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NO.18 (September 15, 2004)
2004/09/15


Review and Prospects: 1980-2020 (Part I )

   China's Comprehensive National Strength Keeps Rising

Review and Prospects: 1980-2020 (Part II )

   Chinese People's Living Standard Keeps Growing

 

 

 

Review and Prospects: 1980-2020 (Part I)

China's Comprehensive National Strength Keeps Rising

    

After the Third Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) wits held in 1978, the late Chinese leader Dcng Xiaoping proposed a goal of building a well off society. By the end of the last century, people's living had generally reached a moderately prosperous level. Entering the new century, the 16th National Congress of the CPC put forward a new magnificent goal of building a well-off society in an all round way.

    

Over the past two decades, the Chinese nation has realized the historical breakthrough in building such a well-off society. Now, the new goals are encouraging everyone to write an even more glorious chapter in history.

    

             Gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow to more than 35 trillion yuan in 2020 from 451.7 billion yuan in 19811, hopefully enabling China to become the third largest economy in the world.

    

In the early 1980s, Comrade Deng Xiaoping proposed a strategic concept of three steps for the modernization process. These were that, with 1980 as the base point, the GDP would be doubled and people's food and clothing problems solved in 1990. The GDP would be quadrupled and reach a moderately prosperous level at the end of the 20th century. After another 50 years, or in the middle of the 2lst century, percapita national income would reach the level of the moderately developed countries and basically realize modernization.

    

In 1980. when the reform and opening up policy was initiated, national GDP was less than 500 billion yuan. In 2000, it reached 8.9 trillion yuan, ranking 6th in the world. In 2020, it is targeted to exceed 35 trillion yuan, when is expected to become the third largest economy in the world.

      

Comment: GDP is an important indicator to measure comprehensive national strength. China's economic growth has been maintained at over 9 percent in the first two decades of the reform and opening up. It was calculated that the country could realize the goal of quadrupling GDP so long as it kept up a steady 7 percent growth in the following 20 years. This rate can be absolutely realized.

     

             Per-capita GDP: From 460 yuan to 25,000 yuan. People's living standards are changing from the previous "solving the problems of food and clothing" to the present "moderately prosperous" type and toward greater personal enjoyable.

    

On December 6, 1979 when Deng Xiaoping met Japanese Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira, he used the word Xiaokang (well-off) to describe China-type modernization. In 1984, he further explained that the "well-off means $800 in terms of per-capita GDP."

    

In 1980, per-capita GDP was only 460 yuan, which was not enough for food and clothing. In 2000, it exceeded $800 for the first time and people's living generally reached the well-off level. By 2020, it will reach 25,000 yuan ($3,000)

    

Comment: Per-capita GDP is an important symbol of a country's well-off level. With the per-capita GDP growing by a large margin, China is ushering in an even higher level of well-off society benefiting more than 1 billion of its people.

    

             Economic restructuring: Elimination of the planned economy and establishment of a perfect socialist market economic system will provide a system guarantee for building the well-off society in an all round way.

    

When meeting with the New York Times Editor-in-Chief in 1985, Deng Xiaoping said, "There is no fundamental contradiction between socialism and a market economy. The issue is what kind of method we should use to forcefully develop productivity." In 1992 during his southern China tour, he clearly pointed out, "The planned economy is not equivalent to socialism, as capitalism also has planning; a market economy is not equivalent to capitalism, as socialism also has a market. Both the planning and market are economic means."

     

When the 14th CPC National Congress was held in October that year, it set the goal to reform the socialist market economic system. In 1993, the Third Plenary Session of the 14th CPC Central Committee adopted the Decision on Issues Concerning the Establishment of Socialist Market Economic Structure, leading China's economic structural reform into a new period. By 2000, China had primarily set up the socialist market economic system. In 2002, the 16th CPC National Congress put the establishment of socialist market economic structure as important content for the realization of the goal of building a well-off society in an all round way.

    

Comment: Reform is a strong momentum of China's economic and social development. It is the breaking of a stagnant planned economic system and the preliminary establishment of a socialist market economic structure that has propelled the social development from "food and clothing" to "well-off." From the general well-off to overall moderately prosperous society, the economic system needs to develop from initial establishment to perfect of the socialist market economic structure. This is the institutional guarantee of building a well-off society in an all round way.

    

             Foreign trade: China has been developing from a "small country" to a "big country" and even a "strong country" in terms of foreign trade. It is building an even more open economic system with stronger vitality.

