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A Historic Leap Toward the Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation

By CPC Leadership Group of the National Development and Reform Commission Source: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2021-11-15

After a century of struggle and many more centuries of yearning, the dream of achieving moderate prosperity in all respects has now finally come true. Speaking at the ceremony marking the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), President Xi Jinping declared to the world: "through the continued efforts of the whole Party and the entire nation, we have realized the First Centenary Goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. This means that we have brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China, and we are now marching in confident strides toward the Second Centenary Goal of building China into a great modern socialist country." The realization of moderate prosperity in all respects marks a magnificent chapter in the 5,000-year history of the Chinese nation, illustrates the Party's steadfast commitment to its mission and values a century on from its founding, and reflects the untiring efforts of the Chinese people to unite and forge ahead. It is an important milestone in the history of the CPC, the People's Republic of China (PRC), and the Chinese nation. 

I. Reaching moderate prosperity in all respects marks a magnificent chapter in the endeavor to bring about national rejuvenation. 

Moderate prosperity is a social state that the Chinese nation has sought to achieve since ancient times. It is an ideal of a strong and prospering nation, a flourishing economy, a just society, and a life of abundance that generation after generation of Chinese people have pursued. Since the very day of its founding, the CPC has remained committed to seeking happiness for the Chinese people and made seeking the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation its mission. The Party has united and led the people in carrying out a long and arduous struggle to create better lives for themselves. Since the early days of reform and opening up when the strategic vision of a moderately prosperous society was first introduced by the CPC Central Committee, building such a society has been the grand goal that the Chinese people have continuously striven toward. After the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, socialism with Chinese characteristics entered a new era, and the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core united and led the entire nation in reaching the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects with a thriving economy, a democratic political system, a flourishing cultural sphere, a harmonious society, a healthy environment, and a happy populace. This achievement was made possible through great struggle, signifies all-around development, belongs to all the Chinese people, and extends to the world, and it also represents a new starting point for the advance toward the Second Centenary Goal. 

China's composite national strength has grown markedly. 

China's achievements in economic development have captured the attention of the world and laid solid material foundations, providing us with growing strength and stamina as we advance toward the Second Centenary Goal. China's economic clout has increased by an enormous margin. Our GDP grew from 67.91 billion yuan in 1952 to 101.6 trillion in 2020, representing a real growth of approximately 189 times. Meanwhile, GDP per capita increased from just tens of dollars in the early days of the PRC to more than US$10,000 in 2020, reflecting China's dramatic transformation from a low to middle and finally uppermiddle income country. The structure of the economy is also continuously improving. Notable progress has been made in agricultural modernization, with total grain output exceeding 650 million metric tons for the last six consecutive years; industry has grown significantly stronger, with the value-added of China's manufacturing sector leading the world for 11 years running; and the role of the service sector as a driving force has become increasingly apparent, with the share of GDP accounted for by the value-added of the service sector growing from 24.6% in 1978 to 54.5% in 2020. Infrastructure has consistently improved. Modern infrastructure networks have been built for railways, highways, ports, airports, electric power, and telecommunications. China now has 38,000 km of highspeed rail lines in operation, 161,000 km of expressways, and 200 million 5G-connected terminals, all of which are world-leading numbers, while living and working conditions in rural areas with regard to water, electricity, roads, gas, communications, radio and television, and logistics have improved markedly. We have also achieved substantial results in turning China into a country of innovators. We have the largest amount of scientific and technological talent in the world, and are seeing steady improvement in our capacity for independent innovation as well as a consistent stream of major scientific and technological breakthroughs. Scientific and technological progress now contributes to economic growth at a rate of over 60%. Finally, development between regions and between urban and rural areas has become more coordinated. We have thoroughly implemented the functional zoning strategy, the coordinated regional development strategy, and major regional strategies. By 2020, permanent urban residents will make up 63.9% of the population, marking the completion of China's historic shift from an agrarian country to an industrial country. 

Living standards have risen markedly. 

From the hunger and destitution of the pre-liberation years, the lives of the people have improved in unprecedented ways from bare subsistence to an overall level of moderate prosperity and then ultimately to moderate prosperity in all respects. As a result, the people at large are now able to lead much happier, more satisfying, and more secure lives. Thanks to rapid and continued economic growth, China now has the world's largest middle-income group, which boasts more than 400 million members and is still growing quickly. Per capita disposable income has grown largely in step with economic growth, consumption has risen enormously, and the structure of consumption has noticeably improved. In 2020, the Engel's coefficients for urban and rural areas dropped to 29.2% and 32.7%, respectively, indicating that the people are enjoying more well off lives. In addition, we have built the largest social security system in the world that covers old-age insurance, medical care, subsistence allowances, and housing, with 1.36 billion people covered by basic medical insurance and close to 1 billion people covered by basic old-age insurance. Our public health and medical care capabilities have also improved by a huge margin, and average live expectancy has risen from just 35 years before 1949 to 77.3 years as of 2019. China has entered the ranks of countries with a high level of human development as measured by the Human Development Index, and made more notable and substantive progress toward well-rounded human development. 


