“Two sessions” muster consensus, strength for China＇s modernization drive
BEIJING -- For any China observer, the "two sessions" provide a chance not to be missed to get a glimpse of how its grand blueprint for modernization turns into policies and actions.
With development and reform priorities reviewed and discussed by over 5,000 national lawmakers and political advisors ranging from farmers to state leaders, the annual meetings of China's top legislature and political advisory body serve to build up consensus and pool strength for the country's modernization drive.
An all-important political event, this year's "two sessions" took place after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) last October, which has laid out major policies and strategic plans for building a modern socialist country in all respects.
From common prosperity to high-quality development, the vision of the CPC and the will of the people converge at the Great Hall of the People on the action plan for modernization.
PROSPERITY FOR ALL
An array of development tasks for 2023 were mapped out in a government work report that was submitted to the national legislature for deliberation, focusing on steady and quality growth for the Chinese economy.
The report unveiled a target for the Chinese economy to expand by around 5 percent this year, faster than the 3-percent growth recorded in 2022. Other objectives include creating around 12 million urban jobs, consumer price index increasing around 3 percent, and personal income rising generally in step with economic growth.
The national legislature on Friday approved a plan for reforming the institutions of the State Council, which focuses on optimizing and adjusting the responsibilities of institutions to enhance the capacity and efficiency of governance.
While these moves will all make a difference in advancing China's modernization, the most challenging tasks remain in rural areas, which are generally less developed than the cities.
Dong Jianxin, Party secretary of Yuangudui Village in Dingxi, Gansu Province, said an affluent life, prosperous industries, an environment desirable to live in, and a stable and safe society full of goodwill were his vision of modernity.
Yuangudui was one of the 128,000 villages nationwide that had been removed from China's poverty list since 2012 thanks to its vigorous fight against poverty.
Contributing his wisdom to China's bid to revitalize the countryside, Dong, also a national lawmaker, put forward suggestions at the "two sessions" on attracting talent to rural regions and boosting rural tourism.
China should foster rural industries with local features to create more channels for increasing rural incomes and consolidate and expand the achievements in poverty alleviation to prevent large-scale relapse into poverty, according to the government work report.
Chinese modernization is the modernization of common prosperity for all, said President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, when participating in a joint group meeting of national political advisors on Monday.
In the eastern province of Zhejiang, a demonstration zone aiming to basically achieve common prosperity by 2035, local authorities are trying out various programs to narrow urban-rural income gap and ensure that no one will be left behind amid China's modernization drive.
Zhang Tianren, Party secretary of Xinchuan Village in Changxing County of Zhejiang, is leading villagers to develop rural tourism, leisure agriculture, and a homestay economy, shifting from a reliance on resource-intensive industries that brought about environmental damages.
To achieve common prosperity, targeted efforts must be made to foster industry clusters and chains, said Zhang, also a national lawmaker. "The road to common prosperity is bound to feature green and sound development that brings happiness to the people."
High-quality development is deemed as the "first and foremost" task in China's modernization bid, which entails development that is innovative, coordinated, green, open and for everyone.
China has placed innovation at the heart of its modernization drive. One eye-catching move in the country's reform of State Council institutions is to restructure its Ministry of Science and Technology to better allocate resources to overcome challenges in key and core technologies.
The reform also includes setting up a national data bureau to coordinate the integration, sharing, development and application of data resources, a key asset in a modern economy.
Building self-reliance and strength in science and technology is key to building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects within the set time frame, Xi said when attending a deliberation with lawmakers from Jiangsu Province during the "two sessions."
In its pursuit of high-quality development, China is trailblazing a new path of seeking harmony between humanity and nature.
To embrace green development, China's top political advisory body set up a new sector on the environment and resources this year to pool wisdom for the country's transition to a more eco-friendly and sustainable path.
The move is a solid step to promote environment conservation and high-quality development, said Yu Guodong, a national political advisor from the new sector.
Yu put forward five proposals this year on such issues as zero-waste cities and biodiversity conservation. "I look forward to working with my fellow advisors to contribute to promoting harmony between humanity and nature," he said.
The role of the private sector in pursuing high-quality development is highlighted. The government work report pledges "encouraging and supporting the private sector and private businesses in growing and expanding."
Private firms should take the initiative to pursue high-quality development, Xi said while attending Monday's joint group meeting of national political advisors, stressing that private enterprises and entrepreneurs "belong to our own family."
"The Party and the government remain committed to supporting the private sector. Neither the direction nor intensity of supportive policies has changed," said Liu Yonghao, chairman of China's agricultural conglomerate New Hope Group and a national political advisor.
Private enterprises can contribute largely to the development of Chinese modernization, said Wang Yu, board chairman of Spring Airlines and a national political advisor.
"With strong confidence in the overall stable business environment, companies will expand investment and explore new markets, and entrepreneurship will be effectively stimulated, fully unleashing market vitality and driving forces for development," said Wang.
Deputies to the national legislature make up a broad cross-section of people, with every region, ethnic group and sector of society having an appropriate number of representatives. The national political advisors also come from diverse backgrounds. They all have one common aspiration: to bring the largest-scale modernization in human history into reality.
This year, Chinese lawmakers submitted over 8,000 suggestions to the legislative session, while some 5,400 proposals had been put forward by national political advisors to the advisory session as of March 5. The suggestions and proposals covered a wide range of issues such as development of the real economy, pollution control, and accessibility to high-quality medical resources.
Xi has urged solidarity in the face of profound and complex changes in both international and domestic landscapes, noting that it is the source of strength.
"Only when all the people work together with one heart and one mind, unite as one, and have the courage and ability to carry out our fight, will we continue to win new and greater victories," said Xi.