Full-text & highlights of government work report
China sets GDP target of "around 5%" for 202
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivered a government work report on behalf of the State Council at the opening meeting of the first session of the 14th National People's Congress, held at the Great Hall of the People on Sunday morning.
Your Ginger River has uploaded the Report on the Work of the Government [Chinese] [English], the Report on China's national economic and social development plan [Chinese] [English], and the Report on China's central and local budgets [English] to Google Drive for you to download and share with others. Please note the official Chinese version of the reports will be released by Xinhua News Agency/此报告以本次大会最后审议通过并由新华社公布的文本为准. GRR has also created a "Two Sessions" page including the introduction, key events, articles and documents for your easy reference.
Below are some highlights of the government work report. It is selected by your Ginger River, focusing mostly on the priorities of the work in 2023 and a brief recap of the work of the past years.
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Li Keqiang first summarized the main achievements of the past year and concluded the past five years.
On the past year
In the face of high winds and choppy waters in the international environment and challenging tasks in promoting reform, development, and stability at home, the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core brought together the Chinese people of all ethnic groups and led them in meeting difficulties head-on.
Over the past year, China’s economy was impacted by Covid-19 and other domestic and international factors beyond our expectations. However, under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee, we carried out Covid-19 response and pursued economic and social development in an effective and well-coordinated way; and we improved and adjusted response measures in view of virus variations and the evolving dynamics of epidemic prevention and control.
We formulated plans for the task of ensuring overall economic stability ... Overcoming great difficulties and challenges, we succeeded in maintaining overall stable economic performance. Amid a complex and fluid environment, we were able to generally accomplish the main targets and tasks for the year. Such achievements are a testament to the tremendous resilience of China’s economy.
Gross domestic product (GDP) of the year grew by 3 percent.
A total of 12.06 million urban jobs were added, with the year-end surveyed urban unemployment rate falling to 5.5 percent.
The consumer price index (CPI) rose by 2 percent.
The total volume of trade in goods rose by 7.7 percent.
The deficit-to-GDP ratio was kept at 2.8 percent.
A basic equilibrium was maintained in the balance of payments.
Grain output reached 685 million metric tons, an increase of 3.7 million metric tons.
On the past five years
Economic strength reached new heights.
China’s GDP increased to 121 trillion yuan, registering an annual growth rate of 5.2 percent over the past five years. Over the past decade, GDP has increased by almost 70 trillion yuan at an annual rate of 6.2 percent. We have achieved a medium-high rate of economic growth given our large economic aggregate and transitioned to high-quality development. Government revenue increased to 20.4 trillion yuan. Annual grain output remained steady at over 650 million metric tons for several consecutive years. The total value-added of industry exceeded the 40-trillion-yuan mark, and average yearly urban jobs growth hit more than 12.7 million. Foreign exchange reserves remained stable at over US$3 trillion. These figures show that China’s economic strength has increased significantly.
The critical fight against poverty was won.
Thanks to eight years of continued efforts, close to 100 million poor rural residents and a total of 832 impoverished counties were lifted from poverty, including more than 9.6 million poverty-stricken people relocated from inhospitable areas. We have thus, once and for all, resolved the problem of absolute poverty in China.
Fruitful gains were made in scientific and technological innovation.
We established a new system for mobilizing resources nationwide to make key technological breakthroughs, opened a number of national laboratories, and reorganized key national laboratories in several batches.
Breakthroughs were made in core technologies in key fields, and a stream of innovations emerged in areas such as manned spaceflight, lunar and Martian exploration, deep sea and deep earth probes, supercomputers, satellite navigation, quantum information, nuclear power technology, airliner manufacturing, and artificial intelligence.
As spending on R&D increased from 2.1 percent to over 2.5 percent of GDP, the contribution of scientific and technological progress to economic growth exceeded 60 percent. The capacity of innovation to sustain development was enhanced continuously.
The economic structure was further improved.
The value-added of high-tech manufacturing and of equipment manufacturing increased by an annual average of 10.6 percent and 7.9 percent respectively. China’s digital economy continued to grow in strength. The value-added of new industries and new business forms and models accounted for over 17 percent of GDP. We fully implemented the coordinated regional development strategy and major regional development strategies. The share of permanent urban residents in the total population rose from 60.2 percent to 65.2 percent. The rural revitalization strategy was implemented across the board. New drivers of growth developed at a much faster pace.
Infrastructure was further upgraded.
Work began on the construction of major water conservancy projects such as those against floods and droughts and those for water diversion. The length of in-service high-speed railways increased from 25,000 kilometers to 42,000 kilometers, and the expressway network expanded from 136,000 kilometers to 177,000 kilometers. In rural areas, 1.25 million kilometers of road were newly built or upgraded. The passenger handling capacity of airports increased by 400 million.Installed power capacity increased by more than 40 percent. Gigabit internet services covered all prefecture-level cities, and broadband internet was installed in every administrative village in China.
