Among the policies set forth by the National People’s Congress in March, in addition to “improving Hong Kong’s electoral system”, there is another item that is closely related to the future of Hong Kong, which is the “Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development of the People’s Republic of China and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035”.
The 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) symbolizes the central government’s support for Hong Kong to enhance its status as an international financial, shipping and trade center; strengthen its status as a global offshore renminbi business hub, an international asset management center and a risk management center; establish itself as a center for international legal and arbitration services in the Asia-Pacific; and support the service industry’s high-end and high value-added development. Furthermore, the 14th Five-Year Plan raises for the first time support for Hong Kong to enhance its status as an international aviation hub, to develop into an international innovation and technology hub and a regional intellectual property trading center, and to develop into a hub for arts and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world. If improving Hong Kong’s electoral system is to set the city’s political system back on track, then the 14th Five-Year Plan is to propel Hong Kong’s economic development to a higher level. To seize the opportunities created by the nation’s development, we should not only care about the parts that concern Hong Kong, but also understand the country’s latest development plan and strategies from a macroscopic perspective.
The international situation is expected to be turbulent in the near future and the only way out for Hong Kong is to integrate its own development into the overall development strategy of the country. While the 14th Five-Year Plan is still “fresh”, Hong Kong has no time to waste in locking in on the country’s new development stage, new development philosophy and new development pattern, so as to find its own role and place amid abundant development opportunities
The 14th Five-Year Plan is more historically significant than previous Five-Year Plans. From the 11th Five-Year Plan to the 13th Five-Year Plan, the main themes were centered on “harmonious society”, “scientific outlook on development” and the “five-in-one development concept”. Those three were connected in the sense that they all emphasized balanced development. Now that the 14th Five-Year Plan is in progress, the emphasis has shifted to a new development stage, new development philosophy and new development patterns. The central government even coined the term “major changes unseen in a century” in its various publications last year.
The new development stage is to achieve modernization following a two-step approach when China becomes a relatively well-off society. The 40 years before the 14th Five-Year Plan focused on building a moderately prosperous society, whereas the 30 years after the 14th Five-Year Plan are to strive for modernization. Prosperity is mostly for ensuring survival and basic living conditions; modernization, on the other hand, is to achieve an affluent lifestyle as well as become a powerful and civilized country.
A new development stage must come with a new development philosophy, and it has to be aimed at high-quality development. The five basic criteria of “high quality” are innovation, coordination, environment-friendly, open and shared. High-quality development is to further enhance the quality and quantity of social productivity, which will facilitate the tackling of ill-balanced and inadequate development. This will ensure adequate supply of high-quality products and services, as well as a better coordinated and balanced urban and rural development.
The “new dual-circulation development pattern” will consist of domestic circulation as the mainstay, with the domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. Domestic circulation as the mainstay does not mean turning the country into a closed state, instead we should treat dual circulation as an organic whole and focus on their mutual reinforcement. Domestic circulation as the mainstay also refers to a relatively complete industrial chain, especially keeping key links such as food, energy and important technologies in our own hands, so that China’s development will not be constrained by international anti-China forces. “Mainstay” refers to the influence and control over important production factors.
The international situation is expected to be turbulent in the near future and the only way out for Hong Kong is to integrate its own development into the overall development strategy of the country. While the 14th Five-Year Plan is still “fresh”, Hong Kong has no time to waste in locking in on the country’s new development stage, new development philosophy and new development pattern, so as to find its own role and place amid abundant development opportunities.
The author is senior research officer of the One Country Two Systems Research Institute.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.
HONG KONG NEWS