Enchanting country scenery in Gaochun District, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. In recent years, Gaochun has launched a program for the conservation of mountain, river, lake, forest, farmland, and grassland ecosystems throughout the entire region, and converted hundreds of hectares of reclaimed land back to lakes. THE PUBLICITY DEPARTMENT OF THE CPC JIANGSU PROVINCIAL COMMITTEE / PHOTO BY YU PING 

Significant success has been achieved in the three critical battles. 

Fighting effectively in the three critical battles, especially that against poverty, was an essential part of the endeavor to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. We achieved a great victory in the battle against poverty. Through eight years of unremitting effort after the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, 98.99 million impoverished people, 832 impoverished counties, and 128,000 impoverished villages were lifted out of poverty, bringing a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty that plagued the Chinese nation for thousands of years. Meanwhile, efforts to build an eco-civilization have reached unprecedented intensity. Since 2012, the CPC Central Committee has adopted a series of firm and decisive measures in this regard and implemented the sustainable development strategy. The idea that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets has taken root in the hearts of the people, and environmental protection endeavors have undergone historic, pivotal, and sweeping changes. In 2020, the proportion of days with good air quality in 337 cities at and above the prefecture level across the country was 87%, and the proportion of surface water meeting Grade III water quality standards rose to 83.4%. In addition, gradual goals for preventing and controlling pollution have been met successfully, solid progress has been made in holistic conservation of mountain, river, lake, forest, farmland, grassland, desert, and glacier ecosystems, forest coverage has risen to 23%, and ecosystems have improved in terms of quality and stability. Finally, positive results have been achieved in forestalling and defusing major risks. The CPC Central Committee has adopted a whole raft of measures to prevent major risks. Effective steps have been taken to curb disorder in the financial sector, initial success has been achieved in putting a stop to borrowing by local governments that violates laws and regulations, and long-term mechanisms for real estate regulation have been developed. Risks in key areas remain under control on the whole. 


Farmers lay out goji berries to dry in the sun at a large-scale goji berry farm in Jiayuguan, Gansu Province, July 5, 2021. In recent years, Jiayuguan has fully leveraged its unique geographical resources, and put vigorous efforts into developing industries characteristic of the Gobi Desert, as part of the effort to eliminate poverty. PEOPLE'S DAILY / PHOTO BY MA YUFU 

The institutional framework of Chinese socialism has been refined. 

In the Four-pronged Comprehensive Strategy, building a moderately prosperity in all respects is the strategic goal, while furthering reform, advancing law-based governance, and governing the Party with strict discipline are the strategic measures. The CPC has remained committed over the long term to integrating the basic tenets of Marxism with China's realities, and pursued practical trials, reforms, and innovations in a persistent effort to strengthen and improve national governance. The institutional strengths of socialism with Chinese characteristics have thus been translated into efficient national governance on a consistent basis, providing the endeavor to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects with powerful support. Major breakthroughs have been achieved in comprehensively furthering reform. Basic institutional frameworks have been established for the most part in the main fields, deeper progress has been made in streamlining administration, delegating power, improving regulation, and upgrading services, development of a market-oriented, law-based, and internationalized business environment has moved at an accelerated pace, a high-standard market system is growing at a faster rate, and new institutions for a higher-level open economy have largely taken shape. Major progress has also been made in comprehensively advancing the rule of law. Steady advances have been made in building democracy and the rule of law, institutions for social governance based on collaboration, participation, and common interests have been refined, and a positive environment featuring unity, harmony, and stability has constantly been consolidated. Finally, major achievements have been made in comprehensively governing the Party with strict discipline. Considerable advances have been made in the institutionalization of CPC development. Consistent institutional progress has been achieved in upholding CPC leadership, the people's position as the masters of the country, and the rule of law. 

China's achievements in development have benefitted people around the world. 