Reform and opening up were deepened.
We deepened reform and opening up across the board in an effort to create a new pattern of development. We further promoted supply-side structural reform and reforms to streamline government administration, delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services. Thanks to these endeavors, a notable improvement has been made in the business environment.
Joint efforts to advance the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) made solid headway. China played its part for the entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which has created the world’s largest free trade zone. China’s total volume of trade in goods exceeded 40 trillion yuan, registering an annual growth rate of 8.6 percent. It has thus been the top global trader for many years running. China is now both a major destination for foreign investment and a leading global outbound investor.
The quality of the eco-environment improved significantly.
Energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped by 8.1 percent, and carbon dioxide emissions fell by 14.1 percent. In cities at and above the prefecture level, the average concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) dropped by 27.5 percent and the number of days with heavy air pollution fell by over 50 percent. The proportion of surface water bodies of good quality increased from 67.9 percent to 87.9 percent.
The first group of national parks were established, and over 9,000 nature reserves spanning all categories and levels were established. We have made significant strides in building a Beautiful China.
Living standards rose steadily.
Personal income grew generally in step with economic growth. The CPI rose at an annual rate of 2.1 percent. The average length of schooling for new entrants to the workforce rose from 13.5 years to 14 years. Basic old-age insurance now covers 1.05 billion people, an increase of 140 million over the past five years. Basic medical insurance saw steady improvement. Over the past decade, we have rebuilt more than 42 million housing units in run-down urban areas, and over 100 million people have moved into new apartments.
On 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games
After many years of meticulous preparation, we successfully presented the world with streamlined, safe, and splendid 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, thus making great contributions to promoting the Olympic movement as well as solidarity and friendship among the peoples of all countries.
Since Covid-19 struck more than three years ago, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has placed the people and their lives above all else.
It has boosted supplies of medical resources and materials, made every effort to ensure treatment for all patients, effectively safeguarded our people’s health and safety, and improved and adjusted response policies and measures in light of changing conditions. The Chinese people have pulled through with fortitude and resilience and secured a major and decisive victory in the fight against Covid-19.
Throughout this truly remarkable endeavor, all localities, departments, and organizations have made tremendous efforts, people in various sectors have worked together to get through tough times, and all medical personnel have remained fearless in the face of adversity. Most notably, our people in their hundreds of millions have prevailed over many difficulties and challenges, made great sacrifices, and played their due part. It has not been an easy journey for anyone, but together we have overcome the huge challenge of Covid-19. As the pandemic is not yet over, we must keep working to consolidate our achievements in both Covid-19 response and economic and social development.
Li then talked about the difficulties and challenges confronting China
While recognizing our achievements, we are keenly aware that China is still a large, developing country. It remains in the primary stage of socialism with prominent imbalances and inadequacies in its development. Today, many difficulties and challenges still confront us.
Uncertainties in the external environment are on the rise. Global inflation remains high, global economic and trade growth is losing steam, and external attempts to suppress and contain China are escalating.
At home, the foundation for stable growth needs to be consolidated, insufficient demand remains a pronounced problem, and the expectations of private investors and businesses are unstable. MSMEs and self-employed individuals face multiple difficulties in business and production operations. The task of maintaining employment stability is challenging, and the budgetary imbalances of some local governments are substantial. There are many risks and hidden dangers in the real estate market. The operating risks of some small and medium financial institutions have been exposed.
There are still many institutional barriers hindering development. Our capacity for scientific and technological innovation needs to be further improved. We still have a long way to go in protecting the environment. There are still major weak links in urban and rural infrastructure for disaster prevention and mitigation and other purposes. Weak links also persist in areas important to the people’s lives.
Pointless formalities and bureaucratism remain acute issues. Some local governments have used one-size-fits-all approaches or taken excessive measures when implementing policies. Some officials fail to fulfill their duties, act arbitrarily, or have a narrow focus in work. Some are detached from reality, go against the public will, or disregard the legitimate rights and interests of the people. Corruption remains a common problem in some fields, sectors, and localities. Regarding government work, the people have expressed some views and suggestions which deserve our full attention.
We must face these problems and challenges squarely, make every effort to make improvements, and do all we can to live up to the people’s trust.
