China’s top political advisory body starts annual session, Likely Hike in Defence Budget
China’s top political advisory body started its annual session Sunday afternoon in Beijing, raising the curtain of a key season in the country’s political calendar.
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, and other Chinese leaders attended the opening meeting at the Great Hall of the People.
Wang Yang, chairman of the 13th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, delivered a work report to more than 2,000 political advisors at the session.
Wang commended the political advisory body’s work last year, saying new advances have been made under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core.
“We gave full play to the CPPCC’s role as a body dedicated to consultation and carried out our dual responsibility of offering suggestions and building consensus,” Wang noted.
Over the past year, the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee has focused on the central tasks of the Party and country and fulfilled its duties with commitment to pursuing unity and democracy.
Political advisors have conducted consultations with a focus on fighting the three critical battles against potential risk, poverty, and pollution, and on promoting high-quality development, according to Wang.
With regard to the CPPCC’s major tasks in 2019, Wang said top priority will be given to studying and implementing Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
The second task is offering high-quality suggestions on the central tasks of the Party and the country, which include completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and deepening supply-side structural reform.
Making greater efforts for unity and friendly ties is another important task, said Wang.
Other major tasks include contributing wisdom and strength to the major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, making solid progress in the self-improvement of the CPPCC, and holding celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the CPPCC’s founding.
This year is a critical year in China’s bid to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects to reach its first centenary goal.
“Building a moderately prosperous society in all respects is a cause that benefits our population of more than one billion people,” said Wang, highlighting the importance of harnessing positive energy for securing a decisive victory in this goal.
Wang encouraged political advisors to focus on hotspot and difficult issues, promptly identify potential risks and dangers, and proactively report on social conditions and popular sentiment, so as to provide the Party and government with valuable proposals and suggestions to help resolve issues and defuse risks.
Describing the formidable tasks, the many problems, risks and challenges, and the complex demands involved in decisively securing a moderately prosperous society in all respects as “unprecedented in scale,” Wang pinpointed the need to build consensus and promote unity.
It is necessary to strengthen theoretical and political guidance and build consensus on sensitive issues, points of risk, and matters of public concern in view of the fact that the CPPCC features a diversity of sectors, strata, and interests, he noted.
A total of 5,571 proposals had been submitted by the CPPCC National Committee members over the past year, with 41 percent of them focusing on practicing new development concepts, deepening supply-side structural reform, and promoting high-quality economic development.
As of Feb. 20, 99.2 percent of them had been handled, said Su Hui, vice chairperson of the 13th CPPCC National Committee, when delivering a report on proposals.
China’s defense expenditure is for the protection of the nation’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity and does not pose any threat to other countries, according to Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the second session of the 13th National People’s Congress.
Zhang said at a news conference on Monday in Beijing that China always sticks to the path of peaceful development and follows policies that are purely defensive in nature.
“To judge whether a country poses threat to other nations, the key lies in its foreign and defense policies rather than the increase in its defense budget,” he said.
He made the remarks in response to a question on China’s perspective change to its defense budget this year.
Zhang said a reasonable and moderate rise in military expenditure is to meet the need of safeguarding national security and facilitating military reform with Chinese characteristics.
“Starting in 2016, the increases in our defense budget have been staying inside single digits each year, as opposed to double-digit rises in the five consecutive years before that year,” the spokesman said. “Compared with other countries, our defense spending in 2018 accounted for about 1.3 percent of our GDP for that year, while some developed nations maintained a 2-plus percent proportion.”
China raised its defense budget by 8.1 percent in the fiscal year of 2018.