China’s political leaders will soon give important messages

07:00 by Hubert Fromlet, Kalmar

At the end of next week, China’s most important political decision makers and delegates from all over the country will come together in Beijing to join the National People’s Congress (NPC), the formal legislative organ of the People’s Republic and often in the West described as a kind of parliament. The NPC is always – both formally and informatively – an important event. This year, the NPC should be regarded as even more important than usual (more about this below). There are at least five outstanding ingredients the Chinese leaders probably will promote at the NPC as success stories of yesterday, today, and probably tomorrow:

¤  the elimination of absolute poverty in 2020 – indeed a major success;

¤  not the situation but the consequence of the political tensions with the U.S. and the EU, making it possible for China to demonstrate its capacity of increasing political and military power; exciting to watch what tone with the U.S will be applied;

¤  the superiority of China in the systemic fight against covid-19, and the achievement having been the only major economy with positive GDP growth in 2020; furthermore, I really would be surprised if the official GDP forecast for 2021 looked modest; 8 is the luckiest number in China, so I predict a GDP goal in 2021 at 8% (or somewhat lower, 7-8%);

¤  the new 5-year plan, possibly being presented again in a positive Communist Party (CPC) centenary spirit with more details – maybe including applicable plans how possibly to convert China into a high-income country;

¤  the strong vision of making it possible for China to double its GDP per capita by 2035 – hopefully explained by revealing details.

2021: A very special year – the centenary of the Communist Party of China

All these – in CPC sense – good news for the Chinese people will be embedded in a particularly positive way because of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist Party of China. This should be kept in mind when interpreting different NPC speeches starting on March 5.

It will be very interesting to observe how concrete or vague different objectives will be presented at the NPC – particularly when it comes to China’s high-tech future and the way to manage the objectives of the “Made in China 2025 plans” and beyond. What will the President of China and CPC Chairman Xi Jinping tell the NPC audience more concretely about the long-term objectives and projects until 2035? Hopefully more about envisaged social and environmental improvements. Certain official hints in this direction have already been made in a previous official outline for long-term goals until 2035.

Finally, I am very keen to know whether a reasonable evaluation of the reform plans from the Third Plenum of 2013 until 2020 will be presented (which originally was planned for 2020). Last year, I could not find any detailed evaluation.

Hubert Fromlet
Affiliate Professor at the School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University
Editorial board


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