World Newsletter

27 Oct 2020



The world should have faith in China's commitment to further opening-up as the country, by delivering its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) blueprint, is expected to map out more ambitious tasks in order to reinforce high-quality economic, technological and cultural engagement with the rest of the world, observers said.


They commented as the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee opened on Monday.


Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, briefed participants about the draft proposals of the 19th CPC Central Committee on formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development as well as targets for 2035−a top-level policy blueprint for China's mid−and long-term development.


Xi, who is also China's president, has on multiple occasions sent reassuring signals on the country's long-term view on expanding opening-up and has outlined fresh goals to meet in the near future.


Despite strong economic headwinds from the COVID-19 pandemic, China managed to reverse a GDP downturn, continued to host foreign trade-related events and made public many important policies to assist the entry of foreign buyers and investors in the vast market, home to 1.4 billion people.


Throughout the year, Xi vowed on many occasions, including at the United Nations General Assembly, that the country aims to foster a "new development paradigm" with the domestic market as the mainstay while domestic and international markets reinforce each other.


At a symposium with leading experts on economic and social studies on Aug 24, Xi said that work on such a new development paradigm is definitely not isolating the domestic market but seeking the benefits of domestic and international economic circulation based on openness.


China will produce even greater market opportunities for other countries and will serve as a remarkably attractive destination for global commodities and production resources as it engages even more closely with the global economy, Xi said.


China is expected to encourage more countries to open up by seeking greater quality in its own opening-up, thus "pushing for and playing a leading role in reforming and perfecting the global governance system", he added.


Seeking greater opening-up is not only a visionary choice for China to maintain sustained growth amid huge market uncertainties but also a recipe for offsetting some difficult problems clouding global growth, experts said.





The Chinese economy's exceptional recovery from the impact of COVID-19 may have surprised many overseas observers, but it is just one of a host of China's achievements during its 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20).


The past five years have witnessed how the Communist Party of China Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core has united the nation to accomplish historic development progress.


While inspecting Hunan province in September, President Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said the country is about to accomplish major goals and tasks set out in the 13th Five-Year Plan and is set to embark on a journey to fully build a modern socialist country.


Over the past five years, the Chinese economy has grown close to 100 trillion yuan ($14.9 trillion) with per capita GDP exceeding $10,000. The share of China's economy in the world hit 16.3 percent in 2019.


China now has the world's largest middle-income population and is set to end absolute poverty, which has haunted the nation for thousands of years.


Signs over the past five years have shown that China's development has entered a new stage. Xi has stressed the importance of adapting to, steering and leading the new normal of economic development.


A new vision for development was introduced, featuring innovative, coordinated, green and open development that is for everyone.


Xi noted at the 19th CPC National Congress in late 2017 that China's economy has been transitioning from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development.


Over the past five years, he has visited cities, villages and enterprises, and held meetings and symposiums with scholars, entrepreneurs, scientists and representatives of the public. There, major plans and measures for the country's development were devised.


Among these measures, China has made supply-side structural reform its main task, forestalled and defused major risks, carried out targeted poverty alleviation efforts, prevented and controlled pollution, pushed for regional integrated development and pursued higher-quality opening-up.


The past five years have seen disruptive changes in the world. Economic globalization faces headwinds amid rising protectionism and unilateralism.


Xi called for the exploration of new opportunities and new advances amid challenges and changes.


China's economic recovery has picked up steam in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the nation's GDP expanding 4.9 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2020. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that China will be the only major economy to see growth this year.





Profits of China's major industrial firms totaled 646.43 billion yuan (about $96.5 billion) in September, increasing by 10.1 percent year-on-year, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed Tuesday.


The growth narrowed 9 percentage points from August.


In the first nine months of the year, the profits of major industrial firms declined 2.4 percent to 4.37 trillion yuan, narrowing 2 percentage points from the January-August period.


Specifically, profits of state-controlled industrial firms dropped 14.3 percent from one year earlier to 1.13 trillion yuan, while those of private ones shrank 0.5 percent year-on-year to 1.27 trillion yuan.


During the first three quarters, profits of the mining industry slumped 37.2 percent, while the manufacturing industry's profits reversed the downward trend by gaining 1.1 percent.


Profits in 21 of the 41 surveyed industrial sectors rose from the same period last year, while 20 sectors saw their profits fall, according to the NBS.


Major industrial companies refer to those with an annual business turnover of at least 20 million yuan.





The government of Hainan, the southern island province of China, moved a step forward by unveiling a new guideline to widen market access and lower barriers to trade, investment and cross-border capital flows with the goal of building the island into a high-quality free trade port.


The guideline listed 18 action plans with a total of 60 missions that involve promoting institutional innovation, streamlining administrative approval procedures, facilitating free trade and investment and free flow of capital and talent, building an efficient logistics system, and protecting data security.


The goal is to build the island into a free trade port with an efficient and sound legal system, an internationally competitive tax system and first-class business environment and social governance that will attract more companies and investors and help boost the industrial competitiveness and development quality of the island, according to the guideline.


The Hainan Pilot Free Trade Port will implement a zero-tariff policy for goods trade and will further reduce barriers for services trade. Meanwhile, the free trade port will adopt a negative list for the management of imported products.


Another prominent feature of the new guideline is that the free trade port will explore further liberalization of the capital account step by step and will launch a pilot qualified foreign limited partner program, and a qualified domestic limited partner program. The pilot programs will allow both foreign and domestic investors to engage in cross-border investment more freely. The island will also build a new management system for cross-border financing to encourage more efficient two-way capital flows.


China announced the master plan for the construction of the Hainan Free Trade Port in June, marking the official start of the project.





The poverty alleviation policy in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region meets the needs of the population and there is no such thing as "forced labor" in the region, according to a report released on Monday by Southwest University of Political Science and Law.


