Third plenum draws up sweeping reform blueprint to advance Chinese modernization

The 20th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) adopted a resolution on further deepening reform comprehensively to advance Chinese modernization at its third plenary session, drawing up a sweeping blueprint that will guide China's reform and opening-up for years to come, according to a communique released on Thursday.

The communique was released following the completion of the third plenary session, which was held in Beijing from Monday to Thursday.

General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping delivered important addresses. At the session, the Central Committee heard and discussed a report on the work of the Political Bureau, presented by Xi on behalf of the Political Bureau, according to the communique.

Amid a complex international and domestic situation, many in China and around the world have been closely following the reform-themed session, which is often referred to as the "third plenum." 

Over the past four decades or so, the "third plenums" have played critical roles in China's economic miracle. 

This edition of the third plenum not only reaffirmed China's unwavering commitment to reform and opening-up, but also drew a clear path for China's continuous high-quality development, which helps boost confidence both at home and abroad, experts said.

For the world, China's deepening reform and expanding opening-up will create greater opportunities amid a global economic downturn and rising economic protectionism, and China's high-quality development will help create a new type of international relations based on the principles of equality and mutual respect, foreign experts said. 

Clear path

In line with decades of tradition, the third plenary session of the 20th CPC Central Committee also focused on mapping out reform and opening-up plans. Noting that the present and the near future constitute a critical period for China's endeavor to build a great country and move toward national rejuvenation on all fronts through Chinese modernization, the session further elevated the importance of reform for the country and stressed the advancing of Chinese modernization.

"Chinese modernization has been advanced continuously through reform and opening-up, and it will surely embrace broader horizons through further reform and opening-up," the communique said. "We must purposefully give more prominence to reform and further deepen reform comprehensively with a view to advancing Chinese modernization in order to better deal with the complex developments both at home and abroad."

The reform tasks laid out in the resolution covered a wide range of areas from the economy and whole-process people's democracy to ecological conservation and national security, according to the communique. 

Economic reform, in particular, was a main focus. The third plenum said that China will build a high-standard socialist market economy in all respects by 2035. In building a high-standard socialist market economy, the role of the market must be better leveraged, with a fairer and more dynamic market environment to be fostered and resource allocation to be made as efficient and productive as possible. 

Various reforms will also be carried out to promote high-quality development, including deepening supply-side structural reform. Institutions and mechanisms will also be improved to foster new quality productive forces in line with local conditions. Reform tasks were also laid out for macroeconomic governance and key areas such as finance and taxation.

Li Daokui, director of Tsinghua University's Academic Center for Chinese Economic Practice and Thinking, said that the third plenary session not only lays out a clear path for reform in the coming years, but also reaffirmed China's commitment to reform and opening-up. 

"The communique put emphasis on both reform and opening-up and reaffirmed upholding the basic national policy of opening-up, which I believe offers further reassurance for foreign businesses and investors," Li told the Global Times on Thursday.

Describing opening-up as a "defining feature of Chinese modernization," the communique said that the Party will "steadily expand institutional opening-up, deepen foreign trade structural reform, further reform the management systems for inward and outward investment, improve planning for regional opening-up, and refine the mechanisms for high-quality cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative."

Among the highlights of the reform tasks, Li pointed to the various reform measures to ensure and enhance the people's well-being, including improving the income distribution system and the employment-first policy, which will help address the direct concerns of the people. The reform plan for building a high-standard socialist market economy is also of great significance, as it will help create a fairer and more dynamic market environment, Li said.

Boosting confidence

The sweeping reform plan laid out by the third plenum will have profound significance for both China and the world, and will help boost confidence amid rising risks and challenges for the world as a whole, Chinese and foreign experts said. 

"The reform tasks are critical in shaping China's economic development and its position on the global stage," Lian Ping, director of the China Chief Economist Forum, told the Global Times on Thursday. "The success of these reforms will directly affect whether China's economy can continue to rise in the next 10 years and beyond." 

While China's economy has maintained stable growth in recent years despite a global downturn, it faces a growing set of risks and challenges, including rising economic protectionism and geopolitical tensions. The reform measures are key to tackling these challenges and ensuring China's continuous high-quality development, experts said. 

