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Xi Jinping

Leading the way forward

Re-elected as general secretary, Xi Jinping lays down road map for next five years

P1 xi

October 30-November 5, 2017
By AN BAIJIE

anbaijie@chinadaily.com.cn

General Secretary Xi Jinping was re-elected to lead the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee for a second term on Oct 25 amid the world’s largest political party’s efforts to strive for the Two Centenary Goals. At the First Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, Xi presented the Party’s new leadership to reporters and laid down a road map for the next five years.

Xi introduced the other members of the newly elected Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 19th CPC Central Committee: Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji and Han Zheng.

The plenum also elected 25 members, including the seven on the Standing Committee, of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. Fifteen of them are new faces to the Political Bureau.

“I was re-elected general secretary of the CPC Central Committee,” a confident Xi said against the backdrop of a giant Chinese landscape painting featuring the Great Wall. “I see this as not just approval of my work, but also encouragement that will spur me on,” he said.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and the other members of the newly elected Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 19th CPC Central Committee, Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji and Han Zheng, arrive to meet the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct 25. Credit: Xu Jingxing / China Daily

Xi thanked all other members of the Party for the trust they have placed in the new leadership and vowed to work diligently to “meet our duty, fulfill our mission and be worthy of their trust”.

The coming five years will see several important junctures and signposts, Xi told reporters.

“Not only must we deliver the first centenary goal, we must also embark on the journey toward the second centenary goal,” he said.

The Two Centenary Goals are the strategic targets of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020, the centenary of the CPC, and building a modern socialist country by the centenary of the People’s Republic of China in the middle of this century.

Noting that 2018 will mark the 40th anniversary of the launch of reform and opening-up, Xi vowed to make determined efforts to comprehensively deepen reform and open still wider to the world.

The year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. The CPC will continue efforts to accomplish all the tasks laid down in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), develop new blueprints for China’s future and see the flourishing of all the endeavors, he said.

Xi reiterated the resolve to establish a moderately prosperous society across all metrics by 2020.

He said the Party must remain committed to a people-centered philosophy of development and make steady progress toward enhancing the people’s sense of fulfillment and realizing common prosperity for everyone.

“For a party that fights for the eternal well-being of the Chinese nation, the centenary only ushers in the prime of life,” Xi said. “As the world’s largest political party, the CPC must behave in a way commensurate with this status.”

Xi said China will work with other nations to build a global community with a shared future, and make new and greater contributions to peace and development for all humanity.

A total of 452 major political parties in 165 countries sent 855 messages of congratulation to the CPC on the congress.

Xi encouraged the media to continue to follow China’s development and progress and learn about and report on more dimensions of China.

“We do not need lavish praise from others; however, we do welcome objective reporting and constructive suggestions, for this is our motto: ‘Not angling for compliments, I would be content that my integrity fills the universe’,” Xi said.

The CPC’s Two Centenary Goals are not only significant for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, but also important for the whole world to achieve common development, analysts said.

A total of 452 major political parties in 165 countries sent 855 messages of congratulation to the CPC on the congress.

Raza Khan, a correspondent for Dawn News in Islamabad, Pakistan, said it is remarkable for the CPC to set the target of eliminating poverty by 2020.

“China has a huge population, so lifting so many people out of poverty in recent years will be a huge achievement,” he said.

China wants to share its development experiences with other countries under such frameworks as the Belt and Road Initiative (the China-led plan to build an infrastructure and trade grid that revives the ancient Silk Road routes), which will contribute to global economic growth, he said.

Gaurav Sharma, a correspondent for IANS, India’s largest independent news service, said the CPC’s new leadership is determined to fulfill China’s rejuvenation through diligent work.

“I am sure it will be a good leadership,” he said after attending the news conference.

Xi’s proposal of building a community of shared future for mankind means inclusive development that is meaningful for the whole world, he added.

Jin Yong, deputy head of the School of International Studies at the Communication University of China, said Xi’s speech to reporters has shown his strategic vision as the leader of a major country.