Accomplishing the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects has not only transformed the face of China in historic ways, but also spurred shared development and common prosperity among all countries, brought tremendous opportunities to the global economy, and made major contributions to world peace and development. In 2006, China became the largest contributor to world economic growth, and has remained so for the last 15 consecutive years. In 2020, China's GDP accounted for a 17% plus share of the global economy. China has become more open to the world across the board, providing other countries with a broader market, a greater abundance of capital, a richer variety of products, and more valuable opportunities for cooperation. The Belt and Road Initiative has brought new opportunities for development to countries along its route, created a huge amount of employment, and helped various countries including developing nations in particular enter the fast lane of sharing China's development. China's endeavors in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects have broadened the channel to achieving modernization for developing countries, making new contributions to humanity's search for paths to modernization and contributing China's wisdom and experience to global governance. China's composite national strength and global influence have risen rapidly, and China has actively stepped into the role of a responsible major country. It has championed the shared human values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom, pushed for various parties to build consensus, spur development, boost cooperation, improve governance, and work together to meet common challenges, and contributed powerful momentum for driving the development of a global community of shared future. 

II. In building a moderately prosperous society, we have accumulated precious experience for national rejuvenation. 

In the great endeavor to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, China fully leveraged the institutional strengths of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and brought together a wealth of valuable experience for launching the new journey to build a modern socialist country and accomplishing the Second Centenary Goal. 

Upholding and strengthening the leadership of the CPC 

Xi Jinping has said, "The leadership of the Party is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics and constitutes the greatest strength of this system. It is the foundation and lifeblood of the Party and the country, and the crux upon which the interests and wellbeing of all Chinese people depend." The CPC is the fundamental leading force behind building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and the accomplishment of this goal is thanks to persistent efforts made by the Chinese people in different historical periods under the leadership of the CPC. 

Adhering to a people-centered perspective 

Xi Jinping has said, "Constantly increasing people's living standards and quality of life is the inspiration and benchmark for all our work, as well as the fundamental objective of our endeavors to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects." Moderate prosperity in all respects means moderate prosperity for everyone. The aim of this endeavor has been to address the most pressing, most immediate issues that concern the people the most, and to give the people better education, more stable jobs, more satisfactory income, more reliable social security, more sophisticated medical and health services, more comfortable living conditions, a more pleasant environment, and more fulfilling intellectual and cultural lives. Moderate prosperity in all respects encompasses overall advancement in the economic, political, cultural, social, and environmental domains. It has been made possible through the efforts of the people, and hinges on relying closely on the people, bringing their principal role to bear, respecting their pioneering spirit, and supporting their entrepreneurial efforts. The moderate prosperity we have achieved has earned the approval of the people, and can stand the test of time. In keeping with the principle that rural areas are the yardstick to determining whether or not we have reached this goal, moderate prosperity extends across all regions. It has brought more balanced and more coordinated development, ensured that the fruits of development are shared by all, and given the people a fuller, more solid, and more sustainable sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security. 

Sticking to development as the primary task 

Xi Jinping has said, "Development is the top priority of the Party and our country, and holds the key to solving all problems in China." Since the launch of reform and opening up over 40 years ago, and particularly since the 18th CPC National congress in 2012, no matter how complex the development environment has become or what difficulties and challenge we have faced, we have always kept a tight grip on the central task of economic development, stuck to the objective of moderate prosperity in all respects, never faltered in our commitment to the strategic thinking that development is of paramount importance and that it should be sound and of high quality, and persisted in solving problems through development. Responding to the evolution of the primary challenges in Chinese society as well as the people's yearning for a better life, we constantly enriched and refined the content of the goal of moderate prosperity, emphasizing higher quality, more efficient, fairer, more sustainable, and more secure development. With a keen focus on promoting high-quality development, we have fully and faithfully implemented the new development philosophy, pursued supply-side structural reform as a top priority, and driven consistent improvements in the quality and returns of development. In doing so, China has succeeded in bringing about the two miracles of rapid economic growth and enduring social stability. 

Remaining committed to carrying forward reform and opening up 

Xi Jinping has said, "Reform and opening up represents a great revolution in the historical tide of development of the Chinese people and nation, and it is this revolution that propelled tremendous advances in the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics." Though we have faced a complex international situation as well as formidable tasks in maintaining reform, development, and stability at home in the process of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, we have advanced reform and opening up with unwavering commitment, become deeply integrated into the global economy, made effective use of international and domestic markets, resources, and regulations, continued to enhance our competitiveness and influence in international development, and promoted sustained and healthy development of China's economy for the long term. It has been proven through practice that reform and opening up is the formula that has enabled the CPC and the Chinese people to catch up with the times in great strides, and the only way to uphold and develop Chinese socialism. Its launch was a crucial move in making China what it is today, and it remains the key to fulfilling the Two Centenary Goals and realizing national rejuvenation. 

