We will promote economic construction, political construction, cultural construction, social construction, and ecological civilization in all areas, promote coordinated modernization in all respects and processes, and build a beautiful China.

Xi Jinping (2013).

The overall plan for creating socialism with Chinese characteristics is the five-sphere integrated plan, and the overall strategy is the four-pronged comprehensive strategy.

Xi Jinping (2017).

We need to stay committed to the Chinese path of building strong armed forces and fully advancing the modernization of the national defense system and the military.

Xi Jinping (2017).

How do we transform China by 2050 into a great, modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful? The way to achieve this goal is to follow the six-sphere modernization strategy, the essence of which is to realize the well-rounded development of the people. This strategy comprises economic modernization, social modernization, cultural modernization; and the modernization of ecological civilization, of political construction, and of China’s national defense system and the armed forces.

As Xi Jinping made clear in his report delivered at the 19th Party Congress, we must “stay committed to the Chinese path of building strong armed forces and fully advancing the modernization of our national defense system and military.”Footnote 1 This implies incorporation of the modernization of the national defense system and military into the six-sphere integrated plan of modernization. We can achieve the goals of prosperity and strength via economic modernization, and the goal of democracy through political modernization. Furthermore, we can obtain harmony through social modernization, and become culturally advanced through cultural modernization. The goal of green development can be attained via the modernization of ecological civilization, and national security will be guaranteed through the modernization of our national defense system and the armed forces.

The six-sphere strategy is essentially centered on human modernization. The aim is to ensure the modernization of China’s economic, social, political, and security spheres, which together represent the prerequisite and guarantee for well-rounded human development.

The modernization of the six spheres is an interrelated, mutually supportive, and interactive process. The six spheres themselves form an organic whole that encompasses both productive forces and production relations, economic foundation, and superstructure. Economic modernization is the basis for well-rounded modernization, while social modernization reflects the characteristics of a socialist society. Green modernization is essential to meet the China’s current national conditions, while political modernization provides effective incentives. Finally, cultural modernization aims to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and build modern socialist ideology.

From a comparative international perspective, China’s six-sphere modernization has surpassed examples of Western modernization, which have focused mainly on economic and material aspects. It has also provided an important guide for southern countries to realize innovation and well-rounded modernization.Footnote 2

Through discussion and recommendations based on China’s six-sphere modernization moving towards 2050, we are able to indicate the direction of the struggle, clarify the objectives of our efforts, formulate an overall plan, and specify basic tasks.

5.1 Economic Construction

The report delivered at the 19th Party Congress states that, “To deliver on the two centenary goals, realize the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and steadily improve our people’s lives, we must continue to pursue development as the Party’s top priority in governance. We must unleash and develop productive forces, continue our reform to develop the socialist market economy, and promote sustained and sound economic growth.”

Socialist modernization requires not only the maintenance of steady and healthy economic development, but also the implementation of major changes to the economic structure and developmental impetus. In terms of economic structure, we shall transition from traditional economic development to modern economic development, from agriculture-led and industry-led systems to a modern industrial system with the coordination of primary, secondary, and tertiary industries, and we will complete the building of an economic entity based on services, particularly modern services. With regard to the driving force of development, we will shift our focus from natural resources and human resources, and look instead to investment- and innovation-driven models. Thus, human resources, talents, and science and technology innovation will become key factors in building social prosperity.

China is implementing a comprehensive innovation-driven strategy, and is replacing its original factor-driven strategy with a technology-driven approach. In this regard, the report delivered at the 19th Party Congress states that, “Innovation is the primary driving force behind development; it is the strategic underpinning for building a modernized economy.” Building a system in which education, talent, and science and technology depend upon and promote each other will result in an unprecedented growth in science and technology innovation achievements. This in turn will lead to a significant increase in the proportion of Chinese science and technology in worldwide innovation, while also increasing China’s global ranking in this area. Indeed, China is already breaking the monopolistic advantages of the Western-led world economy, trade patterns, and science and technology innovation, as reflected in the substantial improvement in our science and technology innovation ability, and increased human capital, investment capacity and marketability in sci-tech. It is predicted that China will soon rank number 1 in overall science and technology strength, and take its place as a world-leading science and technology innovator.

