Xi says at Central Economic Work Conference he "consistently supports private enterprises."
And the first known words directly attributed to Xi on China's new phase of COVID prevention and control: "find a balance" and "believe that the dawn is ahead."
China concluded its annual Central Economic Work Conference (CEWC) on Friday. The readout has been published by Xinhua. Pekingnology, part of CCG’s newsletter offerings, on early Saturday morning presented a full translation of the readout and some relevant context.
On Sunday, Dec. 18, the People’s Daily published an article directly from the CEWC that offers additional factual information, with direct quotes of President Xi Jinping at the CEWC. Some useful - and otherwise unavailable - information can be extracted from the article, titled
"The key is to boost confidence" (Micro shot - General Secretary Xi Jinping at the Central Economic Work Conference)
On 2022, the article said
Combing "what we did" this year, the quality of development has steadily improved, employment was stable, prices were stable, food supply was stable, and the general situation of the economy and society maintained stability. The achievements were not easy to get and, therefore, worth cherishing. General Secretary Xi Jinping said, "We encountered many difficulties. Some of them were unprecedented. But we did it."
On the confidence in the Chinese economy, the article said
Looking back at history, General Secretary Xi Jinping said: "When were there no difficulties? We overcame them one by one and year after year, and we got better year after year. The Chinese nation, for more than 5,000 years, has always been like this [overcoming difficulties]. To surmount obstacles, the key is to boost confidence."
Confidence from where?
The strategic judgment that "the economy next year is expected to generally rebound" is in view of the system, demand, supply, and human resources of our country’s economic development, coupled with policy effects that continue to appear. "We should be firm in our confidence to do a good job in the economy."
On the priorities in the “economic work” for 2023
At the meeting, General Secretary Xi Jinping focused on a few major issues for next year's economic work, which are also policy orientations of interest at home and abroad - focusing on expanding domestic demand, accelerating the construction of a modern industrial system, effectively implementing the "two unwavering," making greater efforts to attract and utilization of foreign capital, and effectively prevent and resolve major economic and financial risks.
The measures are pragmatic and the policies are clear and strong. For example, there are currently some restrictive measures in housing, automobiles, and service consumption, which hinder the release of consumer demand. The general secretary's speech hits the nail on the head: "We should enhance consumption capacity, improve consumption conditions, and innovate consumption scenarios so that the consumption potential can be fully released."
Comment: if the framing of the quotes is correct - and there is no evidence to the contrary since this is perhaps the only direct account available of the CEWC, except the official readout - then it can be expected that the existing restrictions on buying apartments and automobiles will be lifted.
（Xi at the Central Economic Work Conference in Beijing from Dec. 15 to 16. Xinhua/Ju Peng)
On the private economy:
In another example, on whether to adhere to the "Two Unswervings," for a period of time, there are some incorrect discussions (in society).
"We must show our attitude clearly and be unambiguous: always adhere to the direction of the socialist market economy reform, adhere to the 'Two Unswervings".'" General Secretary Xi Jinping's tone is firm: "The 20th Party Congress report distinctly put forward 'to promote the development and growth of the private economy'’, which is a long-term policy, not a stopgap measure."
"Private enterprises have developed under the leadership of the Party, relying on the Party's policies, and relying on their own efforts. I consistently support private enterprises, and I worked in places where the private economy is more developed."……After going to work at the central level, when chairing a symposium on private enterprises in 2018, the General Secretary specifically stressed that "private enterprises and private entrepreneurs are our own people."
At the CEWC, the policy signals released by the Party Central Committee were very clear: "The requirement for equal treatment of state-owned and private enterprises should be put into practice in terms of systems and laws, and the development and growth of the private economy and private enterprises should be encouraged and supported in terms of policies and public opinion." "Protect the property rights of private enterprises and the rights and interests of entrepreneurs in accordance with the law." "Leading officials at all levels must solve problems and do practical things for private enterprises and build a close but uncorrupted government-business relationship."
Context: The "Two Unswervings" 两个“毫不动摇” refers to unswervingly consolidating and developing the public sector and unswervingly encouraging, supporting and guiding development of the non-public sector. This is the term the Communist Party of China uses to say it supports the private economy.
And on COVID-19
As the epidemic prevention and control enters a new phase, how to better coordinate epidemic prevention & control and economic & social development, "This is the most critical thing in the past few years." The General Secretary said at the meeting, "We should unify our thoughts, conduct scientific prevention and control, boost confidence, find a balance, and optimize the epidemic prevention and control measures according to the time and situation." "Believe that the dawn is ahead."
Read the full translation of the CEWC readout and relevant context on Pekingnology