"The goal of reform is to address long-standing problems and improve systems to remove hurdles for continued economic growth," Lian said.

The communique also said that the overall objectives of further deepening reform comprehensively are to continue improving and developing the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and modernize China's system and capacity for governance.

This also reflects the effectiveness and importance of the CPC's leadership, according to Alexander Lomanov, deputy director for scientific work at the Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow).

"The CPC's ability to correctly assess the situation in the economy, proceed from the interests of the people, and defend these interests with all its strength is particularly important," Lomanov told the Global Times. "The top-level design in economic policy, which only the CPC leadership can provide, is very important."

The CPC's leadership is the source of confidence in China's economic development both in the short term and in the long run, experts said.

The third plenum not only mapped out reform tasks to ensure long-term high-quality development, but also conducted an analysis of the present situation and the tasks the Party faces, and urged firm commitment to accomplishing the goals for this year's economic and social development, according to the communique. 

Li said that the content suggests that more measures will be rolled out for the second half of 2024, especially in terms of expanding domestic demand, so as to ensure that the annual growth target will be met. 

"This is a very important message for the world," Li noted. 

Chinese modernization and China's continued high-quality development are also of great significance for the trend of multipolarization of the world, said Lomanov. 

"China's economic development creates favorable prerequisites for the creation of a new type of international relations based on the principles of equality and mutual respect, free from intimidation and pressure," Lomanov said.

The communique stressed that Chinese modernization is the modernization of peaceful development. "In foreign relations, China remains firmly committed to pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace and is dedicated to promoting a human community with a shared future," it noted.

China's shipbuilding surges as innovation, new quality productive forces fuel first-half boom

China's shipbuilding industry made significant gains in the first half of 2024, with revenue and profits rising as the country secured almost 75 percent of new global orders, demonstrating the growing momentum of Chinese manufacturing.

Rising global demand played a part, experts said, but China's technological advancements are the cornerstone of its rapid development. These achievements show the country's efforts to enhance its manufacturing capabilities and develop new quality productive forces.

Experts said that there is a potential for even further growth and increasing profitability. For this purpose, advancements in technology and achieving self-reliance in producing core components of high-value ships are essential.

Ship completions rose 18.4 percent year-on-year to 25.02 million deadweight tons (dwt), making up 55 percent of the global total in the first half, data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed.

The industry also saw an increase in order backlogs, which rose 38.6 percent to 171.55 million dwt.

China takes the lead globally in 14 out of 18 major ship types in terms of new orders, an indicator of its dominant position in the market.

The rapid progress in Chinese shipbuilding stems from multiple factors, including advances in shipbuilding technology, increased demand from the global shipping market, and the high quality and efficiency of Chinese-made vessels, Zheng Ping, chief analyst at industry news portal, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

China has made significant technological breakthroughs in various shipbuilding sectors, from liquefied natural gas carriers to cruise liners. Better shipbuilding technologies and experiences in construction, coupled with process optimization and digital tools, have shortened construction cycles and improved quality, boosting competitiveness and profits, Zheng noted.

Profit growth in China's shipbuilding industry has been robust, with total profits for the first five months of the year reaching 16 billion yuan ($2.2 billion), up 187.5 percent year-on-year, the MIIT said.

The expansion of the global shipping market has also resulted in a surge of orders for China, reflecting the industry's growing potential, Li Yanqing, secretary-general of the China Association of the National Shipbuilding Industry, told China Central Television.

The thriving shipbuilding sector mirrors the rapid progress in China's manufacturing sector, particularly high-tech manufacturing. According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the added value of China's high-tech manufacturing rose 8.7 percent in the first half of the year, compared with overall manufacturing sector growth of 6.5 percent. 

Besides, China's high-tech manufacturing sector has made a significant progress in the first half of 2024, providing vital impetus for industrial growth, Wang Peng, an associate research fellow at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

China's innovation-driven development strategy, focusing on the research and development investment and advanced technologies, has continuously enhanced its independent innovation capabilities, driving product upgrades and technological progress, Wang said.

