At the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in October, 2015, the Party called for "development that is innovative, coordinated, green, open, and inclusive". Development as a process is evolving, and so are the environment, conditions and concept for development. These concepts for development did not emerge from thin air. They are based on thorough reviews of development experiences at home and abroad, and also an assessment of the major trends in development. They were developed in response to prominent conflicts and issues in China's development and embody the CPC's deeper understanding of the laws of development.
The five new concepts represent a profound transformation in the way China pursues its development as they present a path that China must take to achieve a development that is effective, efficient, fair and sustainable. Innovative development focuses on developing new drivers for China's development; coordinated development addresses imbalances in development; green development highlights the importance of harmony between man and nature; open development means pursuing development in the context of a closer relationship with the rest of the world; and inclusive development is aimed at promoting social equity and justice.
The five concepts for development, in a very succinct manner, present the theories, course of action, and priorities for China's development in the 13th Five-year Plan period (2016-20), and for many years to come. They will serve as guide to China as it pursues development in all respects with its fundamental and long-term goals. The five concepts form an integral whole with mutually complementing components, and the development process would suffer serious harm if any of them is not properly managed.
As the first concept, innovative development focuses on what drives China's development. Being the most critical growth driver, innovation is regarded as a means to propel the country's transition from an input-driven economy to one driven by innovation, and from one relying on size and scale to one based on improved quality and increased efficiency, quickly forming the economy and development mode with innovation as the guiding and supporting force. To achieve the goals for innovative development, innovation should be placed at the center of the nation's development strategy, with consistent efforts to push for innovation in all areas, including theories, institutions, science and technology, and culture. Innovation will become an integral part of everything the CPC and the government do, and an idea that is embraced and implemented in all walks of life.
During the 13th Five-year Plan period, innovation will be used as an important approach to boost growth and reinforcing creativity. In order to achieve innovative development, China plans to put in more effort in a number of areas: developing new drivers for growth, expanding space for further development, enhancing the implementation of innovation-driven development strategies, accelerating the process of agricultural modernization, transitioning to a new industrial structure and a new institutional base that facilitate development, and improving ways for macro-economic adjustment.
The second is coordinated development. In tandem with China's high-speed growth, problems of imbalance and unsustainability have begun to emerge, becoming the weakest links in China's strive for further development. As General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, "Coordinated development is a must if we want to see successful nationwide development during the 13th Five-year Plan period." The plan therefore envisions strengthened policy coordination aimed at:
• promoting coordinated urban and rural development so as to overcome the usual urban-rural dichotomy;
• facilitating coordinated economic and social development, so as to bridge the gap currently existing between the two processes; and
• synchronizing a new model of industrialization with expanded access to information technology, urbanization and agricultural modernization.
It is essential to integrate development in different areas in a seamless manner that helps upgrade China's soft and hard power.
As one of the five development concepts, green development highlights the importance of harmony between man and nature. Based on this concept, the Chinese people "will protect the environment in the same way as they protect their eyes and lives." Therefore under the 13th Five-year Plan there will be increased attention to an eco-friendly approach to development in order to preserve harmony between man and nature.
The process of building regional zoning will be accelerated. Efforts will be stepped up to promote low-carbon and circular development, conservation and efficient utilization of natural resources, and environmental protection, to safeguard China's ecological security. It is imperative to build an economic structure conducive to a green, low-carbon and circular economy, and incorporate an eco-conservation perspective into every facet of economic, political, cultural and social development.
Our goal is that the land we inherit will be blessed with blue skies, green mountains, and clear waters.
The fourth component, open development, focuses on achieving development in the context of a closer relationship with the rest of the world. On this issue, General Secretary Xi Jinping said: "We will never waver in our commitment to opening up to the outside world, which is a fundamental national policy of ours. We will never close our doors, and we must keep an open mind. In China, development happens with our doors open."
China will take actions in the following six areas as highlighted in the 13th Five-year Plan:
• improving the strategic planning of the process of opening up;
• creating a new mechanism for opening up;
• promoting the Belt and Road Initiative;
• increasing cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan;
• playing a more active role in global economic governance; and
• taking on greater international responsibilities and obligations.
Through closer interactions with the rest of the world, China wishes to effectively promote global progress through cooperation that is beneficial to all.
Inclusive development, the fifth of China's five development concepts, is aimed at promoting social equity and justice.
Ensuring universal enjoyment of the fruits of reform and development is what a socialist system is all about and something that aptly demonstrates the strengths of the socialist system.
It also embodies the ultimate goal that the CPC has set for itself – to serve the people wholeheartedly.
Development for the benefit of all is about empowering the people, for them to reach their full potential in an enabling environment conducive to safeguarding social equity and justice, so that the Chinese people will be able to "share the opportunity to contribute, to make their dreams come true and to grow and develop with the nation and the time."
The 13th Five-year Plan lists the following measures to this end:
• expanding access to public services;
• effectively implementing poverty-alleviation projects;
• improving the quality of education;
• creating more jobs and encouraging new businesses;
• narrowing the income gap;
• building a more equitable and sustainable social security system;
• improving healthcare services; and
• promoting balanced population growth.