“From his speech, we could sense his deep love toward the people and his determination to pursue happiness for the people,” Jin said, adding that Xi’s words for the people “have warmth”.

 

Xi’s Thought enshrined in Constitution Party members urged to use this new component as guide to achieve unity in thinking and action

October 30-November 5, 2017
By XINHUA

The Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era was written into the Constitution of the Communist Party of China as a new component of the Party’s guide for action, according to a resolution of the 19th CPC National Congress.

The amendment to the Constitution — the CPC’s fundamental document for its more than 89 million members — was unanimously agreed upon by Party delegates.

In response to contemporary developments and by integrating theory with practice, Chinese Communists, with Xi — who is also China’s president — as their chief representative, have given shape to Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era since the 18th CPC National Congress, the resolution said.

It has “systematically addressed the major question of our times — what kind of socialism with Chinese characteristics the new era requires us to uphold and develop and how we should uphold and develop it”, according to the document.

It “must be upheld long term and constantly developed”, said the resolution.

“The Thought is a continuation and development of Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development,” it said.

“It is the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context, a crystallization of the practical experience and collective wisdom of the Party and the people.”

Delegates applaud during the closing session of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in the Great Hall of the People on Oct 24 in Beijing. Credit: Xu Jingxing / China Daily

The resolution hailed the new era thought as “an important component of the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and a guide to action for the entire Party and all the Chinese people to strive for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”.

Under the guidance of Xi’s new era thought, “the CPC has led the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in a concerted effort to carry out a great struggle, develop a great project, advance a great cause, and realize a great dream, ushering in a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics”, it said.

In the resolution, the CPC urged all Party members to use the new era thought to achieve unity in thinking and action and be more purposeful and determined in studying and applying it throughout the drive toward China’s socialist modernization and Party building.

According to the resolution, a wide range of new ideas, thinking and strategies put forward by the CPC Central Committee with Xi at the core have also been added to the Constitution, such as giving play to the decisive role of market forces in resource allocation, advancing supply-side structural reform and enhancing the country’s cultural soft power.

Xi’s military thinking and the Party’s “absolute” leadership over the armed forces have also been included in the Constitution.

According to the resolution, the CPC will uphold its absolute leadership over the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and other people’s armed forces and implement Xi’s thinking on strengthening the military.

The development of the PLA will be strengthened by enhancing its political loyalty, strengthening it through reform and technology, and running it in accordance with the law, the resolution read.

The CPC will build people’s forces that obey the Party’s command, can fight and win, and maintain excellent conduct to ensure that the PLA accomplishes its missions and tasks in the new era, it said.

The inclusion of these statements in the Constitution will “help ensure the Party’s absolute leadership over the people’s armed forces, (and) modernize national defense and the military”, it said.

In addition, the amendment to the CPC Constitution also clarified that the chairperson of the Central Military Commission assumes overall responsibility over the work of the commission and that the CMC is responsible for Party work and political work in the armed forces.

This complies with the realistic requirement to ensure the CMC fulfills its responsibility for Party self-supervision and self-governance after the military reform, the resolution said.

Congress delegates also agreed to write the culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics into the CPC Constitution, along with the path, theory and system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

In addition, the amendment included an assessment of the change in the “principal contradiction” facing Chinese society, which serves as an important basis on which the CPC and China formulate major policies and long-term strategies.

The CPC said the contradiction facing Chinese society is “between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing need for a better life”.

Previously the maxim, which had stood for 36 years, was described as one between “the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and backward social production”.

Delegates take the lead in frugality Simple, disciplined, economical style at National Congress may set the tone for future meetings

October 30-November 5, 2017
By LUO WANGSHU

luowangshu@chinadaily.com.cn

Results of a frugality campaign launched by the central leadership about five years ago could be seen at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and delegates said the changes may be an example for future meetings.

