Opening of the first session of the 14th National People’s Congress
The first session of the 14th National People’s Congress commenced in Beijing this morning. Premier Li Keqiang, on behalf of the State Council, delivered the Report on the Work of the Government (the Report), in which he reviewed and concluded the Government’s work over the past five years, as well as outlined China’s major development goals and the work plans of the Government for the coming year.
As mentioned in the Report, China’s economy grew by 3% last year, with its Gross Domestic Product reaching Renminbi 121 trillion. Its average annual growth rate was 5.2% for the past five years as a whole. Our country’s economic structure has been further improved and infrastructure further upgraded. Remarkable achievements have been made in technological innovation. Reform and opening-up have been deepened. Its eco-environment has improved notably, while its living standards have kept rising.
It can be said that innovative macroeconomic regulation has kept our country’s economy operating within an appropriate range. Deepening reform in key areas and at critical links has further energised the market and stimulated social creativity. Efforts to promote in-depth integration of online and offline consumption have raised the share of online sales in the total retail sales of consumer goods from 15.8% to 27.2%. The work to foster ecological and environmental protection as well as green and low-carbon transition development has also yielded promising results.
The Report also reviewed the progress of the work in relation to Hong Kong and Macao over the past five years, including the effective implementation of the overall jurisdiction over the two special administrative regions in accordance with the Constitution and the respective Basic Law, the enactment of the Hong Kong National Security Law, the implementation of the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong”, the steering of Hong Kong to a new stage of advancing from stability to prosperity following the transition from chaos to order, further promotion of the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, as well as supporting Hong Kong in pursuing economic development, improving people’s livelihood, preventing and controlling the epidemic and maintaining stability. Looking forward, Premier Li remarked that we should fully, faithfully and resolutely implement the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong, administer Hong Kong according to the rule of law, safeguard the constitutional order as stipulated in the Constitution and the Basic Law, and implement the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong”. The Central Government will continue to support Hong Kong in pursuing economic development, improving people’s livelihood, and maintaining long-term prosperity and stability.
This year is not only the first year of our country’s full implementation of the spirit of the 20th National Congress, but also a critical juncture for Hong Kong to achieve another leap forward. The Report highlighted our country’s priorities for development this year, which are also the areas we should focus on when serving our country’s needs and seeking to achieve better development for ourselves:
- (1) striving to expand domestic demand and promote complementary development between regions;
- (2) accelerating the modernisation of the industrial system, including digitalisation of traditional industries and small and medium enterprises to make them higher-end, smarter and more eco-friendly; and forging ahead with the development of digital economy, stepping up regular oversight and supporting the development of platform economy;
- (3) effectively preventing and mitigating defusing major economic and financial risks; and
- (4) promoting the development of green transformation, improving policies for green development and developing a circular economy.
Our country is steadily heading towards high-quality development, with its economy advancing full steam ahead. With the staunch support from the Central Government, Hong Kong is also forging ahead along the new path from stability to prosperity. We have to make every endeavour to achieve greater economic development and step up our efforts to improve people’s livelihood. While the Policy Address delivered by the Chief Executive at the end of last year sets out the policy directions and priorities of the whole Government, the Budget announced recently lately seeks to vigorously press ahead with the development of our economy and improvement in people’s livelihood at full speed. The Budget has proposed to deepen the development of the “eight centres” and set out three major directions for driving further our economy towards high value-added development, namely accelerating the development of digital economy, seizing the opportunities brought by the third generation Internet (Web3), and developing Hong Kong into an international green technology and green financial centre.
Our country is building itself into a great modern socialist country in all respects. In the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, Hong Kong must give full play to its irreplaceable role by contributing more proactively to the cause. Let us join the whole nation in striving for the realisation of the Chinese Dream.
March 5, 2023