Then the premier shared his recommendations for the direction of the government work of 2023
This year is the first year for fully implementing the guiding principles from the Party’s 20th National Congress. For the government to deliver, it is important, under the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, to do the following:
follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era;
implement the guiding principles from the Party’s 20th National Congress;
act on the guidelines of the Central Economic Work Conference;
make solid progress in advancing Chinese modernization;
act on the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability;
fully and faithfully apply the new development philosophy on all fronts and move faster to create a new pattern of development;
promote high-quality development;
give full consideration to both domestic and international imperatives;
respond to Covid-19 and pursue economic and social development in a more coordinated way;
better ensure development and security;
deepen reform and opening up in all respects;
boost market confidence;
pursue the strategy of expanding domestic demand and deepen supply-side structural reform;
give priority to ensuring stable growth, employment, and prices;
effectively prevent and defuse major risks;
promote a full economic recovery;
effectively pursue higher-quality growth and appropriately increase economic output;
keep working to improve people’s lives and maintain overall social stability.
These efforts will set the stage for building a modern socialist country in all respects.
He further listed the main projected targets for development this year, including an "around 5 percent" GDP growth target and stressed prioritizing economic stability and pursuing progress while ensuring stability.
GDP growth of around 5 percent;
around 12 million new urban jobs;
surveyed urban unemployment rate of around 5.5 percent;
CPI increase of around 3 percent;
growth in personal income that is generally in step with economic growth;
steady increases in both the volume and quality of imports and exports;
a basic equilibrium in the balance of payments;
grain output of over 650 million metric tons;
continued reductions in energy consumption per unit of GDP and in the discharge of major pollutants, with priority on controlling fossil fuel consumption;
steady improvements in the quality of the eco-environment.
On prioritizing economic stability and pursuing progress while ensuring stability
This year, it is essential to prioritize economic stability and pursue progress while ensuring stability. Policies should be kept consistent and targeted, and they should be carried out in more coordinated way to create synergy for high-quality development.
We should enhance the intensity and effectiveness of our proactive fiscal policy. A deficit-to-GDP ratio of 3 percent has been projected for this year. We should improve preferential tax and fee policies, and extend and further refine policies on tax and fee cuts, tax rebates, and tax deferrals as the situation requires. We should see that at the primary level, basic living needs are met, salary payments are ensured, and normal government functioning is maintained.
We should do more to implement a prudent monetary policy in a targeted way. The M2 money supply and aggregate financing should increase generally in step with nominal economic growth to provide support for the real economy. The RMB exchange rate should be kept generally stable at an adaptive, balanced level.
In adopting industrial policies, we should give consideration to both development and security imperatives. We should promote the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries, cultivate and strengthen strategic emerging industries, and take forceful steps to shore up weak links in industrial chains.
Scientific and technological policies should aim at building up our country’s strength and self-reliance in science and technology. The new system for mobilizing resources nationwide should be improved, we should better leverage the role of the government in pooling resources to make key technological breakthroughs, and enterprises should be the principal actors in innovation.
Social policies should meet basic living needs. To effectively ensure people’s basic wellbeing, we should take concrete measures to fully implement the employment-first policy and place a higher priority on promoting the employment of young people, particularly college graduates.
Li listed eight key priorities of the government work of 2023
This year, a new central government leadership will be elected. Going forward, the work outlined in the previous section of this report relating to economic and social development must be pushed forward with relentless efforts. I would now like to brief you on several key priorities.
1. Expanding domestic demand
We should give priority to the recovery and expansion of consumption. The incomes of urban and rural residents should be boosted through multiple channels. We should stabilize spending on big-ticket items and promote recovery in consumption of consumer services. We should see that government investment and policy incentives effectively drive investment society-wide.
It is proposed that 3.8 trillion yuan be allocated for special-purpose bonds for local governments this year. Implementation of major projects set out in the 14th Five-year Plan will be sped up. Urban renewal projects should also be launched.
We should promote complementary development between regions and see that each region fully leverages its strengths. We should encourage and attract more private capital into major state projects and projects aimed at addressing areas of weakness in order to stimulate private investment.
2. Accelerating the modernization of the industrial system
We should, with a focus on key industrial chains in the manufacturing sector, pool quality resources and make concerted efforts to achieve breakthroughs in core technologies in key fields.
We should redouble efforts to explore and develop important energy and mineral resources, discover more reserves, and boost production. We should speed up the digitalization of traditional industries and SMEs to make them higher-end, smarter, and more eco-friendly. R&D and application of cutting-edge technologies should be accelerated. We should improve the modern logistics system. We should strive to develop the digital economy, step up regular oversight, and support the development of the platform economy.
3. Unswervingly consolidating and developing the public sector and unswervingly encouraging, supporting, and guiding the development of the non-public sector
We should deepen reform of state-owned capital and SOEs and enhance the core competitiveness of SOEs. We should continue with a category-based approach to reform and see that SOEs fulfill both their economic and social responsibilities and that they improve their modern corporate governance with distinctive Chinese features.
We should, in accordance with the law, protect the property rights of private enterprises and the rights and interests of entrepreneurs. We should encourage and support the private sector and private businesses in growing and expanding and support MSMEs and self-employed individuals in business development.
