It’s not rare to hear the phrase “xiaokang society” or “moderately prosperous society” in the speeches of Chinese officials and read it in media reports. It is a major buzzword in China nowadays, as China has set 2020 as the target year to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
The concept of “xiaokang society” first appeared in Classic of Poetry, the earliest collection of poems in China. It was used to refer to a well-off society in which people led a fairly comfortable life.
When China started the reform and opening-up policy in the 1970s, late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping was the first to propose the concept of a moderately prosperous society.
The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012 proposed the idea of completing “the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects” in 2020, with doubling China’s 2010 levels of GDP and per capita income for both urban and rural residents as one of the main criteria.
Chinese President and General Secretary of CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping has mentioned the concept of “two centenary goals” many times in speeches and articles since the 18th CPC National Congress. In his address to the opening session of the 19th CPC National Congress in October, 2017, he stressed again the importance of sticking to and achieving both goals.
The first goal is to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2021, the year that marks the 100th anniversary of the CPC’s founding. The second is to fully build a “modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful” by 2049, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Raising standards of living
To achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, the baseline task is to lift all people out of poverty. China has reduced the number of poor people in rural areas from about 99 million in 2012 to 16.6 million by the end of 2018, reported China Daily. The central government has already pledged to lift at least another 10 million people out of poverty this year.
These figures lead The Economist to describe China as the “hero of the world’s poverty-reduction efforts.”
Apart from lifting all people out of poverty, people would receive guarantees about their livelihoods. More students would get a university education. Healthcare and living conditions would also be improved to benefit more people. At the same time, more measures would be taken to deal with environmental problems.
Just as Xi said in October 2017, “This is a society to be enjoyed by each and every one of us; on the march toward common prosperity, no one must be left behind.”
(Translator & Editor: Wang Xingwei AND Luo Sitian)