​SCIO briefing on Hebei province's development

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Wang Dongfeng, secretary of Hebei Provincial Committee of the CPC, chairman of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Hebei province

Xu Qin, vice secretary of Hebei Provincial Committee of the CPC, governor of the People's Government of Hebei province

Hu Kaihong, spokesperson of the State Council Information Office of China

May 28, 2019

Hu Kaihong:

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Welcome to this press conference. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Starting now, we will hold a series of press conferences, and invite the heads of every province, autonomous region and municipality directly under the central government to brief you about local economic and social development over the past 70 years. 

Today, we invite Mr. Wang Dongfeng, secretary of the Hebei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and chairman of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Hebei province, as well as Mr. Xu Qin, vice secretary of the Hebei Provincial Committee of the CPC and governor of the People's Government of Hebei province, to brief you about the province's development in the new era. 

Now I'll give the floor to Mr. Wang.

Wang Dongfeng:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the press, I am very glad to see you here. Firstly, on behalf of the Hebei Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the Standing Committee of the Hebei Provincial People's Congress, the People's Government of Hebei province, the Hebei Provincial Political Consultative Conference and 75 million people of Hebei, I would like to extend a warm welcome and sincere gratitude to all of you here. 

The theme of today's press briefing is, "Hebei: Forging Ahead on a New Journey in the New Era." I am very delighted to have the opportunity to be with you to review the development and great changes that Hebei province has made over the past 70 years since the founding of the People's Republic of China, and share our vision for Hebei's future of strong economic growth and a beautiful environment in the new era. 

Cherishing a long revolutionary history, Hebei is home to many heroic figures. It was where the plan to establish a new China took shape. Seven decades ago, when Comrade Mao Zedong and the CPC Central Committee left Xibaipo, the move was compared to students going to the capital city to take the imperial examination of old. Since then, under the leadership of the CPC, the Chinese nation has achieved a remarkable transformation — it has stood up and grown rich. Thanks to 70 years of hard work, as with all the regions in the country, Hebei has made historical achievements and witnessed fundamental changes. Generally speaking, five major changes have taken place.

First, the economy continues to develop in a sound manner and great changes have taken place in the overall strength. The province has increased its GDP by more than 880 times since the founding of the People's Republic of China, and the level of productivity has increased substantially, forming a modern industrial system with a solid foundation. In 2018, the added value of high-tech industries accounted for 19.5% of those industrial enterprises above the designated size, 1.1 percentage points higher than that of the previous year. After three rounds of industrial restructuring, the proportion rankings of the three industries had changed from "secondary, tertiary, primary" to "tertiary, secondary, primary" by the end of last year. With new historic changes in industrial, ownership and product structures, the province has made new strides in high-quality development.

Second, with the rising living standards and the income of rural and urban residents, people in Hebei province are forging ahead with a better life and the goal of building a prosperous society. In 2018, the per capita disposable income of urban and rural residents was 119.5 and 123 times that of 1978, respectively.

Third, the constant push for reform and opening-up has facilitated the desired change of growth drivers. By deepening supply-side structural reform and pursuing a new round of high-level opening-up, we have injected greater dynamism into Hebei's development. Nearly 3,000 national-level high-tech enterprises started business in Hebei between 2017 and 2018 alone. The service sector contributed 65.5% of provincial economic growth in 2018. The HBIS GROUP Serbia Iron & Steel is an outstanding example of international cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Its management team was awarded the title "role model of our times" by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee for its contribution to promoting the BRI and building a community with a shared future for all humanity.

The fourth aspect is to promote the harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature. The quality of the ecological environment has been significantly improved. We have resolutely put into practice Xi Jinping's thinking on promoting ecological progress, which resulted in positive changes in environmental protection and constantly improved air quality. As is known, Hebei's industrial structure has long been more inclined to heavy industry and the energy use structure was not that reasonable. In particular, there is considerable surplus steel production capacity. We have adopted the approach to "resolutely cut capacity, actively adjust and accelerate the process of transformation." We would rather sacrifice GDP growth and ensure blue skies for the Beijing region. Through the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei joint prevention, control and governance program, air pollution control has secured important achievements. Last year, Hebei's concentration of PM2.5 was 56 micrograms, a 48% drop from 2013, and down 14% from the previous year. Not only Shijiazhuang but other cities in the province have witnessed a growing number of days with blue sky. In addition, this also serves as the key to help Beijing and Tianjin to increase their blue-sky days, which, in turn, increases the sense of gain and happiness of the people. The pollution control in regard to water and the soil has also been solidly promoted, and blue skies, green land and beautiful sparkling waters are gradually becoming a reality in Hebei province.

