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CWA # 293, 24 May 2020

China
Two Sessions in Beijing

  Boa Wang

The two sessions will witness around 3,000 legislators gather in Beijing to discuss significant laws and regulations as well as to discuss and approve several key documents, including the Government Work Report and the national budget, along with more than 2,000 political advisers from the CPPCC


What happened?
This week, China held its two sessions meeting in Beijing.

According to the 2020 Government Work Report, China will not set a numerical target for GDP this year due to "great uncertainty" surrounding COVID-19 and trade. China will give priority to stabilizing employment and ensuring living standards, with the battle against poverty, and achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society. 

In addition to the goals mentioned above, the report also highlights two things, according to Chinadaily, one of the authoritative national news websites. First one related to COVID-19 prevention and control. According to the newspaper, China stands ready to work with other countries to strengthen international cooperation on epidemic control. It plans to issue 1 trillion yuan (about $141 billion) of government bonds for COVID-19 control. It will implement a package of policies to support the epidemic-hit Hubei Province. In addition to, China will spare no effort in its regular prevention and control of COVID-19, nor will it lose any time in advancing its economic and social development agenda.

Second, on Taiwan, HK and Macao. According to the daily, China will resolutely oppose and deter any separatist activities seeking "Taiwan independence". China will improve institutional arrangements, policies and measures to encourage cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation, deepen cross-Straits integrated development and protect the wellbeing of Taiwan compatriots. The Chinese central government will support the country's Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions in developing the economies and improving living standards.

What is the background?
The two sessions is China's biggest annual political event comprising the annual meetings of the National People's Congress (NPC), the nation's top legislature, and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the nation's top political advisory body. 

This year's two sessions started on May 21st and 22nd at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, after being postponed from the usual date due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The two sessions will witness around 3,000 legislators gather in Beijing to discuss significant laws and regulations as well as to discuss and approve several key documents, including the Government Work Report and the national budget, along with more than 2,000 political advisers from the CPPCC.

What does it mean?
This year's landmark political event is unusual because it takes place while the pandemic is raging globally. China's economy shrank 6.8 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter as the virus outbreak dealt a huge blow to economic activity. While the epidemic has been basically brought under control domestically, economic activities remain on the road to recovery.

The political event is also essential as the country aims to secure the goals of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and shaking off absolute poverty by the end of this year.

In addition to setting the work priorities, targets and tasks for this year's national economic and social development, the two sessions would also highlight on how China improves its public health security and responds to the complex and changing international situation.


About the author

Boa Wang is a postgraduate candidate (American Studies major) at China Foreign Affairs University (CFAU), Beijing.

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