By Zhao Zhanhui
The year 2020 has been a very unusual year of special significance in the history of New China. Not only is the country about to conclude its 13th Five Year Plan (2016-2020), but it has started to sprint for building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
This year, the whole country has been united as one to win the critical battle against poverty and achieve the goal of finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the time the Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrates its centenary in 2021.
In 2020, China faced all sorts of challenges. The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic has dealt an unprecedented blow to China’s economic and social development.
Facing complex and grim internal and external environment, China withstood an arduous test of history and scored a major strategic achievement in controlling COVID-19. It has become the first major economy to return to growth since the pandemic and has taken the lead in the world in both coronavirus control and economic recovery.
Multiple facts illustrate that the fundamentals sustaining China’s steady and long-term economic growth remain unchanged.
Economic indexes of China saw positive growth. Its service sector achieved positive growth in May, and both imports and exports registered positive growth in June. China’s retail sales of consumer goods recovered growth in July. The country’s economy expanded 0.7 percent in the first three quarters.
China has also gained an increasingly stronger momentum of economic development. It has stepped up efforts to increase investment. Projects such as the Shanghai-Suzhou-Nantong Yangtze River Bridge were completed, and major projects including the Sichuan-Tibet railway were advanced. China has sped up the construction of new infrastructure including 5G and artificial intelligence (AI). Its fixed-asset investment went up 0.8 percent year on year in the first three quarters.
China’s consumption has been gradually picking up. During the eight-day National Day holiday, overlapping the Mid-Autumn Festival, the number of visitors was about 80 percent of the number during the same holiday last year. Hundreds of millions of consumers participated in this year’s Double 11 shopping festival.
In October, the country’s catering revenue increased 0.8 percent from the same period last year, marking positive growth for the first time this year.
China’s foreign trade also registered steady growth. The country saw its foreign trade rise by 0.7 percent year on year in the first nine months of 2020.
China’s steady economic growth is also underlined by its high-quality development with new features. New business models such as telecommuting and online education, and new technologies including cloud computing and AI, have grown rapidly. Besides, more growth poles have been fostered in new sectors such as the digital economy and smart manufacturing. Since the beginning of this year, China’s new growth drivers have thrived.
People’s well-being has also been effectively protected. Between January and October, China created 10.09 million new jobs in its urban areas, meeting its annual target ahead of schedule.
The country’s per capita disposable income stood at 23,781 yuan (about $3,549) in the first three quarters of the year, up 3.9 percent from the same period last year in nominal terms.
China has accomplished its poverty alleviation target of the new era as scheduled and lifted all rural poor population under the current standard and impoverished counties out of poverty.
China’s steady economic growth can be attributed to the strong leadership of the central government and the concerted efforts of the whole country.
In the face of challenges, China has implemented timely and effective macro policies. By rolling out policies to assist enterprises, it is expected to cut taxes and fees for corporations by over 2.5 trillion yuan in 2020. The country’s financial system will help businesses save 1.5 trillion yuan for the whole year.
Targeted policies and measures have been launched promptly, reducing the corporate burden in the real economy and helping them overcome challenges.
All the targeted measures have boosted the resumption of work, production, and business activities, kept industrial and supply chains stable, and ensured unimpeded flows in the economy. The Chinese economy has demonstrated strong ability of recovery and enormous vitality.
Looking back on 2020, we can confidently say that China has sufficient confidence, ability and wisdom to overcome all kinds of risks and tests.
We are also full of expectations for the year 2021. After traveling a journey through tests and challenges, China will steadily move forward by riding the waves and braving the storms to mark a good beginning for fully building a modern socialist country.