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Implementing the New Development Philosophy to Compose a New Chapter in Socialist Modernization

By National Development and Reform Commission Source: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2022-10-28

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012, General Secretary Xi Jinping has provided a series of new concepts, ideas, and strategies for economic and social development based on a thorough analysis of domestic and international development trends. Of these, the new development philosophy is of paramount importance. On January 28, 2021, while presiding over the 27th group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, General Secretary Xi stressed the need for the whole Party to implement fully and faithfully the new development philosophy in all fields. The new development philosophy is a systematic framework that addresses a series of theoretical and practical questions about development goals, drivers, methods, and approaches, and it delineates the political parameters of the CPC, such as its stance, values, model, and path concerning development. We must implement this philosophy thoroughly in the process of economic and social development.

I. Leading to historic achievements and changes in economic and social development

In the new development stage since the 18th CPC National Congress, under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, China has implemented the new development philosophy, accelerated the creation of a new development dynamic, and promoted high-quality development. China's total economic output grew at an average annual rate of 6.6%, from 53.9 trillion yuan in 2012 to 114.4 trillion yuan in 2021. Our proportion of the world economy has increased from 11.3% to more than 18%, and per capita GDP has risen from US$6,300 to more than US$12,000. Thus, we have reached new heights in our economic power, scientific and technological capabilities, and composite national strength.


The Taicang Port Phase IV automated terminal, Jiangsu Province, bustles with activity as cranes load and unload cargo, June 25, 2022. Since the 18th CPC National Congress held in 2012, China has achieved striking results in innovation-driven development. PHOTO BY JI HAIXIN

We have improved our capacity for innovation.

China has achieved remarkable results in innovation-driven development. In science and technology, we have progressed from quantitative gains to qualitative leaps, and from sporadic breakthroughs to comprehensive capacity enhancement. Investment in innovation has increased significantly, with total R&D investment as a proportion of GDP having grown from 1.91% to 2.44%, which is close to the average for OECD countries. China has also risen from thirty-fourth to twelfth in the Global Innovation Index. We are experiencing a wave of major innovations, with breakthroughs in cutting-edge areas including neutrino oscillation, iron-based superconductivity, and brain science. We have also launched the global service of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, successfully developed the super-conducting quantum computing prototype Zuchongzhi, commissioned the independent third-generation nuclear reactor Hualong One, and basically developed a fully independent technological system for high-speed railway trains. China is brimming with innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity, as our international centers for innovative technology and comprehensive national science centers constantly improve. Beijing, Shanghai, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area are in the top ten science and technology innovation clusters in the world. The first batch of national laboratories has been established, and leading sci-tech companies are expanding. New technologies and new forms and models of business are flourishing, and strategic emerging industries, such as new generation information technology, biotechnology, high-end equipment, and environmental protection, are developing rapidly. The construction of new infrastructure is accelerating, with the building of 1.85 million 5G base stations accounting for 60% of the global total. The East-to-West Computing Capacity Diversion Project is progressing, and digital technologies, such as cloud computing, big data, blockchain, and artificial intelligence, are becoming deeply integrated with traditional industries.

We have strengthened coordinated development.

We are continually optimizing our economic structure, promoting coordinated development, and improving the overall balance of economic development. Our industrial transformation and upgrading have accelerated. Our national total grain output has topped 650 million metric tons for the last seven consecutive years. The integration of industrialization with informatization as well as advanced manufacturing with modern services has gained speed, the value-added of our manufacturing industry is the highest in the world, and the value-added of our service industry as a proportion of GDP increased from 45.5% in 2012 to 53.3% in 2021. The modern infrastructure network has improved, with over 150,000 kilometers of operational railways and the most modern railway network and the largest high-speed rail network in the world. Incredible achievements have been made in regional development. China has implemented major regional strategies, such as the development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, integrated construction of the Yangtze River Economic Belt, development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta, and ecological protection and high-quality development of the Yellow River Basin. The eastern-central and eastern-western ratios of per capita gross regional product (GRP) fell from 1.69 and 1.87 in 2012 to 1.53 and 1.68 in 2021, respectively. Solid progress has been made in the rural revitalization strategy. The ratio of per capita disposable income of urban and rural residents has fallen from 2.88:1 to 2.5:1. Rural industries that benefit local people have maintained good development momentum. The proportion of rural areas with tap water has reached 84%, and those with sanitary toilets has exceeded 70%. New people-centered urbanization has advanced further, restrictions on household registration have been relaxed in an orderly manner, and the percentage of permanent urban residents increased from 53.1% in 2012 to 64.7% in 2021.

