Five-year plans: The secret code behind China's governance

By Zhou Luming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, March 25, 2021
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On March 11, the fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress adopted the Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035, providing a new blueprint for China's development. 

China initiated its first five-year plan in 1953. Committed to realizing national rejuvenation, the country has achieved remarkable development with many five-year plans charting the course, one after another. Creating five-year plans to guide the economic and social development is an important governance approach of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and key to the governance of China.

These plans embody the CPC's original aspiration and mission, which is to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. Fulfilling this goal is no easy task, and calls for consistent efforts by generations of CPC members. Through five-year plans, the CPC sets specific objectives for its grand vision, breaks down long-term goals into short-term targets, and puts its governance philosophy into action. It is under the continuous guidance of five-year plans that the CPC has led China in achieving steady and significant progress, accomplishing the historic goals of eradicating extreme poverty and establishing a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and on this basis, building a modern socialist country.

The five-year plans demonstrate the CPC's leadership role and its ability to coordinate actions on all fronts. National development is a comprehensive, systematic and holistic grand project, covering various fields such as politics, economy, society, military and diplomacy. They act as road maps for China's development over a fixed period. For example, the 14th Five-Year Plan sets long-range objectives for China to basically achieve socialist modernization by 2035, as well as guidelines, principles and goals for social and economic development in the coming five years. The document also elaborates on requirements and tasks in key areas and clarifies arrangements for its implementation.

The five-year plans coordinate overall planning and accurate prioritization, as well as unify the problem-oriented and goal-oriented methods. As systematic blueprints containing detailed task deployments, these plans epitomize the governance philosophy and ability of the CPC.

The five-year plans reflect the CPC's ability to safeguard the will of the people and rally public support. In the processes of compiling and implementing the plans, the CPC solicits opinions from various sectors to reach the most extensive consensus. The formulation and promulgation of five-year plans represents scientific, democratic and law-based decision-making by the CPC. It is also a process of achieving unity in thinking among CPC members and building consensus across society. Therefore, during the implementation of these plans, the CPC can unite the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in accomplishing its targets one after another.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC, as well as the starting point on a new journey to fully building a modern socialist China. New long-range objectives have been established and a new blueprint has been developed. The CPC will lead the Chinese people to continue forging ahead, work together with perseverance to build China into a great modern socialist country, and realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

The article was edited and translated by Zhang Liying.

Dr. Zhou Luming is editor of Qiushi Journal. His research interests include China's diplomacy and international relations. 

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