We should cultivate a cordial and clean relationship between government and business and create an environment in which enterprises under all forms of ownership can compete and grow on a level playing field. Effective measures and policies should be rolled out to boost market expectations and confidence.
4. Intensifying efforts to attract and utilize foreign investment
We should expand market access and continue to open up the modern services sector. We should ensure national treatment for foreign-funded companies.
We should take active steps to see China join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and accede to other high-standard economic and trade agreements, and steadily expand institutional opening up by proactively adopting relevant rules, regulations, management, and standards. We should continue to leverage the role of imports and exports in driving economic growth. We should improve services for foreign-funded companies and facilitate the launch of landmark foreign-funded projects.
With a vast and open market, China is sure to provide even greater business opportunities for foreign companies in China.
5. Effectively preventing and defusing major economic and financial risks
We need to deepen reform of the financial system, improve financial regulation, and see that all those involved assume their full responsibilities to guard against regional and systemic financial risks. We should ensure effective risk prevention and mitigation in high-quality, leading real estate enterprises, help them improve debt-to-asset ratios, and prevent unregulated expansion in the real estate market to promote stable development of the real estate sector.
To prevent and defuse local government debt risks, we should improve the mix of debt maturities, reduce the burden of interest payments, and prevent a build-up of new debts while working to reduce existing ones.
6. Stabilizing grain output and advancing rural revitalization
We should keep total grain acreage at a stable level, promote the production of oilseed crops, and launch a new drive to increase grain production capacity by 50 million metric tons. We should improve contingency plans for ensuring the provision of agricultural supplies at stable prices. We should ramp up the development of high-standard cropland, facilities for irrigation and water conservancy, and other agricultural infrastructure. We should invigorate the seed industry and support the development of agricultural science, technology, and equipment.
Rural industries with local features should be fostered to create more channels for increasing rural incomes. Our achievements in poverty alleviation should be consolidated and expanded to prevent large-scale relapse into poverty. Rural development initiatives should be advanced. We must meticulously and effectively carry out work related to the extension of rural land contracts for an additional 30 years.
7. Continuing the transition to green development
Pollution prevention and control should be intensified. We should improve urban-rural environmental infrastructure and continue to implement major projects for protecting and restoring key ecosystems. We should promote R&D for the clean and efficient use of coal and move faster to develop a new energy system.
We should improve policies for green development, develop the circular economy, promote efficient and intensive use of resources, advance energy conservation and carbon reduction in key areas, and continue working to keep our skies blue, waters clear, and lands clean.
8. Meeting people’s basic living needs and developing social programs
We should improve the housing support system, support people in buying their first homes or improving their housing situation, and help resolve the housing problems of new urban residents and young people.
We should promote high-quality, balanced development and urban-rural integration of compulsory education, intensify efforts to develop vocational education, and continue to explore new ground in higher education. We should see that more quality medical resources are channeled toward the community level and more evenly distributed among regions.
We need to improve elderly care services and refine supporting policies on childbirth. We should protect the legitimate rights and interests of women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. We should see that service members and their families, ex-service members, and other entitled groups receive the benefits and subsidies they are entitled to.
We should develop cultural programs and the cultural sector. We should work to make social governance more effective. Workplace safety supervision should be strengthened, and disaster prevention, mitigation, and relief efforts should be bolstered.
We should fully apply a holistic approach to national security and advance the Peaceful China Initiative to a higher level.
We should implement our Party’s overall policy for the new era on resolving the Taiwan question, adhere to the one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus, and take resolute steps to oppose “Taiwan independence” and promote reunification. We should promote the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and advance the process of China’s peaceful reunification.
As we Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are one family bound by blood, we should advance economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation across the Taiwan Strait and improve the systems and policies that contribute to the wellbeing of our Taiwan compatriots. We should encourage people on both sides of the Strait to jointly promote Chinese culture and advance China’s rejuvenation.
On foreign policy
We should stay committed to an independent foreign policy of peace and to peaceful development and pursue friendship and cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.
We should remain firm in pursuing a strategy of opening up for mutual benefit. We should continue working to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development, and uphold the international order.
China stands ready to work with the international community to put into action the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and the Global Security Initiative (GSI) and promote the shared values of humanity.
Let us join hands to promote the building of a human community with a shared future and safeguard world peace and regional stability.
Li concluded the government work report by saying:
Great achievements can only come from hard work; a bright future can only be secured through solid efforts.
Let us rally more closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, hold high the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and fully implement the guiding principles from the Party’s 20th National Congress.
Let us forge ahead with perseverance and resolve, promote sound and sustainable economic and social development, and keep working to build a modern socialist country in all respects.
Let us strive to advance national rejuvenation on all fronts and build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful.
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