The plenary sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the national committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), popularly known as the “two sessions”, will kick off this week on Thursday morning in Beijing. Here are some of the buzzwords and hot topics that will be discussed from A to Z.
Anti-corruption. The Chinese government has adopted a zero-tolerance approach in fighting corruption since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in November 2012.
In 2015, China’s top anti-graft watchdog said it will net more “tigers” and “flies” — a term for corrupt government officials at both higher and lower levels — and combat graft in state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
NPC and CPPCC members will need to provide suggestions on how to build a long-term mechanism to supervise the exercise of official power.
Breakup of Monopolies. Although China has eased market access in many industries and started SOE reforms in a bid to mobilize private investment and break monopolies, there is still a lot to do to achieve fair competition.
Check of Power. In the past two years, China’s central government has prioritized the task of cutting red tape and delegating power to lower-level governments.
Democracy. Last year, the CPC Central Committee published a document proposing to promote “consultative democracy”.
Consultative democracy — defined as a democratic pattern in which, led by the CPC, all sections of society are consulted on major issues before and during policy-making processes — helps Chinese people take part in the country’s governance and makes sure that diverse voices can be heard and consensus can be reached.
Engines. In 2014, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang released the concept of “Two engines” and said: “To transform the traditional engine of growth by focusing on increasing the supply of public goods and services” and “To foster a new engine of growth by encouraging mass entrepreneurship and innovation.”
These “Two engines” will surely be discussed in 2015.
“Four Comprehensives”. Chinese President Xi Jinping released his new political theory, the “Four Comprehensives” in the People’s Daily ahead of the two sessions as his blueprint for China’s future.
Xi calls for comprehensively building a moderately prosperous society, deepening reform, advancing the rule of law, and strictly governing the Party. The concept is expected to be the main theme of the legislative session.
GDP. At the opening meeting of the NPC session on Thursday, Premier Li will reveal China’s GDP target when delivering the government work report. It is the subject of much anticipation at home and abroad. Most Chinese provinces lowered their GDP targets for 2015 at previous local legislative sessions.
Hong Kong. The year 2014 was an eventful year for Hong Kong. The Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program kicked off trading. Guangdong Province and Hong Kong liberalized their service trade, and the Guangdong free trade zone (FTZ) was approved. At the same time, the Occupy Hong Kong protest movement impacted Hong Kong in many ways. Differences of opinion between people from the mainland and Hong Kong will likely continue.
Innovation. Innovation is an engine to China’s development, and reform an ignitor to that engine. As the economy enters a “new normal”, and growth slows, China’s economy will rely more on innovation to drive its growth.
Jobs. The number of jobs forecast to be created this year will be revealed at the annual legislative session. China is promoting employment through encouraging business start-ups, cutting red tape and delegating power to lower-level governments.
Key Policies. China’s fiscal and monetary policies in 2016 under the circumstances of slowed economic growth are the key focus of the two sessions.
Law. The year 2015 has been defined by the Chinese leadership as “the first year of comprehensively promoting the rule of law”. The two sessions are expected to address legal and judicial aspects in detail, including a bill to amend the Legislation law.
Military. China’s military expenditures will definitely become one of the most discussed topics during the two sessions by Western media. China is working on how to build and manage a stronger army under today’s conditions.
New Normal. The “new normal”, a buzz word in 2015, will also appear at the two sessions since it has become a guideline for Chinese leaders in economic policy-making.
Opening Up. China became a net foreign investor for the first time in 2014. However, foreign capital still plays a vital role in the Chinese economy, especially in improving the quality and efficiency of growth and in driving innovation. In 2015, China will further open up its service sector, guided by experience distilled from the Shanghai Free Trade Zone.
Pollution. Premier Li made powerful remarks at the parliamentary sessions last year, calling for a “decisive battle” against pollution. A poll has showed that pollution control and environmental protection remains one of the biggest areas of public concern ahead of the two sessions.
Quality. China will not pursue statistical growth single-mindedly, but try to strike a balance where industrial transformation and a rational growth rate can all be achieved. The country is embarking on a development path characterized by efficiency, quality, sustainability and steadiness.
Reform. This year has been defined by the top leadership as a crucial period for deepening reform. The government work report will detail in which fields these reforms will occur.
Silk Road. It is widely expected that more tangible achievements will be made in the “Belt and Road” network to build Asian trade infrastructure proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013.
At their local legislative sessions, Chinese provincial governments were very excited about the prospects for the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
Tibet. The year 2015 commemorated the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Tibet Autonomous Region. The Chinese central government’s policies on governing Tibet will attract attention from reporters home and abroad.
United States. Xi Jinping paid a state visit to the United States in last September. China and the United States reached consensus in aspects including visa arrangements, trade, and military trust. The two sides also released the landmark China-U.S. Joint Announcement on Climate Change. Reporters are hoping to suss out how China and the United States will rise above their differences.
Values. Authorities have expressed the importance in moral and ethical education in reform and opening up, with the core socialist values of harmony, integrity, and fairness.
World. Attention will be given to a series of regional hot-spot issues and worldwide issues at the two sessions.
Xi Jinping. The schedule of the Chinese President Xi will be closely watched, when discussing state affairs with national lawmakers and political advisors.
Year. The year 2016 marks the start year of China’s 13th Five-Year Plan. The new plan is considered to be approved by NPC this year.
Zones. A year and a half after the launch of the pioneering Shanghai free trade zone, similar FTZs in Guangdong, Fujian and Tianjin have been approved and may have an official kick-off very soon. Experts said they are just copies of the Shanghai FTZ, but more regionally integrated, targeted, and differentiated in their functions.
The report compiled information from CCTV America and Xinhua News.