While China’s ongoing two sessions are drawing global attention, some recently released statistics have given the international community a glance at the remarkable progress the country has made in the past 10 years, attesting to the success of China’s governance system, which has been defamed over the years by many in the West.
According to the official figures, China’s GDP has grown over the past 10 years from 53.9 trillion yuan ($7.75 trillion) to 121 trillion yuan, the second-largest in the world. Real GDP per capita has increased from $6,300 to $12,741. China’s share in the global economy has risen from 11.4 percent to 18 percent.
One significant achievement China made during that period was to bring nearly 100 million rural citizens out of absolute poverty, meeting the target 10 years earlier than the time frame set by the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In other words, China has solved the issue of fulfilling its 1.4 billion people’s basic need for food and clothing, exemplifying the people-oriented governance philosophy of the Communist Party of China.
Further, China’s per capita disposal income has increased from 16,500 yuan to 36,883 yuan over the past 10 years, signifying inclusively moderate prosperity. At present, China has a middle class of more than 400 million people, the largest in the world, enabling it to form a consumer goods retail market of 44 trillion yuan despite the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. China is also the world’s second-largest market for imported goods, a ranking it has held for the past 14 years. Its huge middle class is expected to expand to 800 million people in 15 years.
This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the country’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). So far, 151 countries and 32 international organizations have joined the BRI, helping China’s export and import trade to achieve average annual growth of 8.6 percent. In addition, China’s foreign trade has benefited from implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, making it the world’s top tangible goods trade country for the past six years. The more business acquaintances China has made, the nearer is “the human community with a shared future”, an ideal world that BRI seeks to achieve.
China’s expanding trade is attributable to its well-connected transportation network. As of 2022, the total length of the country’s composite transportation network exceeded 6 million kilometers, more than double the tally of 10 years ago. Currently, China has the largest high-speed railway network, expressway network and many world-class port clusters.
In addition, China has the largest and most advanced 5G network in the world with more than 2.3 million base stations across the country, covering the majority of the country. The number of Chinese netizens has exceeded 1 billion, an 80 percent increase in a decade.
The high mobility and connectivity provided by the excellent transportation and telecommunications networks, plus strong manufacturing industries have enhanced the employment prospects of Chinese people. More than 13 million urban employment opportunities have been offered annually, with in excess of 55 million unemployed people reemployed in the past 10 years. About 300 million peasants found jobs. The overall employment situation of 80 million university graduates has remained stable.
China’s second-centenary goal is to build a great modern socialist country in all respects, making it necessary to invest heavily in research and development. The country’s research and development spending was increased from 1 trillion yuan in 2012 to 3.09 trillion yuan in 2022 with the largest pool of R&D talent in the world.
Consequently, China has made marvelous progress in its manned space program, exploration of the moon and Mars, detection of the deep sea and deep earth, quantum information, satellite navigation, supercomputers, nuclear technology, new energy technology, biomedicine, manufacturing of aircraft carriers, and large cargo aircraft.
China is an agricultural country, and harmony between humanity and nature is deeply rooted in its culture. With the increasing affluence of the country, it can make greater contribution to green development. Both the 18th and 19th CPC national congresses placed great emphasis on environmental protection. With the environmentally friendly concept of “green waters and green mountains are gold mountains and silver mountains” (lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets) incorporated into the Party’s Constitution at the 19th National Congress, green development has become a consensus and commitment for all Chinese people, especially the Party cadres.
In the past 10 years, China’s annual average economic growth of 6.6 percent was achieved through a mere 3 percent annual average increase in energy consumption. The country had vowed to reduce 40 to 45 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. The State Council’s white paper issued in October 2021 disclosed that the country’s carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 were reduced by 18.8 percent compared to 2015 figures and by 48.4 percent compared to 2005 figures. Simply put, China fulfilled its commitment to the international community by a greater margin with an accumulated reduction of 5.8 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
While China still has a long way to go for the other two international commitments — peaking carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality prior to 2060 — the country will dedicate greater efforts to developing revolutionary energy, and building a new-energy supply and storage systems so that green living can become part of people’s daily lives. This is another important way Chinese people can contribute to the “human community with a shared future”.
Regarding the protection and inheritance of culture, China has the largest number of intangible cultural heritage items in the world registered in UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Kunqu Opera, shadow puppetry, calligraphy and seal cutting are some of the 43 Chinese cultural items registered in the list.
Furthermore, the number of museums in China has doubled to more than 6,000 over 10 years, 90 percent of which offer free admission. The Chinese government aims to complete the construction of national culture parks for the Great Wall, the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal and the Long March within this year, with related cultural resources enjoying better protection, inheritance and utilization.
Chinese people’s feeling of security has reached a record high level thanks to the remarkable progress the country has made over the past 10 years. According to a report released by China’s Supreme People’s Court last month, the percentage of convictions for serious crime last year, including murder, kidnapping and robbery, dropped to its lowest since 1999, from 25 percent to 3.9 percent. The Chinese people’s security index rose from 87.5 percent in 2012 to 98.6 percent last year, giving China one of the lowest crime rates and strongest sense of security in the world.
More and more developing countries, which do not believe the political lies told by anti-China Western politicians and media, are keen to learn about China’s governance system. As Chinese people are generous and peace-loving, we are willing to share our experience of success with others; as a Chinese proverb puts it, “All men under heaven are brothers.”
The author, a Hong Kong-based freelance writer, is an adviser to the Hong Kong Association of Media Veterans.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.