The report from the Chongqing-based university's Human Rights Institute is the latest response to claims by US and Australian think tanks that China has widely forced ethnic minorities in Xinjiang to work under the guise of poverty alleviation projects.


Denying this, the report said Chinese laws strictly forbid "forcing others to work" and all Xinjiang employees have chosen to seek employment elsewhere of their own free will, which greatly improved their economic situation and quality of life and enabled them to enjoy more development opportunities.


The institute set up a research and investigation team and conducted field investigations, surveys and in-depth interviews with Xinjiang migrant workers, and the research was based on objectively analyzing the current situation of Xinjiang's poverty problem without making any presumptions, the report said.


The harsh environment in Xinjiang has severely restricted the development of the region and is the key factor causing poverty. Agriculture is still a pillar industry in the region but the proportion of added value from the agricultural industry is decreasing, making it increasingly difficult for farmers and herdsmen to get out of poverty through agricultural development, the report said.


Although the per capita income of residents continues to grow, the relative poverty gap is widening, and it is difficult for rural residents to increase their incomes, the report said.


In March, the research team conducted a survey on the employment situation of members of the Uygur ethnic group and interviewed many migrant workers in other parts of China. The results, contradicting the claims by Western think tanks, showed that migrant workers who had originally been engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry wanted to work elsewhere to get a higher income and greater development opportunities.


The survey showed that 84 percent of migrant workers were in the 3,501-5,000 yuan ($523-747) monthly income bracket, compared with the no more than 1,500 yuan they could have made monthly from working in agriculture.





Fewer graduates from China's top two universities−Tsinghua University and Peking University−have chosen to continue their education abroad in recent years, according to data from the two institutions.


Tsinghua University said 15.3 percent of last year's graduates went abroad to study, down 1.2 percentage points from 2018 and 1.7 percentage points from 2017.


It added that the figure has continued to fall this year, without providing details.


Meanwhile, it said that 29 percent of last year's graduates have chosen to continue their studies at domestic universities and research institutes, compared with 28.5 percent in 2018 and 2017.


Graduates who have chosen to work after graduation preferred Chinese State-owned enterprises and private firms rather than foreign companies, said the university.


Last year, 33.4 percent of Tsinghua graduates who joined the workforce opted for Chinese private enterprises, 31.3 percent went to SOEs and only 5.2 percent chose foreign companies, a situation which has remained relatively unchanged for the past five years.


The university said more graduates preferred SOEs and Chinese private enterprises rather than foreign ones because domestic companies have enjoyed rapid development and have a greater demand for talents.


Data from Peking University showed a similar trend, with fewer graduates choosing to continue their studies abroad. Last year, 14.8 percent of graduates from the university chose to study abroad after their graduation, down from 15.2 percent in 2018 and 15.6 percent in 2017.


Among Peking University graduates who opted to work after their graduation, although fewer chose employment at SOEs over the past three years, this remained the most preferred option for graduates. About 27.1 percent of its graduates last year who had signed employment agreements chose to work at SOEs, down from 28.8 percent in 2018 and 30.4 percent in 2017.


In contrast, 10.7 percent of its graduates last year who joined the workforce chose employment at Sino-foreign joint ventures or foreign enterprises, compared with 13.8 percent in 2018 and 8.8 percent in 2017.





An 88-carat super black diamond, which will be displayed at the upcoming China International Import Expo, has competed its declaration and clearance procedures on Monday.


The Korloff Noir diamond, with 57 facets, was once owned by the Korloff Sapojnikoff family. The gem, presently owned by Korloff Jewelers of France, has an estimated value of $37 million.





The 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) will design the country’s path based on a set of development goals as before.


It is also the first one after China achieves its goal of building xiaokang, or a moderately well-off society, in all respects, which will pave the way for it to build up itself as a modern socialist country.


What do people and top economists expect for the next five years? Let's hear what they say.





Nearly 1.58 million candidates passed the qualification assessment for the annual civil service exam, according to a release on the official website for the exam on Monday, and experts say the competition will be fiercer than previous years.


Working for the government has long been a goal because of the stable income and higher social status such jobs bring. Its advantages have been highlighted as the job market has been shocked by the coronavirus pandemic this year.


However, such security brings increasingly cutthroat competition.


In 2021, the nation plans to recruit 25,700 civil servants−1,600 more than the previous year−for its 79 central agencies and 23 subsidiary institutions.


But the number of applicants is also about 110,000 more than the previous year, according to Offcn, a Beijing-based training institution.


One of the most popular jobs−an officer in Guangdong province's survey department responsible for data processing and analysis−has about 3,000 applicants.


The average is around 61 applicants per position, and about 35 vacancies have over 1,000 candidates each.


"Civil servant recruitment has long been a solution to ease the nation's employment pressure, which is of greater importance this year because of the shattered economy and job market due to the COVID-19 shock," said Li Chang'an, a professor from the Academy of Open Economy of the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.


Li said that being a civil servant has long been a coveted job because of its stability and higher social acceptance.


"People's enthusiasm for becoming a civil servant has increased this year as it's harder to find jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic," he said.


"The competition may be even fiercer this year. Though the nation has enlarged its recruitment plan, it's still far from satisfying people's demands as both the economy and job market have yet to be restored to normalcy."


Opening for registration on Oct 15, the exam finished its registration on Saturday evening.


Candidates should be between the ages of 18 and 35, according to a guideline by the State Administration of Civil Service.


Among the vacancies, about 15,000 positions are only open to college graduates and 8,300 positions for those willing to work in western provinces or rural areas with harsh conditions.


Those passing the assessment will sit for a written test in late November and assume their positions in 2021 after undergoing interviews and health checks.





Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. - Bobby Unser

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