China in 2016: By the Numbers

On March 5, Premier Li Keqiang delivered the 2016 government work report at the opening session of the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing. As government work reports go, it follows a very strict script: listing of all the glorious accomplishments of the past year and then setting forth all the glorious things that the government will accomplish this year. And of course it has all happened under the glorious leadership of the Communist Party with Chairman Xi Jinping as the core.

I waded through the English translation of the entire 18,000-character report (so you don’t have to), and pulled out some of the key numbers Premier Li listed for the past year: 

4.02%  registered urban unemployment
5.6% decline in sulfur emissions
6.7% economic growth
   
1900 km new high speed rail lines
6700 km new expressways
290,000 km new or upgraded rural roads
5.5 million km added fiber optic cables
   
15,000 new businesses added daily
6 million dilapidated urban homes renovated
12.4 million reduction in people living in rural poverty areas
13.4 million new urban jobs
21.3 million growth in the number of students from poor rural areas enrolled in universities
120 million overseas trips
340 million new 4G mobile subscribers

The Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time has posted links to the original report as well as their translation. You can find them all here. There are also links to other reports as well.

Here is a round-up of other articles covering and analyzing this year’s National People’s Congress:

Words Count: Chinese State of the Nation Speech All About the ‘Party’(March 5, 2017, China Real Time)
The Chinese government’s annual policy blueprint runs more than 18,000 Chinese characters. Only a fraction of them are necessary to grasp this year’s theme: a dramatic emphasis on the Communist Party, in particular its leader.

China begins annual political sessions with synchronized tea pouring and the shadow of a leadership shuffle (March 5, 2017, The Los Angeles Times)
The National People’s Congress, a largely ceremonial body, sticks to a script and proceeds like an overly choreographed play — down to servers’ synchronized pouring of tea. But officials are working even harder this year to praise their boss and make sure nothing goes wrong. The reason: A leadership shakeup this fall could lay the foundation for President Xi Jinping to extend his years in power.

The Pomp and Politics of China's Annual Congress (March 7, 2017, Bloomberg)
The National People's Congress is many things. It's China's top legislative body and a rubber stamp for policies hammered out behind closed doors by the ruling Communist Party. It's the only time each year that many top officials in the world's second-biggest economy face the press. Above all, it's a master class in orchestration.

If you’re into all the nitty-gritty details, check out the special section on the Xinhua News Agency website, which includes this graphic depicting the accomplishments of 2016:

Once this event is over, preparations will kick into high gear for the next big meeting in October: The 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.

That’s the important one!

Image credit: Great Hall of the People – Tiananmen Square, by Dmitry P, via Flickr