National

China’s Legislature commences in Beijing

China increases defence budget by 8 pc; sets 6.5 pc GDP growth target

- Anuj Kumar Adhikari, Beijing

The annual session of the China’s Parliament—National People’s Congress (NPC)—commenced its first session in the Capital city Beijing from Monday. The country’s national legislature, a supreme organ of state power in China, will continue its meeting till March 20 and elect major government officials.

This year’s legislature, also known as 13th session of the NPC, is regarded as a big event in the political life of China because it is expected to remove the two-term presidential limit paving the way for President Xi Jinping to assume more years in office to materialise his ideology on Socialism with Chinese characteristics and Belt and Road Initiative put forth by him in 2013.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, among other Chinese leaders attended the meeting where Premier Li Keqiang delivered a government work report for 2013-2017 and presented policy direction for 2018.

Among the major highlights of the session held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China announced to increase its defence budget by 8 percent to 1.11 trillion yuan ($175 billion) in 2018. China has also projected its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate at 6.5 percent for 2018, unchanged from the last year’s target, although it obtained the growth rate of 6.9 percent in 2017.

 “The projected growth rate is in keeping with the current potential for economic growth and reflects our position of not overemphasising speed but stressing improvements in the quality and effect of development,” read a report delivered at the Great Hall of the People.

Likewise, the NPC session stated that the China’s contribution to global growth exceeded 30 percent while its urbanisation rate rose to 58.5 percent from previous 52.6 percent and the country added 66 million new urban jobs last year.

Saying that China’s investment in R&D grew at an average annual rate of 11 percent in 2013-17, ranking second in the world in scale, the NPC session said that the world’s most populous country would now move faster to establish itself as a country of innovators through nationwide business startups and take innovative drive to the next level.

The session also stated that China will create a new landscape in all-around opening up and advance international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). “We will work towards building major international corridors and deepen cooperation on streamlining customs clearance along the routes of BRI. We will expand industrial capacity cooperation with other countries, and with this enable Chinese manufacturing and Chinese services to go global,” read the report presented by Premier Li.

In a press conference on Sunday, NPC Spokesperson Zhang Yesui had said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) undertaken by China has been misinterpreted as its geostrategic tool in its quest to become a global leader.


 

Published: 2018-03-05 16:47:39