China’s 2022 ‘Two Sessions’: What are the highlights?

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By Ambassador Ma Jianchun

From 4th to 11th March, the “Two Sessions”—China’s most important annual political gatherings—were held in Beijing. The term “Two Sessions” refers to the yearly plenary meetings of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which are China’s top legislature and top political advisory body respectively.

The Two Sessions draws wide attention from both China and abroad, as it serves as an important window to look into China development, covering a wide range of topics concerning China’s domestic affairs and foreign policies. The practice of Two Sessions also demonstrates how China’s democracy works. The following is some key information drawn from the 2022 Two Sessions.

A review of the past and a blueprint for the future

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The Two Sessions looked back at the past extraordinary year. The year 2021 witnessed the grand celebration of the CPC’s centenary, China’s victory in the critical battle against poverty, and China’s achieving its first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. China’s 14th Five-Year Plan also achieved a good start. China has begun a new journey toward its second centenary goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects.

In 2021, China continued to implement routine measures to prevent resurgences of COVID-19. Over 85 percent of China’s population have been fully vaccinated. Local outbreaks were put under control in an effective and quick manner. These efforts ensured the health and safety of the people.

In 2021, China pursued economic and social development in a well-coordinated way. China’s GDP growth rate reached 8.1 percent, so was Chinese people’s per capita disposable income. China’s total volume of trade in goods grew by 21.4 percent, and China’s economic structure and regional development continued to be optimized.

In 2021, China’s technological innovation capacity was further strengthened. Major breakthroughs were made in manned spaceflight, resource exploration, energy projects and other areas. Integration of digital technology in the real economy was accelerated.

All these achievements were made under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the sound guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and the concerted efforts of all Chinese people.

The year 2022 is of great significance in the cause of the CPC and the country, as the CPC will hold its 20th National Congress. China has set a target of GDP growth rate for 2022 at 5.5 percent. China will continue to carry out effective measures to control COVID-19, and pursue higher-standard opening up. At the Two Sessions, China’s lawmakers and political advisors from across the nation pooled their wisdom into those topics, and reached wide consensus for China’s future development.

A practice of whole-process people’s democracy

Democracy is a common value of humanity and an ideal that has always been cherished by the CPC and the Chinese people. China has built a unique model of democracy named Whole-process people’s democracy. It involves well-coordinated and comprehensive institutional procedures serving to put into place diverse, open, and well-organized democratic channels to ensure that the government’s policies and the state will are integrated with the people’s aspirations. The Two Sessions demonstrates how the whole-process people’s democracy works.

At the Two Sessions, nearly 3,000 NPC deputies (China’s top legislators) met and practiced their power in accordance with the law. They deliberated various legislative items, and approved the government work report and a few other crucial reports. They raised a total number of 487 proposals and over 8,000 suggestions, covering a variety of topics including technological innovation, green development, education reform, public health service improvement, and so forth. NPC deputies also took their responsibilities in responding to public concerns, bridging between the people and the government, and building consensus.

At the Two Sessions, around 2,000 members of the CPPCC National Committee (China’s political advisors) gathered and held in-depth consultation on China’s economic progress and social affairs. They also sit in on NPC sessions to participate in the discussions on the amendments to laws, and on the government work report and other key reports. This mechanism ensures that all the people can play a part in overseeing the work of the government.

The practice of Two Sessions demonstrates that, China has translated democratic values into effective institutions and concrete actions. Whole-process people’s democracy is a model that covers all aspects of the democratic process and all sectors of society. It is a true democracy that works.

A clear manifestation of foreign policy

During the Two Sessions, China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi answered questions from the media about China’s foreign policy and external relations. He made it clear that, China as a responsible major country, would continue to hold high the banner of multilateralism, work with all peace-loving and development-seeking countries to strengthen solidarity and cooperation, and continue to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

State Councilor Wang Yi talked on the Global Development Initiative (GDI) proposed by President Xi Jinping at the UN last September. The primary goal of GDI is to facilitate the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It calls on all countries to focus on development, pool their efforts and meet challenges?together. Highly responsive?to the needs of various parties, the GDI has soon been warmly received and supported by the UN and nearly 100 countries, including The Gambia.