 

While talking about the strengthening of Sino-foreign cooperation on October 6, 1984, Deng Xiaoping said, "The proportion of current China's foreign trade volume is very small compared to world trade. If we can quadruple our present volume, China's foreign trade will be greatly increased and the economic relations between China and foreign countries will be better developed."

   

In 1980, imports and exports totaled US$38.1 billion. In 2001, they reached US$509.6 billion, ranking sixth in the world. The planned quadrupling will produce a figure of nearly US$2 trillion in 2020, when China will become a strong country of trade in the world.

   

Comment: Sustainable expansion of total trade volume symbolizes the rising of China's economic internationalized level. Economic globalization and scientific progress will bring new development space. So long as we seize the opportunity and make the best use of advantages to speed up the development, we can grow from a big country to a strong country of trade.

    

             Finance: From the system of "grand unification" to the system of "public finance."

    

During the 1992 south China tour, Deng Xiaoping said: "It seems that we always seize opportunities to accelerate development in a certain period, discover problems and timely solve them, and then continue to march forward. Fundamentally speaking, we are in a positive state when solving various problems and contradictions.

    

In 1980, the national fiscal revenue was 115.9 billion yuan, and in 2000 it reached 1.34 trillion yuan, up 10 folds. Under the requirement of the goal of building a well-off society in an all round way, fiscal revenue will grow steadily, and so will the proportion of GDP. Establishment of the public finance system will be accelerated.

    

Comment: China's financial strength grows stronger since the reform and opening up, reflecting the sustainable growth of national economy and the improvement of the quality of economic operation. The establishment of the public financial system not only helps strengthen the government's macro-control ability, but also continues to play an important role in promoting the restructuring and economic and social coordinative development.

    

             Urban population: Growing from less than 20 percent to more than 60 percent. Urbanization will propel a great leap forward in social development.

     

When meeting with a Japanese delegation on June 30, 1984, Deng Xiaoping said that China would first solve its rural issues proceeding from the actual conditions because nothing could be done without a stable foundation in the rural areas.

   

In 1980, the proportion of urban population to the national population was 19.4 percent, and in 2000, it grew to 36.2 percent. By 2020, it will exceed 60 percent.

    

Comment: To build a well-off society in an all round way needs to transfer rural surplus laborers to non-agricultural industries and cities so as to take a road of urbanization with the Chinese characteristics. This is an unavoidable choice of China's modernization.

    

             Regional economic development: Priority was first given to the development of eastern region and then to western and northeastern regions. The advantages of the east, central and western regions complement each other for joint development, which will write a new "economic map" of China.

    

When the reform and opening up and modernization construction were in full swing, Deng Xiaoping proposed to accelerate the opening up of the eastern coastal areas so that they could grow more rapidly first. When the eastern coastal regions developed to a certain extent, they should make more efforts to help the development of the central and western regions.

    

China's reform and opening up started from eastern coastal regions, which were given priority to the first development. Based on constant changes of situation, the CPC Central Committee timely put forward the strategy of the grand development of western regions and vitalization of northeastern old industrial base. By 2002, the State started more than 30 projects in western regions, with a total investment exceeding 600 billion yuan. By 2020, the coefficient of differences among the nationwide regional development will be controlled under 0.747.

    

Comment: Being generally well off means there is unbalanced development. An overall level of being well off will narrow the gap between regions, and between rural and urban areas. The strategy of accelerating the development of the central and western regions and rural areas and vitalizing the old industrial bases in the northeast not only symbolizes the principle of common prosperity of socialism, but also paved the way for the economic development in the new period.

    

             Industrialization has entered a period that stresses chemical industry. New-type industrialization will guide the optimization and upgrading of industrial structure.

     

In 1984 Deng Xiaoping inspected Shanghai Baogang Iron and Steel Group. In light of the issues whether or not the company's second phase project would start and when should it start, Deng made a definite decision to seize the time to start the project, suggesting that the company borrow some money and pay some interests. His wise decision not only put the second-phase project construction two years a head of schedule, but also advanced the development of China's iron and steel industry by 20 years ahead of schedule.

    

The proportion of the added value of China's industry to GDP increased three times: 30.1:48.5:21.4 in 1980; 16.4:50.2:33.4 in 2000; and now, China has entered a heavy industrialization period with the secondary industry as the mainstay. By 2020, China will basically realize industrialization.

    

Comment: China's sustainable development lies in continuous optimization of industrial structure. Taking a new type of industrialization road that has high scientific and technological contents, better economic efficiency, low consumption of resources, less environmental pollution and with human resources being best used will definitely raise the over-all quality of Chinese economy and international competitiveness.

