A Great Milestone

China's leading newspaper, the People's Daily, delivers a commentator's article Wednesday, heralding the great achievements China has made in its ninth five-year plan period (1996-2000) and describing the five years a "great milestone" for the country's development in all fields.

"It is another harvest season, and the Chinese people from all ethnic groups are excited by the great achievements they have made in the past five years and are looking forward to the bright prospects with joy and confidence," the article says.

The past five years have proved to be very crucial to China's reform and development - the hardness, the difficulty as well as the great achievements are all very rare in history, it says.

During this period China has achieved its second strategic goal of modernization by doubling its per capita gross domestic product, basically eliminating poverty and largely improving the living standards of the people, according to the article.

Efforts to establish a modern enterprise system has been stepped up and a socialist market economic system has taken shape initially during the "great five years," it says.

Although the 1997 Asian financial crisis adversely affected China's economic growth, China at last succeeded in controlling inflation and achieving an economic soft-landing. The Chinese government has also taken measures to effectively expand domestic demand, which invigorates economic development and ensures the success in achieving the goals set for the ninth five-year plan period.

Judging from a global perspective, China's accomplishments in the five years' economic development are hard-won, the article says.

Earth-shaking changes have taken place in China during the past five years, the article points out. China now is able to provide enough food and clothing to its 1.2 billion citizens, and gone are the days when general agricultural and industrial products were in short supply.

With a sound agriculture, the rural economy has grown steadily. The rapid development of the industrial economy enables the gradual improvement in the performance of state-owned enterprises, and the goal for loss-incurring large and medium-sized state-owned enterprises to become profitable by the end of the year will be achieved.

The article also mentions China's remarkable achievements in infrastructure construction, the gradual formation of a national social security system and the great achievements in the re-employment of laid-off workers.

During the five years, says the article, China has made breakthroughs in economic restructuring and reforms of state-owned enterprises, the housing system and government organs, as well as in financial, science and technology, educational, medical and other sectors.

"China also made a big step forward in its national reunification cause during the five years," the article says, referring to the return of Hong Kong and Macao to the motherland respectively in 1997 and 1999.

The accomplishments in the five years have laid a solid foundation for China's future development, says the article, which calls on the nation to make even greater achievements in the coming tenth five-year plan period (2001-05) under the leadership of the Communist Party of China Central Committee with Jiang Zemin at the core.


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