China emerged as independent nation in 1949. However, China’s economy saw a rapid surge after 1979 market reforms and its Gross domestic product (GDP) increased at the average of 9.5% annually. However, China was battling with severe challenges like extreme poverty throughout the years.
In 2013, His Excellency Xi Jinping elected as the President of People Republic of China, determined to overcome issues like absolute poverty in the country. His fight against extreme poverty resulted in eradication of absolute poverty from china lifting more than 100 million people out of poverty.
During the last decade, China has seen extraordinary progress in economic and trade development under President Xi Jinping rule. The GDP growth has been doubled from $8.3 trillion to $17.73 trillion. Similarly, he initiated major project like Belt and Road Initiative for regional connectivity to enhance trade and peace with neighbouring regions.
This article will highlight the China’s progress under the rule of President Xi Jinping during the last decade and will provide a brief overview of Xi Jinping’s journey to becoming a President of world’s second largest economy.
An Overview of President Xi Jinping’s Life:
Xi Jinping was born on 15 June 1953, in Fuping county of Shanxi province. Xi’s father Xi Zhongxun was the former member of China Communist Party (CCP) and he also served as the Deputy premier of China. Xi Jinping was inspired by his father’s devotion to the Chinese people. At the age of 15, Xi shifted to country side of Beijing known as Liangjiahe and spent seven years of his life there. He became the member CCP in 1974.
He pursued his undergraduate degree in Chemical engineering (1975-79), later he completed his graduation in Law (Marxism) from the Tsinghua University in Beijing (1998-2002). Xi Jinping started his early career in 1979 by serving as Personal Secretary of Geng Biao and as Minister of Defence till 1982. During 1982-1985 Xi was appointed as the deputy secretary and later as secretary of Zhengding county. From 1985-88 he assumed his role as executive vice mayor of Xiamen province.
Xi Jinping served as party secretary of Ningde county from 1988-90, and party secretary of Fuzhou city from 1990-96. He was appointed as deputy party secretary of Fujian province in 1996-2002. Later in 1999 he also became the Governor of Fujian province till 2002. Xi served as governor of Zhejian province from 2002-2003, and also as party secretary from 2002-2007.
He started serving as party secretary of Shanghai in march of 2007, while few months later he moved to Beijing and assumed his role as a member of politburo Standing Committee, also served in CCP Central Committee as executive secretary from 2007 to 2012. He was appointed as the vice president of People Republic of China (PRC) in 2008. In November 2012, at 18th Party Congress Xi Jinping was appointed as Chairman of China Military Commission (CMC) and General Secretary of CCP central committee. In March 2013, Xi Jinping elected as the President of People Republic of China at 12th National People’s Congress.
Major Reforms in China Under President Xi Jinping:
China has experienced several changes in last decade under the rule of President Xi Jinping. He initiated noteworthy reforms, led to the elimination of various issues. Further, mega development and economic projects were started, resulted in China’s extraordinary economic growth. Few of these remarkable reforms taken by President Xi Jinping are discussed below.
Eradication of Absolute Poverty:
Poverty Eradication reforms were initiated since late 1970s but the President Xi Jinping was the only leader who announced the successful policies for ‘‘Absolute Poverty reduction’’ From China. Under Xi’s rule more funds were allocated for elimination of poverty than previous administrations of Hu and Jiang. In eight years China invested more than $246 billion in fight against the poverty. Xi decided to eliminate poverty by targeted poverty eradication policies, involving local government to initiate measures to help poor households and villages in the country. After 8 years of fight against poverty, President Xi declared the Complete victory against absolute poverty in 2021. China lifted 98.99 million people out of absolute poverty, additionally, China also removed its 832 counties and 128,000 villages from the poverty list. This was the great success for China, contributing to 70% of global poverty reduction.
President Xi’s Foreign Policies:
President Xi Jinping adopted a proactive approach of foreign policy from beginning of his rule. Under his leadership China rapidly rose on the global stage, especially through the launch of regional integration projects like Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and establishment of Asian Development Investment bank (AIIB). China is now linked with more than 152 countries through BRI, establishing economic, strategic and diplomatic ties. In light of proactive foreign policies China has developed strong relations with nations in neighbouring regions, Middle east, Central Asia and Europe.
No leader in Chinese history has attracted such a large number of foreign leaders to China like President Xi Jinping did. During his tenure since last decade, China hosted number of international summits, events and conferences involving hundreds of representatives from the various parts of the world. China has hosted major summits of APEC, ASEAN, Europe-China summits, BRICS, and Belt and Road Forums to develop strong economic, trade, military and strategic relations for regional peace and stability.
China’s Economic Development:
Chinese economy experienced a surge in economic growth since President Xi Jinping came to power. Economic reforms initiated by Xi Jinping transformed China into major economic power in the world. In 2012 China’s gross domestic product was around $8.3 trillion which become more than doubled in 2021 accounts for $17.73 trillion. China’s gross national income (GNI) per capita was around $5,910 in 2012 which rose up to $12,850 in 2022.
China’s total trade with BRI partner nations increased from 10.11 trillion yuan in 2013 to 18.95 trillion yuan in 2022, experienced an annual growth of 7 percent in last decade. In first 9 months of 2023 trade with BRI countries reached to 14.32 trillion yuan which accounts for 46.55% share of China’s total trade.
The employment situation in China remain stable, 32.78 million labour forces those lifted out of poverty were fully employed in 2022, 1.33 million more than 2021. During the last decade 130 million urban jobs were created in China.
President Xi Jinping has confidently steered China towards a future of modernization through his comprehensive reforms over the past decade. China has witnessed historic, holistic and systematic transformations in several fields achieving remarkable high-quality development and economic growth. The nation’s socialist system, characterized by Chinese attributes, is evolving and maturing over time. Mega regional connectivity projects like BRI along with the establishment of pilot Free trade zones indicates the Presidents Xi’s commitment to ‘‘Never closing the country’s door but only open the country more wider to the outside world’’.
China has experienced several reforms in national institutions and governance system under the rule of President Xi Jinping, drove China to high-quality development. The fight against absolute poverty by successfully lifting people out of poverty are the remarkable achievements as result of these reforms.
In recent years, President Xi Jinping has emphasized the importance of achieving sustainable, efficient, and high-quality economic growth. As a result, China has transitioned into a phase of “new normal” economic development, marked by a targeted growth rate of 7%. This shift signifies a move from extensive growth to a more focused and intensive form of high-quality economic development.
President Xi Jinping’s proposed BRI projects are not only contributing in economic and infrastructural development of China and partner nations but also playing crucial role in regional peace and stability. Additionally, implementing Xi’s foreign policies China is also fulfilling its responsibilities as a major country by holding international summits and conferences. Hosting world leaders from across the globe at many diplomatic events China has developed strong relations with nations in neighbouring regions, Middle east, Central Asia and Europe.
Mr. Ovais Ali Khokhar is Chairman, Board of Experts, Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future (PRCCSF), Islamabad.