    

             Development: From striving for simple economic growth to realizing the overall, coordinated and sustainable development.

    

In the 1970s when Deng Xiaoping visited Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, in light of the then serious pollution in the Lijiang River, he advised that if the environment was sabotaged only for developing industry, the merits could not make up for the defects. During his south China tour in 1992, Deng clearly pointed out: "China's economic development is always striving for a step after developing for several years. Of course, we are not encouraging unrealistic fast growth. We should stress efficiency, steady and coordinated development."

   

From the "development is the hard principle" to the value of scientific development, the fundamental objective of development is to improve people's living standard and quality. Since the reform and opening up, China has been actively exploring the road for sustainable and coordinated development, combining the economic growth with speed, structure, quality and efficiency. In 2000, forest coverage, as a core indicator of well-off society, was 16.55 percent, and this figure is expected to exceed 23.4 percent in 2020. The great majority of masses of people will enjoy a relatively perfect medical and health service.

   

Comment: Development does not simply means economic growth. Upholding the concept of scientific development is a strategic action benefiting later generations. With the concept, China's ecological environment will be continuously improved, resource utilization rate will be remarkably raised, human being and the nature will be more harmonious, and entire society will come to a road of civilization with the development of production, prosperous life and better environment.

   

             Invigorating the country through science and technology: Eliminating illiterates, popularizing senior high school education and fostering a "study-type" society.

 

In March 1985, Deng Xiaoping said happily at a national work conference on science and technology, "l once said two sentences at a science conference seven years ago, one is that science and technology are productivity and another is that China's intellectuals have become a part of the working class." I am very happy that even farmers in remote mountainous areas know that science and technology are productivity."

    

At the national science conference held in 1978, Deng pointed out, "Science and technology are productivity." In 1995, the CPC Central Committee established the strategy of "invigorating the country through science and technology." At present, China has made remarkable achievements in gene sequence, manned spacecraft and other major fields. The country has basically made the nine-year compulsory education universal and basically eliminated illiteracy among the middle aged and youth. By 2020, the average per-capita education received by t~'~ Chinese citizens at the age of 15 or above will reach 10 years and the proportion of investment in scientific research and education to GDP will increase to 2.5 percent from current I percent.

   

Comment: The competition of the State's comprehensive economic strength, to a great extent, is the competition of the strength of science and technology. Scientific and technological renovation is the momentum and source of economic development and a new trend of world development. Education is the foundation of scientific and technological progress. Implementing the strategy of invigorating the country through science and technology and letting people enjoy the opportunity of receiving good education is a strategic act of national great rejuvenation, and can fundamentally promote the overall development of society and human being.

 

 

 

 

Review and Prospects: 1980-2020 (Part II)

Chinese People's Living Standard Keeps Growing

   

A prosperous life is a long-cherished dream of the Chinese people. In the late 1970s, Deng Xiaoping, the architect of China's reform and opening-up policies, put forward the idea of building Chinese-style modernization, which would result in a prosperous society. This idea has since become the major goal of the Chinese people.

   

In the past 20 years, the Chinese people have made great strides toward prosperity, basically solving the food and clothing problem. In the coming 20 years, the Chinese people will spare no efforts to build a prosperous society in an all-round way.

   

The period of 40 years has witnessed and will continue to witness tremendous changes in China--a process involving getting rid of poverty and building a prosperous society.

 

             Income: From 10,000-yuan Household to Per-capita Income of 10,000 Yuan

   

Review: In April 1980, Xinhua News Agency released a report titled Spring of Yantan. It was about Li Dexiang, a farmer in the Yantan People's Commune in Lanzhou City, Northwest China's Gansu Province. Li, together with five other men in his family, earned 10,000 yuan by participating in farm work in the production team. Villagers called theirs a "wan-yuan hu" (10,000-yuan household) and Li himself a "high-ranking cadre in the countryside."

   

Changes: Today the phrase "10,000-yuan household" is outdated. By 2000, the annual average disposable income of Chinese urban residents had reached 6,280 yuan, and the net income of rural residents had reached 2,253 yuan, an increase of 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively, year on year. The per-capita savings of urban and rural residents rose from 22 yuan to 5,780 yuan.

   

             Prediction: By 2020, China's per-capita disposable income is expected to reach 13,000 yuan, compared with 3,678 yuan in 2000.

