We owe these achievements to the sound overall decisions made by the CPC Central Committee headed by General Secretary Xi Jinping, and to the concerted and determined efforts of all members of the Party, all members of the armed forces, and all the people of China. On behalf of the State Council, I wish to express our sincere gratitude to the people of all ethnic groups in China including public figures from all sectors of society and to the other parties and the people's organizations. I express our heartfelt appreciation to our fellow countrymen and women in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions and in Taiwan, and to Chinese nationals overseas. I also wish to express our sincere thanks to the governments, international organizations, and friends from all over the world who have shown understanding and support for China in her endeavor to modernize.
While recognizing our achievements, we are also keenly aware that our country is still confronted with many difficulties and problems in pursuing development. With the decline in global trade, amongst other factors, China experienced a fall in its total imports and exports and failed to reach its growth objective in this regard. Growth in investment is sluggish, overcapacity is a serious problem in certain industries, some enterprises are facing difficulties in production and operations, growth prospects are mixed for different regions and different industries, notable imbalances exist between government revenue and expenditures, the basic institutions for the capital market still need to be improved, and there are latent risks in the financial and other sectors. There are many problems in medical care, education, elderly care, food and medicine safety, income distribution, and urban management that are of concern to the people. The situation remains grave when it comes to environmental pollution, and some regions are frequently hit by severe smog. Particularly distressing, last year saw the sinking of the cruise ship Oriental Star on the Yangtze and the massive explosion in Tianjin Port. The deaths and injuries and the damage and loss of property from these incidents were devastating, and the profound lessons these incidents have taught us should never be forgotten. There are still inadequacies in the work of the government. Some reforms, policies, and measures have not been fully implemented; a small number of government employees either do not or are unable to fulfill their duties, or behave irresponsibly; and the corruption and misconduct in some sectors cannot be ignored. We must be more mindful of the difficulties ahead, more ready to assume responsibility, and more hardworking in ensuring these problems are solved. The wishes of the people should always determine the aim of our governance; we must do our utmost to deliver a strong performance in our work and never fail to live up to the great trust the people have placed in us.
The period covered by the 12th Five-Year Plan came to a close in 2015. During the past five years, impressive achievements were made in China's development. Since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, we have found ourselves in a complicated international environment, and we have faced the challenging tasks of carrying out reform and development and maintaining stability at home. However, under the guidance of the CPC Central Committee headed by General Secretary Xi Jinping, we have continued our commitment to the general principle of making progress while working to keep performance stable, deepened reform and opening up, and adopted a series of major measures that should deliver both immediate and long-term benefits. As a result, we successfully fulfilled all the main tasks and targets set out in the 12th Five-Year Plan.
First, a high rate of economic development was maintained.
During this period, China's GDP grew at an average annual rate of 7.8%. This growth enabled China to comfortably maintain its position as the world's second-largest economy, and become the largest trading nation in terms of goods as well as a major outbound investor.
Second, milestone progress was achieved in structural adjustments.
Service industries have grown to be the largest economic sector, information technology has been further integrated into industrialization, and overall agricultural production capacity has notably improved. Consumption has become a major driver of growth. Over half of China's population now resides in urban areas. Energy consumption per unit of GDP has dropped by 18.2%, and the emissions of major pollutants have been cut by over 12%.
* To be strict with oneself in practicing self-cultivation, using power, and exercising self-discipline; and to be honest in one's thinking, one's work, and one's behavior.
Third, across-the-board improvements were made in infrastructure.
The length of railways in service reached 121,000 kilometers, of which more than 19,000 kilometers are high-speed rail lines-more than 60% of the world's total. The length of expressways open to traffic exceeded 120,000 kilometers, the eastern and middle routes of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project were put into operation, and the world's largest 4G mobile network was built in China.
Fourth, significant breakthroughs were made in scientific and technological innovation.
Original achievements were made in quantum communications, neutrino oscillation, and iron-based high-temperature superconductivity through basic research. World-class advances were made in manned spaceflight, the lunar exploration program, and deep-water exploration.
Fifth, living standards improved significantly.
Personal income increased faster than economic growth, and the urban-rural income gap was narrowed. Over 64 million urban jobs were created. Government subsidies were used to build 40.13 million housing units in urban areas, providing new homes for around 100 million people. The number of rural residents living in poverty was cut by more than 100 million, and over 300 million rural residents gained access to safe drinking water.
Sixth, notable achievements were made in social development.
Significant progress was made in ensuring equal access to education, and the quality of education markedly improved. Basic health insurance was expanded to achieve complete coverage, and participation in basic pension plans exceeded 80% of the whole population. China's soft power continued to grow. The rule of law was advanced in all respects. Significant achievements were made in the military revolution with Chinese characteristics. Over the past five years, China's economic strength, scientific and technological capabilities, defense capabilities, and international influence have all been strengthened considerably.
The achievements attained during the period of the 12th Five-Year Plan fully demonstrate the strength of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the creativity of the Chinese people. The Chinese people can derive great confidence and a strengthened sense of unity from these achievements, drawing on them to forge ahead on this new leg of the journey toward realizing the Two Centenary Goals.*