Inside Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, where the congress opened on Oct 18 and closed on Oct 24, no ornamental displays of flowers or plants were installed. No celebration banners were placed at hotels where delegates were staying. No souvenirs were given to delegates. Some stationery supplies like pencils and paper were made from recycled materials.

“I can feel the simple and frugal style at the congress, which makes me feel more comfortable and relaxed, and delegates can concentrate on the meeting itself,” said Li Dawei, a delegate from Sinopec’s Baling branch in Yueyang, Central China’s Hunan province. “No flowers or other unnecessary decorations are placed at the meeting venues,” he said, adding that even bottled water was not provided, to help protect the environment.

“We take a shuttle bus to commute between the hotel and the Great Hall of the People. No other special cars have been arranged,” Li said.

Ten percent fewer vehicles than expected were ordered, according to Shouqi Group, a State-owned automobile enterprise in charge of ground transport for the meeting.

In accord with the eight-point frugality code issued by the central leadership in late 2012, the group running conference services for the 19th CPC National Congress was following the principles of “simple, economical, safe and efficient” practices, according to the People’s Daily, the Party’s official newspaper. Jia Fengshan, a delegate from North China’s Tianjin, said banquets and gatherings of small groups had almost disappeared.

“Delegates are taking the lead in self-discipline,” he was quoted as saying by the People’s Daily. “The National Congress is the top-level meeting of the Party. The frugal style sets a good example for Party and government meetings across the country.”

Air quality set to improve Minister says efforts are under way to lower PM2.5 levels across China to meet national standard

October 30-November 5, 2017
By ZHENG JINRAN and CAO YIN

China will see fundamental improvements in its environmental quality by 2035, when the average PM2.5 concentration in the air across the country will meet the national standard, Li Ganjie, minister of environmental protection, said on Oct 23.

“We are conducting studies to clarify the details of the fundamental improvement, but I think, in the field of air quality, it means the national average PM2.5 level will be lowered to 35 micrograms per cubic meter,” Li said at a news conference on the sidelines of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

PM2.5 refers to hazardous fine particulate matter in the air. The micrograms per cubic meter concentration is one of the major measures used to describe air quality.

In some major areas with severe air pollution, the average PM2.5 level will also be lowered, Li said.

The latest data from the Ministry of Environmental Protection show that 338 cities across the country saw average PM2.5 concentrations of 47 micrograms per cubic meter last year, 34.3 percent higher than the standard.

“It’s not easy to reach the targets,” Li said. In fact, air pollution worsened in some areas, he added.

Li Ganjie, minister of environmental protection (right), responds to questions from reporters after a news conference at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing on Oct 23. Credit: Feng Yongbin / China Daily

The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in North China, along with neighboring provinces, experienced severe air pollution in recent years, especially during autumn and winter. The ministry has introduced stronger measures to reduce the air pollution in those areas.

Stricter measures governing discharges have been introduced to reduce emissions. Some heavy industries, for example, such as steel and cement manufacturing, will suspend production, and vehicles with heavy exhaust emissions will be restricted, documents from the ministry indicated.

Total emissions reduced in the winter months are estimated at double or triple what was cut the previous winter to help governments reach their air pollution reduction targets, the documents showed. “We will try our best to win the fight against air pollution,” Li said.

Hebei province, in which at least six cities ranked among the top 10 cities with the worst air pollution, has promised to strengthen restrictions, said Gao Jianmin, head of the provincial environment department, on Oct 23.

For example, Hebei has restricted coal consumption in rural areas. “Over 1.8 million households will switch to use clean energy — electricity or natural gas — for heating,” he said. “It’s estimated to cut the consumption of 4.8 million metric tons of coal.

“At least 100,000 small and polluting companies have been ordered to pause their production or shut down altogether this year, which will cut emissions,” Gao said.

“Air pollution has been our top priority, and anyone violating the restrictions — in a company or government — will receive severe punishment.”