Among China's shipbuilding orders, high-tech and high-value vessels are on the rise. The country's shipyards have delivered new models of ships, including the world's largest 93,000 cubic meter ultra-large LNG carrier and a 99,000 cubic meter ultra-large ethane carrier.

China expands the number of ports for 144-hour visa-free free transit policy to 37

China expands the number of ports that adapt the 144-hour visa-free transit policy to 37, with the three new ports including Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport in Central China's Henan Province, Lijiang Sanyi International Airport in Southwest China's Yunnan Province, and the Mohan railway port in Yunnan, China's National Immigration Administration announced on Monday.

CPC navigates China to realizing economic blueprint through deepening reform and opening-up

As the Communist Party of China (CPC) is expected to convene a crucial reform-themed meeting next week, a look back on China's remarkable achievements in comprehensively deepening reform and opening-up over the past decade, which underpinned China's high-quality development against a complex global geo-economic situation, offers a critical window into what to expect from the upcoming meeting.

The third plenary session of the CPC Central Committee, often referred to as the third plenum, has carried enormous significance in China's economic and social development, as it has drawn up the reform agenda for years since the third plenum in 1978, which marked the beginning of China's reform and opening-up that helped lift China from a backward agrarian country to the world's second-largest economy. Since the third plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee, convened in 2013, ushered in an era of comprehensively deepening reform, China has witnessed greater social and economic development despite external and internal challenges and become a pioneer and builder of world peace and development, and a driving force in shaping a more just and effective global governance structure.

Today, as the world navigates its way through the mist of escalating geopolitical tensions, flagging economic growth, and global economic and financial fragmentation triggered by some Western powers' rising protectionism, domestic and global expectations for the upcoming third plenum are running high. Many in China and around the world are anticipating that the meeting will spur the world's second-largest economy toward higher level development through further deepening reform and opening-up and to contribute certainty and stability to a world in turbulence.

Since the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, China has witnessed comprehensive achievements in its reform and opening-up, paving ways for the country to realize its second centenary goal of building a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by 2049, Chinese economists said.

Since Chinese leader Xi Jinping took the top office more than a decade ago, China has entered a "new era." As the world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century, the country's economic strength has grown, and its international influence has continued to rise. Reform is the hallmark of this era.

As the CPC will convene on July 15 in Beijing the third plenary session of its 20th central committee, which will primarily examine issues related to further comprehensively deepening reform and advancing Chinese modernization, analysts noted that China's economic progress fostered by the Party's relentless efforts in forging ahead reform and opening-up has contributed to global prosperity and security.

China's economy has achieved a historic rise, with GDP growing to 126 trillion yuan ($18 trillion) in 2023 from 53.9 trillion yuan in 2012. For years, China has contributed about 30 percent of global GDP growth.

Market's decisive role

Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the country has conducted in-depth reforms in both building the unified domestic market and forming new structure of all-round opening-up, having scored remarkable achievements in promoting the market economy, sci-tech innovations and higher-level opening-up, Yu Miaojie, president of Liaoning University, told the Global Times.

One of hallmarks in the past years is that the Chinese economy was able to maintain a relatively fast growth rate while conducting its structural reforms that give the economy new vitality for more sustainable and high-quality growth, experts noted.

Along with the country's policies to optimize resources allocation and foster the transition of traditional industries, emerging industries saw fast expansion and the services industry continued to grow in prominence.

A reform decision in 2013 said that it was China's aim for the market to play a "decisive" role in allocating resources.

Through the implementation of the supply-side structural reform, the country pushed the economy toward high-quality development and moving to construct a new development pattern. This was achieved while the country is being confronted with major challenges, such as downward economic pressure due to the lingering impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, rising protectionism and suppression from Western nations, and risks associated with the real estate sector and local government debt issues.

From 2012 to 2023, the proportion of the value-added output from high-tech manufacturing in overall value-added output of large industrial enterprises has grown from 9.4 percent to 15.7 percent, while that of the equipment manufacturing sector rose from 28 percent to 33.6 percent, according to a report by Xinhua.

