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SCIO briefing on 2016 Govt Work Report /, March 7, 2016 Adjust font size:


Huang Shouhong, vice head of the State Council Research Office and head of the report’s drafting team


Hu Kaihong, vice director-general of the Press Bureau, State Council Information Office


Mar. 5, 2016


Hu Kaihong:

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to this policy briefing conference organized by the State Council Information Office. In the morning, the Fourth Session of the 12th National People's Congress was opened, and Premier Li Keqiang delivered the government work report, attracting great public attention. Today, we are delighted to invite Mr. Huang Shouhong, vice head of the State Council Research Office and head of the report’s drafting team, to explain it and answer some of your questions. Also present at this briefing is Mr. Liu Yingjie, head of the Information Department of the State Council Research Office and a member of the report’s drafting team.

Now, I give the floor to Mr. Huang.

Huang Shouhong:

Friends from the press, good afternoon! First of all, thank you for attending this press conference during the weekend. Taking this opportunity, I want to specially thank our friends from the foreign media for your continuous, accurate and objective coverage of China. Through you, the voices, changes and developments of China are being conveyed to the world. You have made positive contributions to China's communication with the world, and for that, we show you our respect.

This year unveils the decisive phase of China's efforts to build a comprehensive and modestly prosperous society, and also marks the first year of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20). China's current situation, development prospects, direction of macroeconomic policies, and China's plan and deployment for the next five years are concerns not only for Chinese citizens but also the international community. In the morning, Premier Li Keqiang delivered the government work report, in which he reviewed economic and social development during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), comprehensively stated China's current major policies and those that will be carried out for the next five years, and responded to social concerns. I would like to take this chance to brief you on the drafting process of the government work report.

The government work report delivered by Premier Li was a report on governance that pooled the wisdom of all parties. I have three reasons to sustain my assertion. First, this report reflected the strategic deployment of the CPC central committee with Xi Jinping as general secretary. The CPC central committee and the State Council attached great importance to the draft of the government work report.

President Xi called upon and presided over meetings of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and meetings of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to review the government work report. Premier Li Keqiang personally supervised the drafting of the government work report; he called upon the State Council executive meetings and State Council plenary meetings to discuss its content and encourage the contribution of opinions.

It is fair to say that this government work report has fully implemented the essence of the18th CPC National Congress, along with its successive plenary sessions, and the Central Economic Conference; it fully implemented the essence of President Xi's important speeches and was based on the "Five in One" deployment and the "Four Comprehensives" strategic deployment, linked innovation, coordinative green development as well as open and shared development ideas, and has fully embodied the requirement of advancing structural reform, particularly with supply side reform.

Second, this report fully reflected the opinions and demands from all regions and all departments. As an ancient Chinese proverb reads," an organization whose leaders and ordinary members share the same desire wins." Premier Li also quoted this proverb in his report. All regions and all governmental agencies implemented the decisions and deployment methods of the central government. Only when a government report fully reflects the opinions and demands from all regions and all departments can it be effectively implemented.

Therefore, at the initial stage of the report's drafting, all province-level governments and agencies across the State Council raised their opinions and suggestions to the government work report, and provided a large number of basic materials in support. After the drafted report was finished, all parties were once again asked about their opinions. In total, 4,000 copies of the drafted report were handed out, and they helped draw 1,000 opinions this year. After reviewing, we tried to absorb them into the report. Meanwhile, the draft team of the government work report consisted mainly of staff members from the State Council Research Office in a joint effort with experts from more than 10 central departments, local governments and think tanks. This has ensured that the opinions from all regions, departments and all aspects could be fully reflected in this report.

Third, the report responded to society’s concerns; it has a broad base of popular support and is very down to earth. Premier Li Keqiang emphasized more than once that the people's expectations are the government's aspirations. In the drafting of the government work report, society has provided the topics and the people have offered their solutions. Premier Li called three discussions to hear opinions from all democratic parties, non-partisan personnel, the federation of industry and commerce, experts, scholars, and leaders in the corporate sector, and those from education, science, art, health and sports sectors, as well as the grassroots people.

The members of the draft team carried out local researches more than once, and we also held many discussions with experts and scholars from various fields, listening to their opinions. At the same time, as the initiator for the drafting of the government work report, the State Council Research Office, in a joint effort with the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, set up discussions with foreign experts earlier this year. Thirteen celebrated experts, including Nobel laureates in economics, from seven countries, namely, the United States, Britain, Austria, the Netherlands, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore, offered many opinions and suggestions. This has also, in fact, strengthened the international outlook and global vision of the government work report.

