Author: Shannon Tiezzi | The Diplomat | Published 29 October 2020
The fifth plenum of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s 19th Central Committee concluded on 29 October 2020. The gathering of China’s top leaders finalized the blueprint for China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, which will set China’s economic and social policy vision for the period from 2021-2025.
According to Shannon Tiezzi, Editor-in-Chief at The Diplomat, the Plan:
- acknowledges some of the problems that China still faces, including persistent (and growing) inequality between rural and urban residents, environmental issues, and lack of quality innovation – problems which will be tackled by the next five-year plan;
- calls for “sustained and healthy” growth marked by “significantly improved quality and efficiency” during the next five-year period, with no specific target for GDP growth, only the goal of raising GDP per capita to the level of a moderately developed country;
- pledges to significantly reduce the earnings gaps between rural and urban residents, and reiterated a long-standing focus on “new urbanization”;
- offers a tantalizing mention of a “breakthrough” on property rights reform, without specific detail;
- includes references to “dual circulation,” which suggests a new, inward focus for China’s economy – the “domestic cycle” (meaning internal production and consumption) will be the main focus for the next five-year plan, complemented by the “international cycle” (foreign trade and investment);
- gives some nods to increased economic opening and reform – the kind of changes foreign investors and governments always clamor for – but without anything concrete;
- has a strong focus on technology and innovation, with “self-reliance in science and technology as the strategic support for national development”, and many of the long-term goals highlighted in the document being tech-oriented.
In addition to the normal five-year plan, the plenum also discussed a more ambitious 15-year blueprint that sets out China’s goals through 2035, by which date China should have “basically achieved” its goal of becoming a modern socialist country. Previously the target date for definitively achieving that goal was 2049, the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.
Why, Shannon Tiezzi asks, the new emphasis on 2035, then? And why the longer-term horizon at this year’s plenum, rather than sticking to the typical five-year plan?
Original image: Xinhua