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Complied by Caitlin Coyle, intern in the EO's English department, with notes on Chinese translations provided by English translators and editors.


12th Five Year Plan

China’s Five Year Plan’s are economic development and social initiatives sent forth by the Communist Party of China (CPC). The initiatives are reviewed by the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislative body. Each set of initiatives is given a time period of five years. The initiatives are often divided between economic goals, social goals, and in the most recent years an increase in environmental initiatives.

The 12th Five Year Plan covers the period of time between 2011 and 2015. Its main provisions include an annual increase in GDP by 7%, an increase in urbanization, a population kept below 1.39 billion, increased monetary support for innovation, increases in public housing, and the continuation and expansion of environmental goals set forth in the 11th Five Year Plan. The 11th and 12th Five Year Plans show an emphasis on environmentalism and green measures. The 12th Five Year Plan has several initiatives focusing on the development of Chinese infrastructure, including provisions for the creation of a new airport and other means of transportation.

The 12th Five Year Plan was developed by the 17th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and reviewed by the NPC in March 2011 at the annual session.

See Also: Communist Party of China, Two Sessions

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The Chinese character "被", bei, means being… Being employed refers to the situation in which young people who have failed to find become claimed as employees of unknown companies; being increased is a term used by netizens to refer to when the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) claimed the average salary of Chinese people had increased by 12.9 percent in the first half of 2009 compared to 2008. Many internet users expressed their doubt about the salary increase, claiming that their salaries had "been increased" by the NBS.

The phenomenon of placing the character for "being" in front of another word is, at the essence, an indicator that Chinese people, be they college students or ordinary employees, have little say. To show their students are "well-educated", colleges will state their graduates have all "been employed" though in fact most of their graduates cannot find jobs. And because only people working for the government, governmental agencies, public institutions and state-owned enterprises are covered by the NBS's survey, it's natural for the salaries of people employed by private companies to "be increased" when they are lumped into the same category with state employees.

"Being" has recently been used to cover a bizarre phenomenon. While the hukou records of people registered were being sorted, some local police stations ticked the box "married" for people whose marriage status had not been reported nor recorded. Those people, in fact, were subject to "being married".

Another example is Jin Yong, China's most popular writer, who was repeatedly claimed by some media outlets to "be dead", indicating the low moral standards of certain Chinese media outlets.

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Communist Party of China

The Communist Party of China (CPC), also referred to as the China Communist Party (CCP), came into power in 1949. In practice the CPC is the only party of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), its legal power guaranteed by the PRC’s constitution. In its early years, under Mao Zedong, the party held the ideological belief of communism with a rural base to mold to China’s economic situation at the time. The party has reformed over the years since the “Cultural Revolution,” integrating more liberal economic reform.

The CPC is one of the three ruling branches of China, the others being the State Council and the People’s Liberation Army. The highest political body within the CPC is the National People’s Congress. The other primary organs include the Central Committee made up of the General Secretary, the Politburo, the Politburo Standing Committee, the Secretariat, and the Central Military Commission.

The CPC is currently under its fourth generation of leadership under General Secretary Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council. The current policy is called “Harmonious Society”. The policy was introduced in 2005 and moves more towards the marriage of socialism and democracy, rather than a socialist policy.

See Also: State Council, Politburo

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Number of CPC Party Members Increases to 77.9 Million

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Have a Shortage of

荒 (huāng)

荒, huang, means being short of or lacking something. For example 血荒, xue huang, is a phrase that refers to hospitals suffering from a blood shortage while 用工荒, yong gong huang, refers to private companies who suffer from a labor shortage. The 柴油荒, chaiyou huang, was the phrase used to refer to the diesel fuel shortage which spread across Chinese provinces in December 2010.

There are various reasons for the different shortages. For example, the blood shortage is widely attributed to the low number of blood donors. According to media reports, while college students and migrant workers are active blood donors, teachers, public servants and employees of other sectors are not. Another reason for China's blood shortage is people’s concerns that blood donation may lead to illness.

Despite having the world’s largest population, China’s southeastern region is now suffering from a shortage of migrant workers because many workers chose to remain in their hometowns during the financial crisis as lots of private companies were forced to claim bankruptcy. Additionally, despite increasing living costs, the salaries of migrant workers remain the same, making them reluctant to work for private companies.

