April 20, 2021

GIL

Daily Global New Media

The Shape of Things To Come in China

6 min read


It’s Lianghui (“Two Sessions”) time – the annual ritual of the Beijing leadership. The stars of the show are the top political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference; and the traditional delivery of a work report by the Prime Minister to the top legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC).

The review of the draft outline of China’s 14th Five-Year Plan will proceed all the way to March 15. But in the current juncture, this is not only about 2025 (remember Made in China 2025, which remains in effect). The planning goes long-range towards targets in the Vision 2035 project (achieving “basic socialist modernization”) and even beyond to 2049, the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

Premier Li Keqiang, delivering the government work report for 2021, stressed that the target for GDP growth is “above 6%” (the IMF had previously projected 8.1%). That includes the creation of at least 11 million new urban jobs.

On foreign policy, Li could not draw a sharper contrast with the Hegemon: “China will pursue an independent foreign policy of peace” and will “promote the building of a new type of international relations”.


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That’s code for Beijing eventually working with Washington on specific dossiers, but most of all focusing on strengthening trade/investment/finance relations with the EU, ASEAN, Japan and the Global South.

The outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for the Chinese economy had already been designed last October, at the CCP plenum. The NPC will now approve it. The key focus is the “dual circulation” policy, whose best definition, translated from Mandarin, is “double development dynamics”.

That means a concerted drive to consolidate and expand the domestic market while continuing to push foreign trade/investment – as in the myriad Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects. Conceptually, this amounts to a quite sophisticated, very Daoist, yin and yang balancing.



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