Peo­ple-ori­ented re­form a boon to so­ci­ety

China Daily (Canada) - - VIEWS -

The Com­mu­nist Party of China should al­ways stay true to its mis­sion to serve the peo­ple, CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Xi Jin­ping em­pha­sized in his re­port de­liv­ered at the open­ing cer­e­mony of 19th CPC Na­tional Congress on Wed­nes­day.

He said the peo­ple-ori­ented de­volve­ment phi­los­o­phy has en­abled China to achieve tremen­dous progress in the past five years: more than 60 mil­lion peo­ple have been lifted out of poverty, ed­u­ca­tion in rel­a­tively un­de­vel­oped cen­tral and west­ern ar­eas, es­pe­cially in ru­ral ar­eas, has been im­proved, em­ploy­ment has re­mained steady, with the cre­ation of 13 mil­lion new job op­por­tu­ni­ties ev­ery year, the cov­er­age of the so­cial se­cu­rity and the health­care sys­tems has been ex­panded, and in­comes have con­tin­ued to rise, ex­pand­ing the mid­dle-in­come pop­u­la­tion.

Over the past five years, China has taken a peo­ple-ori­ented ap­proach to eco­nomic growth, thereby ad­vanc­ing the phi­los­o­phy of de­vel­op­ment, which is a key fea­ture of China’s new stage of de­vel­op­ment.

Thanks to al­most four decades of re­form and open­ing-up and the re­sul­tant fast eco­nomic growth, Chi­nese peo­ple’s liveli­hoods have im­proved tremen­dously. But the un­prece­dented eco­nomic growth has also re­sulted in widen­ing wealth gaps, in­dus­trial over­ca­pac­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion. Now that the ba­sic needs of most of the Chi­nese peo­ple have been met, it’s time to im­prove the ju­di­cial, se­cu­rity, health­care sys­tems and meet their cul­tural needs so that they en­joy all-round de­vel­op­ment.

China also needs to progress from get­ting rich to get­ting strong.

Xi has said the pur­pose of the over­all re­form is to en­able the coun­try to bet­ter meet peo­ple’s grow­ing needs for a bet­ter life.

The 2008 global fi­nan­cial cri­sis made the West­ern world re­al­ize that wealth alone can­not en­sure sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. On the con­trary, it cre­ated bub­bles, and when those bub­bles burst, it brought the en­tire world econ­omy to its knees. Worse, driven by the lure of profit, many pro­duc­ers have ex­ploited nat­u­ral re­sources gravely dam­ag­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

As a re­sult many peo­ple have been pushed to the fringes of so­ci­ety where they feel in­creas­ingly alien­ated.

The fi­nan­cial cri­sis that orig­i­nated in the West has con­sol­i­dated China’s be­lief that it must al­ways fol­low a peo­ple-ori­ented pol­icy for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, as op­posed to the blind pur­suit of profit that dis­torts the dis­tri­bu­tion of re­sources. Such an ap­proach means peo­ple’s hap­pi­ness should be the main goal of de­vel­op­ment, and all el­e­ments, in­clud­ing cap­i­tal, tech­nolo­gies and sys­tems must be fash­ioned to serve that aim.

In this re­gard, so­cial­ism with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics gives China a unique ad­van­tage. Take med­i­cal re­form. In the city of San­ming in East China’s Fu­jian prov­ince, for in­stance, the cost of medicines have de­clined by about half af­ter the in­tro­duc­tion of med­i­cal re­forms while the in­come of med­i­cal staff has in­creased, set­ting a good ex­am­ple for the whole coun­try.

In com­par­i­son, the med­i­cal re­form led by for­mer US pres­i­dent Barack Obama was op­posed by mul­ti­ple in­ter­est groups that deeply in­flu­ence US pol­i­tics, and halted by in­cum­bent US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. Which means the US is still the largest de­vel­oped coun­try with­out uni­ver­sal med­i­cal in­sur­ance.

Since the 18th Party Congress in 2012, the CPC has taken mul­ti­ple mea­sures, such as those to re­duce poverty, im­prove so­cial se­cu­rity and re­duce the in­come gap, to im­prove peo­ple’s lives and liveli­hoods.

Last year, China’s Engel’s co­ef­fi­cient, a ma­jor in­di­ca­tor of peo­ple’s liv­ing stan­dards, fell by 2.9 per­cent­age points com­pared with the 2012 fig­ure to reach 30.1 per­cent, close to the United Na­tions welloff line.

The av­er­age dis­pos­able in­come of Chi­nese peo­ple last year was 23,821 yuan ($3,579), 44.3 per­cent higher than that in 2012.

More­over, the ur­ban-ru­ral in­come gap has shrunk from 2012 to 2016, as the av­er­age dis­pos­able in­come of ru­ral res­i­dents has grown 1.5 per­cent­age points faster than that of their ur­ban coun­ter­parts. And the num­ber of peo­ple liv­ing in poverty de­clined from 98.99 mil­lion in 2012 to 43.35 mil­lion last year, which means about 14 mil­lion peo­ple were lifted out of poverty ev­ery year from 2012 to 2016.

All these show China’s re­forms over the past five years have been peo­ple-ori­ented and ben­e­fited the peo­ple.

The au­thor is an as­so­ciate re­searcher at the De­vel­op­ment Re­search Cen­ter of the State Coun­cil.

SHI YU / CHINA DAILY

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