The added value of the services sector accounted for 54.6 percent of the GDP in 2023, up from 45.5 percent in 2012, while the contribution of domestic demand to the nation's economic growth has increased from 105.8 percent in 2012 to 111.4 percent in 2023.

Cao Heping, an economist at Peking University, told the Global Times that under the Party's leadership, the Chinese economy was able to maintain growth rate at roughly twice the rates of other major developed economies, and the Chinese economy has entered a period of steady progress in upgrading its economic structure and the adoption of new technologies, gradually shifting its production model from the traditional assembly line manufacturing to connected and sharing manufacturing supported by advanced digital technologies.

Such a transition would be impossible without the steadfast leadership by the Party in promoting scientific and technological progress which allows the digital economy to penetrate all sectors of the economy, and all of these are happening amid a challenging external environment featured by a global slowdown and US-led decoupling push and tech war against China, Cao said.

Now China is a world leader in digital infrastructure with the digital economy now accounting for about 44 percent of China's GDP. "In some fields such as the installations in 5G wireless base stations, China far outperforms the US and other major economies," noted Cao.

In the next five years, the ratio of China's digital economy to the national GDP could further grow to over 50 percent, marking the successful transition into a growth model powered by digital technologies, Cao said.

Over the years, the country's leadership has pushed for high-quality development and innovation-driven growth through deepening reforms and unleashing the vitality of market participants.

The system of a negative list for market access was comprehensively implemented, allowing entry into areas not explicitly prohibited by the list, and financial reforms were promoted to facilitate financing for private enterprises.

A number of statistics has demonstrated the evident effects of these efforts.

In 2023, the country saw 3.33 trillion yuan poured into research and development (R&D), accounting for 2.64 percent of the GDP, up from 1.91 percent in 2012.

According to the Global Innovation Index published by the World Intellectual Property Organization, China's ranking has jumped from 34th in 2012 to 12th last year.

"With heavy investment in R&D, China's original innovation capacity and process R&D can almost compete with developed economies such as the US," Yu said, noting that China's industrial capacity is also outstanding, represented by the electric vehicle (EV) sector.

A number of Chinese private companies, such as EV maker BYD and battery maker CATL, have attained global recognition for the competitiveness of their products and more private companies are now leading China's push in emerging sectors.

"Our company directly benefits from the country's policies to encourage private capital into emerging and innovative sectors and into the new-type infrastructure," Zhang Jingru, an executive with private Chinese commercial space company LandSpace, told the Global Times. In July last year, the company launched the world's first liquid oxygen, methane carrier rocket into orbit.

High-level opening-up

Since the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, the CPC Central Committee has taken into account both the domestic and international imperatives, and advances a broader agenda of opening up across more areas and in greater depth in a bid to expand new growth room for the economy.

Xi has repeatedly stressed that China's door of opening-up will only open wider, and he has made "institutional opening-up" a priority.

"Establishing new systems for a higher-level open economy is a strategic measure to promote reform and development through opening up," Xi said when presiding over the second meeting of the Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reform (CCCDR) in July 2023.

Over the past ten years, China is committed to establishing a new system for higher-level open economy, which in turn boosts in-depth reforms in the country while contributing China's wisdom and China's solution for an open global economy.

"China has said that it is committed to reform and opening-up and will never close its door to the world. Faced with questions from certain Western countries, China continues to deepen cooperation with the rest of the world in a larger scale, represented by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)," Wan Zhe, an economist and professor at the Belt and Road School of Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times.

Official data showed that China has signed free trade agreements with 29 countries and regions by January, and has signed more than 230 BRI cooperation agreements with over 150 countries and 30-plus international organizations. On the 10th year of the BRI, the cooperation platform has become a popular international public good and added new growth drivers to the global economy at a time when the world is facing tremendous changes, Wan said.

While the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership has been fully implemented, China is working toward joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA).

The country has lifted foreign ownership limits for securities companies, management companies of securities investment funds, futures companies, and life insurance companies.

As of January, 24 foreign Global Systemically Important Banks had established institutions in the Chinese mainland and nearly half of the world's top 40 insurance companies had entered the Chinese mainland market, according to data from the National Financial Regulatory Administration (NFRA).