China will also make great strides in terms of the quality and efficiency of economic development. With regard to industrial structure, China will move towards a post-industrialization or service industry era. By 2050, the proportion of agricultural added value in GDP will be reduced to 4.0%, and the level of agricultural modernization will be further improved. For example, we will soon enjoy, as developed countries currently do, a modern agricultural industry with modern materials and equipment, modern agricultural science and technology, modern agricultural mechanization and informatization, business operation systems for modern agriculture, and specialized agricultural services. China’s agricultural productivity will reach, at the very least, the same level as that of moderately developed countries. The proportion of the added value of the secondary industry will be reduced to about 25%. This will include a continuous decrease in the proportion of industrial added value (to below 20%), and the level of labor productivity will be higher than that of developed countries. China will become not only a manufacturer of quality goods, but also one with a world-leading high-tech industry. The added value of tertiary industries will increase to approximately 70%, which is equivalent to the average value (70.1%) of OECD countries in 2015.Footnote 3 The knowledge economy (especially the knowledge service industry) will also become a key industry in China. Other industries such as tourism, health and elder care, the cultural industries, and education and training, will enter a period of rapid growth and will become important pillar industries. They will also become the world’s largest industries in terms of added value, employees, and service population. By 2050, China’s employment structure will enjoy the same characteristics as the employment structure of developed countries. Approximately 7% of China’s workforce will be employed in the agriculture sector, 20% in secondary industries, and 70% in tertiary industries. In the future, digital and network economies, as well as other new economies, and new industries and models will quickly become the economic base of China’s national economic and social development. These new entities will extend to all industries, as well as Chinese society, its people, and all services. The three major industrial areas will continue to create the world’s largest number of jobs and highest personal income through further connectivity, integrative development, and common development.

The proportion of human capital supporting China’s long-term economic development in GDP will increase, and the proportion of the three major capital investments in research and development, health, and education in GDP will improve from 12.27% in 2015 to 19.30% by 2050 (see Table 5.1). These trends reflect the situation whereby “software investments” will greatly support China’s long-term, stable, and sustainable development at a medium-high speed, and will become important research areas, development capital, and human resource capital for China.

Table 5.1 Proportion of capital investments in research and development, health, and education in China’s GDP (2015–2050)

Whilst maintaining the traditional advantages of the manufacturing industry, China will accelerate the creation of new modern industrial strengths. Currently, China’s vast mid-west hinterland remains a huge strategic space for industrial transfer. Future industrial development will feature comprehensive global competitiveness, and the country’s coastal areas will become open areas of high value-added industries, high-tech industries, modern service industries, and globally innovative factories. Landlocked areas will become centers for manufacturing, a new world factory.

China’s urban population will increase, and there will be a greater integration of urban and rural areas, as well as an increase in the proportion of aged populations. The latter may result in a new motivation for saving and a new supply of human capital, which in turn will improve China’s total productivity and promote sustainable economic growth. China will strengthen its rural infrastructure and social development, comprehensively improve rural production and living conditions, and form a new type of intensive, specialized, organized, and socialized agricultural management system. In order to achieve a system of integrated urban and rural development, we will focus on promoting integration in areas such as urban and rural planning, infrastructure, and public services. New patterns of equal exchange between urban and rural areas and a balanced allocation of public resources will also be implemented. China will improve labor productivity through better education, and create new funding sources to improve its pension security system. Reform of the labor market system will facilitate the expansion of labor resources and of the human capital stock in the form of China’s aging population.Footnote 4

China will further improve its economic openness in all respects. As was emphasized by the report delivered at the 19th Party Congress, “Openness brings progress, while self-seclusion leaves one behind. China will not close its door to the world; we will only become more and more open.” To adapt to the new situation of economic globalization, China must implement a more proactive strategy of opening up, and improve its diversified and balanced economic system, featuring mutual benefit, security, and efficiency. While Western countries are sluggish, southern countries will become the main driving force of global economic growth, thus creating a huge market space, investment space, and employment space for China’s development. China will cultivate a number of world-class multinational companies, and with the Belt and Road initiative it will ensure bilateral, multilateral, regional, and sub-regional opening up and cooperation. This initiative represents the accelerated implementation of China’s free trade area strategy, and it promotes developing partnerships with neighboring countries.

