(—Part One of the “China in the Past Decade” series) The past decade since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has been extraordinary in terms of the development of the Party and China. The new development philosophy has taken root and major advances have been made in economic and social development. The most remarkable theoretical achievement of the past 10 years has been the formation of Xi Jinping’s thought on economics.
China’s gross domestic product (GDP) topped 114 trillion yuan (about $16.94 trillion) in 2021 and the country accounted for more than 18% of the global economy in 2021, up from 11.4% in 2012 China has both consolidated and enhanced its status as the world’s second largest economy. GDP per capita reached $12,500, close to the threshold for high-income economies. In recent years, China’s economic growth contribution to the global economy has stood at around 30 percent, making it the biggest engine of growth in the global economy.
China has steadily advanced innovation over the past decade. We have made innovation the main driver of development. The ratio of total national R&D expenditure to GDP rose from 1.91% to 2.44%, and China’s global innovation index fell from 34th to 12th place.
China is the world leader in building high-speed railways and 5G networks, major breakthroughs have been made in areas such as human spaceflight and Mars exploration, and great progress has been made. made in building an innovation-driven country.
China has steadily advanced coordinated development over the past decade. China’s urbanization rate increased from 53.1% to 64.7%, the ratio or gap of disposable income per capita between urban and rural residents decreased from 2.88:1 to 2.5 :1 and the Gini coefficient went from 0.474 to 0.466. Concrete measures have been taken to guarantee equal access to basic public services, and the balance, coordination and complementarity of regional development have continued to increase.
China has steadily advanced green development over the past decade. The change in China’s ecological environment has been historic, with fewer polluted days and stagnant bodies of water, as well as bluer skies and clearer waters and lush mountains. China’s artificial afforestation accounted for about a quarter of the world’s total, and its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP fell by about 34%.
The country also leads the world in installed capacity of wind, photovoltaic and other green energy, as well as production and sales of new energy vehicles. China has promoted the conclusion of the Paris Agreement, clearly announcing the goals of reaching peak CO2 emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060. It has made important contributions to promoting international cooperation. in the fight against climate change and the promotion of global environmental governance.
China has made steady progress in opening up over the past decade. The breadth and depth of China’s openness to the outside world has grown steadily. With its share of global merchandise exports rising from 11% to 15%, China maintained its position as the world’s leading merchandise trading nation.
We have fully implemented pre-establishment national treatment and a negative list management system for foreign investment, and the use of foreign investment has continued to increase. We have actively built a network of high-level free trade areas (FTZs), and the number of signed free trade agreements (FTAs) has increased from 10 to 19. We have established 21 FTAs and the port of free -Hainanan exchange, and created a series of new pioneers and proving grounds, forming a new pattern of comprehensive openness and high-level.
China has worked solidly on shared development over the past decade. We have provided a historic solution to the problem of absolute poverty, which has plagued the Chinese nation for thousands of years. We have lifted nearly 100 million rural residents out of poverty, making a significant contribution to reducing poverty around the world. We have built the largest system of education, social security and health care in the world. People’s average life expectancy has increased from 75.4 to 77.9 years, the proportion of the middle-income group has increased from about a quarter to a third, and people’s standard and quality of life have experienced continuous improvement.
Meanwhile, China is still a developing country and is still in the primary stage of socialism. People’s average income is relatively low, there is still room for improvement in our ecology and environment, and development is still unbalanced and insufficient. In particular, China still has a long way to go to achieve its second centenary goal of building a great modern socialist country in all respects, and there is still a big gap from world advanced levels.
We will be resolute and calm, we will keep arrogance and recklessness, stick to our original aspiration and continue our great effort. We will keep economic development as the core task, fully implement the new development philosophy, accelerate the establishment of a new development paradigm, and redouble our efforts for high-quality development in order to achieve sustainable development characterized by advanced production, higher living standards and better ecosystems.
(The author is Consul General of China in Karachi)
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022