The brilliant achievements made by the country under the leadership of the CPC have demonstrated the advantages of the socialist system. The CPC, adhering to a people-centered approach, has united the Chinese people and led them to make remarkable achievements, especially since the 18th CPC National Congress under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, analysts said.

They expressed full confidence in China's economy despite short-term and medium-term challenges including anti-globalization trend pushed by some Western countries, aging population and weak demand. "The upcoming third plenary session of the 20th CPC Central Committee is expected to focus on comprehensive, systemic and in-depth reforms, becoming another milestone in China's reform and opening-up," Yu said, noting that China's economic growth will grow more sustainably after in-depth reforms.

Yu projected that the country's GDP growth rate will likely reach 5.3-5.4 percent in 2024, higher than the pre-set target.

Looking ahead, Chinese policymakers should continue to push ahead market reforms, enhance rule of law and come up with detailed policies against the West's "small yard and high fence" policy, Wan said.

As China's economy enters a new stage of development, more reforms are needed to accelerate the development of new quality productive forces so as to boost total factor productivity and promote high-quality development, Wan said.

Betting on China's bright economic prospects, multinationals continue to expand their footprints in China and share the dividends of China's high-quality economic development as "investing in China means investing in the future."

Recently, PepsiCo began construction of a new food greenfield plant in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, with the total investment reaching 1.3 billion yuan ($178.9 million). Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis has started construction of its second production site in China with total investment at around 600 million yuan.

Chinese Embassy strongly opposes Germany’s decision on Huawei, ZTE 5G issues

On Thursday night, a spokesperson from the Chinese Embassy in Germany expressed strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to Germany's decision to phase out Huawei, ZTE telecom gear from its 5G network, warning the move will seriously undermine the mutual trust between the two sides and will also affect the future cooperation between China and the EU in the relevant fields.

Chinese experts on Friday said Germany's decision suggests that it is under greater pressure from the US and the EU, warning that the removal of Chinese components from its 5G network will have significant cost and hinder the country's communications development.

Reuters reported on Thursday that under the preliminary agreement driven by "security considerations," the German government and telecom carriers in the country have agreed in principle on steps to take out components made by Chinese companies from the nation's 5G wireless network during the next five years.

In response, the spokesperson said that Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese communications companies have long been operating in Germany in compliance with the law, making a positive contribution to the German digitalization process.

Huawei, ZTE 5G issue essentially is a behavior of individual countries to suppress their competitors beyond the bottom line in order to safeguard their own scientific and technological hegemony, the spokesperson said, noting that the so-called cybersecurity risk is nothing more than a pretext. In fact, no country has so far produced any conclusive evidence of the existence of security risks in the equipment of Chinese enterprises, the spokesperson added.

"The German side's announcement of the relevant decision at the time of the NATO Summit in Washington has further caused China to seriously question the independence of its decision-making," the spokesperson noted.

"Germany's move can be seen as politicizing economic cooperation, as the country is now facing more pressure from the US and the EU," Sun Yanhong, a senior research fellow at the Institute of European Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Friday.

Openness is mutual, and China's 5G construction has always been open to European companies such as Nokia and Ericsson, and has never seen them as a security threat. Germany's move is naked political discrimination, which seriously undermines the mutual trust between the two sides and will also affect the future cooperation between China and the EU in the relevant fields, said the spokesperson.

Sun noted that Germany's digital infrastructure is relatively backward, while Huawei and ZTE's equipment is leading in terms of technology, integrated solutions and cost-effective products.

"The cost of the transition is expected to be significant, which will limit the development of all areas of the country's digital economy including smart driving, smart healthcare and manufacturing automation factory," the expert warned.

The German and European sides cannot, on the one hand, demand fair competition and, on the other hand, discriminate against companies from other countries on the basis of unfounded so-called potential security risks, said the spokesperson.

Whether the relevant issues can be handled fairly and impartially is a litmus test of Germany's own business environment. By then, not only the normal economic and trade cooperation between the two countries will be affected, but also the confidence of foreign investors in Germany. China will take necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate interests of Chinese enterprises, the spokesperson noted.