We have taken significant strides toward building a beautiful China.

We are committed to the concept that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets and have achieved historic and wide-ranging changes in environmental protection. We have made major strategic achievements in our fight to keep our skies blue, waters clear, and land pollution-free. In 2021, the proportion of days with good or excellent air quality in cities at and above the prefectural level reached 87.5%, the proportion of surface water in China with excellent water quality increased to 84.9%, and the rate of safe utilization of contaminated arable land was above 90%. Efforts to reach peak carbon and achieve carbon neutrality are progressing steadily, and China is an active participant and driver of international cooperation on climate change. We have solemnly committed to achieving peak carbon by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060 and formulated top-level designs and action plans to meet those objectives. Our energy consumption per unit of GDP has fallen 26.2%, and CO2 emissions per unit of GDP have been reduced by approximately 34%. China leads the world in the installed capacity of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, as well as production and sales of new energy vehicles, and social awareness of energy conservation and environmental protection has increased significantly. Ecosystem quality and stability in China have improved. We have coordinated the integrated protection and systematic management of mountains, rivers, forests, croplands, lakes, grasslands, and deserts. National parks, such as the Sanjiangyuan NP, have been formally established, a ten-year fishing ban in the Yangtze River has been enforced, and the river and lake chief systems and wetland protection system are gradually being put in place. National forest coverage is above 23%, and biodiversity is steadily recovering.

We have accelerated the creation of a new pattern of opening up.

China has unceasingly expanded both the breadth and depth of its openness to the outside world, and fruitful progress has been made in the development of Belt and Road cooperation, with China-Europe Railway Express services registering a total of more than 50,000 trips to 24 European countries. The Foreign Investment Law and the Administrative Measures for Outbound Investment by Enterprises have been promulgated and implemented. The system of managing foreign investment on the basis of pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list has been fully implemented. Foreign investment utilization has grown steadily, with actually utilized foreign investment in China reaching 1.15 trillion yuan in 2021, an increase of 62.9% since 2012, and non-financial outbound direct investment has increased from US$77.2 billion to US$113.6 billion. A total of 21 pilot free trade zones and the Hainan Free Trade Port have been set up, and China's status as the largest trader of goods in the world has grown, making China the largest trading partner of more than 120 countries and regions. Average annual growth in trade in services was 6.3% during the past decade, and China has been the second largest trader of services in the world for the last six consecutive years. We are participating in global economic governance, including advocating the building of a global community of shared future and signing up to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and we are bringing our wisdom and strength to bear for the sake of world peace and development.

People's sense of fulfillment has increased markedly.

China is striving to remedy shortcomings in meeting people's basic needs, continuing to improve public wellbeing, and consolidating efforts to ensure that people live and work in peace and contentment and that society is stable and orderly. Victory in the decisive battle against poverty has been achieved, with all 98.99 million rural poor people previously living under the current poverty line having been lifted out of poverty, and region-wide poverty has been eliminated. As a result, a historic resolution has been achieved to the problem of absolute poverty that had plagued the Chinese nation for thousands of years. This is a miraculous accomplishment in the history of humanity's poverty reduction efforts. People's living standards are improving, with an average annual increase of more than 13 million jobs in urban areas, per capita disposable income exceeding 35,000 yuan, and the middle-income group expanding to over 400 million. Equal access to basic public services is improving. The student retention rate over nine years of compulsory education was 95.4% in 2021, an increase of 3.6 percentage points since 2012, and we are close to achieving universal access to higher education. Efforts to build a healthy China are advancing, our ability to respond to public health emergencies has improved, and our multi-level medical service system is more robust. We are building the world's largest social security network, having increased the number of people covered by basic old-age insurance from 790 million to 1.03 billion and the number of people covered by basic medical insurance from 540 million to 1.36 billion.


