President XI Jinping pledged to deepen reforms to make China a “leading global power” by 2050, but warned of severe challenges ahead.
“Right now, both China and the world are in the midst of profound and complex changes,” Xi told delegate at the opening of the 19th Communist Party Congress on Wednesday. “China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development. The prospects are bright, but the challenges are severe.”
Xi outlined his vision for the country in the next five years, spending three and a half hours delivering his report as the party’s general secretary.
“The country will stand proudly among the nations of the world and become a leading global power by 2050,” he said.
With China’s GDP growing to 80 trillion yuan (US$12.08 trillion) from 54 trillion yuan five years ago, he stressed that the government would aim for growth that is sustainable and of higher quality.
Xi said China would continue opening its doors to foreign businesses. “The China that has opened up will not close, but will open wider and wider,” he said.
He also said the nation will push ahead with market-oriented reforms of its foreign exchange rate as well as its financial system, and let the market play a decisive role in the allocation of resources.
The government will “clean up rules and practices that hinder a unified market and fair competition, support development of private firms and stimulate vitality of all types of market entities,” Xi said.
In particular, he vowed to further open China’s services sector to foreign investors.
At the same time, Xi called for stronger, bigger state firms. The government will “promote strengthening, improvement and expansion of state capital, [and] effectively prevent loss of state assets, deepen reform of state-owned enterprises, develop a mixed-ownership economy and cultivate globally competitive world-class firms,” he said.
The government will “speed up the establishment of the modern fiscal system, set up clear responsibility, financial coordination and regional balance for the fiscal relationship between local and central government”, he said.
Stressing that “housing is for living rather than speculation”, Xi vowed support for more access to housing.
While 60 million Chinese were lifted out of poverty over the last five years, Xi set the target that all provinces which are under the poverty line should climb above that threshold by 2020.
He also pledged to create more jobs for college graduates and migrant workers.
“We will promote a revolution in energy production and consumption,” said Xi, adding that the nation will focus on environmental regulation agencies, creating eco-friendly systems and reducing air pollution “to make our skies blue again”.
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