Not only Germany, but also a number of other European countries are faced with the challenge of balancing the use of Huawei and ZTE equipment to drive their 5G network development and digital infrastructure development with responsiveness to US and EU pressures, Sun said.

China hopes Germany will respect facts and make reasonable decisions, and urges the European country to provide a fair market environment for enterprises from all countries, including Chinese companies, Lin Jian, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told a press conference on Thursday.

China issues white paper on marine eco-environmental protection

China on Thursday issued a white paper on marine eco-environmental protection, presenting a full picture of China’s ideas, actions, and achievements in marine eco-environmental protection to the international community to facilitate understanding of China’s conservation efforts and advance international cooperation in this regard.

The white paper titled “Marine Eco-Environmental Protection in China” was issued by the State Council Information Office. It includes seven parts elaborating on China’s efforts to improve the marine eco-environment and promote harmonious coexistence between humans and oceans, coordinating marine eco-environmental protection, the systematic governance of the marine eco-environment, the country’s science-based conservation and restoration of marine ecosystem. 

The white paper also introduces how China has been strengthening supervision and administration of the marine eco-environment, advancing its green and low-carbon maritime development and carrying out all-round international cooperation on marine eco-environment protection.  

In October 2023, the State Council Information Office released a white paper on development of China’s distant-water fisheries. Analysts said that Thursday’s white paper, which is also about maritime development, offers an overall picture on how China has taken its responsibility to protect and improve the marine environment to conserve and use marine resources in a sustainable way. 

In the preface, the white paper stressed the importance of the marine eco-environment, noting that it is essential to the ecological balance of the planet, to the rational use of resources, to sustainable development of human civilization, and to the present and future development of the maritime community of shared future. Its protection is important for national eco-environmental security, sustainable maritime development, and the harmonious coexistence between humans and the ocean.

Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, in order to complete new tasks and meet new requirements for marine eco-environmental protection in this new era, China has launched a series of campaigns and has made historic transformations and progress of overarching importance, according to the white paper. 

It noted that while China continues to follow best practices in the past, it has been working hard on innovative new approaches to protecting the marine eco-environment, including respecting nature and prioritizing eco-environmental conservation, integrating conservation and management, enforcing supervision in accordance with laws, pursuing innovation-driven and tech-led development; pursuing green transformation and low-carbon development, and maintaining a global vision and promoting mutually beneficial cooperation. 

In the third part of expounding China’s systematic governance of the marine eco-environment, the white paper explains how China has continued to tighten regular supervision over industries such as marine engineering, dumping of wastes at sea, mariculture, and maritime transport, and active response to marine environmental emergencies. 

China is exercising strict control over the eco-environmental impact of marine engineering and dumping of wastes at sea. It is formulating technical standards to bring marine engineering pollutants into discharge permit administration. Also, the Chinese government enforces strict ocean dumping permits, and exercises off-site supervision through automatic vessel identification and online monitoring of ocean dumping to minimize the eco-environmental impact of waste dumping, according to the white paper. 

Moreover, China is enforcing systematic pollution prevention and control of mariculture, intensifying pollution prevention and control for ships in ports, and establishing the marine environment emergency response system. 

More concrete data and examples have been listed in the white paper to underscore China’s efforts in identifying environmental risks. For example, Liaoning, Hebei, and Shandong provinces and Tianjin Municipality in the Circum-Bohai Sea Region have conducted assessment of risks of environmental emergencies and worked out contingency response plans for more than 5,400 key enterprises involved in hazardous chemicals, heavy metals, industrial waste, and nuclear power. 

Marine issues are global issues, and protecting the marine eco-environment is a common concern for people all over the world. The white paper said China has conducted in-depth mutually beneficial cooperation with the international community through multiple channels and in various forms, contributing Chinese wisdom to global marine eco-environmental protection. 

While expanding cooperation in deep-sea and polar scientific expedition, China has been working with other countries to promote sustainable development of these regions. 

For example, China has built five Antarctic research stations, and two Arctic research stations in Norway and Iceland, which serve as important platforms for several thousand scientists to carry out polar observation, biological monitoring, and glacier research. 