Contact the writers at zhengjinran@chinadaily.com.cn

Pilot FTZs to get more powers Free trade zones play key role in China’s liberalization of trade and investment, facilitating market access

October 30-November 5, 2017
By SHI JING
in Shanghai
shijing@chinadaily.com.cn

As one of the major aspects of further opening-up, the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone has attracted a large number of international industry leaders to set up operations there, providing substantial help to their development in the country.

During the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, General Secretary Xi Jinping reiterated the importance of free trade zones (FTZs) in a report delivered at the opening session on Oct 18.

Xi said the government will grant more powers to pilot FTZs to conduct reform, and explore the opening of free trade ports.

Meanwhile, the government will adopt policies to promote high-standard liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, significantly ease market access, further open the services sector, and protect the legitimate rights and interest of foreign investors.

“All businesses registered in China will be treated equally,” Xi said.

As one of the first foreign banks to set up within the Shanghai FTZ, Citibank China has witnessed a number of pioneering and innovative policies in the financial sector over the past four years, according to Pei Yigen, country head of treasury and trade solutions for the bank.

“These innovations have helped with further opening-up in the financial market of Shanghai, and even nationwide,” he said.

“We are delighted to see that a growing number of multinational companies have set up their Asian accounting and financial centers in Shanghai, and more specifically in the Shanghai FTZ.”

Last year, the bank overtook all other domestic and foreign banks with operations in the Shanghai FTZ in terms of the settlement volume of cross-border capital pool business. It also took up 49 percent of the total market value of the cross-border centralized collection and payment business in the zone.

“The establishment of the Shanghai FTZ has provided a new path for foreign banks in China,” Pei said. “We are able to come up with more innovations in our businesses and products.

“Over the past four years, we have helped many multinational companies to enhance the function of their regional headquarters by moving their regional and even global renminbi capital center to Shanghai. We would like to contribute more to the real economy with the platform provided by the Shanghai FTZ.”

World-leading automation technology provider Festo, which is headquartered in Esslingen, Germany, has its Chinese operation located in the Shanghai FTZ.

According to Thomas Pehrson, the company’s general manager in China, the many reform policies in the zone, especially in the customs sector, have largely reduced its burden and enabled the company to deliver products and services globally with lower cost.

“Benefiting from reform and innovations in the Shanghai FTZ, Festo is planning for adjustment in our business in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.

“Festo China’s automation manufacturing plant, located in the Shanghai FTZ, will shift its focus from manufacturing to research and development (R&D), as well as delivery.

“The existing production center and R&D center in China will be expanded into Festo’s Asia-Pacific logistics center and customized production center,” he added.

Expanding jobs, helping pensioners Boosting employment a priority as government aims to cut disparity in social security of retirees

October 30-November 5, 2017
By HU YONGQI

huyongqi@chinadaily.com.cn

China will continue its policies to boost employment and make further efforts to coordinate pensions across provincial regions to help cover more people, a top human resources regulator said on Oct 22.

“We will continue the strategy to prioritize employment, especially to integrate with macroeconomic, industrial and financial policies, to create more jobs,” Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security, said at a news conference hosted by the press center of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

Professional training will be enhanced to help labor improve occupational skills and the ability to transfer to new posts, he said. Yin also said that in the next three years, more than 15 million jobs are needed every year, as the number of college graduates starts to exceed 8 million next year.

Central government officials take questions from reporters at a news conference about people’s livelihoods on Oct 22. They are, from left, Guo Weimin, vice-minister of the State Council Information Office; Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security; Chen Baosheng, minister of education; Huang Shuxian, minister of civil affairs; Wang Menghui, minister of housing and urban rural development; and Li Bin, minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission. Credit: Edmond Tang / China Daily

The government will also encourage business startups by promulgating favorable policies in loans, financing and the use of land, he said. “Meanwhile, we will provide high-quality services in employment, especially in Internet-based services, to provide help to everyone who wants to find a job,” he said.

