Expansion, control and stabilization: China lays out its future

The National People’s Congress or NPC is officially the highest organ of power in China. It’s is where China’s future in the world is mapped out. With nearly 3,000 delegates, it meets annually to outline the superpower’s long term plans.

At the top of the agenda was changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system. The semi-autonomous, partially democratic region has been a thorn in autocratic Beijing’s side for a while. Hong Kongers have long wanted an overhaul of their electoral laws, but in a direction opposite to what Beijing has imposed.

For years, they have demanded universal suffrage, with huge rallies seen in 2019. Beijing is now pushing back. Another item on the National People’s Congress agenda was China’s economic future. China was the first country in the world to report cases of COVID-19.

The pandemic has severely hit its economy. In 2020 the economy grew by a meagre 2.3%, the slowest growth rate in over four decades. For 2021, China is aiming for more than 6% growth. It is a rather conservative target compared to market expectations.

But Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, doesn’t think his country is aiming low. Beijing has laid out steps to shift its reliance on foreign trade for industrial production to domestic consumption, especially home-grown technology. China plans to boost its investment in technological research and development.

Core technologies like semiconductors, artificial intelligence and military science are main areas for that investment.

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