Raising quality and efficiency of growth is key: CPPCC

A security guard patrolling a residential alley near Beijing's Great Hall of the People, the venue of the plenary session of the National People's Congress, yesterday.
A security guard patrolling a residential alley near Beijing's Great Hall of the People, the venue of the plenary session of the National People's Congress, yesterday.PHOTO: REUTERS

High standards, strict rule of law needed, says China's top political advisory body

China's economy will continue to serve as an anchor and engine of global growth as it moves from a phase of high-speed growth to a stage of high-quality development.

The country should place as top priority the lifting of the quality and efficiency of economic growth, and strive to transform the mode of development, said China's top political advisory body ahead of its annual meeting which starts today.

To achieve high-quality growth, China must adopt "high standards, strict rule by law and a good culture", said Mr Wang Guoqing, spokesman for the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), to a room packed with reporters yesterday.

"Other than high standards, there must also be a strict guarantee of the rule of law, and a good culture means cultivating and promoting the 'craftsman spirit of excellence'," he said, mapping out CPPCC members' suggestions to keep the world's No. 2 economy humming after a better-than-expected 6.9 per cent expansion last year.

In a wide-ranging 75-minute press conference that centred mainly on socio-economic issues, Mr Wang said China had quickened the pace of reforms to merge and reorganise state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

"We noticed that state-owned assets are further concentrated in key areas, forward-looking strategic industries and superior enterprises," he said.

Such reforms to boost the size, strength and quality of central SOEs will ensure that China can produce world-class enterprises that are globally competitive, he added.

HIGH-QUALITY DEVELOPMENT

At a time when our economy is changing from high-speed growth to high-quality development, we should seize the opportunity to adjust the industrial, energy and transport structures, to reduce pollution at the source.

MR WANG GUOQING, spokesman for the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Mr Wang also reaffirmed China's commitment to open its doors to the outside world.

Noting that this year marks the 40th anniversary of its reform and opening up, he pledged that China will continue to strengthen its connection with international economic and trade rules, substantially ease market access and expand the service industry.

"We firmly believe that a more open Chinese market will make more important contributions to global development," he said.

While China has lifted more than 66 million people out of extreme poverty in the past five years, Mr Wang acknowledged that problems remained.

Last year, more than 100 CPPCC members visited 75 poor counties and villages over four months, conducting field research to glean the issues on the ground and make recommendations.

Members have suggested that focus should also be placed on motivating the poor to uplift themselves, and stepping up training for grassroots cadres to improve their capability in poverty-alleviation work, he said.

This year, CPPCC members will continue to study ways to help China "win the battle against poverty" in order to achieve the aim of completely wiping out extreme poverty by 2020, the deadline set by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The environment is another topic that commands widespread attention among the more than 2,000 CPPCC members, Mr Wang noted. He stressed that there was no contradiction between fighting air pollution and economic development, as well as the protection of people's livelihood.

"Economic growth fuelled by high (carbon) emissions and high pollution will not only affect long-term development, it will also affect people's lives and health.

"This is not the growth that we want," he said.

"At a time when our economy is changing from high-speed growth to high-quality development, we should seize the opportunity to adjust the industrial, energy and transport structures, to reduce pollution at the source," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 03, 2018, with the headline 'Raising quality and efficiency of growth is key: CPPCC'. Print Edition | Subscribe