again has shown China's sincerity in opening up its market to the world and its strength in helping the global economic recovery. China will keep on digging on its potential of the huge domestic market and uphold its commitment of further opening-up to the world that could enable all countries, especially Asean countries, to benefit from its inclusive development.
China's development will bring more investments to the world. China's outbound direct investment has increased steadily in recent years, topping US$136.91bil in 2019, accounting for 10.4% of the global share. Despite the impact of the pandemic, non-financial outbound investment in countries of the Belt and Road Initiative increased 19.4% to US$8.12bil in the first half of 2020. Investments in Asean countries have jumped 53.1% to US$6.23bil. According to an estimate, Belt and Road Initiative's total investment in the long term will hit US$4 trillion to US$8 trillion. With the Belt and Road Initiative unfold step by step, Asean countries can prosper more due to their geographical and economic potential advantage. Apart from creating more job opportunities, China's overseas investments will help Asean countries to upgrade their industrial structure and help to accelerate the regional economic integration.
Same as a popular Chinese saying,"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together", there's also a Malay proverb, which says "Bersatu teguh, bercerai roboh" (unity is strength). China's development cannot be successful without the support of the international community, and vice versa is also true, the world's economy cannot prosper without China's participation.
China has always been a sturdy advocate of multilateralism. Recently, 15 countries including China and Malaysia, have signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which will help to strengthen the supply chain and boost the economy of the Asia-Pacific region countries. Last month, President Xi Jinping announced that China would consider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). In September this year, President Xi announced that China aims to "peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060". Then, at the Climate Ambition Summit 2020 on Dec 12, President Xi further announced that China would "lower its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by over 65% from the 2005 level and increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25%". These commitments clearly showed to the world that China is a responsible stakeholder who always keeps its promise.
Adhering to the principles of peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit, China is committed to maintaining world peace and seeking inclusive development. It will strive to build an open world economy and a community of common destiny for all mankind. Hand in hand, China will work with Malaysia and other countries to share the opportunities and benefits, and also to overcome challenges and difficulties, make more contribution to maintaining peace and development in both the region and the world.