The Qiandao Lake in Chun'an County, Zhejiang Province, is bathed in golden sunlight, June 23, 2022. Chun'an has taken proactive moves to spur green development and strived to turn the notion that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets into reality. PHOTO BY WANG JIANLIN

II. Significance and requirements of the new development philosophy

The new development philosophy is a strategic guide for China as we enter the new development stage and create a new development dynamic. It is a judicious, programmatic, and guiding transformation that will affect our overall development trajectory. We need to understand thoroughly its great practical and historical significance, grasp its essence, and implement it properly.

The new development philosophy is a scientific guide for building China into a modern socialist country.

Xi Jinping has stated that having accomplished the First Centenary Goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, we must build on this achievement to embark on a new journey toward the Second Centenary Goal of building a modern socialist country, thus signifying China's entry into a new development stage. In this stage, our economic and social development environment has changed in profound and complex ways. Now and in the future, China remains in an important stage of strategic opportunities for development, but the opportunities and challenges that we face are changing, and both are unprecedented in their extent. Nevertheless, our opportunities outweigh our challenges. We must fully and faithfully implement the new development philosophy in all fields in order to maintain a correct outlook on history, the bigger picture, and our development. It provides methodical guidance for building a modern socialist country as well as promoting the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics to make even more remarkable achievements.

The new development philosophy is a roadmap for creating a new development dynamic.

Creating a development dynamic with the domestic economy as the mainstay and the domestic economy and international engagement providing mutual reinforcement is a crucial historic task to be promoted and completed in the new development stage and a vital element of implementing the new development philosophy. A hallmark of major economies is that they are dominated by their domestic demand, with a smooth internal flow of production, distribution, circulation, and consumption. Given the current instability and uncertainty in the international environment, relying on the advantages of our enormous domestic market, tapping the full potential of domestic demand, and ensuring smooth domestic and international economic flows will help to ameliorate external shocks and changes to the external environment as well as lead to new advantages in international cooperation and competition. To quickly create this new development dynamic, we should consult the new development philosophy, so that innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development are coordinated and become synergistic. Fully and faithfully implementing the new development philosophy is essential to provide a clear blueprint for building a new development dynamic, improve China's attractiveness to global production factors and resources and our influence in global industry, supply, and innovation chains, and strengthen our ability to survive, compete, and develop sustainably.

The new development philosophy is a magic formula for coping with domestic and international risks and challenges.

With the change in the principal challenge in Chinese society and profound adjustments to the international balance of power, China faces unprecedented challenges to its development and security. The world is experiencing accelerated change unseen in a century, and global and historic transformations are increasingly apparent. Due to external factors, risks and challenges have increased significantly, and risks to the economy, society, and people's wellbeing are arising frequently. In response to both foreseeable and unforeseeable risks and challenges at home and abroad, we must encourage more thorough and expansive implementation of the new development philosophy, focus on solving imbalances and problems, and take the strategic initiative by heading off dangers and turning crises into opportunities. Fully and faithfully implementing the new development philosophy is essential to gain the initiative in our development and achieve a dynamic balance between development and security. Development will not only enable us to buttress our national security, but it will also promote innovative national security ideas, systems, and methods, thus creating a secure environment conducive to economic and social development and effectively preventing and resolving risks and challenges.

The new development philosophy is an essential requirement for high-quality development.

High-quality development is the main theme of China's economic and social development for the 14th Five-Year Plan period and beyond, and it is related to China's overall socialist modernization drive. We are shifting to a stage of high-quality development characterized by significant institutional advantages, improved governance efficiency, solid material foundations, abundant human resources, a broad market, strong development resilience, long-term economic growth, and a stable society. We enjoy many favorable strategic conditions for our development, but it must be noted that we are still grappling with the prominent issues of imbalance and insufficiency in our development as well as the threefold pressures of contracting demand, supply difficulties, and weakening expectations in our economic development. As a result, we need to accelerate the quality, efficiency, and vigor of reform to promote high-quality development. We must also fully and faithfully implement the new development philosophy in order to solve structural, cyclical, and institutional issues, improve the quality and efficiency of our development, and ensure stable, healthy, and sustainable economic development, thus enabling China's economy to sail like a great ship through the waves and into the distance.

