With a spring in his step after an uptick in tourists to his region, Wu Guoping, a deputy to the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) from Jiangsu Province, attended the opening meeting of the annual session of China's top legislature in Beijing on Sunday.
According to Wu, the number of visitors at Wuxi City's Nianhua Bay in Jiangsu exceeded 210,000 in the first two months of this year, the highest for the same period since 2019.
Similar rebounds are happening everywhere in China as the country begins the first year of its march toward modernization, echoing Xi Jinping's remarks that "the start is crucial to the overall situation and decisive to the future."
Xi attended the opening meeting of the first session of the 14th NPC on Sunday morning in Beijing. A government work report submitted to the session for deliberation reviewed the country's progress in 2022 and revealed China's main targets for development in 2023.
Building consensus with democracy
The work report noted that the people have expressed views and suggestions which deserve full attention and urged efforts to live up to the people's trust.
During the Two Sessions, nearly 3,000 national legislators and around 2,000 political advisors bring with them people's expectations for a better life as well as issues of public concern, so that the will of the 1.4 billion Chinese people is incorporated into the top-level design of national development.
This is a vivid practice of the whole-process people's democracy in China, which has been underscored as an essential requirement of Chinese modernization by Xi Jinping.
In the past decade, Xi has participated in deliberation with lawmakers or political advisors 53 times at the annual Two Sessions, having listened to opinions and suggestions of over 400 NPC deputies and CPPCC members.
The government work report stressed that "the past five years for China have been truly momentous and remarkable," saying the country has met numerous tests, including accelerated changes on the international landscape, the COVID-19 pandemic and a domestic economic slowdown, and made major achievements in economic and social development, including winning the critical battle against poverty and finishing building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
Calling for the stage to be set for building a modern socialist country in all respects, the report listed the main targets for development in 2023, including a GDP growth of around five percent, an increase of the consumer price index of around three percent and a deficit-to-GDP ratio of three percent.
The Two Sessions forges a synergy among the Chinese people and firms up their confidence in overcoming difficulties in achieving development goals in 2023 and advancing Chinese modernization, according to experts.
"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.
Opportunities for the world
As the Chinese modernization blueprint is fleshed out with specific targets to strive for at this year's Two Sessions, how China will create new opportunities for the world through its own development has captured global attention.
The government work report told the world that "China's economy is staging a steady recovery and demonstrating vast potential and momentum for further growth," as the country's consumer demand, market distribution, industrial production and business expectations have all markedly improved.
It announced that China will intensify efforts to attract and utilize foreign investment. "With a vast and open market, China is sure to provide even greater business opportunities for foreign companies in China."
According to a recent report released by the American Chamber of Commerce in South China, more than 90 percent of the participating companies selected China as one of the most important investment destinations.
The International Monetary Fund raised the estimate for China's growth to 5.2 percent in its latest World Economic Outlook report.
Recently, many world leaders have visited China to explore cooperation opportunities. On Wednesday, Xi told Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that China's high-quality development and modernization process will bring new opportunities to other countries.