Additionally, the central government’s website and 11 other units jointly initiated an activity called “Have a word with the Premier.”A total of 61,905 suggestions and pieces of advice had been received as of March 1, when the government report was finalized. The central government’s website selected approximately 600 of these and passed them on to us. It’s intriguing that as many as 966 pieces of advice were from 26 countries and regions. Among the 600 suggestions that the central government’s website sent us, 21 were put forward by netizens from foreign countries, implying that China’s government work report has received increasing attention from around the world. It should be noted that the drafting group has made every effort to adopt the maximum possible proposals and suggestions from all sides, including netizens, through carefully looking at each of them. Almost all of the suggestions can be seen in the report in some form, though the original suggestions can’t be cited literally due to space limitations. All the proposals put forward were related to concrete issues. For instance, a netizen pointed out that, after the introduction of the two-child policy, whether couples are giving birth to their first or second child, some enterprises and hospitals require them to present pregnancy permits when they apply for maternity insurance. Therefore, they hope that the reimbursement procedures can be simplified. We carried out a careful study of this suggestion, and the expression in the Premier’s government work report that says, “improving the supporting policies so a couple can give birth to two children” exactly reflects that netizen’s suggestion.

Every sentence in the government work report has rich connotations, but the statement is general and succinct as possible due to space limitations. Some people might worry that those principled and general expressions will become formulaic and end up producing nothing. However, I want to tell you that this won’t happen, as the Chinese government has a set of mechanisms to enable full implementation of the government work report. Every year, the government work report becomes a legally-binding document after it is approved by the NPC. The State Council will distribute each of the requirements stated in the report to different departments and insure they work out detailed and concrete policies and measures within a limited time. Therefore, I believe that all the advisers who have put forward suggestions for the government work report,” including the general public and netizens at home and abroad, will find traces of their suggestions adopted in policy documents launched by the State Council and other related departments after the NPC has concluded.

Fourth, this report came into being after repeated modification, improvement and scrutiny. Each year's government work report goes through repeated modification, and this year's report was developed at an even higher level of scrutiny. Why? Because this year's report, compared with those in previous years, in addition to summing up last year's work and making plans for next year's work, must review the work of the 12th Five-Year Plan and make plans for the work of the 13th Five-Year Plan, with limited space. In this situation, we must determine what is to be included into the report and what should not be. It is a difficult problem. At the same time, we all know that since the second half of last year, including the first two months of this year, the international and domestic situation has been complicated and changeable. It can be said that the situation is changeable all the time. Therefore, we must carry on corresponding research, find out countermeasures and do modification constantly according to the changeable situation. Since the drafting work started in October of last year, the report has undergone modification almost every day, even until a few days ago when it was finalized. During the modification, Premier Li Keqiang attended the matter personally. During the Spring Festival, Premier Li was still working on the government work report and didn't take a break. So, this government work report has continuously been improved through repeated modification and scrutiny.

The reason I introduced these situations to everyone is because I want to make it clear that the drafting process of the government work report has reflected the demands of all sides, gathered a consensus from all sides and collected the wisdom of all sides. It has reflected the Chinese government's characteristics of adhering to people-oriented principles and democratic and scientific decision-making, its breadth of vision of readily accepting good advice, and its approach to being tolerant of opinions different from its own. During the drafting of the government work report, we tried to solicit the comments from all sides, including different views. Therefore, as a governance report, it has extensively solicited opinions from all aspects of the society and all walks of life. I am afraid that an approach like this is not commonly seen in other countries around the world in drafting their governance reports.

In some sense, our group did not draft this government work report. It should be said that it was a joint effort made by the people of various ethnic groups of the country and public figures from all walks of life, because it has reflected the wishes and demands of the people of various ethnic groups of the country. This is also a point which has puzzled the international community and society. While being confronted with severe and complicated challenges, the Chinese government can always fulfill the goals and tasks it sets, and China's development can always continue to achieve new results. Why? As the Chinese saying goes, “By relying on the united will of the people, we will be invincible.” It is because of this, that the Chinese government continued to achieve remarkable results last year and even during the entire period of the 12th Five-Year Plan when it was confronted with multiple difficulties and severe challenges.

As for the results achieved last year, Premier Li has made a comprehensive summary in his report. Here, I would like to borrow the popular language of the Internet to describe them "with both impressive appearance and impressive temperament." The "impressive appearance" means that all the indicators of China's development are bright and outstanding, while the "impressive temperament" means that China's economic developmental structure has enjoyed a continuous optimization, with new development momentum gathering together and development patterns accelerating. In fact, we can make judgments based on many indicators in the report. For example, along with economic growth, 13.12 million new jobs were created in cities and towns, overfulfilling the task by 30 percent. Another example, along with economic growth, our country's pollutant emissions and unit GDP energy consumption have significantly decreased. Another example, the share of the service sector in GDP for the first time exceeded 50 percent last year, occupying half of the share. Another example, consumption contributed 66.4 percent to economic growth last year, rising by more than 10 percentage points over the previous year, a figure that we have been looking forward to for many years. In these changes, we can see the reasons that have promoted China's economy to achieve great results. They will also promote China's stable economic development in the future.

In the government work report, Premier Li pointed out that this year we are faced with more and bigger difficulties and challenges in development. However, we have the confidence and ability to fulfill the goal of economic and social development for the whole year. This confidence is based on the factors I mentioned just now.

I have given you a brief introduction of these situations. Now, I would like to take your questions.

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