Continuing to make innovation the primary driver 

Xi Jinping has said, "Innovation is the prime mover of development. Innovation is development; innovation is the future." With a focus on the big picture and looking toward the future, the CPC Central Committee has made vigorous efforts since 2012 to implement the innovation-driven development strategy and to turn China into a country of innovations. This has given China a much stronger edge in terms of the quality of its development, and also provided powerful momentum for completing the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Confronted with the challenges of a growing trend against globalization, more intense international competition, and impediments to international scientific and technological exchange, we have struck the right balance between independent innovation and the assimilation of international scientific and technological achievements by becoming more strategy and goal oriented, enhancing top-level design for our technological innovation systems, and working hard to see that we have independent control over core technologies in key fields, while also continuing to thoroughly participate in global scientific and technological cooperation, striving to develop win-win partnerships, and taking advantage of international resources for innovation. We are thus advancing independent innovation from a higher starting point. 

Maintaining a systematic approach and worst-case scenario thinking 

Xi Jinping has said, "A 'moderately prosperous society' represents a certain level of development, while 'in all respects' extends that level of development to one that is balanced, coordinated, and sustainable." In building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, we remained committed to adopting an overall perspective, thinking ahead, making plans through a holistic, strategic approach and advancing them in a comprehensive manner, finding the right balance with respect to commonality and diversity, present and long-term interests, domestic and international considerations, and development and security imperatives, maintaining a whole-of-nation approach, focusing on key tasks, and addressing shortcomings and areas of weakness. In doing so, we ensured that we were reaching high standards in completing the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. We have also upheld the unity between reform, development, and stability, and worked hard to see that development and reform progress with speed and intensity that society can handle. We have advanced reform and development under the premise of social and political stability, and brought about social and political stability through reform and development. Lastly, we have focused on major trends and longterm interests. As we have analyzed major changes in the implications and conditions of this period of strategic opportunity, we have accurately recognized changes, rationally responded to changes, and actively sought changes, thereby maximizing historic opportunities for development. At the same time, we have forestalled and defused major risks, and striven to foster new opportunities amid crises and open up new horizons on a shifting landscape, thus ensuring steady and healthy economic and social development. 

III. Forging ahead toward the Second Centenary Goal from the new starting point of a moderately prosperous society in all respects 

Speaking at the ceremony marking the CPC's centenary, Xi Jinping said, "Over the past century, the Communist Party of China has secured extraordinary historical achievements on behalf of the people. Today, it is rallying and leading the Chinese people on a new journey toward realizing the Second Centenary Goal." The 19th CPC National Congress in 2017 set the strategic plan to see that modernization is basically achieved by 2035 and to build China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by 2050. The 14th FiveYear Plan period is the first five years of our new journey to build a modern socialist country and realize the Second Centenary Goal. We must conduct a comprehensive analysis of domestic and international development trends and the conditions for China's development, fully implement economic and social development guidelines for the 14th Five-Year Plan period, and keep innovating and putting in sustained effort so that we can get off to a good start in building a modern socialist country in all respects. 


A local resident receives a remote medical consultation via 5G in Dawan Village, Jinzhai County, Anhui Province, December 3, 2020. Located deep in the Dabie Mountains, Dawan Village previously had very poor medical care and health conditions, but in 2019 the village launched 5G-enabled remote medical consultations, allowing local residents to receive medical support without leaving the village. PHOTO BY XINHUA REPORTER CHEN LI 

Grounding our work in this new stage of development 

The historical bearing of China's development has become clearer as China entered this new stage of development. China has already shifted to a stage of high-quality development, and we are equipped with advantages and conditions on many levels that are conducive to continued development, including clear institutional strengths, more effective governance, good long-term prospects for the economy, solid material foundations, abundant human capital, lots of room for market expansion, resilient development, and overall social stability. At the same time, complex and profound changes are taking place in the domestic and international environments, with global economic growth remaining shrouded in significant instability and uncertainty and China's development still grappling with pronounced problems of imbalance and insufficiency. We must have an accurate understanding of the characteristics and demands of this new stage of development, implement the national rejuvenation strategy within the wider context of the once-in-a-century changes taking place in the world, boost our awareness of risks and opportunities, have the courage to forge ahead despite setbacks, be good at turning trouble into opportunity, immerse ourselves in our tasks and do solid work, and keep a firm hold on the initiative in economic work. 