Recent years have seen a slowing in the growth of the Chinese economy, but the country has managed to keep creating new employment opportunities. More than 13 million new jobs were created every year in the past five years in urban areas.

Yin said economic development helps create more jobs, which also benefit from administrative reforms to stimulate market vitality and social creativity. The central government has promoted business system reform to lower the threshold for startups and innovation, he said.

According to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, about 16,000 enterprises are registered each day in the world’s second-largest economy, enlarging employment. Journalists at the news conference also asked about retirees after hearing about the minister’s blueprint to increase jobs for the younger generation.

The country’s pension insurance fund has an accumulated surplus of more than 4 trillion yuan ($605 billion), but differences among provincial regions make it necessary to coordinate programs, Yin said.

Next year, the central government will fine-tune pensions among different regions as the first step to coordinate regional disparity, he said.

Eight provinces have entrusted the National Council for Security Fund to invest 400 billion yuan from their pension funds, as approved by the State Council, to maintain and increase their value.

More State-owned assets will be allocated to the social security fund to enlarge the scale of pensions, the minister added.

Foreign journalists witness a global event

October 30-November 5, 2017
By XINHUA

“China’s role in international affairs is becoming more important in all directions, especially in economic and political fields,” said Andrey Kirillov, Beijing bureau chief of Russia’s TASS news agency.

“China is the second-biggest economy, and for this reason, the situation inside China influences the whole world.” The congress is a “global event”, and it has attracted plenty of attention from foreign journalists because of its content, the issues raised and the problems being solved, Kirillov said.

All these issues are of great importance, including changes in China’s economic approach, formation of a new economic development model, changes in society, poverty relief and political issues such as a new leadership, he said.

“Journalists are also interested in China’s foreign policy,” he added.

The Russian news agency published 15 to 20 reports and a major summary on the first day of the congress on Oct 18, according to TASS journalist Nikolay Selishchev.

More than 3,000 journalists were in Beijing to cover the congress. Among them, 1,818 were from outside the Chinese mainland, including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, 6.7 percent more than at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Foreign reporters came from 134 countries, 19.6 percent more than at the previous congress, according to the congressional press center.

“Now China has a strong voice in foreign affairs, including politics and economics,” Kirillov said. “This is connected with the policies the country takes. So it is interesting to know what decisions about foreign policy and approaches to the world’s market development will be made at the congress.”

The Chinese currency has joined the elite reserve currency basket of the International Monetary Fund, or the Special Drawing Rights basket. Kirillov noted that it is an important shift for the yuan to become a currency unit used not only in trade inside China, but also in international financial operations.

For all these reasons, according to Kirillov, decisions made at the congress will be very important not only for China but for the whole world.

Ana Goguadze, a Georgian Sinologist and founder and president of Georgian-Chinese media platform Sinomedia, said that China has opened its door to the world and “showed its power and humanity”.

“The world is curious right now. I think we all want to see how far China can go. Everyone agrees that the country with the great past is becoming stronger and stronger every year,” Goguadze said.

Yuksel Mansur Kilinc of Turkey’s Yon Radyo radio station said that the Communist Party’s openness to foreign journalists is a display of confidence.

Yasuhito Watanabe, of Japan’s Kyodo News, agreed.

“We usually hear the official words from officials of the Foreign Ministry, but here at the congress, we get to hear the voices of grassroots CPC members,” Watanabe said.

Zhang Xixian, professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, said that one of the reasons the congress has drawn so much global attention is that China’s “comprehensive national strength” is rising.

“China’s contribution to world economic growth and its power in leading world development are on the rise, and the world is beginning to shift its focus to China,” he said.

“The advantages of the CPC political system are gradually showing, which brings attention to the Communist Party,” he said.

Zhang said that for almost 70 years, the CPC has helped developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Belt and Road Initiative to revive the ancient Silk Road trading routes has also attracted the attention of many countries.

Abdulwaheed Odusile, president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, said China and Nigeria are increasingly close and China has helped a lot with construction work in Nigeria. That is partly the reason their journalists came to cover “such an important event”, Odusile said.

