Chinese Ambassador H.E. Hu Zhangliang
AYV CEO Anthony Navo
FM 98.1 Station Manager Asmaa James
Time: 10 am, March 30th, 2021
Mr. Navo: Good morning Your Excellency Ambassador. Today, Myself Ambassador Anthony Navo Junior, CEO of the AYV Media Empire, together with Madam Asmaa James, who is also the Station Manager FM 98.1. We are jointly conducting a dialogue on China’s development and China-Sierra Leone Friendship. Myself and Madame Asmaa James will be asking a few questions for you. I hope you don’t mind. Thank you for joining us Ambassador.
Ambassador Hu: Good morning Anthony and Asmaa. It’s my pleasure to join this dialogue. I wish this dialogue will help our Sierra Leonean friends better know the facts of China’s development and China-Sierra Leone friendship.
Mr. Navo: Thank you Ambassador. We know that recently, China’s “Two Sessions”(the Fourth Session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Fourth Session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)) concluded successfully. Could you take us through on the “Two Sessions”?
Ambassador Hu: Yes, you are right. The “Two Sessions” you mentioned are major events in China’s political life. Every year, the “Two Sessions” will review and adopt important policy decisions on the political, economic, social and cultural development of China. This year, the “Two Sessions” were held earlier this month.
Mr. Navo: Ok, thank you. What are the important outcomes of this year’s “Two Sessions”, Ambassador?
Ambassador Hu: You know that this year is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), so it’s a year of great significance. It is also the first year for China to implement the building of a modern socialist country in all respects.
This year’s “Two Sessions” fully recognized the historic achievements made by the Chinese government and people under the staunch leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core.
Mr. Navo: Thank you, Ambassador. Did the “Two Sessions” set out any development plan for the year of 2021?
Ambassador Hu: The “Two Sessions” this year reviewed and adopted the Report on the Work of the Government made by H.E. Premier Li Keqiang, adopted the Report on the Work of the Standing Committee of NPC, the Report on the Work of the Standing Committee of Committee of CPPCC. It also adopted the Outline for the 14th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development and Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035. Also, the “Two Sessions” approved the NPC’s Decision on Improving the Electoral System of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
It also reviewed and adopted the National Budgetary Report as well as other issues. All items on the agenda of the “Two Sessions” were completed successfully, laying a solid foundation for China’s development in the new era.
You mentioned what are the targets for China’s development in 2021. Here I can give you some highlights. Our target is that in 2021, the GDP will grow above 6 percent. We are going to create over 11 million new urban jobs. We will control the surveyed urban unemployment rate at around 5.5 percent. We are going to ensure that the grain output will stand at 650 million tones. And we will keep the CPI increase at around 3 percent. We’re also going to improve China’s foreign trade, balance of payments, personal income, environment protection, scientific and technological R&D and food security.
Those are the major targets. We foresee another year of rapid progress for China although not without challenges.
Recently, a report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) projected that China’s economic growth in 2021 will be at about 8.1%, above what we set for the development goal in our government report. It reflects the international community’s confidence in China’s economic development.
Mr. Navo: Thank you very much, Ambassador.
Ms. James: Thank you Mr. Navo. Ambassador, I’ve been listening to you, you mentioned that the “Two Sessions adopted “the Outline for the 14th Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development and Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035. And we all know that China did exceptionally well in terms of development. Could you please tell us what kind of development achievements China has made in the period of the “13th Five-Year Plan”?
Ambassador Hu: Since 1953, China has been formulating and implementing five year development plans. It is one of the important measures to achieve desired, fast and sustained national development.
During the “13th Five-Year” plan period from 2016 to 2020, China made great achievements in socioeconomic development. The GDP reached 101trillion RMB, which is over 15 trillion U.S. dollars. Now China’s GDP accounts for 17% of the world’s total. China succeeded, during the “13th Five-Year” period, in eradicating abject poverty, achieving the UN SDG on poverty reduction 10 years ahead of schedule. China’s annual grain output remained above 650 million tonnes for five consecutive years, which ensured China’s food security and self-sufficiency. China succeeded in building the largest social security network in the world. The basic medical insurance covered 1.3 billion people and the basic old-age insurance covered nearly 1 billion people. The development or advancement in science and technology also achieved great breakthroughs. Those are the major achievements during the “13th Five-Year” plan period.
Ms. James: How about the development achievements for the year of 2020? Can you give us more details?
Ambassador Hu: In the year of 2020, the whole world was severely taken by the COVID-19 pandemic. China is the same. And we are also facing a deep global economic recession. The Chinese people, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with H.E. General Secretary Xi Jinping at its core, reacted with firm resolve and profound tenacity. China achieved major strategic success in containing COVID-19 and China was the world’s only major economy which achieved positive GDP growth (2.3 percent). The registered urban unemployment rate dropped to 5.2%. China attained a complete victory in the fight against poverty. New strides were made in China’s opening up to the outside world, for instance, the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement. This agreement will create the largest free trade area in the world, in which China played an important role. In 2020, a stream of scientific and technological breakthroughs were also made, for instance, the explorations of the Mars, of the moon and of the deep-sea etc..
H.E. President Xi Jinping and other state leaders hosted or attended several major diplomatic events, including the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19. China has been very firm in upholding the UN centered international system, safeguarding multilateralism, and promoting international anti-COVID-19 pandemic cooperation. China was actively promoting and advocating for the building of a community with a shared future for mankind and a community of health for all.
