China Is Entering a New Era and the World Will Be Better for It; Economic Growth Is Still Key to XI Jinping's Vision but So Too Is the Environment and Quality of Life

The Evening Standard (London, England), November 3, 2017 | Go to article overview

China Is Entering a New Era and the World Will Be Better for It; Economic Growth Is Still Key to XI Jinping's Vision but So Too Is the Environment and Quality of Life


Byline: Liu Xiaoming Chinese Ambassador to the UK

CHINA has just concluded the 19th Party Congress, where General Secretary Xi Jinping outlined from a historical and global perspective where China is standing and where it is heading. My personal take on this landmark meeting is that as our socialism with Chinese characteristics enters a new era, growth in China is going to demonstrate four salient features.

First, China will maintain steady growth. The Congress sets out several goals with a specific time frame, namely a moderately prosperous society by 2020, basic socialist modernisation by 2035 and a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful by the middle of this century. This means an annual growth of more than 6.3 per cent from 2018 to 2020, a mid-to-high rate that will satisfy the need to maintain domestic development and at the same time drive the global economy forward.

In fact, over the past five years, China's growth has contributed more than 30 per cent of global growth, and China's investment and trade created 15 million jobs worldwide every year, including 180,000 jobs in the countries along the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road routes.

Meanwhile, China is clearly aware of the potential risks of systemic financial risks and is taking counter-measures to guard against them. We are strengthening financial monitoring, curbing the increase in local debt and de-leveraging state-owned enterprises. We are improving state-owned asset management to prevent state asset drainage. We are introducing a negative-list approach (in other words, we will list which products or services we will maintain trade barriers on, and if a product is not listed, it will be traded freely) with regard to market access to encourage fair competition and thwart monopoly. A China that maintains steady growth will contribute to the prosperity and stability of the world.

Second, China will focus on the quality of its growth. High-speed growth is now giving way to high-quality growth, and China will seize this moment to press ahead with supply-side reform, advance industrial transition, speed up structural upgrading and facilitate innovative development in order to build a modern economic system.

With a booming advanced manufacturing sector and with the industries moving up the value chain, China will find new ways to boost growth, through high-end consumption, innovation, green and low-carbon technology, sharing economy, modern supply chain and human capital services. Other significant aspects of China's economic modernisation include the internet, AI and big data.

However, growth will amount to nothing if it comes at the expense of the environment. China recognises this and will encourage green finance, energy efficiency, environmental protection, clean production and clean-energy industries. We will establish agencies to manage state-owned natural-resource assets and monitor ecosystems. We will strengthen environmental control on water, air and land pollution and bring polluters to account. High-quality growth in a major country with a population of 1. …

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