Fifth, we uphold the overall leadership of the Party, and our Party's and our government's working style, as well as our social conduct, have greatly improved. We consistently uphold the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, press ahead with the great new project of Party building, and move further forward with the full and rigorous governance of the Party. We are continually purifying and improving our political ecosystem across the entire province, and the public widely believe that our Party's and our government's working styles have continuously improved, and that our social conduct has achieved a historical level of change. Last year, in the re-elections to the provincial People's Congress, provincial government and provincial Political Consultative Conference, the candidates for all posts approved by the CPC Central Committee and proposed by the provincial Party Committee, as well as for deputies to the National People's Congress, were all elected by unanimous vote or by absolute high vote. In this year's election for the "two sessions" of the province, the candidates for all posts were all elected by unanimous vote.

The achievements of the past 70 years fully demonstrate the unparalleled advantage of the leadership of the CPC and socialism with Chinese characteristics. Hebei people are eager for more achievements in the new era and will make unswerving efforts for this. 

Since the start of reform and opening-up in 1978, particularly after the 18th CPC National Congress, Hebei province has made fresh economic and social advances. General Secretary Xi Jinping is quite familiar with provincial affairs and cares about us deeply. In the 1980s, he worked in Zhengding county, and left us valuable thoughts, cultural wealth and many achievements. After moving on to other posts, he has never ceased caring about us. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, he has made seven inspection tours of Hebei. On Jan. 16, he returned to the province and issued a series of major instructions. On Jan. 18, a symposium was held in Beijing to discuss the integrated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. He pointed out our shortcomings while recognizing our achievements. In particular, he issued a series of major instructions on improving the quality and degree of integrated development. His remarks mapped the future direction for Hebei's reform and development, and gave us the fundamental guidelines in our ongoing work. When visiting Xibaipo, he stressed that Party officials and Party members should seek a good performance, as well as in other ongoing and upcoming "tests," so as to satisfy the people. 

The provincial CPC committee, the provincial government, all officials and the general public in the province will always bear in mind the instructions of General Secretary Xi. We will strengthen our consciousness of the need to maintain political integrity, think in big-picture terms, follow the core leadership and keep in alignment. We will increase our confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We will resolutely uphold General Secretary Xi's core position on the CPC Central Committee and in the Party as a whole, and resolutely uphold the CPC Central Committee's authority and its centralized, unified leadership. 

We will work hard to achieve good results in the "examinations" of the new era. Surrounding Beijing geographically, we will rally closely to the central authority. We will promote a stable atmosphere in the province to help maintain the capital city's stability. We will make further advances to better contribute to the development of Beijing and Tianjin and the other parts of the country in the reform and opening up. 

We will launch continuous campaigns to study, publicize and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. We will fully implement the guiding principles of the 18th and 19th CPC national congresses, and all major policies and plans made by the CPC Central Committee. We will pursue coordinated implementation of the five-sphere integrated plan and the four-pronged comprehensive strategy. We are totally committed to the underlying principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability. We will follow the new development philosophy, fulfill the requirements for high-quality development, and take supply-side structural reform as our main task. We adhere to the "3689" plan on provincial development. Based on the achievements of our forebears in this task, we will continue to make fresh advances in the new era, and build Hebei into a strong economic power and a beautiful province.

The major characteristics of Hebei's development can be summarized as follows. First is being firm in political stance and implementing national key development strategies and projects. As is well known, the three key projects for Hebei province include the planning and development of the Xiongan New Area, the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, as well as Beijing's cooperation with Zhangjiakou city to co-host the 2022 Winter Olympics, in which the sporting events on ice will take place in Beijing and the snow events will be held in Zhangjiakou. All three of these key projects have inspired people in Hebei province, building their confidence and determination to forge ahead and work toward the Chinese dream. Taken as the major political tasks of Hebei province, the three key projects have undergone steady, orderly and effective implementation. Although significant progress has been made in recent years, we can still put forth greater effort. With the further implementation of national key development strategies and projects, Hebei province has become a popular destination for investment from all over the world. 