Implementing the new development philosophy 

Upholding the new philosophy of innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development is essential for fostering a new development dynamic and achieving high-quality development. We must fully and faithfully apply the new development philosophy, and take concrete steps to address unbalanced and inadequate development. Making greater self-reliance in science and technology a strategic pillar of our nation's development, we must boost our strategic capabilities in science and technology, move faster to achieve breakthroughs on core technologies in key fields, and turn China into a global science and technology leader. We must promote coordinated regional development, and comprehensively advance rural revitalization and the new model of people-centered urbanization. We must push for a green transformation of economic and social development across the board, fight effectively in the critical battle to prevent and control pollution, and drive forward efforts to achieve peak carbon emissions and carbon neutrality. We must open up across more sectors and in a more thorough fashion, spur international cooperation, and achieve win-win benefits. We must improve our multi-layered social security system, promote social equity and justice, and enhance public wellbeing. 

Fostering a new development dynamic 

Fostering a new development dynamic dominated by the flows of the domestic economy while ensuring that domestic and international flows are mutually reinforcing is about making an active choice to adapt to the changes in China's current stage of economic development. This is a necessary move for bringing the strengths of China's massive economy to bear, and a strategic and proactive step for taking the initiative in development. With the flows of the domestic economy in the main role, we must continue supply-side structural reform and move more quickly to boost the domestic market by stimulating domestic demands while at the same time ensuring effective integration between these efforts. We must also drive and create new demand through high-quality supply, promote positive interplay between supply and demand, and achieve a better dynamic balance in the structure of supply and demand. Meanwhile, we must promote dual domestic and international flows by leveraging our relative strengths, coordinating efforts to bring about a robust domestic market and turn China into a trading powerhouse, opening up market access further, and drawing in foreign capital at a higher level. 

Promoting high-quality development 

Sticking to the theme of high-quality development is necessary for adapting to the evolution of the primary challenges in Chinese society as well as changes in China's stage, condition, and pattern of development. We must further supply-side structural reform, take concrete steps to transform our model of development, raise total factor productivity, push for both higher quality and greater quantity in a coordinated manner, promote reform in quality, efficiency, and driving forces, and achieve balance between the quality, structure, scale, speed, performance, and security of development. We must balance development and security imperatives, strengthen our mechanisms and capacity for predicting, preventing, and controlling economic security risks, ensure a tight grip on security in key areas such as critical industries, infrastructure, strategic resources, and key technologies, see that work related to food security, energy security, industrial and supply chain stability, financial security, and ecological security is effectively executed, resolutely prevent the occurrence of systemic risks, and guarantee China's economic security. 

Building a modern economic system 

We must continue to make the real economy the focus of economic development, work determinedly to build China's strength in manufacturing, product quality, cyberspace, and digital technology, advance efforts to upgrade our industrial base and modernize industrial chains, boost the quality and returns of development, and increase our core competitiveness. We must modernize our industrial and supply chains and push traditional industries to become more smart, green, and high-end. We must develop strategic emerging industries, and consolidate the foundations of the real economy. We must accelerate the development of a modern service sector, and push industrial services to become more professional and to move toward the high end of the value chain. We must advance infrastructure development in a coordinated manner, building a modern infrastructure system that is well equipped, efficient, practical, smart, green, safe, and reliable. We must accelerate digital development, grow the digital economy, promote thorough integration between the digital economy and the real economy, set up internationally competitive clusters of digital industries, and safeguard our country's data security. 

Making solid advances toward common prosperity 

An important aspect of the long-range objectives for basically achieving socialist modernization by the year 2035 is making more notable and substantive progress toward realizing well-rounded human development and common prosperity for all. We must strive to constantly improve quality of life, and look into supporting the development of demonstration zones for common prosperity. We must improve the distribution of income and wealth by refining mechanisms for ensuring reasonable wage growth, focusing efforts on raising incomes among low-income earners, expanding the middle-income group, improving mechanisms for taking factors of innovation into account in distribution, expanding channels of property income for urban and rural residents, enhancing the regulatory impact and precision of taxation, social insurance, and transfer payments, and give full play to tertiary income distribution. We will ensure that economic development remains oriented toward employment, keep the relative share of the manufacturing sector stable on the whole, expand employment capacity, provide better jobs, strive for full employment, accelerate efforts to make our workers more skilled and capable, and improve employment support systems for key groups. We must vigorously advance endeavors related to public wellbeing in areas such as elder care, medical care, and education, and continue to make improvements with regard to equal access to basic public services. 

(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 14, 2021)