SpeakchesYou are here:Home > Events > Annual Meetings > 2006 > Speakches

Scientific Development towards a Well-off Society (Cheng Siwei)


  Ladies and gentlemen:

  It is my great honor to be invited here to give a keynote speech in the dual capacity of a legislator and a scholar, and discuss the theme of this meeting on "Scientific Development towards a Well-off (Xiaokang) Society together with all participants.

  Since the policy of reform and opening up to the outside world first introduced more than two decades ago, China has, under the guidance of Deng Xiaoping Theory, learned to employ the tool of market economy to improve development and efficiency on the one hand, and adhered to the socialist system and improved it, and ensured social equity and order on the other hand. As a result, the national economy experiences rapid growth, the living standard enjoys steady improvement, and China has made remarkable achievements that are recognized by the whole world.

  The 16th National Congress of the CPC held in November 2002 put forward the great goal of building a well-off (Xiaokang) society in an all-round way by 2020. The goal consists of the following four aspects:

  1. On the basis of optimized economic structure and improved economic benefits, gross domestic product (GDP) of China in 2020 will quadruple that of 2000 with remarkable enhancement of the overall national strength and international competitiveness. China will basically realize industrialization and set up a sound socialist market economic regime with more vigorous and open economic system. The proportion of urban population will have a substantially rise and the trends of increasing gaps between industrial and agricultural sectors, urban and rural areas, and among different regions will gradually reverse. In addition, a comparatively sound social security system will be established with relatively full employment in the society. People will have more wealth and affluent life.

  2. Socialist democracy and socialist legal system will be improved. The basic policy on the rule of law will have comprehensive implementation. People's political, economic and cultural rights and interests enjoy full respect and guarantee. Grassroots democracy will have further improvement with good social order and people will live and work in peace and contentment.

  3. The ideological and ethical level, science and cultural quality and health conditions of the whole nation will enjoy remarkable improvement, and a relatively sound modern national education system, scientific, technological and cultural innovation system, and national healthcare and medical system will be established. All people will have access to good education, senior high school education will be basically popularized, and illiteracy eliminated. As a result, a study-oriented society will be developed where all people studies and pursues lifelong learning so as to promote overall development of people.

  4. The capacity of sustainable development will be constantly enhanced with improved ecological environment, significantly rise of resource efficiency, strengthened harmony between human being and nature. This will promote the whole society to take a road towards development with growing production, affluent life and sound ecology.

  China's economy has maintained a momentum of rapid development in recent years. Among others, China's GDP reached 2.23 trillion U.S. dollars in 2005, and the foreign trade volume came up to 1.41 trillion U.S. dollars, ranking No.4 and No.3 in the world respectively. However, since China has a large population but relatively insufficient resources (the per capita coal, oil, natural gas and water resources account for 51%, 11%, 5% and 25% of the world average respectively), and imbalanced development among different regions and between urban and rural areas. China is still facing tough challenges. To realize the great goal of building a well-off (Xiaokang) society in an all-round way, we should first change ideas, resolutely implement the scientific outlook on development characterized by people-oriented, comprehensive, and coordinated sustainable development.

  The "people-oriented" concept means to, in line with the requirements of the important thought of "Three Represents", safeguard and extend the fundamental interests of the people, manage to "exercise power in the interest of the people, share the feelings of the people and work for the good of the people", adhere to the policy that the development is in the interest of the people and depends on the people, and the fruits of development are shared by the people. Comprehensive development refers to simultaneous development of the economy, environment, society, politics and culture; coordinated development means to make overall plans for urban and rural development, regional development, economic and social development, harmonious development of man and nature, and domestic development and the policy of opening up to the outside world. Sustainable development calls for a development that satisfies the demands of the people of the current generation without compromising the capacity in meeting the needs of future generations.

