Report on the Work of the Government
– Delivered at the First Session of the 13th National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China on March 5, 2018
Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council
On behalf of the State Council, I will now report to you on the government’s work of the past five years and lay out what we propose for this year’s work for your deliberation and approval. I also invite comments from the members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
I. I will begin with a review of our work over the past five years.
The five years since the first session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) have been a truly remarkable five years in the course of our country’s development. Facing an extremely complex environment both at home and abroad, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, has rallied and led the Chinese people of all ethnic groups to forge ahead. We have moved forward with the Five-Sphere Integrated Plan* and the Four-pronged Comprehensive Strategy**, and made new advances on all fronts of reform, opening-up, and socialist modernization. (* The “Five-sphere Integrated Plan” is a plan to promote coordinated economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological advancement. ** The “Four-pronged Comprehensive Strategy” is a strategy of comprehensive moves to finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, deepen reform, advance law-based governance, and strengthen Party self-governance.) At its 19th National Congress, the Party established the position in history of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and mapped out an inspiring blueprint and a program of action for securing a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and for striving for the success of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era. This is of great immediate significance and far-reaching historical significance. All regions and all government departments have strengthened their consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment. The new development philosophy has been thoroughly acted upon, the 12th Five-Year Plan has been fully completed, and implementation of the 13th Five-Year Plan has seen smooth progress. In economic and social development we have made historic achievements and seen historic change.
Over the past five years, economic strength has reached a new high. China’s gross domestic product (GDP) has risen from 54 trillion to 82.7 trillion yuan, registering average annual growth of 7.1 percent; and its share in the global economy has grown to roughly 15 percent, up from 11.4 percent. China’s contribution to global growth has exceeded 30 percent. Government revenue has increased from 11.7 trillion to 17.3 trillion yuan. Consumer prices rose at an average annual rate of 1.9 percent, maintaining a relatively low level of growth. More than 66 million new urban jobs have been added, and our country, with its population of over 1.3 billion, has achieved relatively full employment.
Over the past five years, the structure of the Chinese economy has seen a major transformation. With the share of the service sector rising from 45.3 to 51.6 percent of the economy, consumption’s contribution to growth has increased from 54.9 to 58.8 percent, becoming the main driver of growth. High-tech manufacturing has achieved an average annual increase of 11.7 percent, and the annual grain yield has reached 600 million metric tons. China’s urbanization rate has risen from 52.6 to 58.5 percent, and more than 80 million people who have relocated from rural to urban areas have gained permanent urban residency.
Over the past five years, innovation-driven development has yielded fruitful outcomes. China’s investment in research and development (R&D) has grown at an average annual rate of 11 percent, ranking second in the world in scale. The contribution of technological advances to economic growth has risen from 52.2 to 57.5 percent. In manned spaceflight, deep-water exploration, quantum communications, large aircraft development, and more, China has seen a stream of major outcomes of innovation. In high-speed rail, e-commerce, mobile payments, and the sharing economy, China is leading the world. The Internet Plus model has permeated every industry and every field. Business startups and innovation are thriving all over the country, and the average number of new businesses opened daily has risen from over 5,000 to more than 16,000. Rapidly emerging new growth drivers are reshaping China’s growth model, are profoundly changing the way we live and work, and have become a new hallmark of China’s innovation-driven development.
Over the past five years, significant headway has been made in reform and opening-up. In reform, we have made strong moves across the board, secured major advances in many areas, and driven deeper in pursuing progress, making breakthroughs in reforms in important fields and key links. Reforms to streamline administration and delegate powers, improve regulation, and optimize services, have driven profound shifts in the functions of government, and significantly strengthened market dynamism and public creativity. The Belt and Road Initiative has been making major progress. The composition of both Chinese foreign trade and foreign investment in China has been improved, with volumes ranking among the largest in the world.
Over the past five years, living standards have been constantly improving. We have made decisive progress in the fight against poverty: More than 68 million people have been lifted out of poverty, including a total of 8.3 million relocated from inhospitable areas, and the poverty headcount ratio has dropped from 10.2 to 3.1 percent. Personal income has increased by an annual average of 7.4 percent, outpacing economic growth and creating the world’s largest middle-income group. Tourist departures have grown from 83 million to over 130 million. Social old-age pension schemes now cover more than 900 million people, and the basic health insurance plans cover 1.35 billion people, forming the largest social safety net in the world. On average, life expectancy has reached 76.7 years. Over 26 million housing units have been rebuilt in rundown urban areas, and more than 17 million dilapidated houses have been renovated in rural areas. Thanks to these efforts, more than one hundred million Chinese have moved into new homes.
Over the past five years, the environment has seen gradual improvement. To address air, water, and soil pollution, we have designed and enforced a ten-point list of measures for each and achieved solid progress. Both energy and water consumption per unit of GDP have fallen more than 20 percent, the release of major pollutants has been consistently declining, and the number of days of heavy air pollution in key cities has fallen 50 percent. Forest coverage has increased by 10.87 million hectares, and the area of desertified land has been reduced by close to 2,000 square kilometers on average each year. Encouraging progress has been made in green development.
In the year just passed, all main targets and tasks for economic and social development were accomplished and performance has exceeded expectations. GDP grew 6.9 percent and personal income rose 7.3 percent, both beating the previous year’s growth rates. Around 13.51 million new urban jobs were created, and the jobless rate was the lowest in recent years. Industrial growth began to rebound, and corporate profits increased 21 percent. Government revenue grew 7.4 percent, reversing the slowdown in growth. The total import and export value rose 14.2 percent. Inward foreign investment reached 136.3 billion U.S. dollars, hitting a new all-time high. The state of play in the economy was good, with growth and quality, structural improvement, and performance each reinforcing the other. This is the result of the cumulative effect of a raft of major policies over the past five years and of consistent efforts in all areas of endeavor.
Over the past five years, the ground-breaking achievements made on every front and the profound and fundamental changes that have taken place, have attracted global attention and are the pride and inspiration of all of us in China.