China is kicking off its parliament session; it is like the super bowl, the nucleus of China's political calendar. The all important meeting is taking place in Beijing's Great Hall of the People where, some 3,000 delegates come together to caucus the country's affairs and finalize China's new year plan. The session is scheduled to conclude on March 16. [Special Coverage]
Before the proceedings began for the opening session of China's annual legislature a flag raising ceremony took place at the historic Tiananmen Square, large sums of people poured in to witness the ceremony.
Once the delegates were seated after the national anthem Premier Li Keqiang took the stage to deliver the much awaited government work report. The Premier stated that it is "a difficult battle" especially when the world is exhibiting sluggish economic growth but China being a major driver of the world economy is ready and steadfast in dealing with the challenges. The Premier started off with a review of the previous year, he talked about the challenges as to how the Government is planning on using the Challenges as opportunities to move towards the new economic growth model.
Premier Li Keqiang's annual work report revealed that the economic growth target has been set at 6.5-7 percent for this year. The target is roughly close to a growth of a trillion dollars for the year 2016 and also the average annual growth rate for the next five years is set at above 6.5 percent which means growth of a trillion or more every year for the next five years which is a healthy sign of forecasting stability.
The major areas highlighted in the Premier's speech are not just buzz words but actual reforms and policies which will be formally finalized during the annual meeting of the legislature. The major areas are; Growth, Innovation-Driven Development, Modern Industries, Internet, Energy Revolution, Urbanization, Maritime Power, Environment, Opening-up, Belt & Road Initiative, Global Economic Governance, International Responsibility, People's well-being and Strategy and Security.
The first point highlighted by the Premier accounts for "economic growth" and 2016 marks the starting point of China's 13th Five-Year Plan till 2020 and by the end of this five year plan it is forecasted that China will eventually have a strong domestic consumer base which will not only mean stable economic growth but also a prosperous China; as by 2020, the 2010 GDP and the GDP per capita income will be doubled through innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development.
China has been striving really hard in recent years by investing heavily in research and development to steer China's path for growth towards "innovation-driven development" this is why this point is an integral part of the new five year plan. The Premier stated that in the 13th five year plan special emphasis will be given to "breakthroughs in core technologies including information communication, new energy, new materials, aviation, biological medicine and intelligent manufacturing." China will try and forcefully initiate international major science projects, indulge in advanced research. Policies will be set to ease the criteria for foreign talents' applying for permanent residence.
The process of curbing waste production started last year and in the next five years will focus on "modern industries" which will support the initiative of "Made in China 2025." Premier Li said, "Innovation is the primary driving force for development and must occupy a central place in China's development strategy." That is why key areas of focus will involve information technology, new energy, biological technology and low-carbon industries, as well as high-end equipment and materials. Li said, "We will promote greater user of Chinese equipment, technology, standards, and services in the international market, and help Chinese manufacturing brands gain international recognition."
The Premier stressed the importance of "internet" during his speech and during the next five years, China's internet revolution will go through a phase of metamorphosis through which it will be one of the major drivers of the new economy of China. Focus will be given to; "Speed up building a new generation of information infrastructure, Advance 5G telecom technology, Implementation of 'Internet Plus', Promotion of big data and social governance innovation."
In today's world the energy is a hot topic and in the coming five years China will endeavor to bring about an "energy revolution" "by establishing a modern clean energy system and by building a coordinated and integrated energy network" and in the process lowering carbon emissions at a drastic level.