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China's "two sessions" start in crucial year for modernization

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2022-03-05


* The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, China's top political advisory body, started annual session in Beijing on Friday.

* The National People's Congress, China's top legislature, will convene annual session on Saturday.

* The "two sessions" are of great importance in the country's political calendar, during which development targets will be made for the year and beyond.

BEIJING -- China's top political advisory body started its annual session on Friday, marking the beginning of the country's major political gatherings in a crucial year for its march toward modernization.

President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders attended the opening meeting of the fifth session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

In the past year, the CPPCC National Committee and its standing committee had performed their duties with a focus on getting a five-year blueprint off to a great start, further built the CPPCC as a special consultative body to improve the performance of the CPPCC system, and made new contributions to the cause of the Party and the country, Wang Yang, chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, said at the meeting.

In 2022, the CPPCC committees will see their work revolving around the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, said Wang.


The fifth session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) opens at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 4, 2022. [Xinhua/Ding Lin]

Dubbed the "two sessions," China's major political season also includes the annual gathering of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature. The NPC session will open on Saturday.

The "two sessions" are of great importance in the country's political calendar, during which development targets will be made for the year and beyond.

This year's "two sessions" carry extra weight, as the Party will convene its national congress in the second half of the year. Meanwhile, the gatherings are held in the second year of the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025) and at a time the world is reeling from the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, weak economic recovery and volatile regional situations.

Liu Zhongmin, a national political advisor, said the "two sessions" will forge a synergy among the Chinese people and firm up their confidence in overcoming difficulties.

The government work report, to be unveiled on Saturday, sits high on the agenda of the "two sessions," and a slew of key economic targets, such as gross domestic product (GDP) growth, employment and foreign trade, are set to be announced.

Despite sporadic COVID-19 resurgences and a complicated external environment, China's GDP in 2021 expanded 8.1 percent to 114.4 trillion yuan (about 18 trillion U.S. dollars), while its GDP per capita rose to 12,500 U.S. dollars, surpassing the global average.

Observers say that China's role in the global economic recovery is extremely important, and it is perhaps the only major power that can play such a role today.

Zhang Lianqi, a member of the CPPCC National Committee, said the "two sessions," held at a new crucial juncture, will specify goals and missions in reform and development in the "crucial year."

Economic stability will be a priority for policymaking. Although the targets for economic and social development will not be unveiled until Saturday, experts have been optimistic about the economic outlook.

"As long as China stabilizes the economy, it can overcome the adverse effects of the pandemic, maintain people's livelihoods and get a head start in the new round of development," said Zhang Liqun, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council.

Having successfully eliminated absolute poverty and realized the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, China is now striding forward on a new journey of building a modern socialist country. A focus of the "two sessions" will be how to make progress in key fields.

Earlier this year, China unveiled its "No. 1 central document" for 2022, outlining vital tasks to comprehensively advance rural vitalization. The year 2022 will be a crucial year for aligning the efforts of consolidating and expanding poverty alleviation achievements with rural vitalization endeavors.

Promoting common prosperity and improving people's lives are also poised to be included in the roadmap for the new journey.

Liu Xueliang, a researcher with the Institute of Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that high-quality development is the foundation for common prosperity. Liu highlighted efforts to address problems such as regional, urban-rural and income disparities.

Stabilizing employment is an issue that garners widespread attention, as it is a key to protecting people's livelihoods.

Guo Weimin, a spokesperson for the fifth session of the 13th National Committee of the CPPCC, told a press conference on Thursday that China's continued economic recovery and robust growth in new industries and business models will help stabilize employment by creating more jobs.


Journalists raise hands to ask questions during a press conference of the fifth session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) via video link in Beijing, capital of China, March 4, 2022. [Xinhua/Chen Zhonghao]

Members of the CPPCC National Committee have advised that special attention be paid to key groups, such as university graduates, migrant workers and people with difficulties, calling for targeted assistance to these groups, Guo said.

In addition, a wide range of topics, such as housing, child policy, and elderly care, are expected to be discussed.

At the NPC annual session, Chinese lawmakers will review a draft amendment to the Organic Law of the Local People's Congresses and Local People's Governments. Adopted in 1979, the law will go through its sixth amendment, in which a people-centered philosophy of development and whole-process people's democracy are highlighted.

Lawmakers will deliberate a draft decision on the number of deputies to the 14th NPC and their election. They will also review two draft methods for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the Macao SAR to elect their deputies to the 14th NPC.

On the diplomatic front, it is highly anticipated that China will continue to play a vital role in the multilateral agenda of global governance in 2022.

Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies, said that by leveraging the leading role of head-of-state diplomacy, China will further expand its circle of friends and cooperation with other countries for win-win results.

Zhou Hanmin, a national political advisor from Shanghai, said that the Chinese people often say victory should be secured at the starting line, and the principle applies to the goal of basically achieving socialist modernization by 2035.

"The year 2035 is not far away. We should seize every minute," Zhou said.