REPORT ON THE WORK OF THE GOVERNMENT
Delivered at the Third Session of the 13th National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China on May 22, 2020
Premier of the State Council
On behalf of the State Council, I will now report to you on the work of the government. I ask for your deliberation and approval. I also ask members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) for their comments.
The covid-19 epidemic is the fastest spreading, most extensive, and most challenging public health emergency China has encountered since the founding of the People’s Republic. Under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, and through the hard work and sacrifice of our entire nation, we have made major strategic achievements in our response to covid-19. At present, the epidemic has not yet come to an end, while the tasks we face in promoting development are immense. We must redouble our efforts to minimize the losses resulting from the virus and fulfill the targets and tasks for economic and social development this year.
- A review of our work in 2019 and the first few months of 2020
In pursuing development last year, China faced many difficulties and challenges. World economic growth was weak, international economic and trade frictions intensified, and downward pressure on the domestic economy grew. The Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core rallied the Chinese people and led them in surmounting difficulties and accomplishing the year’s main targets and tasks, thus laying the crucial foundation needed to reach the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
The economy remained stable overall. Gross domestic product (GDP) reached 99.1 trillion yuan, representing a 6.1 percent increase over the previous year. Around 13.52 million new urban jobs were added, and the surveyed unemployment rate was below 5.3 percent. Consumer prices rose by 2.9 percent. A basic equilibrium was maintained in the balance of payments.
The economic structure continued to improve, and the development priorities of regions are better aligned. Total retail sales of consumer goods exceeded 40 trillion yuan, and consumption continued to serve as the main engine driving growth. Advanced manufacturing and modern services registered rapid growth. Grain output reached 665 million metric tons. For the first time, permanent urban residents exceeded 60 percent of the population; progress was made in implementing major development strategies for regions.
New growth drivers became stronger. A number of major innovative achievements were made in science and technology. Emerging industries continued to grow; upgrading in traditional industries accelerated. Business startups and innovation continued to surge nationwide, with an average net increase of over 10,000 businesses per day.
Major headway was made in reform and opening up. Supply-side structural reform was further advanced, and breakthroughs in reform were made in key areas. We cut taxes and fees by 2.36 trillion yuan, going well beyond our target of 2 trillion yuan, with manufacturing and micro and small businesses benefiting most.
The reform of government bodies was completed. Reforms to streamline administration and delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services were steadily advanced. The Science and Technology Innovation Board, or STAR Market, was established. The joint efforts to pursue the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) yielded fresh results. Regulations for the implementation of the Foreign Investment Law were adopted, and the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone Lin’gang New Area was established. Foreign trade and investment remained stable.
Pivotal progress was achieved in the three critical battles. * Decisive achievements were made in poverty alleviation – the rural poor population was reduced by 11.09 million, and the poverty headcount ratio fell to 0.6 percent. Pollution prevention and control efforts continued, with further reductions in the discharge of major pollutants and overall improvements in the environment. The financial sector remained stable.
(*This refers to the battles against poverty, pollution, and potential risk.)
Living standards continued to improve. Per capita disposable personal income topped 30,000 yuan. Basic old-age insurance, health insurance, and subsistence allowance standards were raised. Further progress was made in the construction of urban government-subsidized housing and the rebuilding of dilapidated houses in rural areas. The number of students in compulsory education receiving living allowances increased by almost 40 percent, and enrollments at vocational colleges grew by one million.
We celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. This occasion has inspired a strong sense of patriotism among all Chinese people, creating a powerful force that will bring great victories for socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
We worked to improve Party conduct and build a clean government, started an initiative to raise awareness of the need to stay true to the Party’s founding mission, and strictly observed the central Party leadership’s eight-point decision on improving work conduct. We continued to address the practice of formalities for formalities’ sake, bureaucratism, hedonism, and extravagance, and took steps to ensure that people working at the primary level are free from unnecessary restrictions and excessive burdens.
We achieved fruitful outcomes in pursuing China’s major country diplomacy. We successfully hosted the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and other major diplomatic events.
President Xi Jinping and other Party and state leaders visited many countries and attended major international events, including the G20 Leaders’ Summit, the BRICS Leaders’ Meeting, the Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit, the East Asian leaders’ meetings on cooperation, the China-EU Summit, and the China-Japan-ROK Leaders’ Meeting.
We played an active role in the development and reform of the global governance system, and promoted the building of a human community with a shared future. We successfully pursued economic diplomacy and cultural and people-to-people exchanges. China made important contributions to the advancement of world peace and development.
Since the coronavirus first emerged, the Party Central Committee has made its containment the top priority. General Secretary Xi Jinping, putting the health and safety of our people before everything else, has personally taken charge and planned our response.
Under the leadership of the Party Central Committee, the central leading group for covid-19 response has made timely decisions and plans; the central guidance group has provided effective guidance and supervision; the State Council inter-departmental task force has coordinated the response efforts; all local authorities and all government departments have fulfilled their respective duties, and people from every walk of life have given their full support. Together, we have waged an all-out people’s war against the virus.
