By Rabi Sankar Bosu
Illustration by Robert Wiggin
This year's the fourth session of the 12th National Committee of the CPPCC will kick off on March 3 and run until March 13th. The fourth annual session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) will open on March 5 in Beijing. With a population of 1.3 billion, China has become the world's second largest economy. Certainly China, under the leadership of the CPC, has made remarkable strides in economic, social and cultural fields in the past 20 years, lifting a half a billion people out of poverty. Chinese people have overcome major risks and challenges, and made great achievements in improving national strength in terms of economy, science and technology, defense, and international influence, over the past year. I hope that the Chinese people's well-being and China's future development will be the key theme in the upcoming annual two sessions of NPC and CPPCC.
In 2015 China achieved a GDP increase by 6.9%, ranking among world's top ones. The economic structure keeps optimizing; the Chinese people are living a constantly improving life. In 2015 China successfully concluded the 12th Five-Year Guideline; the eighteen session of the Fifth Plenary Session of Communist Party of China released the 13th five planning proposals which draw a new blueprint for China's future development. I fervently believe that the annual sessions of China's top legislature and top advisory body will focus on the implementation of the 13th five-year development program, a scientific approach to development, as well as the building of a new socialist countryside. China's 13th Five Year Plan, from 2016 to 2020, is important for China to build a moderately prosperous society in all aspects. The 13th five-year plan highlights innovation, coordination, green development, opening-up and sharing, as well as structural reforms and serving the well being of all society. It is widely expected that the 13th five-year plan will maintain economic development as its central focus and guarantee social equity and justice through rule of law, and encourage innovation.
The 13th five-year plan, the first under Chinese President Xi Jinping's leadership, is to map strategies for China's development with growth targets in the next 5-years. China is going to create new laws focusing on the protection of seniors' rights, comprehensive loan services and basic healthcare everyone. Legislation surrounding the protection of the maritime environment, poverty relief and food security has been prioritized during the 13th five-year plan. In the past five years, China has made remarkable progress in poverty reduction. China has lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty in the past 30 years, accounting for about 70 percent of those brought out of poverty worldwide. Dr. Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, said China has played a significant role in reducing poverty worldwide. Addressing the Global Poverty Reduction and Development Forum held in Beijing on 10th October, 2015 President Xi Jinping confirmed poverty alleviation would be one of the main goals in the 13th five-year plan. I quote from his speech: "To build a well-off society in an all-round way, it's a solemn promise to our people. The government must make poverty alleviation the top priority, to ensure that all poor people live in a well-off society and enjoy essential social services by 2020." In 2016, China is expected to lift more people out of poverty, with Chinese President Xi Jinping declaring in his New Year speech, "We should care for all people facing difficulties, making them feel warm from the bottom of their hearts."
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) ended its 3-decade-long one-child policy in October, 2015, a historic move allowing all couples to have two children amid efforts of balancing the country's population structure. Chinese lawmakers adopted an amended family planning law on 27th December, 2015. The new law takes effect on January 1, 2016. In late 2013, China issued a "two-child policy", allowing couples to have two children if one of them is an only child. The new policy updated the country's decades-long one-child population policy. Many people believe the new policy will bring about a new round of baby boom. According to statistics, China's annual births have not exceeded 18 million since 1992. In the last decade, figures have lingered around 15.5 million. China's family planning policy was first introduced in the 1970s to rein in a surging population. For decades, most urban couples were limited to one child and rural couples were allowed to have two children if the first child was a girl. The "one couple, one child" policy is estimated to have prevented some 400 million births, reducing pressure on resources and the environment. I personally think economic growth must match with the progress of society. To maintain the balance of the population is beneficial to sustainable development. The new family planning policy is expected to add an additional 30 million more people to the labor force by 2050, while at the same time, drop the proportion of elderly people in China by around 2-percent. The "two-child policy" of the 13th Five Year Plan is a right step to enhance social progress in China.
It is expected that Chinese leaders should give much importance on the anti-corruption campaign and pay attention to deepen reforms in various fields to push for the realization of the Chinese dream. It is seen that China is gaining ground in the fight against corruption. I hope the Chinese Communist Party members should maintain confidence in the anti-corruption drive as President Xi Jinping stresses that the campaign against corruption should continue to cover all sectors and zero tolerance will be shown to violators.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a major economy in the world, China has always played a significant and responsible role in world affairs. Over the past 60 years, China has provided nearly 400 billion yuan in assistance to 166 countries and international organizations, forgiven inter-governmental interest-free loans owed by heavily-indebted poor countries seven times, and given medical support to 69 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Oceania. A series of global initiatives with Chinese characteristics were lauded worldwide in 2015, such as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. We expect that China, in 2016, will continue to advocate the notion of win-win cooperation in the international arena, by strengthening ties with major countries, sparing no efforts to promote cooperation with developing countries and implementing neighborhood diplomacy, which features "amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness."
To conclude I want to say Chinese people under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party strive on the great journey of achieving the goal of building a society of initial prosperity in all respects and realizing the Chinese Dream. I have a firm belief that China will continue to follow a path of peaceful development and a win-win strategy of opening-up, join hands with all nations in the world, India included, for common development. "Long Live India-China Friendship."
The Author: Rabi Sankar Bosu, Secretary of New Horizon Radio Listeners' Club, West Bengal, India