BEIJING, Oct. 10 (China Daily/Xinhua)-- China's top
Communist Party officials at a plenary meeting in Beijing are expected to adopt
the "11th five-year plan" for economic and social development from 2006-2020,
which will center on more even wealth distribution among its citizens.
The concept of "scientific
development," first put forward by President Hu Jintao, will be enshrined into
the plan. Beijing is also calling for the building of a society that will
improve the lives of millions of farmers and poor urban dwellers currently left
out of the country's economic boom, and therefore eradicating the roots of
social unrest, observers said.
Despite the Party awoken to the inequity concern, it
is unclear what can be done to help the poor. Some economists have said China is
witnessing a stage of economic development in which many people are going to be
left behind, raising the danger of unrest.
An editorial in the The People¡¯s Daily Saturday noted
that life had improved for all classes of Chinese society, including farmers, as
a result of the changes. But problems have cropped up in the past two years, it
said, adding that China must make "macroeconomic adjustments" in the next stage
so the machine runs more smoothly.
The new Five-Year growth roadmap, is expected to put
greater emphasis on sustainable but relatively fast, non-wasteful and
President Hu Jintao, who is general secretary of the
ruling Party, has chaired the crucial meeting.
The scientific development concept will become the
guiding theory for building a "harmonious society," said Yan Shuhan, a professor
with the Central Party School.
They are discussing the country's five-year
development plan, with the view of seeking "sustainable, healthy, co-ordinated
and rapid development," Yan said.
The focus of the proposed five-year plan indicates
the Party and the Government have awoken to the problems with the model of
growth China has been following for the past 27 years since economic reforms
were launched in 1978. China has relied largely on manufacturing low value added
products for other countries, using its land, natural resources and labor, the
Xinhua news agency said.
It should instead move towards the model adopted by
developed countries -- depending more on technological innovations and less on
resources and labor for growth, it said.
Over the years, government coffers and state-run
banks have funded many viable infrastructure projects, but also unworthy ones
such as city plazas and high-tech parks that remain empty.
Corruption and lack of accountability played a big
part in the wasteful spending as local officials are able to pocket kickbacks
from developers and others, and face little reprimand for pushing through
Such "blind" investment has led to a waste in
resources such as steel and energy, causing prices to shoot up and raising fears
of a depletion of resources.
This has also led to large-scale environmental
degradation, with many of China's rivers and lakes polluted and many Chinese
cities blanketed with filthy air.
The model of growth adopted, which has placed the
emphasis on China's coastal regions, has also created a serious income gap
between urban and rural areas, with a majority of the rural population falling
far behind in living standards as compared to city dwellers.
Unless farmers' incomes rise, it is feared China will
not be able to continue growing at the current rapid pace of more than 9 percent
The next five years is a "golden development period"
but also fraught with challenges, Xinhua said.
Zheng Xinli, deputy director of the Central Policy
Research Office, attributed China's growth to the huge investment and excessive
consumption of natural resources.
Growth must be achieved through scientific progress
and improvement in laborers' quality, Zheng said.
From 1979 to 2004, China's economy grew by a
blistering 9.4 per cent annual average, making it the sixth largest economy in
the world. However, China's consumption of natural resources is alarming: its
gross domestic product accounts for 4 per cent of the world, while its
consumption of water accounts for 15 per cent of the world, steel for 28 per
cent and cement for 50 per cent. Enditem