  

             Shelter: From Survival Requirement to Comfortable Residence

 

Review: On October 20, 1978, Deng Xiaoping, then 74 years old, went to the top of the construction site of the Qiansanmen residential building in Beijing. Looking at the dilapidated houses in the surrounding areas, Deng proposed to reduce the height of each floor of the new building to enlarge the floor area and accommodate more people. In April 1980, Deng said that China should commercialize housing and reform the housing allocation system, to make housing a kind of commodity for transaction. Deng's statement was the prelude to reform China's housing system that has so far lasted 18 years.

    

Changes: The housing reform accelerated the improvement of the people's accommodation conditions. In 2000, more than 90 percent of households in rural and urban areas had 8 square meters of floor space per person. At present, the per-capita floor space in urban areas has reached 21.4 square meters, far exceeding the relatively prosperous level of 16 square meters. The reform has also given the Chinese people the largest item of private property--housing. Now, private dwellings in cities and towns account for 82 percent.

    

In the decade or so from 1989 to the present, China's housing standard has been revised upward three times. In some developed countries, however, this process has taken 30 years.

    

Prediction: In 2020, China's housing standard will be up to the comfortable level, with every household having an apartment and every family member having a room. The inner floor area for per person will reach 27 square meters. In addition, all housing will be equipped with facilities for daily use.

   

             Travel: From "Kingdom of Bicycles" to "Automobile Society"

    

Review: In October 1993, Deng Xiaoping inspected the roads and the city appearance of Beijing. Driving on the wide and smooth expressway leading to the Capital Airport, Deng asked an official with the Beijing Municipal Government whether the expressway had reached the level expected in a relatively prosperous society. Hearing an affirmative answer, Deng nodded and smiled.

    

Changes: Before 1988, China had no expressway at all, and automobiles were rare. The main mode of transportation was the bicycle. Hence the country's nickname of" kingdom of bicycles." In 1988, China completed its first expressway. And by 2002, the total length of China's expressways had reached 20,000 km, ranking second in the world.

   

In the meantime, China's automobile production rose rapidly. In 1980, the production of automobiles of various kinds was 222,000. In 2001, the output of sedan cars alone reached 704,000. By June 2003, the number of private cars broke the 10 million mark, which means that one of every 120 people owned a private car.

   

Prediction: China will have a total of 131.03 million automobiles by 2020. And the number of civil-use buses per 1,000 people is expected to increase from 6.8 in 2000 to over 100 by 2020. The length of roads open to traffic will amount to 2.6-3 million km, including 70,000 km of expressways.

     

             Engel Coefficient: From Poverty to Well-Being

    

Review: In 1980, media reports described how rich the Yuanjia Production Team in Liquan County, Shaanxi Province, was: Every household had a bicycle, a sewing machine, a radio, a clock and sofa chairs. Among the total 45 households in the production team, 40 had a black and white TV set worth over 400 yuan. All young people wore a new watch. Running water reached every courtyard, and so farmers could take a bath after a day's work.

    

Changes: The "three big things" pursued by the ordinary people have changed three times over the past two decades:

 

--Bicycle, sewing machine and watch;

 

--Color TV, refrigerator and washing machine; and

    

--Automobile, private house and interior decoration.

    

In the meantime, the Engel coefficient has dropped to 40 percent, and is expected to drop to 35 percent, which, according to the standard of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, marks the well-off stage.

  

             Clothing: Red Skirts Triggered an Endless Tide of Fashion

    

Review: A 1984 film titled Red Skirts in Vogue rekindled people's pursuit of fashionable clothing. Red skirts became favored by young women, and flared trousers by young men. Both urban and rural residents had begun to pay attention to their clothes again.

    

Changes: From the red skirts of yesterday to current clothing fashions is mirrored the improvement of the Chinese people's living standard. In 1980, the total consumption of the Chinese people on clothing was 41.37 billion yuan, but in 2003, this figure had soared to 523.7 billion yuan. More than 90 percent of Chinese people wore Western suits and leather shoes, and international brands were commonplace.

    

Prediction: No one can predict China's changes in the garment industry ,,xcr the next 20 years. But insiders estimate that the country's per-capita consumption of synthetic fibers, the main material for garments, will increase from 6kg in 2002 to 9kg in 2020.

 

Food: From Eking out a Living to Having a Diversity of Foodstuffs

    

Review: In October 1980, 46-year-old Liu Guixian opened a small restaurant in Beijing, the first private one in the city. It received more than 100 customers every day in the first week, reflecting the shortage of public places to eat.