Ms. James: Wow, that’s impressive. Ambassador, China’s contribution to world peace and development are obvious. And China’s foreign policy meets the expectations of the world especially of the developing countries. What is China’s target for the “14th Five-Year (2021-2025)” period?
Ambassador Hu: During the 14th Five-Year Plan period from 2021-2025, China will follow the new development philosophy and formulate a new development paradigm to firmly advance high-quality development. In the 14th Five-Year Plan period, our target is to achieve high-quality development. The major targets will be the following: new strides in economic development, new steps in reform and opening up, new enhancement in social etiquette and civility, new progress in building an ecological civilization, new level in the well-being of the people and new advancement in governance capacity. In short, we are going to achieve a development that is more innovative, more coordinated, more open, greener and more inclusive. This will lay a solid foundation for China to basically achieve socialist modernization by the year 2035.
China will create more cooperation opportunities for countries around the world. As you know, now every year, China imports about 2 trillion USD of goods and services, which means in the next five years, China will import more than 10 trillion USD of goods and services, which is a huge opportunity for all over the world.
Ms. James: Thank you very much, Ambassador.
Mr. Navo: Ambassador, let me draw you a little bit with the issue of Hong Kong. You know, as a CEO of a media company and also an international business person, I visited Hong Kong many times as well as China. Ambassador, I want to draw your attention. We have been noticing that some western media like BBC etc. have been focusing on the Hong Kong related issues for a while. And you also mentioned just now that the National People’s Congress of China deliberated and passed the decision on improving the electoral system of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. What is the background for China to do this? What is the significance of improving the electoral system of Hong Kong? Could you please take us to on that as well?
Ambassador Hu: Thank you Anthony. You know Hong Kong is China’s territory. China resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997. However, since 2019, anti-China rioters in Hong Kong, supported by external anti-China forces, created big chaos and mayhem in Hong Kong, which seriously threatened national interests and Hong Kong SAR’s social stability. Those destabilizing forces used the electoral platforms of the Hong Kong SAR or their positions as public servants to blatantly carry out anti-China and destructive activities.
Combined with the impact of COVID-19, it’s imperative to take effective measures to forestall sabotaging activities and safeguard Hong Kong’s long-term stability and prosperity. The NPC’s decision on improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong SAR is meant to plug up the loopholes in the system, uphold the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong” and ensure the steady implementation of “One Country, Two Systems”.
Hong Kong’s transition from chaos to governance is in the interests of all, including the Hong Kong residents and foreign investors. It falls under China’s sovereignty and is fully in line with China’s Constitution and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to improve the electoral system of Hong Kong.
China refuses to accept the irresponsible remarks and vicious attacks by certain Western countries with regard to this issue.
Mr. Navo: Thank you very much, Ambassador. That is clear. Ambassador, I am also very interested in China’s experience of poverty alleviation, especially as an African. We know that several decades ago, China was one of the underdeveloped countries. While today, China has grown into the 2nd largest economy in the world. Just now you mentioned China’s overall victory in the fight against poverty. What are the specific progress and achievements? That’s the one, and secondly, will China continue to carry out poverty alleviation work in the future?
Ambassador Hu: Yes, you’re right that a few decades ago, China was very much underdeveloped, maybe not even comparable to some of African countries at that stage. But now, through the hard work of the Chinese people, we have reached another stage of development.
In February 2021, H.E. President Xi Jinping solemnly declared that China has won a complete success in eliminating poverty. Between 2012 and 2020, all the 98.99 million rural poor people under China’s current poverty line had been lifted out of poverty. Over the past 40 years, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, China succeeded in lifting out of poverty 850 million. It is a great historic achievement because the Chinese nation had been plagued with poverty for thousands of years. It is also a miracle in the human history in poverty alleviation. The results are not easily won. They are the crystallization of the decades long assiduous work of the whole nation and the sound policies of the Party and Government.
Shaking off poverty is not the finishing line, but the starting point of a new stage. China will continue to solve the problem of unbalanced, inadequate and insufficient development, narrow the gap between urban and rural areas, and realize all-rounded human development and prosperity for everyone. We are moving forward courageously towards the realization of the second centenary goal, that is, by the middle of this century, China will develop into a strong, modern socialist country.
Mr. Navo: Thank you very much, Ambassador.
Ms. James: Thank you very much, interesting achievements and comments from the Ambassador there. Ambassador, Africa and China have been good friends and our two sides enjoy cordial relationship for a long time. During the “Two Sessions” this year, both Premier Li Keqiang and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met the press and answered their questions. What message do you think that they brought about China-Africa cooperation?
Ambassador Hu: During the “Two Sessions” this year, Premier Li Keqiang and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with journalists respectively via video link because of the COVID pandemic situation. H.E. Mr. Wang Yi answered questions on China-Africa cooperation. The messages are consistent.
China and Africa are perpetual good friends and good partners. Last year is the 20th anniversary of the founding of FOCAC (the Forum on China Africa Cooperation). Over the past 20 years, China-Africa trade has grown by 20 times. China’s foreign direct investment to Africa increased by 100 times. The sister cities between China and Africa now reached 150 pairs. China-Africa cooperation has become a model of South-South cooperation and a fine example of international cooperation with Africa.
Currently, it is a top priority for China-Africa cooperation to fight the pandemic and help Africa bring the economy back on track.