Our medical workers have fought with courage. Our servicemen and women have shouldered heavy responsibilities. Our scientists and researchers have joined forces in order to find a cure. Our community workers, policemen and women, officials working at the primary level, media personnel, and volunteers have stood fast at their posts.
Our deliverymen and women, our sanitation workers, and all who make and transport emergency supplies have continued their work with dedication. Hundreds of millions of other workers outside of the spotlight have also made their own contributions.
In Wuhan City and Hubei Province the people have carried on with fortitude and resilience, while people from all sectors of society and our fellow compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and overseas have made generous donations, both monetary and in-kind.
Through all these efforts, we, all the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation, have stood together in the most trying of times and built a Great Wall of solidarity against the epidemic.
Responding to the central Party leadership’s call to stay confident, come together in solidarity, adopt a science-based approach, and take targeted measures, we have carried out all our work in a solid and meticulous manner. We adopted containment measures promptly, treating covid-19 as a Class A infectious disease and activating a Level One public health emergency response in all localities.
We have achieved a decisive victory in the battle to defend Hubei Province and its capital city Wuhan by firmly implementing strict control measures, rallying the support of the entire country, and dispatching over 40,000 doctors and nurses. We built Huoshenshan and Leishenshan hospitals as well as cabin hospitals to increase the number of hospital beds within a short time, and ensured the availability of medical supplies. We continuously refined diagnostic and treatment plans, incorporated traditional Chinese medicine into treatment, and concentrated patients, experts and resources in designated facilities to provide treatment, thus doing everything we could to maximize the cure rate and minimize the mortality rate.
We extended the Spring Festival holiday nationwide, postponed the spring semester, facilitated flexible resumption of work, and staggered commute times. We have carried out a society-wide prevention and control effort, ensured early detection, reporting, quarantine, and treatment of cases, firmly controlled sources of infection, and effectively curbed the spread of the virus.
Intensive efforts have been made to develop drugs, vaccines, and testing reagents. We expanded production of medical supplies by a large margin within a short time, ensured supply and price stability of daily necessities, and maintained smooth transportation on trunk lines, as well as stable supplies of coal, electricity, oil, and gas. In response to changing covid-19 dynamics, we have adopted regular prevention and control measures in a timely manner.
In the face of the global spread of covid-19, we promptly set up a shield against possible imported cases, and we have provided increased care and support for Chinese citizens overseas. With an open, transparent, and responsible attitude, China has actively engaged in international cooperation, providing timely information, actively sharing prevention technologies and practices, and helping other countries with their response efforts.
As a developing country with 1.4 billion people, it is only by overcoming enormous difficulties that China has been able to contain covid-19 in such a short time while also ensuring our people’s basic needs. Our success has come at a great price. The economy posted negative growth in the first quarter of this year, and daily life and work have been greatly affected. However, life is invaluable. This is a price we must pay, and a price worth paying.
While continuing to advance epidemic control, we have also promoted economic and social development and lost no time in resuming work and production when appropriate. With 90 policy measures in 8 categories, we have provided assistance to enterprises to stabilize employment, cut and exempted taxes and fees, exempted all tolls on highways, reduced the costs of energy use, and introduced subsidized loans. We have approved in advance ceilings on local government debt in accordance with due procedures. We have kept up with the spring farming schedule, and continued the critical battle against poverty. We have provided assistance to people working on the front lines of covid-19 control and people in difficulty, and doubled temporary price subsidies.
These policies have benefited our people, and ensured the stability of supplies and prices and the resumption of work and production in a timely and effective way. Indeed, the Chinese economy has shown great resilience and enormous potential.
We owe what we have achieved in economic and social development since last year and in covid-19 control this year to the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the sound guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and the concerted efforts of the Party, the armed forces, and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups.
On behalf of the State Council, I express sincere gratitude to the people of all ethnic groups, and to all other political parties, people’s organizations, and public figures from all sectors of society. I express heartfelt appreciation to our fellow countrymen and women in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, in Taiwan, and overseas. I also express sincere thanks to the governments of other countries, international organizations, and friends from all over the world, who have shown understanding and support for China in its endeavor to achieve modernization and in its fight against covid-19.
While recognizing our achievements, we are also keenly aware of the difficulties and problems we face. The shock of the covid-19 pandemic has sent the world economy into severe recession, disrupted industrial and supply chains, and caused a contraction in international trade and investment and volatility in commodity markets.
Domestically, consumption, investment, and exports have declined. Pressure on employment has risen significantly. Businesses, especially private firms and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), face growing difficulties. There are increasing risks in the financial sector and other areas. The budgetary imbalances of primary-level governments have intensified.
In the work of government there is still room for improvement. Pointless formalities and bureaucratism remain an acute issue. A small number of officials are reluctant to take on responsibility, are unwilling or unable to perform their duties, or behave irresponsibly. Corruption is still a common problem in some fields. During the covid-19 response, many weak links have been exposed in public health emergency management, and the people have expressed their views and suggestions, which deserve our attention. We must strive to improve our work and fulfill our responsibilities and make every effort to live up to the people’s expectations.