The diesel fuel shortage has been explained in many different ways. While media reports have blamed local governments for trying to reach their carbon emission and energy saving targets by cutting off the power supply for local companies and forcing them to use diesel fuel to generate power, the core reason for the shortage lies on the industrial monopoly of Sinopec and PetroChina who “create” a shortage of diesel fuel and then raise the prices of their fuel products. Of course, the two oil giants deny such accusations. See also blood shortage/ diesel fuel shortage/labor shortage

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Income Distribution System Reform


"收入", shouru, income; "分配", fenpei, distribution; "改革", gaige, reform. The reform of the income distribution system has been a headache for Chinese society for a long time. It is rooted in the huge income gap among the different classes of Chinese people. For example, while public servants and people working for public agencies have relatively high salaries and a promising future, migrant workers and farmers have very limited channels to lift their income. Additionally, the latter is excluded by China's social security system which definitely worsens their situation

At the beginning of China's reform and opening which began over three decades ago, the central government adopted the national strategy of focusing on developing the manufacturing sector. Since then, farmers have had to work hard to ensure a material supply for the country’s industrial development. Farmers have contributed much to the development of the Chinese economy, but have gained little. Aside from the income gap between rural residents and their urban counterparts, people in cities also have great gaps in income levels

The income gap between people living in different regions is also tremendous. While eastern provinces have realized economic prosperity by developing private companies and opening to the outside world, people living in central and western provinces are still striving to support their families. That's why the Chinese government started the "go-west project" ten years ago. But the regional income gap still exists.

Currently, the reform of the income distribution system is focused on reforming China’s taxation system. According to an EO report, though Chinese officials have formed a consensus on reducing the tax burden for people with medium-level and low income, they remain uncertain on how to tax wealthy Chinese.

Furthermore, the Chinese government has been long criticized by occupying too much wealth. Though a tax cut is perceived to be an effective way to reduce government revenue, it will play a limited role in directly lifting people's income.

See also: Income Gap

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Within Marxist-Lenin political states, a politburo (political bureau) is the executive committee for a communist party and the main policy-making body. The original concept was popularized in Soviet Russia, but the Chinese Politburo differs from that of the Soviets. The Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Politburo oversees the party. It is the highest decision-making body in the People’s Republic of China. Its members are elected nominally and seem to make decisions based on consensus, rather than majority decision.

There are 24 members currently on the CPC’s Politburo, whom meet monthly. The Politburo Standing Committee, consisting of the top leadership of the CPC, has approximately 9 people who meet weekly.  The power of the Politburo is centralized within the 9 members of the Politburo Standing Committee. The General Secretary of the CPC is always a member of the Politburo Standing Committee.

The Politburo is closely tied with other top national and provincial government positions. Many members within the Politburo also hold different positions within the CPC or positions on the State Council. The actual inner workings and decision-making process amongst the Politburo is not well known or understood.

See Also: Communist Party of China, State Council

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Politburo Meeting Commits China to Prudent Monetary Policy

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State Council

The State Council of the People’s Republic of China is one of the three ruling branches of China, the others being the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the People’s Liberation Army. The State Council is the administrative authority in China, overseen by the Premier.  The State Council directly oversees the governments within the provinces. The Premier and the CPC’s General Secretary create a fusion of power between the two branches.             The current Premier of the State Council is Wen Jiabao, who was appointed in 2003.

The State Council is comprised of the premier, vice-premiers, state councilors, ministers in charge of ministries and commissions, the auditor-general, and the secretary-general. The State Council is responsible for carrying out the principles and policies of the CPC, as well as the laws and regulations adopted by the National People’s Congress. The State Council has a variety of powers including administrative legislation, economic management, state budget formulation, diplomatic administration, and other powers granted by the National People’s Congress. 

The CPC and the State Council, while two separate entities, are closely related. Many members of the State Council are also high-ranking party members.

See Also: Communist Party of China

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Two sessions

The “two sessions,” 两会 lianghui in Mandarin, literally "two meetings," occur annually in March in Beijing. The National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee (CPPCC), China’s top advisory body, meet to discuss economic, social, and political problems from the year passed, as well as establish goals and initiatives for the upcoming year. 

The meeting of the CPPCC is often referred to as an “annual plenary session.” The CPPCC is made up of the Communist Party of China as well as other recognized political parties. Representatives from other provincial groups are involved as well. The session is used as a platform to voice economic, social, and political concerns amongst a diverse group of representatives.

The NPC session is often used to develop and review the Five Year Plan, when the timing is correct. Other years it serves as a mode to assess the progress of the plan in meeting its goals.

See Also: 12th Five Year Plan

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