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White Paper on Peaceful Development
Special> White Paper on Peaceful Development
UPDATED: October 13, 2010 NO.39 SEPTEMBER 30, 2010
China's Human Resources
Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China. September 2010, Beijing


China is a developing country with the largest population in the world. Its 1.3 billion people are a vast reservoir of human resources. Actively developing human resources, bringing into full play the potential ability and value of each individual and promoting the people's all-round development so as to provide powerful labor and intellectual support for China's modernization drive and to realize its transformation from a country rich in human resources to one with powerful human resources, is a significant aim the Chinese Government has been cherishing and a major undertaking it has been unremittingly advancing.

Since the founding of New China in 1949, and especially since the reform and opening-up policies were introduced in the late 1970s, the Chinese Government, upholding the idea of putting people first, has actively implemented the principle of respecting labor, knowledge, talent and creativity, and has adopted a series of policies and measures to boost employment and develop education, science and technology, culture, public health and social security, striving to create a favorable environment and conditions for the people's all-round development. Currently, China's employment situation is stable on the whole; the people's education and health levels have been remarkably improved; and a galaxy of talented people in various fields urgently needed by national construction has appeared. They are playing an important role in promoting the development of all economic and social undertakings.

In accordance with the requirements of the socialist market economy system, and to promote sustainable development and social harmony, the Chinese Government pays attention to the fundamental function of the market in deploying human resources, while vigorously promoting institutional reforms in the fields of economy, science, technology and education, constantly deepening the reform of the cadre related system, and pursuing the strategy of rejuvenating the country through science and education and that of strengthening the nation with trained personnel, and a proactive employment policy. It has also established and improved the human resources development mechanism to train, attract, use and support talented people, and accelerated human resources legal construction, thereby opening up a human resources development path conforming to China's national conditions.

I. The Basic Situation of China's Human Resources

A large population and rich human resources constitute the basic national situation of China. For years, the Chinese Government has pursued proactive and effective policies and measures to enhance the development and utilization of human resources, bringing about remarkable changes in this field.

Human resources growing in scale. By the end of 2009 China's total population had reached 1.33474 billion (excluding that of the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions and Taiwan Province), which contains a labor force of 1.06969 billion persons, 112.67 million more than in 2000; the number of employees had reached 779.95 million, of whom 311.2 million were urban employees, increases of 59.1 million and 79.69 million, respectively, compared with the year 2000.

Remarkable improvement of education. China gives priority to education in its development strategy, and has established a comparatively complete national modern educational system. In 2000 nine-year compulsory education was made universal throughout the country, and illiteracy among people between the ages of 20 and 50 was basically eliminated. The number of teenagers attending senior middle school has increased greatly; vocational education has been especially enhanced; and higher education is becoming more popular. In 2009 the total number of senior middle school students in China amounted to 24.3428 million; students at various secondary vocational schools numbered 21.9516 million; undergraduates studying at all sorts of universities and colleges numbered 21.4466 million and postgraduate students 1.4049 million. The development of national education has remarkably raised employees' educational level. By the end of 2009, the average schooling of people above 15 years old had reached nearly 8.9 years, while that of the majority of the working population was 9.5 years, of which 9.9 percent had received higher education. The average education time of newly increased labor force amounted to 12.4 years.

Optimized employment structure. With China's economic development and industrial structure adjustment, the proportion of those employed in primary industry has dropped significantly while that in tertiary industry has risen greatly. In 2009 the proportion of employment in primary, secondary and tertiary industries changed to 38.1 percent, 27.8 percent, and 34.1 percent from 50 percent, 22.5 percent and 27.5 percent, respectively in 2000.

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