Provincial-level regions across China have hosted their annual legislative and political consultative meetings in recent weeks, underlining sci-tech innovation, common prosperity, further opening up and green development, as the country works in full throttle to achieve its second centenary goal.
The year 2021 was a milestone year for China, marking a fresh start. Upon completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, the world's most populous country embarked on a new journey to build itself into a modern socialist country.
Here are some key trends from the local "two sessions," which offer a glimpse into how China is striving to accomplish this significant goal.
How long does it take to assemble a car, which includes putting together the four doors, a bonnet and a trunk lid? Fifty-four seconds!
Though it may sound impossible, the intelligent flexible manufacturing line of Guangzhou Risong Intelligent Technology Holding Co. Ltd., a producer of industrial robots, has made it achievable.
The company is committed to the research, development and application of new technology and equipment in the intelligent manufacturing field, and boosts its development through technology innovation, said Sun Zhiqiang, chairman of Risong Technology, which is located in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province.
China, in pursuit of stellar scientific and technological achievements, is upholding innovation as the central role in its modernization drive while making itself a country of innovators.
Guangdong, a manufacturing heartland, has strengthened its strategy of science and technology and reinforced the foundation of high-quality economic development.
In 2021, the province channeled over 380 billion yuan (about 60 billion U.S. dollars), or 3.14 percent of its GDP, to research and development expenditure. The number of national high-tech enterprises exceeded 60,000, according to its government work report released last week.
East China's Anhui Province has also turned its attention to sci-tech innovation. This year, Anhui will strive to create more driving forces for high-quality development based on sci-tech innovation, especially intensifying the application of science and technology, stated its governor Wang Qingxian at the fifth session of the 13th Anhui Provincial People's Congress.
The "last mile of sci-tech achievement commercialization" can be realized through a string of measures, such as improving the financing system, intermediary service system, and application evaluation system, as well as encouraging innovation among enterprises, said Zhou Fangqin, a political advisor in Anhui and head of the sci-tech bureau of Anhui's Huainan City.
Common prosperity is undoubtedly a keyword in the government work report of Zhejiang Province, as the economic powerhouse in east China has been designated as a demonstration zone for promoting common prosperity.
In this year's government work report, Zhejiang noted that the per capita disposable income of the residents in 26 mountainous counties increased faster than the provincial average following a series of supportive policies.
The province plans to invest more than 40 billion yuan to promote 300 "Shanhai Xiezuo" projects, namely cooperation between coastal and mountainous regions, using the advantage of developed coastal regions to help the underdeveloped mountainous areas.
Zhejiang Province has drawn up detailed plans to achieve common prosperity. As per estimates, labor remuneration will account for more than 50 percent of its GDP by 2025, and the ratio of residents' per capita disposable income to per capita GDP will continue to increase during the period.
"Common prosperity is not only a concept of social development, but also a social change marked by the narrowing of the gap between regions, urban and rural areas, and in people's incomes," said Yuan Jiajun, Party secretary of Zhejiang Province.
The province will explore breakthroughs to build a high-quality employment and entrepreneurship system, improve the quality of social security mechanism, promote the sharing of quality public services, and aim to achieve common prosperity in spiritual life, Yuan added.
Despite the faltering global economy due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shanghai, at the forefront of China's reform and opening-up, has attached great importance to attracting foreign investors.
In 2021, its actual use of foreign capital reached 22.55 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 11.5 percent over the previous year. Shanghai now is home to 831 regional headquarters of multinational companies, including 60 that were newly established in 2021, according to the city's government work report.
"The city remains a hot destination for foreign investment to expand their industrial chains and beef up innovation," said Gong Zheng, the mayor of Shanghai.
Since the start of reform and opening-up in the late 1970s, many foreign investors have chosen Shanghai as a testing ground on the Chinese mainland. They have been the participants and beneficiaries of the groundbreaking policy and experienced an ever-opening China.
Asia Pulp &Paper (APP), a subsidiary of Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas Group, entered China in 1992. Headquartered in Shanghai, the company has benefited from China's favorable trade policies and a continuously improving business environment in recent years, said Zhai Jingli, vice president of APP China.
"The implementation of the Foreign Investment Law, including the further shortening of the negative list on foreign investment, has indeed brought more benefits to foreign investors and provided more long-term development opportunities," she added.
One of the key characteristics of China's socialist modernization is human-nature harmony. The country has also made the commitment to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, urging local governments to vigorously seek their own path of green development.
In Shanxi, a major coal-producing province in north China, twenty intelligent coal mines are expected to be built in 2022, the Shanxi Provincial People's Congress stated last week.
Meanwhile, the Chinese capital Beijing will improve forest quality, formulate and implement biodiversity protection plans and wildlife habitat planning, as well as a three-year action plan for wetland conservation and restoration, with the establishment of 20 biodiversity conservation demonstration areas, the city's mayor Chen Jining said.
Known as "the roof of the world," southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region is deemed the "water tower" of Asia, a climate regulator and gene pool of the planet Earth. The regional government has prioritized the building of ecological civilization in Tibet's development, showed its government work report released on Jan. 4.
Ecologically functional land, such as forest land, grassland and wetlands, has been expanded to nearly 1.08 million square km, or 89.9 percent of the total area of the region, according to the latest round of land survey in Tibet.
Norgyel, head of the Department of Ecology and Environment of Tibet, said that the sound ecological environment has become the economic engine in the region. During the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), Tibet will vigorously develop tourism, plateau biology, clean energy, and other industries with plateau characteristics.