World witnessing “Two Sessions” all-round successes
Editor's Note: The author is Yasir Habib Khan, President of the Institute of International Relations and Media Research (IIRMR). The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of Gwadar Pro.
The annual sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) have helped global leadership to fathom the functionality of socialist democracy and its grassroot dynamics.
The recent Two Sessions meetings in China have delved into the details of how the Chinese leadership has implemented a socialist system with Chinese characteristics that have yielded positive outcomes, including the eradication of absolute poverty, effective management of pre- and post-COVID-19 challenges, and sustainable economic policies that prioritize the needs of the people.
The global effects of the two sessions are profound and wide-ranging, considering the reality that China is the second-largest economy in the world and a major global player in geo-economic, geo-political and geo-strategic affairs.
A Distinctive Approach to Democratization
The two sessions have sparked a pragmatic sense of whole-process democracy on the issue of democratization, which is one of the world’s top priorities. Its distinctive modalities and doctrines distinguish it from other democracies practiced in the world. China's whole-process people's democracy is a democracy that covers all aspects of the democratic process and all sectors of society. It is a socialist democracy to the broadest extent, of the truest nature, and to the greatest effect.
In China, deputies to county and township-level people's congresses are directly elected by voters, whereas deputies to congresses above the county level are elected by deputies at the next lower level. Up until last June, over 1 billion voters had cast their ballots on a one-person-one-vote basis in the elections of over 2.6 million deputies to people's congresses at the township and county levels, according to the General Office of the Standing Committee of the NPC.
Calling for the stage to be set for building a modern socialist country in all aspects, China’s annul government work report listed main development targets for 2023, including GDP growth of around 5 percent, an increase in the consumer price index of around three percent and a deficit-to-GDP ratio of three percent. The report told the world that "China's economy is staging a steady recovery and demonstrating vast potential and momentum for further growth," as the country's consumer demand, market distribution, industrial production and business expectations have all markedly improved.
The report announced that China will intensify efforts to attract and utilize foreign investment. "With a vast and open market, China is sure to provide even greater business opportunities for foreign companies in China," it said.
According to a recent report released by the American Chamber of Commerce in South China, more than 90 percent of the participating companies selected China as one of the most important investment destinations. The International Monetary Fund raised the estimate for China's growth to 5.2 percent in its latest World Economic Outlook report.
Prioritize Green Development and Low-Carbon Transition
Two Session’s global impacts are writ large, offering the international stakeholders to understand Chinese strategies to deal with them. As the world is sharply focused on green development under Paris Agreement and UN SDGs, China’s annual meeting put the issue of green development on the top.
Chinese provinces highlighted the significance of green development and low-carbon transition in their government work reports delivered during the "two sessions." The meetings featured buzzwords such as "green development," "carbon reduction," and "pollution reduction," reflecting the emphasis on environmental sustainability. In 2022, the emissions of major pollutants in China continued to decline, according to statistics from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
In the government work report, Premier Li Keqiang said China would continue cutting its energy intensity and the emission of major pollutants. While the National Development and Reform Commission said China would act on 10 major initiatives for reaching peak carbon emissions "in a well-planned and phased way". The 10 major initiatives were released by the State Council in 2021 as part of an action plan to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030. China also aims to be carbon-neutral by 2060.
BRI Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Impressive Results
As 2023 marks the 45th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up and the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the two sessions are buzzwords for the world. As China gears up for a new stage of development amid complex domestic and international situations, its work plans for the next 12 months will chart a new course for the country and have a significant impact on the world.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang stressed at a press conference during the ongoing two sessions that during the past decade, the BRI has galvanized nearly $1 trillion of investment, establishing 3,000 cooperation projects, creating 420,000 jobs in involved countries and regions, and lifting 40 million people out of poverty.
"Statistics showed that multilateral institutions and commercial creditors account for over 80 percent of their debt, which is the biggest source of their debt burdens. The US' unprecedented interest rate hikes last year caused massive capital outflows and negatively impacted their debt levels," Qin said. China has been continually trying to reduce these countries' debt burdens and has made the greatest contribution to the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, Qin said.