China’s “Two Sessions,” the annual political meetings of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), ended in Beijing on March 16.
The two weeks of meetings focused on economic development and how to stabilize the country’s growth.
Prior to the meetings, China’s economy has been experiencing some turbulence. The latest official Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) and the Caixin PMI have both fallen.
The stock market also endured three crashes in the last six months.
The two meetings addressed these issues and set the year’s growth target in the range of 6.5-7 percent, following 6.9 percent economic growth in 2015, according to a government report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang.
This marked the first time in two decades that China adopted a range for its growth target rather than a specific number.
David Dollar, senior fellow with the Brookings Institution and a former official at the World Bank and the US Treasury Department, told Xinhua that the decision was “a bit of strategic choice.”
“I think the government wants to signal that they believe the growth is stabilizing,” Dollar said. “They’re emphasizing the growth is maybe slowing down a little bit, but it’s pretty stable.”
Another outcome of the two sessions was that Chinese lawmakers approved the 13th Five-Year Plan, a blueprint for Chinese economic and social development from 2016 to 2020.
Xinhua said the plan received 2,778 “yes” votes, or 97.3 percent of the total.
The plan envisions a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rise to 92.7 trillion yuan in 2020, from the existing 67.7 trillion yuan.
The five-year plan is also keen on significantly reducing the poverty level by 2020. Riding on it, the parliament also passed a Charities Law.
Xinhua reported the charity law received 2,636 votes in favor, or 92.5 percent of the total.
The law will be implemented in September and will ease restrictions on charities’ fundraising efforts and operations. It also promises tax benefits while tightening scrutiny on internal management, Reuters reported.