BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) — In the face of a pandemic unseen in the last 100 years, China’s gross domestic product (GDP) exceeded the 100-trillion-yuan (about 15.41 trillion U.S. dollars) threshold in 2020 and is expected to be the only major economy to post positive growth, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The hard-earned achievement was made by the people and for the people, embodying the fundamental objective of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the world’s largest ruling political party, which is to serve the people wholeheartedly.
Following is a review of the practice and experience of the country and the Party encapsulated in the acronym “PEOPLE” — People’s lives first, employment as a priority, opinions from the public heard, poverty alleviation victory, livelihoods guaranteed, and ecological progress.
PEOPLE’S LIVES FIRST
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the country has put people’s lives and health first, fully demonstrating its people-centered philosophy.
The Chinese government has provided free medical treatment for COVID-19 patients without leaving even a single individual unattended, dispatched quick medical supplies and medical teams to cities hit hard by the epidemic, and ensured the supply of people’s daily necessities.
Such crucial steps to stem the spread of the virus have laid the foundation for the resumption of work and production and created conditions for the “V-shaped” economic rebound.
To help other countries plagued by the pandemic, China has pledged to make its vaccines a global public good and called for joint efforts to build a community of health for all.
EMPLOYMENT AS A PRIORITY
Ensuring employment was a priority of the macro-economic policy last year, said Ning Jizhe, head of the NBS. China has set no specific target for economic growth but made practical plans to ensure new urban jobs, give full play to the market entities and improve people’s livelihoods.
China’s job market remained stable in 2020. A total of 11.86 million new urban jobs were created during the whole year, achieving 131.8 percent of the target set for the entire year, the NBS data showed.
In the next stage, China will promote employment, optimize income distribution structure and expand the middle-income group as part of efforts to boost domestic consumption, according to a tone-setting economic conference held in December last year.
OPINIONS FROM PUBLIC HEARD
The people’s right to oversight is guaranteed as the government has launched an online platform to collect people’s complaints on problems they find in local epidemic control efforts.
Starting in late January last year, press conferences were regularly held by the State Council’s joint prevention and control mechanism against COVID-19 to keep the people informed on issues such as treatment of patients, the allocation of supplies, the resumption of work and production as well as the reopening of schools.
In compiling the 14th Five-Year Plan, several symposiums were held to solicit opinions and suggestions from entrepreneurs, non-CPC personages, scientists, experts in economic, education, culture, health and sports fields, as well as grassroots representatives from a broad spectrum of professions. Comments were also solicited online, and in just two weeks, over 1 million pieces of comments were collected.
POVERTY ALLEVIATION VICTORY
The remarkable achievements made on the front of poverty alleviation also epitomize the people-centered philosophy.
In 2020, all of China’s nearly 100 million impoverished rural residents living below the current poverty line had shaken off poverty after eight years of efforts. All 832 poor counties have now been lifted out of poverty.
The country has made concerted efforts including implementing preferential tax policies, improving the use of anti-poverty funds, establishing online platforms for selling agricultural products from poverty-stricken areas, launching workshops and recruitment campaigns, and sending millions of cadres from the government to poverty-stricken areas to join the poverty eradication battle.
Because of these efforts, China is expected to achieve the poverty eradication goals set in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule.
Though the epidemic has affected employment, income and people’s lives, the livelihoods of residents have been safeguarded as the country stepped up efforts to secure people’s basic livelihoods.
In 2020, China’s per capita disposable income rose 2.1 percent to 32,189 yuan, basically keeping pace with the GDP increase, according to NBS data.
China’s consumer price index remained stable and rose 2.5 percent year on year in 2020, staying within the government’s annual target of around 3.5 percent. Official data also showed the country continued to see a generally stable housing market in December, with home prices in 70 major cities showing mild month-on-month increases.
Subsidies and supportive policies have been also offered to people with financial difficulties.
Speaking to Xinhua recently, Finance Minister Liu Kun said the government will normalize its implementation of the specified transfer payment mechanism to raise fiscal spending efficiency while “tightening the belt” to save money and enrich the people.
A good ecological environment is the fairest public product and the most accessible welfare for the people. In recent years, the country has accelerated efforts to develop a system for building an ecological civilization, including improvements of laws and regulations on environmental protection and the launch of action plans on the prevention of air, water and soil pollutions.
Meanwhile, more than 20 million people living under China’s poverty line freed themselves from the clutches of destitution through ecological poverty-relief programs, according to the National Forestry and Grassland Administration.
Witnessing China’s hard-won achievements in the “extraordinary” year of 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has recently praised the Chinese government for being very responsive to its people’s needs and happiness.
The fundamental aim of the CPC is to serve the people heart and soul, said Kingphet Mongkhonvilay, a senior official from the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, adding that the CPC has clearly demonstrated its dedication to the interests of the people amid the pandemic.