China’s Leaders Approve Next Five Year Plan

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October 19 – China’s leaders met in Beijing over the weekend to discuss the country’s 12th five-year plan, which will focus on developing more sustainable economic growth.

After concluding the four-day meeting, the Chinese government announced on Monday that it had successfully drafted and approved the new plan, but the complete text will likely not be available until the annual assemble of the National People’s Congress in March 2011.

The new plan, which will outline economic goals for 2011-2015, seeks to cut down on the consumption of fossil fuels and improve the quality of economic growth. Chief Chinese economists note that the plan aims to increase the use of non-fossil fuels to up to 15 percent of the country’s total energy consumption.

In discussing what to include in the 12th five-year plan, the central government had to “adapt to the changes of domestic and international situations and comply with the people’s new expectations of living better lives,” said a communiqué issued by the government on Monday.

The Communist Party should “take scientific development as the theme, employ the acceleration of the transformation of the economic development pattern as the main line, deepen the reform and opening-up process and safeguard and improve the people’s livelihoods, so as to lay a decisive foundation for building a moderately prosperous society,” it said.

The previous five-year plan for 2006-2010 included such goals as the diversification of industries, encouraging domestic innovation and consumption, and improving living standards. The 11th five-year plan also detailed environmental goals, which were not met in the 2006-2010 period.

The new plan further emphasizes environmental responsibility and sustainability, backing these goals with a projected US$600 billion to support growing sectors such as information technology, environmental protection, and scientific research.

The communiqué’s complete translated text can be found here, courtesy of Xinhua.