The first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) was held in Beijing on March 5. On behalf of the State Council, Premier Li Keqiang delivered a report on the work of the government to the assembly, summarizing the government's work over the past five years and laying out plans for work in 2018. China's GDP growth for this year is set at 6.5 percent, a speed that reflects the country's demand for a high-quality economic growth.
This year is of special meanings for China. Immediately following the 19th National Congress of Communist Party of China which was held in October 2017, the Chinese economy enters a new era of high-quality development under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, which is crucial in China's efforts to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. This year is the 40th year since China adopted reform and opening-up policy. High on the agenda of the Chinese Government in 2018 is steady and stable progress, which can be guaranteed by a growth rate of 6.5 percent.
Yet China faces many uncertainties in world affairs. Despite continued momentum in the recovery of the global economy, uncertainty abounds as the United States ramps up trade protectionism, placing China-U.S. economic and trade relations under strain. Rising geopolitical risks are hampering China’s outbound investment.
In this context, the Chinese Government must refrain from excessively using monetary policy as a way of stimulating the economy. Instead it must try to improve the quality of the economy and at the same time maintain stable growth, promote reform, make structural adjustments, improve living standards, and guard against risks. In light of these factors and last year’s economic growth rate, a target of 6.5 percent is a rational and suitable one.
Education, healthcare, employment and an increase in wages all depend on economic growth. A one-percentage-point growth of GDP in 2017, which constitutes some 82.7 trillion yuan (around $13 trillion), will create much more wealth than a two-percentage-point increase two decades ago, and a 6.5-percentage-point growth rate will suffice to fund China's current social development. This target accommodates the call for a well-off society and the demand for jobs.
The distinguished feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the development in line with China's national conditions. Recently, there is wild speculation about China's GDP growth by some foreign media. Whatever they comment on China's economic growth and what country they use to compare with China, none of these voices cannot sway China in its determination to choose its own path, step by step, to national rejuvenation.
Copyedited by Laurence Coulton