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China Daily Global / 2020-05 / 22 / Page011

NPC session will adapt country's strategy to post-pandemic situation

China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-05-22 00:00

The third plenary session of the 13th National People's Congress opens on Friday after being delayed for more than two months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As before, the deputies will review what the Chinese government has done in the previous year and discuss its work this year.

Even without the pandemic, this year's session would have been an especially significant one. Not only because the deputies will deliberate on a draft Civil Code, which will improve governance, but also because the country's first centenary goal of securing a decisive victory in the fight to eradicate absolute poverty and building a moderately prosperous society in all respects is due to be realized by the end of this year.

However, the session has assumed even greater importance due to the disruptive impact of the pandemic which has unexpectedly complicated the domestic and external situations.

Although China has done a good job in bringing the virus under control at home, which would not have been possible without it waging a "people's war" under the leadership of the Communist Party of China Central Committee with General Secretary Xi Jinping at its core, the pandemic has thrown carefully laid plans into disarray, to some extent.

Not least because, even though things are gradually returning to normal in China, many other countries are still battling to flatten the curve, and some of the most vulnerable countries may be only at the start of their struggles against the virus.

It is hard to tell how long it will take for the spread of the virus to be brought under control worldwide, and even then, it seems certain the world will not be what it used to be before the pandemic.

The sudden outbreak of the novel coronavirus and its consequences have compounded the many difficulties and challenges China was already facing, and how to promote economic recovery is obviously an unavoidable topic for the deputies to discuss.

China has to adjust and adapt its development strategies to cope with the sudden changes. This is where much is expected of this NPC session.

Although Chinese society has passed the immediate stress test, with the Chinese people having once again shown their solidarity and perseverance in the face of adversity-the toughest test of its kind since the founding of the country, as Xi has said-a course must be set to ensure the country passes the foreseeable tests over the longer term.

Despite what the Chinese government has done to help small and medium-sized enterprises with their difficulties, the deputies will need to discuss further ways to stabilize the economy and map out feasible and flexible economic development targets.

There is undoubtedly much to be done to guarantee people's livelihoods and well-being, and the pandemic, which no one can predict in what way it will come to an end, has only added uncertainties to these challenges.

And while coming up with ways to invigorate the economy, ensure employment and consolidate what it has achieved in its fight to contain the spread of the virus at home, the deputies also have to consider the external environment, not least because as a responsible member of the international community, China is willing to support the rest of the world in the fight against the virus to the best of its ability.

The pandemic has put global governance and international relations in the spotlight, which constitutes the main backdrop against which the country's top lawmakers will touch upon relevant topics during their annual meeting this year.

China, as the world's second-largest economy and a responsible member of the international community, is being looked on to play a bigger leadership role as the United States has struggled to get its own house in order and has alienated much of the international community with its unseemly willingness to exploit the suffering caused by the pandemic in its strategic rivalry with China.

So this session will not only have to recalibrate the country's development strategy to deal with the problems brought about by the pandemic but in doing so also ensure that the strategy helps get the world's economic and social progress onto a healthy recovery track.

Which is particularly important, considering this year's significance for the country's charted course and the world's desperate need for something to boost its confidence that the pandemic and its effects can be overcome.

Hopefully, what this session comes up with will be as encouraging and impressive as what has been achieved in the domestic containment of the virus and it will prove to be a shot in the arm for China's development and a tonic for the world.


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