“The 19th CPC congress is one that is open and transparent to the entire world, and it accepts acclaim as well as criticism,” Zhang said. “Such openness has a big impact on the world.”

Fulfilling the promise to end poverty Embroidery and equine skills put to work in Inner Mongolia show targeted measures taking effect toward a ‘moderately prosperous’ society

October 30-November 5, 2017
By CUI JIA and YUAN HUI

Mu Dan is proud that she can now produce all kinds of traditional Mongolian embroidery, much as her mother did. Even better, the 40-year-old farmer in Horqin Right Wing Middle Banner, in North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, is excited that her newly developed skills can lift her family out of poverty.

The banner, a county-level settlement, lies at the north of the grassland in Horqin, and 86 percent of its population hail from the Mongolian ethnic group. Horqin means “archer” in Mongolian.

The area is affected by severe desertification and a fragile environment, which means that farmers like Mu are constantly concerned that their land will be hit by natural disasters that could leave them destitute.

After years of problems, the banner was placed on a list of the most poverty-stricken places in the country.

However, as a result of initiatives promoted by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and president of China, the list will not be necessary after 2020 because the residents will be lifted out of poverty by then.

“Ensuring that poor people and impoverished areas will enter the ‘moderately prosperous’ society along with the rest of the country is a solemn promise made by our Party,” Xi said as he delivered a report to the 19th CPC National Congress on Oct 18.

The task is a formidable one. Winning the battle in areas of extreme poverty will be difficult, but with enough determination and the right measures, China can secure that victory, he said.

Mu explained how local conditions pushed her family into poverty. “In a good year, my husband and I can earn about 20,000 yuan ($3,000) a year by selling our crops. However, Inner Mongolia experienced a severe drought last year, so we almost had no income.”

Women take part in an embroidery class in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region’s Horqin Right Wing Middle Banner to learn how to decorate clothes, slippers and pillowcases with traditional designs. Photos provided to China Daily

In December, she began taking embroidery classes arranged by the local government where she learned how to decorate clothes, slippers and pillowcases. When complete, the items are sold online.

The classes are part of the government’s plan to make decisive progress in poverty alleviation. Every person living in poverty is now offered a tailor-made plan designed to suit their family circumstances, personal skills and even their interests.

Because Mongolians are passionate about horses and many learn to ride as children, the banner’s authorities decided to create jobs by developing the equine industry. In addition to breeding horses, young Mongolians are encouraged to become skilled riders and take part in races nationwide.

Xi first raised the idea of targeted poverty relief in November 2013, when he visited a village in Huayuan, a county in the central province of Hunan.

In June 2015, he explained the philosophy behind the strategy and its basic requirements while presiding at a CPC symposium on poverty relief and economic and social development in Guizhou province in Southwest China.

Starting in 2014, before the tailor-made plans were drafted, the authorities conducted detailed surveys and registration work. The surveys identified 29.48 million poverty-stricken families, 89.62 million poor people and 128,000 impoverished villages, while examining the sources of their poverty and determining the measures required to raise living standards.

The measures used in Horqin are perfect for Mu. “Embroidery is part of our ethnic group’s heritage, I really enjoy doing it,” she said. “I used to watch my mother doing it when I was a child. I’ve made more than 5,000 yuan in the last six months.”

The 2,600 women who were registered as poor and encouraged to join embroidery workshops earned an average of 2,000 yuan each between April and August, providing extra income for their families.

Now, 50 university graduates from the banner have established an association to help the women sell their embroidered products online.

Fu Lin, head of the association, said that they can sell as many as 200 pairs of slippers per day. “We expect online sales to rise in the future and the annual incomes of these hardworking women could reach between 5,000 and 8,000 yuan next year,” Fu said. “Every yuan counts in poverty alleviation.”

The determination and scale of the poverty-alleviation projects launched after the 18th CPC National Congress at the end of 2012 is unprecedented, according to Liu Yongfu, director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development.