Additionally, it has organized 13 scientific expeditions in the Arctic Ocean and 40 in the Antarctic, while signing memorandums of understanding or joint statements with the US, Russia, Australia, Iceland, and New Zealand and carrying out international cooperation with more than 10 countries, according to the white paper. 

In the conclusion part, the white paper noted that as China embarks on a new journey of rejuvenating the Chinese nation through Chinese modernization, the country’s maritime endeavors have entered an era of historic opportunities with protecting the marine eco-environment becoming an essential requirement and fundamental guarantee for building China into a strong maritime country and achieving harmony between humans and the sea. 

The white paper said the country will continue to build a marine eco-environment underpinned by harmony between humans and the sea. It also said that China is ready to work with other countries to build a cleaner and more beautiful world where oceans serve as a permanent home for humans to live and thrive.

Chinese economy maintains stable growth in April, with industry, exports indicators improving moderately

China's economy maintained stable growth in April, with key indexes on industry, exports, employment and price improving moderately from March, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Friday, underscoring that the world's second-largest economy has been sustaining the solid recovery momentum since the beginning of the year despite facing multiple global and domestic headwinds.

Analysts predicted that China's GDP could grow at a rate between 5.3 and 5.5 percent in the second quarter, slightly up from the 5.3-percent growth recorded in the first quarter. And the economy is set to unleash more potential in the second half, as a package of stimulus measures, including the issuance of ultra-long-term special treasury bonds and supports on property industry, take effect and as global demand continued to bounce back.

China's industrial production jumped 6.7 percent year-on-year in April, compared with a 4.5-percent growth in March, NBS data showed. In April, retail sales gained 2.3 percent year-on-year, down from the March reading of 3.1 percent.

Fixed-asset investment rose 4.2 percent year-on-year in the first four months, slowing down from the 4.5 percent growth in the first three months.
"China's economy remained stable in April. Although some indicators recorded a moderate growth rate as affected by factors such as staggered holiday arrangement and a relatively high base in the same period last year, major indicators of industry, exports, employment and prices improved, with new driving forces maintaining rapid growth," NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua said at a press briefing of the State Council Information Office on Friday.

"One of the economic highlights from the April data is the robust growth in high-end manufacturing, which beats market expectation," Cao Heping, an economist at Peking University, told the Global Times on Friday.

He said that some of economic data in April has overall improved mildly compared with March reading, which bodes well for the growth in the second quarter. Cao projected that the GDP growth in the April-June period would speed up 0.1 percentage point to 0.2 percentage point from the first quarter.

"Considering China's prodigious economic scale, any growth between 4.5 and 5.5 percent should be sound and sustainable," Cao noted. Analysts exemplified that if China's GDP growth hit over 5 percent per year, the increase in China's economic volume could roughly equate to the economic output of Switzerland, which is now the world's 20th-largest economy.

China's robust economy in the first four months has proved that the US government's reckless suppression of Chinese industries, which it attempted to justify by labeling the "overcapacity" claim on Chinese exports, is futile and doomed to lose traction in global arena, analysts said.

Analysts expected that China's economic growth will contribute around 35 percent to the global economic development this year, further consolidating its role as both a stabilizer and key locomotive of the world economy.

China on Friday issued the first batch of 1 trillion yuan ($140 billion) in ultra-long-term special treasury bonds, as the authorities seek more funding to shore up government spending and strategically important projects' investment for high-quality economic development.

"The bond issuance needs to be completed as early as possible, considering that there is still some softness in the economy," Tian Yun, a veteran economist based in Beijing, told the Global Times.

He expected more measures to be unveiled to shore up the property sector, which remains a drag on the economy in the first quarter.

Cao noted that it would take two to three months for the effects of ultra-long-term treasury bonds issuance to bear fruits, and that in turn would elevate the whole-year GDP growth by 0.1-0.3 percent.

China's trade in goods in the first four months of 2024 recorded an increase of 5.7 percent year-on-year to reach 13.81 trillion yuan, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed last Thursday.

