By Amin Kef-Ranger
As China looks ahead to the future after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), let’s recount how the world’s most populous country has fared during the past decade in its journey of economic, political, cultural, social and environmental development.
An analysis of the last two Five-Year Plans (FYPs) shows that rapid and sustainable economic development, as well as industrial restructuring, emerged as two of the main focuses of the 2011-2015 period, while the 13th FYP (2016-2020) aimed to maintain a medium-high rate of growth.
While China’s GDP more than doubled in the past decade, the contribution of its economic growth to the world economy stands at 18.5 percent.
Moreover, China made substantial leaps in scientific and technological development, building its own space station for future international collaboration and launching missions to the moon, Mars and beyond.
China adopted its first Civil Code in 2020 after a journey of 66 years. During the compilation, 1.02 million pieces of advice from around 425,000 people were solicited.
China also improved its security environment, with people’s sense of security topping 98 percent, according to a survey.
Moreover, while the CPC membership went up, the participation of non-CPC entities, especially in the consultative process, increased as well.
China achieved one of its “two centenary goals” of becoming a “moderately prosperous society” in 2021. One of the most significant of the struggles has been of eliminating the scourge of absolute poverty.
Speaking of health, China’s average life expectancy increased from 74.83 years in 2010 to 78.2 years in 2021. While the mortality rates continued to dip, a large number of people were brought under social security cover.
In the face of COVID-19, China prioritized human lives over economic gains through its dynamic zero-COVID policy and pushed vaccines as global public goods.
Furthermore, doubling of spending on the education sector in the past decade and the universalization of free nine-year compulsory education could be part of the reason why China’s literacy rate is only 2.67 percentage points shy of hitting an absolute 100 percent.
In the past decade, the government took a range of initiatives to not only meet people’s contemporary cultural needs but also preserve history by building infrastructures like libraries, museums, and galleries.
China has also been going above and beyond in nurturing a strong culture of sports and fitness, forging ahead with its national strategies of Fitness-for-All, Healthy China Initiative, and Building China into a Country Strong in Sports.
China’s promise to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060 came hot on the heels of a decade of progress achieved in lowering its dependency on coal, shifting to alternative sources of energy, increasing forest coverage and biodiversity, and taking a series of steps to mitigate climate change.