Blog Entries

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 kmnew high speed rail lines
6700 kmnew expressways
290,000 kmnew or upgraded rural roads
5.5 million kmadded fiber optic cables
  
15,000new businesses added daily
6 milliondilapidated urban homes renovated
12.4 millionreduction in people living in rural poverty areas
13.4 millionnew urban jobs
21.3 milliongrowth in the number of students from poor rural areas enrolled in universities
120 millionoverseas trips
340 millionnew 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
Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman

Joann Pittman is Vice President of Partnership and China Engagement and editor of ZGBriefs. Prior to joining ChinaSource, Joann spent 28 years working in China, as an English teacher, language student, program director, and cross-cultural trainer for organizations and businesses engaged in China. She has also taught Chinese at the University …View Full Bio


Are you enjoying a cup of good coffee or fragrant tea while reading the latest ChinaSource post? Consider donating the cost of that “cuppa” to support our content so we can continue to serve you with the latest on Christianity in China.

Donate