The Chinese leadership is meeting to set the policy direction for the next five years

The Chinese leadership will begin discussions today to define long-term priorities for the country, as Beijing is expected to focus on promoting technological self-sufficiency and domestic demand.

The Fifth Plenary Session, a meeting of the Communist Party leadership, runs until Thursday. The most important goal-setting exercise in the country, which is the formulation of the next five-year plan, will take place against the backdrop of the deteriorating global economy and US sanctions. The plenum will also discuss a broad plan for the next 15 years, with goals likely to last for the rest of President Xi Jinping’s 67-year-old rule.

The mock-up process reveals the biggest concerns and priorities of the Chinese leadership. This year’s meeting comes as the deadline for achieving the previous overarching goal of achieving a “moderately affluent society” in 2021, the centenary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, expires.

Beijing has hinted it will broaden its focus on economic growth to include goals for environmental protection, innovation and self-sufficient development – such as food, energy and chips.

Holly Snape, a fellow in Chinese politics at the University of Glasgow, said Mr. Xi is also expected to use the exercise to enhance his influence over the party and his influence on governance. She said, “It is useful to understand these broad goals in the context of an expression that Xi seems fond of: the party, the government, the army, the people, education, the east, the west, the south, the north, the center – the party leads everything.”

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In recent months, Mr. Xi has reiterated the idea of ​​developing a “double circulation” economy as China will develop domestic demand and self-sufficiency as the rest of the world remains at a standstill due to the Coronavirus.

For decades, China has valued technological self-sufficiency, but “there is an important shift coming in the next five years,” said Sam Sachs, a fellow of cybersecurity policy in New America, a Washington-based think tank. US sanctions on Huawei, tech group, Beijing have shown how easy it can be to bring down a national champion due to the blockade on US technology. “The government is now looking to maintain further progress in the domestic technology sector within China, especially research and development and expertise from foreign companies,” Ms. Sachs added.

Beijing has set the average annual GDP growth target in every five-year plan since 1986. But this year, as the economy has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, China has not done so for the first time. select the target. Macquarie Group economists expect the target to be reduced from the 6.5 percent set in the current plan to the 5 percent set in the next plan. They also believe the goal is to be given less importance.

The five-year plan will also show how the government will meet Mr. Xi’s goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2060.

After concluding this week’s Central Committee meeting, a brief outline of the five-year plan will be released. But the plan itself will not be ratified and will likely not be announced until the next meeting of the sealed legislature, usually in March of the following year.

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