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“Deepen Reform and Opening-up and Innovate governance for Effective Performance”—Making Policy Recommendations at the 2020 Forum on National Affairs

Date: 2020-09-29
       


On 24 and 25 September, the 2020 Forum on National Affairs took place in Beijing, organized by the Counsellors Office of the State Council (COSC), the National Health Commission (NHC), China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), and China Society for Economic Reform (CSER), with Xinhuanet.com as the co-organizer. This year, the theme is Deepen Reform and Opening-up and Innovate Governance for Effective Performance”. Mr. Wang Yongqing, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, addressed the event as the keynote speaker. Other speakers were COSC Chairman Wang Zhongwei, NHC Vice Minister Yu Xuejun, CCPIT Chairperson Gao Yan, CSER President Peng Sen, Counsellor Justin Yifu Lin, representatives of international organizations and counsellors of the State Council. COSC Vice Chairman Zhao Bing was the chair of the opening ceremony and Vice Chairman Zhang Yantong attended the ceremony.  

Wang Yonging, in reviewing the twin miracles of fast economic growth and sustained peace in China, pointed out that the Communist Party of China provided the people with the most needed leadership in times of challenges and the Chinese state and governance systems enjoyed considerable strengths, as was proved again by China’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. He urged the nation to follow through on the instructions of the CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping and the policy decisions of the CPC Central Committee, making real efforts to consolidate gains and pursue innovation for the purpose of deepening reform and opening-up and improving social governance. He noted the special importance of beefing up governance at the grass-roots level and making good use of modern technologies, calling for a three-thronged strategy of self-governance, rule of law, and rule of ethics and encouraging society-wide efforts in building and running governance mechanisms in order to deliver universal benefits. Risk management, he said, required more attention. Institutions should be put in place for the prevention and early detection and removal of risks. He was confident more progress would be achieved in China in improving social governance system and capacity.

 
CPPCC Vice Chairman Wang Yongqing

Wang Zhongwei, in his remarks, emphasized a dialectical perspective in understanding new opportunities and challenges in China’s new stage of development. He expressed the readiness of the COSC to work with all stakeholders to pool ideas and solutions for the purpose of deepening reform and opening-up and improving governance and efficiency. In particular, counsellors will provide quality advice on the development of the new pattern of dual circulation, the policy that takes the domestic market as the mainstay while letting internal and external markets boost each other.


 
COSC Chairman Wang Zhongwei

Yu Xuejun updated the meeting on China’s latest successes in keeping the pandemic under control and warned at the same time that it was not time for complacency, fatigue, or pushing one’s luck as the risks remained potent. Guard cannot be let down yet. He remarked that the pandemic had made it clear good health care was critical for sustained peace and development.
 
 
 
NHC Vice Minister YU Xuejun

Gao Yan briefed the delegates on the good momentum of the Chinese economy since the second quarter as China reopened its economy first among the world’s major nations, maintaining a good balance between pandemic-control and economic activities. She noted it was important to make development more efficient, just, sustainable and safe in the new era.
 

 
CCPIT Chairperson Gao Yan

Peng Sen stressed the pivotal role of China’s strong system and modernized capabilities for governance in countering the shocks of risks and challenges. The system must be continuously strengthened through determined reform as the environment for China’s development becomes more complex. Reform holds the key to breaking barriers and opening up new pathways. Only through reform will challenges be met, new opportunities created, and the new development pattern take shape.
 
 
CSER President Peng Sen

Participants at the forum agreed on China’s remarkable success in controlling the pandemic and growing the economy. H.E. Nicolas Chapuis, the EU’s Ambassador to China, was confident new reform measures in China would bring mid-to-long term benefits to Europe as well as China itself. The IMF’s First Deputy Managing Director Geoffrey Okamoto commended China’s determination and focus in fighting the pandemic which he believed was critical for the resilient recovery of the economy. Dr. Ren Minghui, Assistant Director General of the WHO praised China’s outstanding contribution to helping the world understand the pandemic by promptly releasing scientific data and providing direct technical assistance for many other nations. UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Ms. Isabelle Durant encouraged China to share its experience in managing production capacity fluctuations in times of crisis as this would help other developing countries boost their production capacity and increase economic resilience. Professor Claus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, envisioned a quick return to the normal track and fast growth by the dynamic China economy. David Aikman, the World Economic Forum’s China representative noted the importance of international cooperation and global solidarity under the current circumstances and looked forward to continued cooperation with China.

 
EU Ambassador to China H.E. Nicolas Chapuis


 
WHO Assistant DG Dr. Ren Minghui

 
IMF First Deputy Managing Director Geoffrey Okamoto

 
UNCTAD Deputy SG Ms. Isabelle Durant

 
WEF Chief Representative Officer for Greater China David Aikman

Couselllor Justin Yifu Lin believed the new pattern of dual circulation would realize quality development in China and drive the development of other countries.
 
Counsellor Justin Yifu Lin

 
COSC Vice Chairman Zhao Bing as the chair of the Opening Ceremony

In an effort to collect a wide spectrum of ideas, the forum set up four sub-forums on health care system development, deepening reform, opening-up for win-win outcomes, and innovation in governance theories and practices. Counsellors of the State Council and representatives from the political, business, and academic circles and international organizations interacted with one another on a number of topics, including building disease prevention, control and treatment systems, strengthening emergency relief supplies, entrenching the rule of law in public health care management, international cooperation in health care governance, market vitality, domestic demand, innovation in development, global industrial supply chain stability, China’s governance in the context of changes in global governance, the relationship between China’s governance structure and policies, and improving China’s governance capacities across the board. Insightful remarks were made on how to manage the balance between pandemic control and economic activities, build a coherent and open market system that foster healthy competition, and modernize China’s governance system and capabilities.
 
 
Counsellor of the State Council Deng Xiaohong (first from left) moderating the discussion on reforming and improving disease prevention, control and treatment systems.

 
Counsellor of the State Council Xu Xianping (first from left) moderating discussion on strengthening emergency relief supplies

 
Counsellor of the State Council Zhen Zhen (first from left) moderating discussion on rule of law in public health care management

 
Counsellor of the State Council Li Yuguang (first from left) moderating discussion on international cooperation in health care governance

 

Counsellor of the State Council Wang Zhaoxing (first from left) moderating discussion on stimulating market vitality

 
Counsellor of the State Council Xie Boyang (first from left) moderating discussion on expanding China’s domestic demand

 
Counsellor of the State Council Shi Yinhong (first from left) moderating discussion on opening-up for the purpose of reform, development and innovation

 
Counsellor of the State Council Zhu Guangyao (first from left) moderating discussion on global supply chains

 
COSC Research Fellow Liu Yong (first from left) moderating discussion on China’s governance in the context of changing global governance

 
Li Shouxin, former CPC Secretary of Shandong University (first from left), moderating discussion on China’s governance structure and policies

 
COSC research fellow Han Yongwen (first from left) moderating discussion on improving China’s governance capabilities across the board

The event took place physically in Beijing, with the counsellors’ offices in various provinces, regions and municipalities joining online. A call for papers was held in the lead-up to the forum which saw 165 counsellors submitting 132 research papers on topics relevant to the forum.