McDonald‘s apologies to Chinese consumers for selling expired food

McDonald’s on Monday apologized after media reports said that two of its outlets in China sold food made of expired ingredients and the outlet moved to  change the labels, sparking heated discussion online. 

The company said in a statement that it is actively cooperating with local market regulator in conducting an investigation and will address any violation of operational standards.

"We apologize for the impact from the restaurants involved. We are duty-bound to further strengthen the implementation and enforcement of the restaurants' code of practice," the company said in a statement.

Two McDonald’s restaurants in Zhengzhou, Central China’s Henan Province and Jinan, East China’s Shandong Province, were discovered to selling expired food, using expired ingredients, changing the food expiration labels and other issues, reported on Monday. 

The report soon sparked a heat discussion on Chinese social media. The hashtag “McDonald’s changing labels for expired food ingredient to extend the usage” reached 65.76 million views on Weibo, sparking more than 16,000 postings as of press time.

Many Chinese netizens have expressed their disappointment saying McDonald’s have let them down. 

Local market regulators in Zhengzhou and Jinan cities have launched investigations as health and food safety officials conduct onsite probes. 

McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said during the company’s 2023 earnings call that he saw strong growth in the Chinese market and was pleased with McDonald's performance in the market. McDonald's plans to launch 1,000 new outlets in Chinese mainland this year.

China secures 76% of global shipbuilding orders in April: data

Chinese companies clinched 76 percent of all global shipbuilding orders in April, becoming the No 1 shipbuilder in the world, according to latest industry data, highlighting China's increasingly prominent role in the global shipbuilding industry. 

Industry analysts note that the US' protectionism cannot stop Chinese shipbuilders' rise. 

According to Clarkson Research, a provider of shipping and trade data released on Tuesday, global shipbuilding orders in April reached 4.71 million compensated gross tons (CGT) for 121 vessels, marking a 24-percent year-on-year increase. Chinese firms secured 3.58 million CGT (76 percent, 91 vessels), ranking the first; while the runner-up South Korea obtained 670,000 CGT (14 percent, 13 vessels).

Additionally, as of the end of April, unfinished orders decreased by 100,000 CGT compared to the previous month, amounting to 129.91 million CGT. China and South Korea accounted for 64.86 million CGT (50 percent) and 39.10 million CGT (30 percent) of those orders, respectively.

"China's leading position in shipbuilding has been set up since the 14th Five-Year Plan starts. While previously excelling in mid-to-low-tier market segment, China is now vigorously advancing into high-end shipbuilding domain such as making LNG vessels. Efforts by Chinese shipbuilders have garnered considerable acclaim in the world," Tian Yun, a veteran economist told the Global Times on Wednesday.

In addition to the gains in manufacturing capacity, China has also made significant breakthroughs in ship maintenance, garnering growing demand both domestically and abroad. Overall, the market now appears to be a showdown between China and South Korea, according to Tian.

Shipbuilding, known as the one of crown jewels of manufacturing, which spans over 50 sectors and boasts an extensive supply chain. 

Since 2019, China's ship completions have risen steadily. In January-September 2023, China accounted for 46 percent of global completed tonnage, 63.5 percent of the new orders, ranking first worldwide.

Market watchers said that China will continue to enjoy the dominant position in the global shipbuilding market within a decade, due to its strong supply chain capabilities and increasingly eco-friendly tech advancements.

As China makes steady gains in shipbuilding, the US is worrying about losing another key industrial sector. Seeking to stymie Chinese shipbuilders, the US government launched a so-called Section 301 investigation on April 17, citing alleged "unfair economic practices" by China in maritime, logistics, and shipbuilding domains.

China's Ministry of Commerce rebuffed the US accusation, calling it baseless and a distortion of normal trade and investment activities. China isn't responsible for the US shipbuilding industry's lagging behind, resulting from the US' excessive protectionism. China's industrial growth is fueled by technological innovation and free market competition, not the non-market practices as alleged by the US, the ministry said.

Xi says China's high-quality development, opening-up to offer more opportunities for Hungary

China is now advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through Chinese modernization, and China's high-quality development and opening-up will provide more opportunities for Hungary, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Friday.

Xi made the remarks at a farewell event held here by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his wife.