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Focus now on addressing unbalanced development

China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-23 07:07

Focus now on addressing unbalanced development

The press center of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China holds a news conference on people's livelihood in Beijing, Oct 22, 2017. [Photo by Edmond Tang/China Daily]

With General Secretary Xi Jinping declaring the dawn of a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics and redefining the primary contradiction of present-day China in his speech at the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, the backwardness of social production has officially been rendered a thing of the past.

And, now that the country has become a key supplier of consumer products the world over, from sneakers to personal computers to iPhones; now that domestic industries are increasingly visible at the forefront of new technologies, from big commercial airliners to quantum satellites; now that the government is aspiring to turn the country into a global innovation leader in a dozen years, it does indeed seem anachronistic to continue defining the primary contradiction as being between backward production capacity and people's growing demands. Especially since overcapacity has been the headache for multiple traditional industries.

Thus the new primary contradiction, which identifies the country's fundamental task in the new era as tackling unbalanced, inadequate development, makes sense, because, while retaining the longstanding emphasis on upgrading production capacity, it incorporates the idea of balance.

Balance, as Xi stressed, encompasses both geographical and demographical aspects. Imbalance exists not only between regions, but also between groups and stratums of society.

For while the national economic landscape has by and large taken on a new look over the years, and people's livelihoods have dramatically improved, not all areas and people have benefited equally in the process. And given its role in leading national development, and its unmatched command of public resources, the government is in the best position to address the imbalances that have emerged, especially the imbalances resulting from unfair distribution.

As Sunday's news conference, featuring five central government ministries, made explicit, impressive progress has been made over the past five years: social security guarantees for the underprivileged have improved, education, from kindergartens to colleges, has become more accessible, there is more subsidized housing for low-income citizens, medical reforms have made health services more convenient and affordable.

But there is still a long way to go, and while capacity building will continue to be a theme for national development, it is clear that in line with the CPC's new judgment, the focus now will be making development better balanced.

Thus, as the country shifts the emphasis of development from speed to quality, the central theme of the new era will be honoring Xi's promise to boost people's sense of gain.

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