China's top political advisory body kicked off its annual session on Saturday, marking the start of the "two sessions" in a crucial year as China gathers steam for building a great modern socialist country.
President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders attended the opening meeting of the first session of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Wang Yang, chairman of the 13th CPPCC National Committee, delivered a work report to the CPPCC National Committee session, in which he said the political advisory body has built broad consensus and contributed wisdom and strength to achieving the two centenary goals.
The "two sessions" refer to the annual meetings of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, and the CPPCC National Committee. The NPC session will open on Sunday.
The "two sessions" are of great importance in the country's political calendar, during which the central government will deliver a work report that usually reviews past achievements and sets development targets for the year and beyond. Thousands of national legislators and political advisors will review and discuss the report, as well as reports of the national legislature, the top court and the top procuratorate.
This year's political gatherings carry extra weight. The election of new leading officials of state institutions and the new leadership of the CPPCC National Committee is an important task of the "two sessions" this year. Also, the planned reform of the State Council institutions will be deliberated.
In addition, lawmakers will deliberate a draft amendment to the Legislation Law. The CPPCC National Committee session, meanwhile, will review and approve an amendment to the CPPCC charter.
Addressing national political advisors, Wang hailed China's past five years as "truly extraordinary."
China has realized its First Centenary Goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects on schedule, said Wang. "The rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is now on an irreversible historical course."
The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), held in October 2022, charted the course for China to realize the Second Centenary Goal of building a great modern socialist country in all respects by the middle of this century.
As the most important political event taking place after the CPC meeting, the "two sessions" are expected to further mobilize the nation to fulfill the modernization goals.
"Getting off to a good start is of great importance," said Sun Changlong, a member of the CPPCC National Committee.
"We political advisors shall conduct extensive problem-oriented research to assist with the high-quality development," said Sun.
Chen Huiqing, a deputy to the NPC and mayor of Zhuzhou City in Hunan Province, agrees that the "two sessions" will pool nationwide wisdom to push ahead the course of modernization.
"We will carefully review the documents and reports and put forward suggestions in light of local conditions," Chen said.
Since the start of this year, the country has sent out fresh signals of robust consumption and factory activities.
The purchasing managers' index for China's manufacturing sector came in at 52.6 in February, up from 50.1 in January. This figure marked the strongest level since April 2012.
More than half of China's provincial-level regions have set their 2023 GDP growth targets at 6 percent or higher.
Observers have anticipated the "two sessions" to build on such momentum and further rally confidence for the world's second-largest economy under the backdrop of domestic and external challenges.
"I expect this year's 'two sessions' to offer further guidance and more policies on boosting the economy, improving the industrial structure, and encouraging corporate innovation," said Qiu Jihua, a national lawmaker.
"China is striving to secure stable economic growth this year, so the 'two sessions' are of special significance in boosting confidence and gathering strength," said Yang Hui, a national political advisor.