The People's Republic of China and its 14th Five-Year Plan

Leaders of the Communist Party of China in approval ceremony of the Five-Year Plan

Since snatching power in China, in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party took the leading role in laying the foundations of communism “a la china” and monocratically defined development strategies and reforms through goals. Gradually, they modified the profile of the People's Republic, of a centralized Maoist economy until 1976, headed for the “socialist market economy”, that Deng Xiaoping “neologically” coined to qualify the process of reform and openness 1979 in the quest to break the country's multi-century isolation and insert it into the world of the last quarter of the 20th century.

It is worth remembering that in this process, already from 1953 the so-called “Five-Year Plans” were adopted ( five year Plan ) to guide the country's economic and social policy. That first moment, the objective was to consolidate the Marxist-Leninist foundations, through growth and reform paradigms that followed the Soviet model. They grounded themselves, basically, 1) in state ownership of the most modern sectors of the economy, especially the industry; 2) in the collectivization of large agricultural units; e 3) in centralized economic planning. Mao's big dream - and the nightmare it generated - was his obsession with transforming a millenary agrarian country into an industrial power at an inconceivable speed at that time, making the “Great Helmsman” responsible for one of the greatest tragedies that the country experienced in the last century: the hunger that fell between 15 e 55 millions of individuals…you will never know, alright, how many were….

From the beginning, institutionally the policies adopted by the government have to be endorsed by the National People's Congress, which is the largest legislative body and brings together about three thousand members (were 2.980, in 2018), making it the largest legislative body on the planet. Between their biannual meetings, the Central Committee – the elected in 2012, have 205 members and 171 alternates – performs legislative tasks, commanded, in its maximum instance by 25 leaders who make up your Political Bureau. At the top of this hierarchical ladder of several steps are the Secretary General of the PCC and the President of the Republic, positions usually shared by the same authority, per hour ( and who knows how long…), Xi Jinping. currently, the Politburo acts like the – "de facto" – China's most powerful decision-making body. The performance of its members is closely monitored by the national and international media, as well as by governments and politicians around the world.

At the height of this scenario, Xi's dream of transforming China into the greatest economic power on the planet by the end of this century looms.: as stated by the professor of the National Defense Academy, Liu Mingfu in the first paragraph of chapter I, from your book “The China Dream” – that Xi has as a bedside book and quotes in each speech – ”… what does it mean for China to become the world´s leading nation? It means that China´s economy will lead the world…”

This premise is embedded, more or less, no 14th Five-Year Plan, that the CCP Central Committee analyzed this week, defining the People's Republic's roadmap for the five-year 2021 a 2025, already back, however, for China from 2050. How do you know, o Plano ”Made in China 2025”, announced in May 2015, indicates the path to 2050, when the PRC aspires to become a totally modern nation, particularly in the areas of science and technology and defense. According to analysts, a medium-term economic strategy was also discussed at this symposium, the call “2035 vision”.

This complements what Xi declared at the 19th CPC National Congress at the end of 2017: “a China “basically” carry out socialist modernization by 2035 ”. Were, by the way, these are the terms he used in his speech to the National People's Congress on the occasion of the celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, in October last year, when he declared “victory over many difficult and old problems” and defended the continuity of opening to foreign companies, deepening the reforms of state-owned enterprises, strengthening financial sector regulation and better coordination of fiscal and monetary policies.

Grandiloquence aside, what is Xi's dream? Transforming China into a “moderately prosperous society”, with annual GDP growth of 5%; no more 10 e 11% from previous years. Nor is it a definite goal: now, estimate only, also in view of the external scenario; the development of the Covid-19 pandemic and its planetary reflexes, including economic; of hostility in the commercial-technological dispute with the United States, that analysts predict will not change regardless of who wins the American elections. The “deglobalization” of the economy and the shrinking of international trade in a volatile global environment also contribute to this more sober scenario, so the demand for Chinese goods is less, and the sensitivity (aversion?) China's rise is most evident. Get ready, apparently, the country for both domestic economic challenges and growing hostilities abroad.

This plenary session also marked a turning point in one of China's centenary goals: become a moderately prosperous society, apparently achieved goal this year, attested by the so-called eradication of extreme poverty; to prove yourself, a notable feat considering the size of the population. In this context, the focus of the next five years will be a strategy that the Chinese president has called “Double Development Dynamics”; that is, a dualist movement, rebalancing towards the internal market, expanded in recent years, for “facilitate better connectivity between domestic and foreign markets, focusing on more resilient and sustainable growth”, according to planners. Essential for Beijing is the quality standard that should guide the search for self-sufficiency in science and technology, with increasing independence in the high-tech sectors, especially design and manufacture of semiconductor chips, that subdue all cutting-edge sectors – artificial intelligence (HE), 5G technology, supercomputing, quantum computing, and even smartphones. Just like the other technologies to be pursued in the next five years: renewable energy sources, materials science, new vehicles, biotechnology and space science, all of them part of the “Made in China 2025” strategy.

Faced with the multiple and controversial realities that abound on the contemporary planet, it is worth asking whether Xi Jinping's “China Dream” has a chance to come true. Many factors condition its concreteness; the most relevant, in my judgment, it is increasingly evident the transfer of the axis of geopolitics / geoeconomics to the Asia Pacific region. This is a fact. Given this, I would be in the People's Republic, “Newcomer” in this universe, prepared to assume a hegemony that she doesn't really understand, because their political and civilizational concepts do not fit, per hour, in the central “West”?

Geoeconomic giant and geopolitical dwarf? It remains the doubt…

I suggest to friends to read the article below Estadão:

China is overwhelmed – Opinion – Estadão

Chinese Communist Party's five-year plan brings no surprises: the next few years the country will strengthen autocracy, will continue to rise as an economic power and invest in technology

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Doctor of Public International Law in Paris. He entered the diplomatic career in 1976, served in Brussels embassies, Buenos Aires, New Delhi, Washington, Beijing, Tokyo, Islamabade (where he was Ambassador of Brazil, in 2004). He also completed transitional missions in Vietnam and Taiwan. Lived 15 years in Asia, where he guided his career, considering that the continent would be the most important of the century 21 - forecast that, now, sees closer and closer to reality.