Guide Development with New Concepts

Xi Jinping: The Governance of China II Updated: 2021-12-24

Guide Development with New Concepts*


October 29, 2015


Concept is the precursor of action, and likewise, certain developments are led by certain concepts. Concepts decide, in a fundamental manner, the success of results. Practice has shown us that as development is bound to undergo changes influenced by the prevailing environment and conditions, development concepts will change accordingly.

I emphasized before the drafting of the "Recommendations of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China for the 13th Five-year Plan for Economic and Social Development" that we should first of all be clear about the development concepts we are about to set. Development concepts are meant to be strategic, to outline and guide, and to be about development ideas, direction and focus. If the development concepts are right, it becomes easier to set goals and policy measures. These Recommendations put forward the concepts of innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development. These development concepts did not emerge from the ether; they came from both domestic and foreign experience of development, and from analysis of both domestic and foreign trends in development. They epitomize our Party's growing understanding of laws governing economic and social development based on our country's most prominent conflicts and problems.

Innovative development focuses on the drivers of growth. Our ability to innovate is inadequate. Our science and technology is not fully developed, and is unable to create momentum to support economic and social development. Innovation makes a much lower contribution to economic growth in China than in developed countries. This is the Achilles' heel for such a big economy as China. A new round of revolution in science and technology will inevitably give rise to fiercer competition. If our capacity to innovate fails to meet the need to boost the economy, we will lag behind in global economic competition. So we must consider innovation as the primary driving force of growth and the core in this whole undertaking, and human resources as the primary resource to support development. We should promote innovation in theory, systems, science and technology, and culture, and make innovation the dominant theme in the work of the Party and government, and an everyday activity in society.

Coordinated development aims to solve the imbalance in development. The development disparity is a long-standing problem in our country, conspicuous across regions, between urban and rural areas, and in the relationship between economy and society, between material and cultural progress, and between economic development and strengthening national defense. When we are underdeveloped, our primary task is to catch up quickly; but after a period of doing so, we need to adjust and pay more attention to the overall effect. Otherwise, bucket effect will show, intensifying social conflicts. So we must hold fast to the basics of the socialist cause with Chinese characteristics, properly handle major relationships in development, and constantly increase harmony in development.

Green development highlights the harmony between humanity and nature. Green, circular and low-carbon development, which is the most promising sector, guides the direction of the current revolution in science, technology and industry. We have huge potential in this regard, which could give rise to many new engines of growth. While we are constantly faced with ever-tighter resource constraints, serious environmental pollution, and ecological degradation, we are also faced with people's growing demands for clean air and drinking water, safe food, and a beautiful environment. So we must uphold the basic national policy of conserving resources and protecting the environment, follow the path of healthy development to achieve productive development, prosperity, and a sound ecological environment, and create a society that respects these principles. We must build a beautiful China and contribute our part to global ecological security.

Open development prioritizes interactions between China and the international community. Profound changes are taking place in international economic cooperation and competition, and major adjustments are under way in the global economic governance system and rules. Global communication is becoming more profound, more extensive, and more frequent, and the pressure to cope with external economic risks and maintain national economic security is unprecedented.

Our problem now is not whether to continue opening up, but how to improve the quality of opening up and increase China's connectivity with others. We are not opening up wide enough; we lack the ability to use domestic and foreign markets and resources; we are weak in dealing with international trade friction, in exerting influence on the international economy, and in applying international trade rules. We need to improve in these areas. To this end, we must uphold the basic national policy of opening up, implement an opening-up strategy characterized by mutual benefit, strengthen cultural exchange, and improve the layout of opening-up regions, of foreign trade, and of investment. With such efforts we can form a new system for opening up, develop an open economy at a higher level, and drive innovation, reform and development.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a major strategic measure to boost opening up and provide a top-level design for economic diplomacy. We should identify areas where breakthroughs are most likely, promote our experience to wider areas and consolidate progress step by step to achieve final success. We should help to improve the global economic governance system, play a leading role in developing the global economic agenda, maintain a multilateral trade system, speed up the implementation of a free trade strategy, and actively undertake our international responsibilities and obligations commensurate with our ability and status.

Shared development underpins social equality and justice. "To govern the country, the priority is to realize equality, and then stability will follow."1 Allowing people to share the fruits of reform and development is the essence of socialism. It demonstrates the superiority of socialism and the Party's whole-heartedness in its mission of serving the people. Only if this problem is properly addressed will the people's enthusiasm, initiative and creativity be fully aroused; only then can national development gain sufficient momentum.

While it is true that the "cake" of development is growing larger, it is also the case that the portions are not being shared out evenly. There are growing disparities in income levels and in urban and rural public services. In sharing the fruits of development, there are imperfections both in institutional structures and in actual outcomes. Therefore, our driving principle must be that development is for the people and by the people, and its benefits are shared by the people. We must design more effective systems to steadily lead all the people to common prosperity, and eradicate the huge gap between the rich and poor.

This session has emphasized that to pursue innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development is a profound reform bearing on the overall development of our country. Each of these five concepts is essential on an individual level. Together they are interconnected, forming one integrated whole that must be implemented in unison and with equal attention. The development process will be hindered if any one of them is neglected. All Party members must improve their ability and competence in implementing these five concepts to open up new frontiers of development.


* Part of the speech at the second full assembly of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee.


1 Lü's Spring and Autumn Annals (Lü Shi Chun Qiu).

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