     ]

Changes: Having a meal in a restaurant used to be a luxury in China. But today it is commonplace. China's per-capita consumption of meat, eggs and aquatic products has exceeded the world average level, and the consumption of vegetables doubled the world average level. The varieties of green foods alone exceed 2,000. Nutritious, delicious, health-benefiting and instant foods are all popular.

   

Prediction: The grain consumption of the Chinese people will continue to drop, and the consumption of meat, eggs, poultry, aquatic products and edible oil will double and redouble. In 2020, the main diet for every resident both in urban and rural areas will be: Vegetables, 157kg; fruits, 48kg; meat and milk, 28kg, respectively; eggs, 17kg; and aquatic products, 19kg.

        

             Communication: From Mail to Electronic Tools

    

Review: On May 3, 1980, the China Youth Daily carried an article about Zhang Guihua, a worker at the post office in Bengbu, Anhui Province. The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications praised her for sorting 6.5 million items of mail without a single mistake in a period of two years and eight months, a record since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949.

    

Changes: In the past, people depended on the postal network to send their messages. But now, fixed telephones, mobile phones and computers have largely replaced the mail service for communication. Sending and receiving e-mails and talking online have become routine for many people. In 2002 alone, there were 95.45 million newly added fixed telephone users, exceeding the total prior to 1997. Now, China ranks first in the world in the number of fixed telephone users, and second in the number of netizens.

    

Prediction: In 2000, every 100 households had 3.51 computers on the average. But in 2020, this figure is expected to reach 60. In the meantime, the number of fixed telephones will grew to nearly 440 million from 145 million, and mobile phones to 730 million from 85 million.

 

             Education: From "Elite" to Common People

    

Review: In the 1980s, China still had about 100 million illiterate persons. To study at school was still not easy for children in rural areas. In April 1991, a photographer took a photo of a girl named Su Mingjuan in a remote mountainous area in Anhui Province. The big eyes of the girl showed her desire to go to school, made a deep impression. In 2002, Su enrolled at Anhui University.

   

Changes: In the past two decades, both the Chinese Government and people have attached unprecedented importance to education. By 2000, China had basically universalized nine-year compulsory education, and wiped out illiteracy among young and middle-aged people. In 2001, China's universities and colleges enrolled 4.64 million students and 165,200 postgraduates, up 3.4 times and 5 times, respectively, over 1988.

    

Prediction: In 2000, a person received a full-time education of 7.79 years on the average. In 2020, this figure is expected to reach 10.5 years. Currently, the enrolment rate of institutions of higher learning is 11 percent, and in 2020, this figure is estimated to reach 25 percent.

    

             Employment: From Job Allocation to Seeking Jobs Freely

    

Review: The front page of the China Youth Daily of June 19, 1980 devoted space to an article about the reform of the employment system in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. The city broke the traditional job-allocation system, to allow more than 6,000 young people to seek jobs on their own and employers to recruit workers. This won support from the entire society, including enterprise employers, job-hunters and parents of young people.

    

Changes: Under the traditional employment system, most people worked for one unit for life. Today, resigning a position to set up a private business or change jobs is quite common. Besides, part-time and temporary work, seasonal posts and casual work provide a wide choice for job hunters. Numerous rural surplus laborers have left their hometowns to seek jobs in cities and towns. Between 1980 and 2000, rural laborers who gave up farm work to engage in non-agricultural work accounted for 1 percent of the total rural laborers. In the meantime, the umber of employees in state-owned enterprises dropped by 34.7 million.

   

Prediction: In 2020, the total number of China's employees will reach 840 million, and the unemployment rate will drop to a controllable level. China's unemployment rate in cities and towns is expected not to exceed 6 percent, and the nonagricultural sectors will employ more than 60 percent of workers.

  

             Culture: From Listening to the Radio to Varied Entertainment

   

Review: On October 23, 1980, Xinhua News Agency reported that the country's 63 radio stations all carried the same program at the same time, and hundreds of millions of people listened to a story told by China's leading female storyteller Liu Lanfang.

     

Changes: Except for listening to the radio and playing cards, the Chinese people had few forms of entertainment 20 years ago. But nowadays, people can go bookstores and teahouses; watch sports contests, go to concerts and dance. At the same time, more people are becoming enthusiastic about traveling. The number of Chinese traveling abroad increased from 200,000 in 1992 to 1.94 million in 2001, a rise of 9 times. According to statistics, the Chinese people spent 530 billion yuan on cultural activities in 2002.

    

Prediction: In 2020, some 100 million Chinese people will travel abroad, putting the country in the fourth place in the world in this field. And the total amount spent on cultural activities is expected to reach 2.946 trillion yuan.

 

 

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