Report on the Work of the Government
Delivered at the Fifth Session of the 12th National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China on March 5, 2017
Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council
On behalf of the State Council, I will now report to you on the work of the government and ask for your deliberation and approval. I also wish to have comments on my report from the members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
Let me begin with a review of our work in 2016.
In the past year, China’s development has faced grave challenges posed by a great many problems and interwoven risks and dangers both at home and abroad. However, under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, we the Chinese people have risen to the challenge and worked hard to press ahead, driving forward sustained, healthy economic and social development.
At the Sixth Plenary Session of the 18th Party Central Committee, the core position of General Secretary Xi Jinping was formally affirmed, which reflects the fundamental interests of the Party and the Chinese people, and is of crucial and far-reaching significance for ensuring the flourishing and long-term stability of the Party and the country. All regions and all government departments have steadily strengthened their consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, uphold the leadership core, and keep in alignment. Pushing ahead with all-around efforts, we have achieved major progress in finishing building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, made important strides in deepening reform, continued to exercise law-based governance, and made further progress in practicing strict Party self-governance; and we have accomplished the year’s main tasks and targets for economic and social development, and got the 13th Five-Year Plan off to a great start.
The economy has registered a slower but stable performance with good momentum for growth.
GDP reached 74.4 trillion yuan, representing 6.7-percent growth, and seeing China outpace most other economies. China contributed more than 30 percent of global growth. The CPI rose by 2 percent. With an 8.5-percent increase in profits, industrial enterprises reversed the previous year’s negative growth of 2.3 percent. Energy consumption per unit of GDP fell by 5 percent. Economic performance improved markedly in quality and returns.
Employment growth exceeded projections.
A total of 13.14 million new urban jobs were added over the course of the year. The number of college graduates finding employment or starting businesses reached another record high. The registered urban unemployment rate stood at 4.02 percent at year-end 2016, the lowest level in years. For China, a large developing country with a population of over 1.3 billion, attaining this level of employment is no easy task.
Continued advances were made in reform and opening up.
Breakthroughs were made in reforms in major sectors and key links, and initial success was achieved in supply-side structural reform. New measures were introduced for opening China up, rapid progress was made in pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, and a number of major projects and industrial-capacity cooperation projects with other countries were launched.
Economic structural adjustment was stepped up.
Consumption was the main driver of economic growth. The value created by the service sector rose to 51.6 percent of GDP. High-tech industries and equipment manufacturing grew rapidly. In agriculture, production was stable and structural adjustments were made, and we had continued good grain harvests.
New drivers of growth gained strength.
Further progress was made in pursuing the innovation-driven development strategy, and a number of world-leading achievements were made in science and technology. Emerging industries were thriving, and the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries accelerated. People were busy launching businesses or making innovations, with a 24.5-percent year-on-year increase in the number of new businesses registered-an average of 15,000 new businesses daily.
With self-employed traders and other market entities included we had an average of 45,000 new market entities launched per day. New growth drivers are opening new prospects for China’s development.
Infrastructure became ever-better able to sustain development.
Over 1,900 kilometers of new high-speed rail lines came into service, and more than 6,700 kilometers of expressways and 290,000 kilometers of rural roads were built or upgraded. Construction picked up pace on urban rail transit facilities and underground utility tunnels. Construction began on 21 major water conservancy projects. The number of 4G mobile communications subscribers grew by 340 million and over 5.5 million kilometers of optical fiber cables were added.
Living standards were improved.
Personal per capita disposable income increased by 6.3 percent in real terms. The number of people living in poverty in rural areas was reduced by 12.4 million, including more than 2.4 million people relocated from inhospitable areas. More than 6 million homes in rundown urban areas and over 3.8 million dilapidated rural houses were renovated. In tourism, domestic trips showed rapid growth, and overseas trips exceeded 120 million. People in both urban and rural areas saw arise in living standards.
China successfully hosted the G20 2016 Hangzhou Summit, and helped to deliver a number of important pioneering, leading, and institutional outcomes, thus doing its part for global economic governance.
2016 was an unusual year in our country’s development. China was confronted with an external environment in which the world saw the lowest economic and trade growth in seven years, growing volatility in global financial markets, and sudden and frequent regional and global challenges. Domestically, China faced multiple difficulties: major structural problems, prominent risks and dangers, and mounting downward pressure on the economy. China found itself in a complex environment as reform entered a critical stage, profound changes took place affecting interests, and factors impacting social stability grew.
Given all these factors, it was not easy for us to maintain stable economic performance. And yet we succeeded, and even managed to make progress on many fronts. Once again, this shows that we the Chinese people have the courage, ingenuity, and ability to overcome any difficulty or hardship. It also shows that the Chinese economy possesses potential, resilience, and strengths, so we can be sure there is even better development ahead for China.