From 2013 to 2016, the number of people living in poverty fell from 99 million to 43.36 million, and more than 10 million people will be lifted out of poverty this year, Liu said. In addition, the poverty ratio has fallen from 10.2 percent to less than 4 percent since 2012.

When he outlined the relief measures in 2014, Xi cited the key approaches as industrial development, relocation, environmental protection, education, social welfare and financial and medical support from the government.

He also encouraged financial input from industries and social forces, saying the social welfare system should provide basic living standards for the impoverished and unemployed.

China’s western areas have achieved the best results in poverty alleviation; the number of impoverished people has been halved in five years. However, these regions and a number of areas with large ethnic populations remain the biggest obstacles to achieving the goal of lifting the remaining 43.36 million people out of poverty on schedule.

Residents with an interest in horses have been encouraged to start equine-related businesses in Horqin Right Wing Middle Banner to boost their income. Most of the banner’s population hail from the Mongolian ethnic group.

At present, about 39 percent of the 281,800 people in Pishan county, Hotan prefecture, in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, live below the poverty line.

The county, designated a place of “extreme poverty”, lies next to the Taklimakan Desert, the largest arid area in the country, and about 99 percent of its population hail from ethnic groups, including Uygurs, Tajiks and Kyrgyzs.

Ahmet Memet, Party chief of Pishan, attended the National Congress in Beijing. Speaking on Oct 19, he said: “Although reaching the poverty-relief target is extremely challenging as a result of the historical, social and environmental factors in the county, there is no excuse for us not achieving the goal along with the rest of the country.”

After undertaking detailed analysis by visiting every impoverished household, the county authorities decided to help local people to raise the quality and output of agricultural produce, such as walnuts and dates, and improve water conservation facilities.

People living in harsh environments are also offered the opportunity to relocate.

“We fully respect their choices and make sure those who are willing to move can find new careers,” said Memet.

He added that more than 57,740 people were lifted out of poverty in Pishan between 2012 and last year.

When he delivered his report to the CPC National Congress on Oct 18, Xi stressed the role education plays in the eradication of poverty.

“We will pay particular attention to helping people gain greater confidence in their ability to lift themselves out of poverty and ensure that they have access to the education they need to do so,” he said.

Back in Horqin Right Wing Middle Banner, Mu has become a trainer at the embroidery workshop, earning an extra 100 yuan a day by teaching other women.

“In addition to making more money, I have become more confident,” she said. “I believe I can tackle more difficult patterns now.”

Contact the writers at cuijia@chinadaily.com.cn

Summing up China in three words Global elite from business and academia share their thoughts on the nation’s progress and prospects

October 30-November 5, 2017
By ANDREW MOODY
andrewmoody@chinadaily.com.cn

China is “committed”, “ambitious” and “vital”, according to Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

The billionaire philanthropist was among leading business figures, academics and opinion leaders from around the world who were asked to sum up China in just three words.

Apart from the somewhat obvious “big”, words which regularly came up from respondents were “innovative”, “dynamic” and “transforming”, reflecting some of the spirit of the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era outlined in the general secretary’s report to the 19th CPC National Congress.

Gates said he wanted his selection of words to reflect the fact that China was now “very important to the future of the entire world”.

“Committed, because — as much as any other country over the past few years — China has shown a commitment to health and development both at home and abroad. Ambitious, because of the targets it has set for itself, including wiping out extreme poverty by 2020. And vital, because we need an engaged and responsible China if we are to rid the world of what we call ‘solvable human misery’.”

Gary Locke, the former US ambassador to China, said it was important to reflect that China was building a new modernity while also not forgetting the foundation of its ancient culture.

“I would say ‘modern’, ‘ancient’ and ‘energetic’. China is on the move,” he said.

This combination of old and new was also reflected in the choices of Marine Jibladze, a Georgian Sinologist and author.