Second is the full implementation of the new development philosophy, making solid progress in innovative, green and high-quality development of Hebei province. We will fully implement General Secretary Xi Jinping's important instructions to scale down overcapacity, promote structural readjustment and speed up the transformation of growth drivers. We will accelerate the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries, and improve their quality and performance. In order to achieve this goal, we need to, first of all, cut overcapacity in the steel industry. The steel produced in Hebei province is of world-class quality, yet such overcapacity is not outdated. Our principle in this regard is to "shut down small outdated steel plants and strengthen development of big producers, and promote the elite and phase out the inferior." Up to now, the total steel production volume is still relatively large. With a 14-million-ton annual reduction in steel production, the annual volume of steel produced in Hebei is expected to be held within 200 million tons by 2020. Meanwhile, we also encourage the global development of our advanced industrial capacity. For example, the HBIS Group Serbia Iron & Steel was awarded the title "role model of our times" by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. It sets a model on how China's steel industry can go global, and a success story in international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. In addition, we have made progress in the development of strategic emerging industries and the modern service industry. The province has sustained steady and sound economic and social development. Last year, Hebei's GDP increased by 6.6% and the general public budget increased by 8.7%. Per capita disposable personal income in urban and rural areas increased by 8% and 8.9% respectively. The first quarter of this year saw a good start, as its GDP increased by 7.4% and its general public budget increased by 13%. During the January-April period, the value added from industrial enterprises with annual revenue of 20 million yuan or more increased by 8.8%,  with the high-tech industries growing by 15.5%. In the first quarter, the per capita disposable personal income in urban and rural areas increased by 7.9% and 8.9%, respectively. The fixed-asset investment increased by 6% and foreign investment utilized increased by 10.6%. The gross export value increased by 12.3%. Many figures from the first quarter reached their highest level compared to the same period in recent years. 

Third, we should adhere to the people-centered development methods to continually enhance the people's sense of gain, happiness and security. Serving the people should be made the starting point and foothold of all work. The CPC Hebei Provincial Committee and the Hebei provincial government have kept at it for many years, with 20 livelihood projects launched every year, such as the renovation of shanty areas, transformation of old residential communities and dilapidated rural houses, renovation of "villages" inside cities, and more. By these means, the people's concerns about employment, starting new businesses, medical care, education and caring for the elderly have been well addressed, the income of urban and rural residents has increased continuously, and the environmental and ecological issues that the people care about have also been markedly improved. 

For example, the authorities have dealt with bulk coal pollution to promote clean heating in winter, which helps to transform the energy structure and also controls pollution. We have so far replaced bulk coal stoves with electricity and natural gas in 5.35 million homes. 

We have also carried out the greening campaign. Last year, Hebei saw its forest area grow by 9.87 million mu (658,000 hectares), and this year, we will further enlarge it by over 10 million mu. When you travel in Hebei by car or train, you can see green everywhere on either side of the roads and railways. For one thing, we need to deal with air pollution to win the blue-sky battle; and for another, we need to plant trees to improve the ecology, and we need to keep the water clean. 

Air pollution control is an inter-regional effort, and water pollution control is a joint effort with Beijing and Tianjin in terms of the whole river basin. Soil contamination prevention and control work is being undertaken by local governments. Delivering these combination blows, Hebei has been taking the initiative to protect the environment. Hebei has also carried out a rural revitalization strategy to improve the living environment in villages, and people's living and working environments have hence been greatly improved. 

These achievements have been made possible by the firm leadership of the CPC CentralCommittee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, as well as by the support of all relevant ministries, other provinces, cities and autonomous regions, as well as the whole society, including the media. These achievements are also returns on the Hebei people's united struggle. 

It is an arduous challenge and serious duty for Hebei to forge ahead on a new journey in the new era. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, points out the times give us a test, we are the exam takers, and the people are the ones in charge of reviewing the exam papers. On the journey of the new era, Hebei should rally closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, and must always be true to its missions, bravely assume its responsibilities, and strive to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China with the latest developments on all fronts.

Now is the time for Xu Qin, provincial governor of Hebei, and me to take your questions. 

Hu Kaihong:

Thank you, Mr. Wang. At this time, we welcome questions, Please report the news agency you represent before asking your question.

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