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China pushes domestic economy, tech power

2020-10-29 HKT 22:56
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  • China's Communist leadership has outlined a five-year vision to develop the country into a powerhouse centred on stronger domestic spending and tech self-reliance. Image: Shutterstock
    China's Communist leadership has outlined a five-year vision to develop the country into a powerhouse centred on stronger domestic spending and tech self-reliance. Image: Shutterstock
China analyst Willy Lam talks to RTHK's Maggie Ho
Leaders of China’s Communist party have pledged to focus on higher-quality economic growth for the next five years as they wrapped up a four-day plenary session in Beijing on China's development goals.

The party expects China's GDP to exceed 100 trillion yuan this year – but this would mean the nation would narrowly miss its previous goal of doubling GDP in the decade to 2020.

A communique issued after the fifth meeting of the party’s Central Committee says China will aim to achieve sustained and healthy economic development from 2021-2025, with a focus on higher quality growth. But according to the Xinhua news agency, it has yet to set a concrete growth target for this period.

Willy Lam, a China analyst with the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said it is “quite unusual” for the party not to come up with a specific growth target.

He also said the communique’s pledge to promote President Xi Jinping's "dual circulation" model of development – could mean China increasingly turns inwards in the future.

“The Chinese have embarked on a very ambitious plan to push the domestic economy in terms of capital construction, infrastructure projects and so forth”, Lam said.

“The emphasis on the so-called ‘domestic circulation – that means mainly relying on the domestic market for consumption and innovation – might mean that the country is stepping back on its open door policy.”

The communique also said technological self-sufficiency is another goal, and the nation aims to achieve major breakthroughs in key technologies by 2035.

Lam thinks this goal is a direct response to rapidly-deteriorating Sino-US ties in recent years.

“In his previous speeches in the past two or three months, Xi Jinping has emphasised domestic-driven innovation in the high-tech area. This is a measure to prevent the supply chain of high-tech components on which China’s high-tech industries still depend, from wreaking havoc on the overall development”, he said.

On security matters, the communique said China's defence capabilities would be beefed up in line with the economy, and the country would maintain "strategic composure" in the face of newly emerged challenges and conflicts in the international arena.

The communique also reiterated that reunification with Taiwan would be achieved by force if necessary, and that the party will work to maintain the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macau.

The final blueprint will be approved and published when the National People's Congress meets in its annual session next year.