October 18, 2022: -On Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the country’s recent shift away from rapid development and a greater focus on national self-sufficiency, especially in technology.
Xi spoke at the commencement ceremony of the ruling Communist Party of China’s 20th National Congress, held once every five years. His same speech in 2017 began discussing China’s economic growth.
In contrast, Xi on Sunday began his remarks with greater emphasis on China’s “national rejuvenation” and opposition to Taiwan’s independence.
Xi briefly noted how the country’s Covid policy has achieved “positive results” in coordination with economic development in that opening section. He did not state whether the policy would end or continue.
China’s Covid controls helped the government quickly return to growth in 2020. But the controversial “zero-Covid” policy has become increasingly stringent this year, prompting investment banks to slash growth estimates for China often.
Looking ahead, Xi emphasized the country needed a solid technological basis to achieve its modernization goals. Some areas he mentioned included boosting the quality of China’s manufactured products, the country’s capabilities in space transportation, and digital development.
“Without solid material and technological foundations, we cannot hope to build a great modern socialist nation,” Xi said in Chinese, according to an official English translation.
Since the party’s 19th National Congress, the U.S. has increased its pressure on China. The Biden administration has called China a strategic competitor and announced new export controls on semiconductors to maintain a U.S. border in tech over China this month.
However, he dedicated one section to stating how the country would emphasize education for developing its talent in science and accelerate the launch of national schemes with “strategic” and “long-term importance.” He did not provide further details.
He also did not exit the growth plans altogether. Xi said the country would increase productivity, make its supply chains more resilient, and expand its overall economic output.