  Society is a system that exists in natural environment and has a variety of graded structures and functional structures. Mankind is not only the most fundamental element of a society, but also the subject of practice who identifies, uses, and transforms the nature. However, the development of mankind and that of the society and nature have some conflicts. In terms of the relationship between human beings and nature, the people of the Primitive Society awe nature, so there appears the worship towards the sun, the moon and fire. In the agricultural society, people go with the nature, and are basically fed by the heaven. In the industrial society, people try to conquer nature with science and technology, which sharpens the conflict between human beings and nature. As early as in 1886, the great thinker Engels pointed out that "Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human conquest over nature. For each such conquest takes its revenge on us." In the end of the 20th century, developed countries entered into the post-industrialization era, and people gradually understood the significance to protect the environment and live in harmony with nature. As mankind is about to enter into the knowledge-based society, there is a need for a new kind of civilization, where people protect the ecology, conserve natural resources, are friendly to the environment and live in harmony with the nature.

  Second, we should actively meet the challenges of global economic integration and the knowledge-based economy, make innovations of the development mode and raise the development quality. In my opinion, current economic globalization has the following features. It is centered on financing, based on knowledge, guided by information technology and has multinational companies as the major carrier. At the mid-stage of industrialization at present, China should reverse the trend where economic growth is over-fueled by investment. In recent years, every 1% increase in investment has fueled GDP to grow only by 0.3-0.4%, down from the previous 0.4-0.6%. The share of GDP that is turned from every one yuan investment in the same year has decreased from 0.5 to 0.21-0.25. Investment constitutes 45%-50% of the GDP, up from 33% or so, resulting in imbalance between investment and consumption. The overheated investment has squeezed out comprehensive factors (since and technology, education, management), making the contribution of the latter to economic growth decline from 30% or so down to 10-15%. It is unlikely to realize sustainable development if this goes on in a long run. Therefore, we must rely on science, technology, education and management to achieve scientific development, pay more attention to resource saving and environmental protection, and gradually narrow the development gaps among different regions and between urban and rural areas. From a long perspective, we should endeavor to build an innovation-based country, develop high-tech industry and modern service industry such as financing, information and consultation services, and gradually shift exporting raw materials and products into that of capitals and knowledge. We should integrate the efforts at macro level of building an innovation-based country with that at micro level of learning-oriented organization or society, upgrade the scientific, cultural and ethnic levels of the whole nation through the progress of education, and foster innovation-oriented talents. We must be aware of the fact that economy can only sustain us today, science and technology may ensure our tomorrow, and only education can guarantee us the day after tomorrow (i.e. future).

  Third, we should intensify the efforts in legislation and improve the relationship between man, nature and society. As the legislative body of China, the National People's Congress aims to build a legal system with Chinese characteristics by 2010. To date, there are 223 effective laws in People's Republic of China, among which 26 are related to environmental protection and sustainable development, including the Law on Environmental Protection, Law on Environmental Impact Assessment, Water Law, Forest Law, and Grassland Law etc. The NPC Standing Committee also strives for enhancing the inspection on law enforcement in order to ensure the implementation of laws.

  Next we will emphasize the corporate social responsibility (CSR). Enterprises not only are responsible for environmental protection and social development of local community, but also should contribute to the solutions to global environmental problems such as greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion and desertification. Efforts should be made to encourage more enterprises to obtain the ISO14000 certification and engage in such campaigns as "Global Compact" and "Responsibility Care". The Standing Committee of NPC has ratified China's acceding to Convention Concerning Occupational Safety and Health and the Working Environment, which will help to further improve the work conditions of employees.

  Finally, we will raise the awareness of the whole nation in sustainable development, correctly identify and handle the relationship between individuals and society and nature so as to develop moral force for environmental protection. We should, in the principle of "eight honors and eight disgraces", establish a socialist outlook on honors and disgraces, and endeavor to build a resource-saving society. We should gradually give play to the role of the "third party" besides the government and enterprises, so as to make up for the government failure and market failure.

  As a developing country, China has a long and arduous way to protect the environment and achieve sustainable development, in particular when China is in the mid-phase of industrialization with large proportion of heavy chemical industry, which adds to the difficulty of resource conservation and environmental protection. We're willing to learn from the advanced experience of other countries, and use it based on China's conditions. I appreciate the earnest and effective work of the 3rd Phase of China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, and wish that the incoming 4th Phase would play an even bigger role.

  Thank you!

Contact Us:


Address:5 Houyingfang Hutong,Xicheng District,Beijing 100035 P.R.Chinazip code:100035

Copyright © 2020 Secretariat of China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development. All Rights Reserved. Presented by China Daily.