China gears up for ‘strategic period’

China’s ruling Communist Party concluded a key annual conclave outlining new long-term targets for boosting innovation and military strength, eyeing what it called “an important strategic period” for fulfilling its ambitions at home and abroad.

A lengthy communique issued in Beijing followed the four-day plenum of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Central Committee, which ended on Thursday, announced three goals to be achieved by 2025, 2027 and 2035 — a 14th five-year plan (2021-2025) that emphasises boosting domestic consumption and innovation, a national security and defence modernisation plan ahead of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) centennial in 2027, and a ‘Vision 2035’ longer-term economic blueprint that calls for “big leaps" in economic strength and technological prowess.

$15 trillion GDP

The communique said China’s GDP would cross 100 trillion yuan (around $15 trillion) this year, and the new economic blueprint, which did not announce a specific GDP target, would broadly push for China to double its GDP and current per capita GDP of $10,000 by 2035, according to Tian Yun, vice director of the Beijing Economic Operation Association. “That would require a real GDP growth of around 3.5% annually,” he told the Party-run Global Times.

While the communique mainly focused on economic issues, it also outlined China’s national security plans and a goal to establish the PLA as a modern force by 2027 to realise what it called “the unity of a rich country and a strong Army”. It stressed the importance of informatisation and to “strengthen military training and war preparation”.

In a press briefing in Beijing on Friday following the end of the plenum, CPC officials said President and Party general secretary Xi Jinping had “personally drafted” both the five year plan and the long-term blueprint.

Underlining the extraordinary centralisation of power under Mr. Xi, Wang Xiaohui, deputy director of the Central Propaganda Department, described Mr. Xi "as the helmsman of the Communist Party”, a term last used for Mao Zedong.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 11:02:21 PM |

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