“It is both ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ as well as ‘safe’,” she said.

“Leaders matter and I think with Xi we are seeing the rise of a leader in China who will make a big difference,” said David Lampton, a US-based Sinologist.

Kerry Brown, director of the Lau Institute at King’s College London and author of a new book, China’s World, about China’s increasing global role, described the country as “dynamic”, “complex” and “aspirational”.

He said he wanted the words to reflect just how important China is to the rest of the world. “China has a new role. Domestic issues are global because of their size and scale.”

Scott Kennedy, deputy director of the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank based in Washington, said it was difficult to avoid the word “big” when it came to China, although he also went for “competitive” and “offering variety”, the last choice taking into account the diversity of the country.

“China is big,” he said. “It’s not just big geographically and in terms of its number of people but also on its effect on the global economy, markets and security issues. Anything you study about China has to start with its size.”

David Lampton, former president of the National Committee on United States-China Relations and now a Sinologist at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, went for “leaders” as well as “complicated” and “expectations”.

“Leaders matter and I think with Xi we are seeing the rise of a leader in China who will make a big difference,” he said.

Gerry Grimstone, chairman of Standard Life, the British insurance company, and former chairman of TheCityUK, a trade body for the United Kingdom’s financial services sector, stressed “opportunity” as well as “exciting” and “powerful”, because of the potential for UK-China business following Xi’s state visit to the UK in October 2015.

“The visit marked an improvement in the relations between the two countries and the beginning of a new ‘golden era’ of cooperation,” he said.

Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm, the US semiconductor and telecoms giant, chose “green” alongside “innovative” and “collaborative”.

Environmental sustainability and the plan to create a “beautiful China” was one of the messages in Xi’s report to the congress in the opening session.

“The Chinese government has attached great importance to ecological protection. During my recent visits to China, I have been impressed by the considerable efforts toward improving the environment,” Mollenkopf said.

Jeremy Hunter, CEO of the Chinese branch of Henkel, a German chemical and consumer goods company, had almost identical choices to Mollenkopf, varying only by noting “sustainable” rather than “green”.

“China has prioritized sustainable development as an important part of its national agenda and is making progress toward balancing economic development and sustainability,” Hunter said.

Xi made a defense of globalization in his speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January, at a time when protectionist noises were rising elsewhere in the world. So it is not surprising the word was chosen by a number of respondents.

It was one of the selections of Curt Ferguson, president of the Chinese arm of Coca-Cola, one of the world’s most global companies.

“One of the most visible changes in China is the abundance of Internet-based services,” said Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the OECD.

“China has become a champion of globalization,” he said. “We are very fortunate to have had the opportunity to forge strong local partnerships to serve Chinese consumers and share our experience of managing a truly international business in more countries and regions than there are members of the United Nations.”

Part of China’s commitment to globalization has been the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to revitalize the historical Silk Road trading routes. Lord Sassoon, chairman of the China Britain Business Council, said the initiative has been “transforming” and “influencing”.

“It has China’s biggest achievements of the past five years and it provides extensive opportunities for engagement,” he said.

Angel Gurria, the former Mexican foreign affairs and finance minister and now secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, emphasized “innovative” as well as “dynamic” and “flexible”.

“One of the most visible changes in China is the abundance of Internet-based services, including mobile payments and shared economy services,” he said. “These innovations have changed Chinese people’s lives, well ahead of many other more economically advanced countries.”

“Innovative” also featured in the choices of Alain Crozier, CEO of Microsoft China, alongside “dynamic” and “transforming”.

“China has really turned the corner from being a manufacturer and consumer of technology products and services invented by others to one that is developing real breakthroughs and real value that is relevant to the rest of the world.”

Colin Mackerras, a Sinologist and emeritus professor at Griffith University in Australia, selected “prosperous”, “confident” and “stronger”, since all three, he said, are reflected in Xi’s style of leadership.

“He stands out among contemporary world leaders for his rationality and common sense. He is very impressive.”

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