Two sessions show new expectations and new beginnings are in the acceleration phase: Italian scholar
Published: Mar 12, 2023 11:55 PM
Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

Illustration: Xia Qing/GT

Editor's Note:

The two sessions, one of China's most important annual political events, are an important window for the outside world to understand China's development achievements, plans, governance philosophy, diplomatic concepts and global initiatives. Through this window, international observers closely watch China's moves and recognize China's development.

The two sessions have witnessed increased proposals and motions on people's livelihood security, including employment and entrepreneurship, education, medical care, housing and other livelihood issues, which are the issues about which Chinese people care most, said Giancarlo Elia Valori (Valori), an Italian expert on international affairs, in an interview with Global Times (GT) reporter Yu Jincui. He dismissed Western claims that the two sessions are only "rubber stamp."

GT: In 2023, the problems and challenges facing the world will increase. The global economy is struggling to recover in the post-pandemic era, and it has become a consensus that China's development will be an opportunity for the world. What has impressed you most during the ongoing two sessions?

Valori: The two sessions have the opportunity to show how China's economy - which has suffered from the COVID-19 epidemic - will get political and policy support from the state.

It should also be said that these are the first two sessions held after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The attention especially paid by young people to the two sessions is gradually increasing, and this is an observatory of opportunities for the economic and social development of China. Citizens hope they will find responses in it. As China is the second-largest economy in the world, new possibilities and pathways for high-quality development are at stake, including the progress that is being made in research for the construction, production and implementation of robots, as important symbols to measure a country's technological innovation and its level of advancement at the high end of innovation. 

New expectations and new beginnings are in the acceleration phase. New technology drivers such as new energies, Artificial Intelligence, bio-manufacturing, low-carbon green growth and quantum computing are driving the high-quality development of the Chinese economy. These new technologies - among others - have been the focus of the deputies to the NPC and members of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. 

Furthermore - in the health sector - a new development model is being built, focusing on the promotion of high-quality progress, as well as better coordination of prevention and control of future epidemics. After three years of living through the harsh test of COVID-19, the two sessions have shaken up the strong confidence, steady growth and opening of new chapters as keywords for 2023. In 2022 a unified national medical security information platform was basically established, which will lay the foundations for more efficient and cost-effective direct settlement of medical expenses between provinces and sites.

Over the past three years, China's economy has grown at an average annual rate of 4.5 percent, significantly higher than the global average of around 2 percent, thus maintaining a leading position among the world's major economies. The Chinese economy remains an important and ongoing source of power for global economic growth.

This year's trend in Chinese economy is to fully return to normalcy. This year's economic growth is supposed to be higher than expected, and all walks of life are entering a period of recovery, as transport, tourism, entertainment, catering and other sectors continue to recover. It cannot be ignored that the triple pressure of demand contraction, supply shock and weakening expectations is still relatively large and the bases for the country's economic recovery are not solid yet. Therefore, in order to increase consumption, stabilize growth and stabilize expectations, it is necessary to set relatively stable economic growth targets and step up the creation of a new dual circulation development model.

The two sessions have witnessed increased proposals and motions on people's livelihood security, including employment and entrepreneurship, education, medical care, housing and other livelihood issues, which are the issues about which Chinese people care most.

Giancarlo Elia Valori Photo: Courtesy of Valori

Giancarlo Elia Valori Photo: Courtesy of Valori

GT: Western media often uses "rubber stamp" to smear the two sessions, why are there such misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the most important political event in China?

Valori: Because in the West - looking back to the past and to the failures of the Soviet system - it is believed that the National People's Congress does not represent the Chinese people's will and that it has no power, but is merely an institution of Marxist formalism. It is here not understood at all - and often in bad faith - what socialism with Chinese characteristics is, thus confusing it with the Soviet bureaucratic attitude and the aimless and useless European Union's Parliament. 

As I have already had the opportunity to illustrate in other articles, Western countries' contesting every aspect and achievement of China - from the concept of whole-process people's democracy to that of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the creation of ecological civilisation - is just a pretext for building a wall between the good and the bad. 

GT: From the Belt and Road Initiative to a human community with a shared future, why have these initiatives initiated by China been widely responded by the international community, especially developing countries? What kind of diplomatic philosophy of China does this reflect?

Valori: The diplomatic rationale of China is simple and clear. China adheres to the principle of peaceful development. It firmly pursues an independent foreign policy of peace. It respects the right of people in all countries to choose their own path of development. China upholds international law and equity. It opposes the imposition of one country's will on others, as well as interference in countries' internal affairs. It abhors the bullying of the weak by the strong. China will never develop to other countries' detriment, nor will it give up its legitimate rights and interests.