BEIJING, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Communist Party of China (CPC) has decided on the country's course for the next five years, targeting medium-high economic growth, highlighting innovation and abandoning the decades-long one-child policy, after a key meeting on Thursday.
The four-day Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee adopted proposals for economic and social development in the 13th Five-year Plan (2016 to 2020).
The new program is vital for the final countdown to reaching China's first Centenary Goal, which, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the CPC's founding in 1921, is to double 2010 GDP and the 2010 per capita income of both urban and rural residents by 2020, completing the building of a moderately prosperous society.
The 13th Five-year Plan, the first under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, came as the world's second largest economy is adjusting to plateauing growth.
The economy expanded 6.9 percent year on year in the third quarter of 2015, the lowest reading since the second quarter of 2009, but the economic structure is improving and fresh economic drivers, including the service sector, are rising.
China's development is still "in a period of strategic opportunities," but it is also facing serious challenges from various conflicts and risks, according to a communique released after the meeting.
The country will underpin development as a top priority, promote quality and efficient development and accelerate the formation of a development pattern that can lead the economy in the "new normal" period, the document said.
China should "highlight innovation, coordination, the environment, opening up and sharing" to fulfill its economic goals.
"The five key points highlight the experience of China's development and all of them aim to achieve the comprehensive development of the human being," said Hu Angang, an economics professor at Tsinghua University.
China will target "medium-high economic growth" in the five years and aim to achieve its economic goal by ensuring more balanced, inclusive and sustainable development.
The country will promote greater sophistication in its industrial sector and significantly raise the contribution of consumption to economic growth, according to the communique.
Experts estimated China must retain an annual growth rate of at least 6.5 percent in the next five years to reach its goal of doubling 2010 GDP by 2020.
The urbanization ratio calculated based on the number of registered residents will also rise at a faster pace, it said.
The CPC Central Committee also discussed modernizing agriculture and raising the people's quality of life. It is now targeting bringing all rural people out of the poverty by 2020.
China will face pressure of keeping stable growth during the 13th five year. The only solution lies in promoting reforms, said Chi Fulin, director of the China (Hainan) Institute for Reform and Development.
Innovation will be put at core position for China's development in the following five years.
Sectors including political theories, science, technology and culture need to be made more innovative, said the communique.
The government plans to encourage a system that nurtures innovation and sees better allocation of resources including labor, capital, land, technology and management.
China will continue to encourage mass entrepreneurship in the hope that it will lead to new technology, the communique said.
The Internet will be better integrated with traditional industry to drive economic growth in the next five years.
The country will also boost the development of the sharing economy and the big data sector, according to the communique.
There will be more official moves to upgrade the economy into a global manufacturing power, cultivate strategic industries and modernize the agricultural and service sectors.
The government will intervene less in price formation, deregulating pricing products and services in competitive sectors, said the communique.
The Party reiterated that China continues to open itself up to the world and participate more in global governance and trade "so as to establish a far-ranging community of shared interests."
The country will attract more foreign investors by being clearer on the rules that apply to them.
The Party has decided on nationwide adoption of the "negative list" model that clearly states sectors and businesses that are off limits to foreign investment. This will help ensure the protection of foreign investors' rights and better allocate their funding.
Meanwhile, China keeps promoting the Belt and Road Initiative by enhancing cooperation with countries and regions along the route, and participate in global industrial and equipment manufacturing cooperation, according to the CPC.
Hong Kong and Macao will see their role enhanced in promoting the nation's economic development and opening up. Economic cooperation across the Taiwan Strait will also be promoted so as to benefit more common people, youths as well as small and medium enterprises.
END OF ONE-CHILD POLICY
China will allow all couples to have two children, abandoning its decades-long one-child policy. The change of policy is intended to balance population development and address the challenge of an ageing population, according to the communique.
The country's family planning policy was first introduced in the late 1970s to rein in the surging population by limiting most urban couples to one child and most rural couples to two children, if the first child born was a girl. The policy was later relaxed to say that any parents could have a second child if they were both only children.
The one-child policy was further loosened in November 2013 after the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, with its current form stipulating that couples are allowed to have two children if one of them is an only child.
Easing restrictions of family planning is part of China's efforts to achieve "development for the people, by the people and shared by the entire population."
More effective institutional arrangements shall be made to provide all Chinese "an elevated sense of being well off," according to the communique.
China will extend old-age insurance to its full population and implement the critical illness insurance system in full scale.
The nation will also strive to improve the quality of education, pledging to remove high school education tuition for the poor students and provide subsidies for them.
The wide-range five-year plan also includes measures to improve the country's soft power and a more exacting environmental protection system.
The meeting also endorsed prior decisions to revoke the membership of 10 former officials, including Ling Jihua.
A former vice chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee and head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, Ling was found to have seriously violated political codes of conduct and CPC rules, taking advantage of his posts to seek profits for others and accepting huge bribes.
All the former senior officials were felled after graft-busters announced investigations into them amid China's sweeping anti-corruption campaign.
The communique noted that continued efforts must be made to fight corruption and strictly govern the Party so that officials "don't want to be corrupt, don't dare to be corrupt, and couldn't be corrupt even if they did."
The Party leadership also recently released new disciplinary regulations that help the anti-graft drive by listing playing golf and gluttony as violations for the first time.