If you want to have a better understanding of the world's second-largest economy, then you should look at its five-year plan for economic and social development.
The year 2020 is a juncture where China will wrap up the plan for the 2016-2020 period and prepare for its next master plan. Such a policy blueprint usually sets forth China's strategic intentions and defines its major objectives, tasks and measures for economic and social development.
China is now in the homestretch to completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and achieving the targets set in the 13th five-year plan.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased uncertainties for development, the country has shown firm determination to deliver the goals as scheduled.
The ongoing annual sessions of the national legislature and political advisory body, known as the "two sessions," have further prepared the country in securing the final victories and offered clues of what would top the agenda of development policies in the medium term.
GO BEYOND GDP
China's decision not to set a specific GDP target for 2020 has captured headlines worldwide, raising questions on its economic resilience amid pandemic fallout.
Analysts said that putting headline GDP growth targets on the back burner is a move of practical significance to the country's long-term growth, as it is only one of the many fundamentals of economic prosperity, manifested in the 2016-2020 plan.
The plan, adopted in March 2016, was in part designed to address China's structural challenges and ensure long-term prosperity and economic growth, and put forward new gauges of the progress in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
Green and innovative development was highlighted by the plan.
Ten out of the plan's 25 targets are related to the environment and are part of the 13 binding targets that must be achieved by 2020. Innovation, the second major section of the plan, has been emphasized as a cornerstone of China's development strategy.
Environmental protection goals set for 2016-2020 are being accomplished in a smooth manner, said Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu, vowing that China will not relax its environmental protection in the next five years.
"In the 14th five-year plan period, we will continue to improve ecological and environmental quality by reducing pollutant emissions and vigorously promote ecological protection and restoration," Huang said.
According to He Lifeng, head of the top economic planning body, China is expected to basically reach all 25 targets toward completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects this year, of which GDP is one anticipatory goal.
He noted that even a 3-percent economic growth rate can put China very close to its target of doubling the 2010 GDP by the end of 2020.
NEXT BLUEPRINT WITH CONSISTENCY
The 14th five-year plan will draw the blueprint for China to embark on a new journey toward its second centenary goal of building a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious.
While the final version of the plan is expected to be unveiled in 2021, this year's "two sessions" have offered some glimpses into the pivotal plan as Chinese leadership sets the direction.
In terms of reform, the leadership has stressed unremitting efforts to ensure better integration of the roles of the market and the government in resource allocation.
"We will boost the flow of human resources, foster technology and data markets, and thus unleash the potential of all types of production factors," said a government work report delivered last week by Premier Li Keqiang.
China also makes expanding domestic demand a strategy to tap into the enormous potential of the market at home amid tumbled external demand.
Steady progress is expected in creating a new development pattern where domestic and foreign markets can boost each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay.
Back in November, when Premier Li outlined what a quality 14th five-year plan would look like, he cited a batch of major reform and opening-up initiatives to enhance the endogenous engines for growth and stimulate market vitality.
The government work report highlighted energizing market entities through reform and strengthening new drivers of growth. Efforts will also be made this year to encourage the upgrading of manufacturing, the growth of emerging industries, as well as startups and innovation nationwide.
According to a new report from Deloitte China, the smooth implementation of the 13th plan has helped China seize an important period of strategic opportunity and make progress in economic transformation and upgrading, putting the economy in a new normal characterized by upgraded form and more reasonable structure.
Further improvement in the business environment, coordinated development across regions, innovation-driven development and a better environment may be among the development priorities of China in the 2021-2025 period, said the report.
As China takes a holistic approach in advancing its high-quality development during the period, the industrial landscape will be reshaped and enterprises will see more strategic opportunities, the report said.