China's Communist Party kicks off key meeting

China's Communist Party kicks off key meeting to discuss key challenges facing country

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China's ruling Communist Party on Monday began its key four-day annual conclave to discuss the main challenges facing the country and proposals for the formulation of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) and the long-range objectives upto 2035, the state media reported.

The 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) started its fifth plenary session here.

The party's closed-door plenum consisting of about 204 full central committee members and 172 alternate members is held annually to review the policies of the party and the government.

President Xi Jinping, 67, who has emerged as the CPC's most powerful leader after its founder Mao Zedong, holding the posts of CPC General Secretary, head of the military besides the Presidency with prospects of a life-long tenure, delivered a work report on behalf of the party's Politburo.

The report explained a draft document on proposals for the formulation of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

As a key item on the agenda, the session will review the proposals. The meeting is scheduled to conclude on October 29.

Though the main agenda of the meeting was stated to be the next Five-Year Plan, the plenum was expected to review the political situation especially the November 3 US presidential election.

China, where the coronavirus emerged in December last year at Wuhan, figured prominently in poll campaigns of both President Donald Trump, a Republican, and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

While China’s ties with the US deteriorated to historic low, both Trump and Biden were expected to follow tough hardline policies towards Beijing.

China is also battling an adverse image as COVID-19 spread all over the world, killing more than a million people.

The country also faced a tough international situation after it passed a controversial National Security Law this year for Hong Kong amidst massive opposition from the local people and the international community, virtually taking over the security of the Special Administration Region for the first time since it was transferred to China by Britain in 1997.

The meeting is also being held in the backdrop of the stalemate in the border standoff between India and China in eastern Ladakh, which had affected the relations between the two neighbouring countries.

Observers say that the significance of the top decision-making bodies of the CPC since the advent of Xi to power in 2012 and currently in his 2nd five-year term has declined as he firmly established his stamp of authority, doing away with the past system of collective leadership.

All CPC meetings including the Plenum are held in tight secrecy and the proceedings of such meetings other than the official handouts were rarely publicised.

The 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) period was a decisive phase of achieving a moderately prosperous society in all respects in China.

During this period, as China faced a complex international environment and arduous tasks for domestic reform, development and stability, especially the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CPC headed by Xi has led the nation to secure decisive achievements in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and eradicating poverty, the report said.

The goals and tasks set out by the 13th Five-Year Plan are about to be accomplished. China has made a new and major step forward in its economic and scientific power, as well as composite national strength, it said.

The 14th Five-Year Plan period will be the first five years as China embarks on a new journey to fully build a modern socialist country, after achieving a moderately prosperous society in all respects, according to a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

China is still in a period of strategic opportunity for development at present and for the foreseeable future, but there are new developments in both opportunities and challenges facing the country, the meeting said.

The Politburo of the CPC Central Committee, which earlier urged efforts to master the laws of development, carry forward the fighting spirit, seize the opportunity, meet challenges and forge ahead.

Comments and suggestions from both within and outside the CPC have been solicited for the formulation of the 14th Five-Year Plan, including more than 1 million comments from netizens, the report said.

The proposals made by the CPC Central Committee on the formulation of the 14th Five-Year Plan and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035 will provide major guidance for the country to formulate an outline blueprint, which will be submitted to the National People's Congress, the top legislature, for deliberation and approval, it added.

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