4. Fighting three critical battles
To fulfill our key annual tasks, we need to make everyone involved clear about their responsibilities, strengthen policy implementation, and ensure that every element of work is done to good, solid effect.
First, we will strive for notable progress in forestalling and defusing major risks. At present, China’s economic and financial risks are on the whole manageable. What we need to do is to tackle both symptoms and root causes and take effective measures to defuse potential risks. There will be a serious crackdown on activities that violate the law like illegal fundraising and financial fraud. Debt-to-equity swaps and business acquisitions and reorganizations, conducted in a way consistent with market principles and the rule of law, will be accelerated. We will see that internal risk controls are tightened in financial institutions. We will strengthen coordination in financial regulation, improve regulation over shadow banking, internet finance, and financial holding companies, and further improve financial regulation. We will forestall and defuse local government debt risk. All forms of borrowing and debt underwriting that violate the law and regulations are strictly prohibited. Provincial-level governments should assume overall responsibility for debts incurred by local governments within their jurisdictions; governments below the provincial level should live up to their own responsibilities; and all must take active, prudent steps to deal with outstanding debt. We will improve the standard mechanisms for local governments to secure financing. This year, local government special bonds issued will total1.35 trillion yuan, an increase of 550 billion yuan year on year, to be used as a matter of priority for financing the smooth implementation of ongoing projects; and the scope of the use of special bonds will be appropriately expanded. The fundamentals of the Chinese economy remain sound, and we have many policy tools at our disposal. We are fully capable of forestalling systemic risks.
Second, we will step up targeted poverty alleviation. This year, we will further reduce the poor rural population by over 10 million, including 2.8 million people who are to be relocated from inhospitable areas. More will be done to alleviate poverty through the development of local industries, education, and healthcare, and through the development and conservation of local ecological resources. We will shore up weak links in infrastructure and public services, creating self-generated impetus to reduce poverty. We will do more to support areas affected by extreme poverty, and the central budget’s newly enlarged poverty reduction funds and related transfer payments will be weighted toward these areas. We will tailor measures to individuals and individual households to ensure that targeted poor populations, including elderly people, people with disabilities, and people with serious diseases, receive the assistance they need. Poverty relief policies will remain unchanged for those already lifted out of poverty while the battle goes on, and the newly poor and those who slip back into poverty will receive prompt support. Poverty alleviation funds will be better integrated and performance-based management will be strengthened. We will take targeted measures against corruption and misconduct in poverty alleviation, and improve the methods used in evaluation and oversight. We will continue to apply the current poverty alleviation standards and ensure that poverty reduction progresses as planned and meets all standards, so that our poverty alleviation work wins the approval of the people and stands the test of time.
Third, we will work to make greater progress in addressing pollution. We will consolidate the gains made in the fight to defend the blue of our skies. This year, we will cut sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by 3 percent and achieve a continuous decline in PM2.5 density in key areas. We will encourage upgrading in the steel and other industries to achieve ultra-low emissions. We will raise standards on the emission of pollutants, and set deadlines for meeting required discharge standards. A special program will be launched to reduce exhaust emissions by diesel trucks that exceed standards. We will continue efforts to prevent and control water and soil pollution. This year, chemical oxygen demand and ammonia nitrogen emissions will be cut by 2 percent. Water environments in key river basins and sea areas will be improved through comprehensive measures, and thorough action will be taken to clean up black, malodorous water bodies. We will strengthen the development of sewage treatment facilities, and improve policy on charges for their services. We will completely prohibit garbage from being brought into China. We will redouble efforts to protect and restore ecosystems, and finish setting redlines for ecological conservation across the country. This year, more than 6.67 million hectares of land will be afforested, and crop rotation and fallow land trials will be increased to cover 2 million hectares of farmland. Wetland protection and restoration will be expanded and pilot reforms for the national parks system will be continued. We will impose strict control over coastal area reclamation. Environmental laws and regulations will be strictly enforced. We all need to join hands and take action to build a Beautiful China where the skies are blue, the land is green, and the waters are clear.
5. Making strong moves in the rural revitalization strategy
Plans will be well designed and the institutions and mechanisms needed to achieve integrated urban-rural development will be improved. We will rely on reform and innovation to build powerful new growth drivers for rural development.
We will advance supply-side structural reform in agriculture. We will promote innovative development in the farming, forestry, livestock, fishing, and seed industries, speed up work on developing modern agriculture industrial parks and areas producing local specialty agricultural products, and ensure stable and optimized grain output. We will increase the area of high-standard cropland by at least 5.33 million hectares, and expand the coverage of efficient water-saving irrigation by 1.33 million hectares. We will cultivate new types of agribusiness and improve commercial services catering to small agricultural households. We will develop the Internet Plus Agriculture model, use multiple channels to increase rural incomes, and encourage the primary, secondary, and tertiary industries to develop in an integrated way in rural areas.
We will deepen all rural reforms. We will implement the policy extending second round rural land contracts by another 30 years upon their expiration. We will experiment with separating the ownership rights, qualification rights, and use rights for rural land designated for housing. We will improve the measures on offsetting cultivated land used for other purposes, and establish a mechanism that allows the surplus quotas produced by linking newly-added cropland quotas with the amount of land used for construction to be adjusted inter-provincially. All profit therefrom will be used to fight poverty and support rural revitalization. We will deepen reforms related to grain purchasing and storage, collective property rights, collective forest tenure, state forestry areas and farms, state farms, and supply and marketing cooperatives, and see that agriculture and rural areas are full of life and dynamism.
We will promote the full development of all programs in rural areas. We will improve the infrastructure for supplying water and power, for information, and so on, and build or upgrade 200,000 kilometers of rural roads. We will take steady steps in carrying out a three-year campaign to improve rural living environments, and continue the Toilet Revolution. We will encourage a shift away from outdated social practices. The rural governance model, based on self-governance, rule of law, and rule of virtue, will be improved. We will continue to pursue a Chinese path to socialist rural revitalization, and work faster to achieve agricultural and rural modernization.