III. Fully and faithfully implementing the new development philosophy throughout the process of our development

We must uphold and strengthen the CPC's overall leadership of economic work.

We need to strengthen theoretical guidance, deepen our understanding of the worldview and methodology of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and use our Party's latest theories to equip our minds, lead us in practice, and drive forward our work. We must adhere to and improve the systems and mechanisms by which the Party exercises leadership over economic work; take care of the top-level design, general layout, overall coordination, and supervision of major issues in economic work; and effectively convert institutional advantages of the Party's leadership over economic work into effective governance. We also need to strengthen the professionalism of officials and other personnel by ensuring that they receive a combination of theoretical training and practical work experience, so as to continuously improve the Party's ability to lead economic work.

We need to promote the creation of the new development dynamic.

We need to integrate further supply-side structural reform and the expansion of domestic demand and make greater efforts to improve the supply system and ensure smooth economic flows, so as to form a better dynamic equilibrium in which demand drives supply and supply boosts demand. We need to accelerate the cultivation of a complete domestic demand system, fully leverage the advantages of our enormous domestic market, and bolster the fundamental role of consumption in economic development. We should intensify investment in areas of weakness, effectively and systematically promote the implementation of major projects in the 14th Five-Year Plan, and make good use of policy-based and development finance tools. We need to continue the reform of the investment and financing system, improve all aspects of the investment environment, and strengthen the key role of investment in optimizing the supply structure. Focusing on smooth domestic economic flows, we need to create a strong domestic market and realize rational flows and effective concentrations of all types of production factors.

We need to implement an innovation-driven development strategy.

We need to reinforce our capacity for independent innovation, basic research, applied research, and applications of scientific and technological advances. We need to strengthen the iterative application of major innovations, adopt systems to select the best candidates to undertake key research projects and to create an environment for healthy competition, and advance research on core technologies in key areas. We must strengthen institutional guarantees for scientific and technological innovation, optimize enterprise innovation as well as incentive and guidance mechanisms, boost personnel training, and strive to build a market-oriented technological innovation system in which enterprises are the main players and with strong synergy between industry, academia, and research. We need to expand, strengthen, and refine our digital economy and promote the continued digital transformation of traditional industries and the innovative development of digital industries. We need to adopt an appropriate degree of forward planning for major national science and technology infrastructure, accelerate the development of high-level innovation platforms, and create regional innovation hubs. We also need to take a global perspective when planning and promoting innovation, engage in international cooperation on basic theoretical and industrial innovations, and comprehensively improve the international influence of China's scientific and technological innovations.

We need to deepen market-oriented reforms and spread a high level of openness.

We need to build a high-level socialist market economic system, commit to the development of both the public and private sectors of the economy, and create a good policy and institutional environment, so that state-owned enterprises have the confidence to act, private enterprises have the confidence to innovate, and foreign enterprises have the confidence to invest. We need to build a market system with high standards, reform the market-based allocation of factors of production, and accelerate the construction of a unified, open, efficient, and well-regulated national market that allows fair competition. We will create new ideas and methods for macro-control, improve the macro-economic governance system, and promote equilibrium between total supply and total demand, structural optimization, and internal and external balance in the economy. We will accelerate the transformation of government functions, advance reforms to streamline administration, delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services, and build a first-rate business environment. We need to develop a new and improved open economic system and encourage trade innovation and development. We need to ensure the quality of what we bring in and what we send overseas, improve the layout of pilot free trade zones, and liberalize and facilitate trade and investment. We also need to promote the high-quality development of Belt and Road cooperation and engage in pragmatic cooperation at various levels and in a range of areas.

We need to boost coordinated urban-rural and regional development.

We must implement the rural revitalization strategy in all respects by continuing to prioritize the development of agriculture and rural areas, building a rural industrial system, developing new methods of rural governance, and quickly modernizing agriculture and rural areas. We need to promote the new urbanization strategy in-depth, encourage people with rural household registration living in urban areas to obtain urban residency, and improve the urban spatial distribution. We must tackle urbanization with the focus on urban agglomerations, create an urban structure in which cities of all sizes and small towns develop in coordination with each other, and improve sustainability and livability in the course of urban development. We will continue to implement major regional strategies, coordinated regional development strategies, and the functional zoning strategy, and create regional economic structures and a territorial space system to sustain high-quality development. We will accelerate the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, develop the Yangtze River Economic Belt, advance the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, increase the integrated development level of the Yangtze River Delta, and push forward the ecological protection and high-quality development of the Yellow River Basin. We will also step up efforts to support the development of special regions and strive for relative balance in the development of different regions.


