China’s 13th Five-Year Plan: Sus­tain­abil­ity that Brings Op­por­tu­ni­ties for China and the World

Sus­tain­abil­ity that Brings Op­por­tu­ni­ties for China and the World

China Today (English) - - CONTENTS - By HEL­MUT MATT

THE eyes of the world were t rans­fixed on China last March, and the dis­cus­sions and re­views there of the com­pre­hen­sive draft of the coun­try’s 13th Five- Year Plan. Its land­mark pro­pos­als, which the Com­mu­nist Party of China ( CPC) raised at the end of Oc­to­ber 2015, sparked much spec­u­la­tion. The plan was adopted dur­ing the an­nual “two ses­sions” – the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress ( NPC) and Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence ( CPPCC) – which con­vened re­spec­tively on March 3 and March 5, 2016 in Bei­jing.

The cor­ner­stones of this draft, pub­lished in ad­vance of the “two ses­sions,” po­lar­ized at­ten­tion in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially among pun­dits har­bor­ing high ex­pec­ta­tions of these re­forms. Geared to trans­form­ing and per­fect­ing the Chi­nese econ­omy and to achiev­ing po­lit­i­cal and so­cial mod­ern­iza­tion, they im­ply op­por­tu­ni­ties and ad­van­tages for both China and the world as a whole.

The planned trans­for­ma­tion of China’s hith­erto in­vest­ment- and ex­port­driven eco­nomic sys­tem into a more sus­tain­able and con­sump­tion-driven model is of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est. Re­searchers and en­trepreneurs alike be­lieve that this change will cre­ate a more bal­anced so­cial struc­ture and bet­ter liv­ing stan­dards for the Chi­nese peo­ple.

More power to the mar­ket and less state in­vest­ment, and more per­sonal ini­tia­tive and fewer state mo­nop­o­lies are, in a nut­shell, the new con­cepts that Chi­nese lead­ers sought to im­ple­ment in ef­forts to deepen re­forms. China may now ex­pand its open­ing-up, so gen­er­at­ing a broad range of op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­vestors from all over the world, not least Ger­many.

Pe­ri­od­i­cal govern­ment con­sul­ta­tions are just one fea­ture of the long­stand­ing close and trust­ful co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Ger­many. The close ties be­tween our two coun­tries pro­vide a solid ba­sis for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment.

A brief glance at Chi­nese his­tory helps our un­der­stand­ing of the mag­ni­tude of China’s progress.

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In 1953, four years af­ter Mao Ze­dong pro­claimed the estab­lish­ment of the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of China, the CPC’s first five- year plan was for­mu­lated in rev­o­lu­tion­ary China un­der the lead­er­ship of the late Premier Zhou En­lai and his deputy Chen Yun. At that time, the coun­try was in the early throes of so­cial­ist re­struc­tur­ing.

The fo­cus of the first phase of so­cial­ist in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion was on de­vel­op­ing the coun­try’s heavy in­dus­try. As, in the 1950s, China was still a fun­da­men­tally agri­cul­tural econ­omy, the aim was to es­tab­lish a ba­sis on which to in­dus­tri­al­ize and pro­tect the na­tion.

In spite of these ini­tial con­sol­i­da­tion mea­sures, eco­nomic dif­fi­cul­ties nev­er­the­less arose which “New China” needed to tackle. With the help of the for­mer Soviet Union, how­ever, the young coun­try suc­cess­fully im­ple­mented its first Five-Year Plan, and achieved im­pres­sive growth.

At that time, no­body dreamed China’s so­cio-eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment would be such a spec­tac­u­lar suc­cess story. Although in its early years the coun­try was be­set with dif­fi­cul­ties and set­backs, the mea­sures that Deng Xiaop­ing took in 1978 marked the even­tual and cru­cial

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