The Two Sessions concluded last Saturday, March 11, with some proposals for ambitious changes and the re-election for a third term of President Xi Jinping. One of the ideas running through the meetings was that of “high-quality development,” considered the “first and foremost” task in China’s modernization process.
The principle is understood as innovative, coordinated, green, open development for all, and besides guiding the debates, it inspired several concrete proposals by the more than 5,000 legislators and policy advisors who attended the meetings.
In this issue, we continue with a summary of the annual meetings of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
Concurrent meetings received more than 13,000 proposals and suggestions focused on the steady, quality growth of the Chinese economy
Proposals ranged from real economy development and pollution control to accessibility to high-quality medical resources; after being elected, Xi Jinping emphasized that the country needs to implement a people-centered development philosophy, improve the income distribution system, improve the social security system, and basic public services
New National Data Office will be charged with regulating the digital economy and implementing a national big data strategy, including infrastructure
New regulator to oversee key aspects of data governance and will also monitor data operations of big internet companies to prevent recent breaches like DiDi’s; new body will be under the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planning authority
Congress approved the creation of the National Financial Regulatory Administration, aiming to ensure the safety and efficiency of the financial services sector
The body will take over all day-to-day supervision of the central bank’s financial holdings and financial services, except for the securities sector, and will also unify supervision of consumer rights protection; reformulation aims to allow the central bank to focus on the administration of two pillars: formulation and implementation of monetary policy, and macroprudential management
The Ministry of Science and Technology will be restructured with the goal of technological self-sufficiency as the main challenge
The agency will manage less research funds to focus on policy formulation, which was a demand of the sector; a Central Commission for Science and Technology will be created, directly under the CCP and with greater authority than the ministry, which will be its executive body
China’s mediation in historic deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia is welcomed by Persian Gulf countries and the UN
After seven years, countries will resume diplomatic relations in negotiations that Beijing had been secretly articulating; China’s non-hegemonic policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries has been well received in the region; in the tripartite declaration, the countries expressed their willingness to make every effort to improve regional and international peace and security
Weak foreign demand leads to a drop in China’s exports in January and February, which are down 6.8% year on year
High inflation in the US and Europe – to where exports fell 21.8% and 12.2%, respectively – is one of the causes; however, in February, China’s automakers exported 329,000 vehicles, representing an 82.8% increase compared to the same month in 2022
Agriculture and Environment
In 2022, China planted 3.83 million hectares of trees and treated 3.21 million hectares of degraded grasslands
China has only 6.6% of the world’s vegetated area, but it accounts for a quarter of the world’s net increase in green areas and its forest cover rate is around 24%, or about 231 million hectares; this year, the government plans to increase forested areas by 3.2 million hectares, and plant and/or restore 3.46 million hectares of grass
US beef exports to China exceeded Australia’s for the first time, with 192,000 over 185,000 tons in 2022
Annual US wine and cotton exports to China also surpassed Australia’s; Australia’s sales to China have plummeted in recent years amid rising tensions between the two nations and closer political ties between the Oceania country and the United States
People’s Life and Culture
China’s modern feminism is considered an integral part of the country’s construction and modernization
In the early 20th century, women demonstrated against the archaic practice of footbinding, and women’s armies were part of the 1911 revolution and the 1949 communist revolution, which encouraged women to enter the workforce in factories and agriculture; today, their concerns include gender-based violence, family, or maintaining their rights to land after marriage in rural areas
Maternity hotels modernize the zuoyuezi tradition, where new mothers must follow a set of rules for a month after giving birth
This is an old tradition whereby the mother is not allowed to leave the house, read, watch TV, or wash her hair or eat certain foods; maternity hotels do not abandon the tradition but offer an alternative to ease tensions with relatives who have stricter views
A maternity hotel in Wuhan, Hubei province, 2018 [Cheng Ying/VCG]
Dongsheng’s interventions and productions this week:
- Marco Fernandes in China Now with Professor Zhang Weiwei
- Marco Fernandes in Russia Today: ‘The US is already used to devastate countries with sanctions’
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