The venue for the second China International Consumer Products Expo, the Hainan Expo for short, held in Haikou City, Hainan Province, July 26-30, 2022. The expo welcomed 1,955 enterprises and more than 2,800 brands from 61 countries and regions around the world and received over 280,000 visitors. PEOPLE'S DAILY / PHOTO BY SHI ZHONGHUA

We need to encourage green and low-carbon development.

We need to support practical applications of green and low-carbon technological innovations, establish a sound economic structure that facilitates green, low-carbon, and circular development, and promote a green transformation in all aspects of our economic and social development. We must coordinate and steadily promote efforts to reach peak carbon and implement the action plan to achieve carbon neutrality. We need to encourage cleaner and more efficient use of coal, build large-scale wind and solar bases in deserts and upgrade nearby supporting coal-fired power facilities. We also need to support the construction of ultrahigh-voltage long-distance power transmission lines and accelerate planning and construction of systems of new energy supply and consumption. We need to implement the transformation and upgrading of key industries and enterprises whose energy efficiency performance is below the benchmark and curb the unchecked development of low-quality, energy-intensive, and high-emissions projects. We must persevere with the systematic management of mountains, rivers, forests, croplands, lakes, grasslands, and deserts. We should improve the system of ecological security shields and strictly defend red lines for protecting ecosystems in order to improve the quality and stability of ecosystems. We need to improve environmental quality, adopt targeted, scientific, and law-based approaches to pollution control, work harder to control multiple pollutants in a coordinated way with all regions working together, and intensify efforts to prevent and control pollution.

We need to strive to protect and improve public wellbeing.

We need to prioritize employment and pursue a proactive employment policy. We need to effectively assist members of key groups in society, such as college graduates, to find employment, expand employment capacity, and raise employment quality. We must promote common prosperity in the course of high-quality development by raising the incomes of low-income earners, expanding the middle-income group, and rationally regulating high incomes, in order to achieve social fairness and justice. We need to quickly create a fair, unified, and sustainable multi-tiered social security system that covers the entire population in both urban and rural areas and ensure that public services are inclusive, meet essential needs, and guarantee basic living standards for people in difficulty. We need to construct a quality education system and a comprehensive healthcare system covering all stages of life and promote high-quality, well-balanced, and integrated development of compulsory education in both urban and rural areas. We need to strengthen our public health system, increase the supply of medical services and resources, and improve our disease containment and treatment capabilities. We must be proactive in our response to population aging by accelerating the development of elderly care services and optimize the family-planning policy to promote balanced, long-term population development.

We need to balance development and security imperatives.

We must implement our food security strategy, advance implementation of the food crop production strategy based on farmland management and applications of technology, and strive to revitalize the seed industry. We also need to improve the system for coordinating the production, purchasing, storage, processing, and sale of grain to ensure absolute food security, basic self-sufficiency in cereal grains, and abundant supplies of secondary agricultural products. We need to implement our energy and resource security strategy by emphasizing domestic supply while remedying shortcomings, establishing diversified guarantees, and bolstering reserves, as well as enhancing our capacity to provide a steady and sustainable supply of energy and to manage related risks. We need to enhance adjustments to our reserves of bulk commodities and build homegrown, controllable, secure, and reliable domestic production and supply systems to ensure the security and stability of industrial and supply chains. We need to maintain the stability of financial markets and forestall and diffuse major financial risks. We should uphold the principle that houses are for living in and not for speculation and tailor policies to each city's specific conditions in order to stabilize the real estate market. We need to solve issues related to water safety, bolster our national cyber and information security, and improve disaster prevention and mitigation capabilities. We also need to enforce the system of accountability for workplace safety and prepare ourselves for worst-case scenarios to prevent systemic risks.

(Originally appeared in Qiushi Journal, Chinese edition, No. 16, 2022)