The endogenous driving force of China’s economic growth derives from industrialization, urbanization, IT application and digitization, internationalization and globalization, and infrastructure modernization. These are the five major engines for China to maintain its high economic growth rate. Their development has been the largest and fastest in human history, and in future they will continue to provide new driving forces for economic growth in China.

5.2 Political Construction

The people, and only the people, are the driving force behind the creation of world history.Footnote 5 As such, the people play the principal role in the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The basic premise of political construction is the unification of the people’s goals with the national goals, and of the people’s interests with the national interests. Through the continuous development of socialist democratic politics with Chinese characteristics, China can better unify the thoughts and actions of the people in different regions, and cadres of various national departments, to enable “people-centered” development. In this way, compatible concepts, goals, motives, and actions can be achieved.

Political modernization involves promotion of the political construction of China, in order to constantly improve and better implement a system of socialist democratic politics with Chinese characteristics. Through adhering to the Party’s leadership and insisting on the fundamental political system of China, a higher level of socialist political civilization will be reached. Such a political civilization will comprise two aspects. First of all, the national institutions will be further refined, more mature, and resilient. A complete set of systems will ensure the realization of democracy for the people, the CCP’s leadership of state power, the construction of a law-based country, and the continued strength and competence of the Party. Second, implementation will be more effective, transparent, and equitable. China will continuously improve its executive capacity, a process that will in turn perfect the political institutions.

The political path of the people’s democracy is the right path to achieve the transformation from a nation in decline to a nation undergoing revitalization, and then from revitalization to rejuvenation. The greatest strength of the Communist Party is the people, and the greatest risk is disengagement from the people. To ensure democracy, it is necessary to ensure close ties between the Party and the people, as close as the relationship between fish and water.

The Communist Party of China first established its modern political party, followed by the founding of the modern state, and then opened the road to industrialization, urbanization, and modernization. The emergence of industrialization and urbanization fostered the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Mao Zedong insisted, “We should believe in the people, and we should trust the Party, which are two fundamental principles. If we doubt the two principles, then nothing can be achieved.”Footnote 6 As long as we insist on the two basic principles, adhere to the people’s democracy, and persist under the leadership of the Communist Party, we can accomplish anything, and China will achieve a great rejuvenation in the twenty-first century.

The aim of the modernization of the state system is essentially to reduce the cost of national governance while improving the profits. International competition in national governance is essentially the competition between different governance systems and governance capacity. Effective national governance will also promote market regulation, establishing a unified, competitive, and efficient market system. The goals of national governance are the same as those of social governance, that is, to reduce not only China’s social governance cost, but also grassroots social management costs. Further goals include the maximization of social benefits at both the micro and macro levels.

It is essential that China achieves synergy of state, market, and society. China needs not only the efficient and invisible mechanism of the market, but also the efficient and visible supervision of the government. The efficient implementation of social governance is also important to reduce market transaction costs and those costs associated with national and social governance. We must also obtain the maximization of micro- and macroeconomic benefits, and of social benefits. China will promote and implement synergy between government and market, state and society, and Party and people. It will realize the institutionalization, standardization, and routinization of the governance of various Party, state, and societal affairs, and constantly improve the ability to govern China effectively under a socialist system with Chinese characteristics.

5.3 Cultural Construction

The 19th Party Congress reported that: “Culture is the soul of the country and nation. Our country will thrive only if our culture thrives, and our nation will be strong only if our culture is strong. Without full confidence in our culture, without a rich and prosperous culture, the Chinese nation will not be able to rejuvenate itself.”

The cultural construction of socialist modernization requires promotion of the development and prosperity of the socialist culture. This will result in the development of a great socialist culture in China. Here, the first important task is to improve public values and ethical standards. China shall further strengthen its socialist core values, and equip the Party and educate people with the same values. Thus, the core value system will guide the way, and value consensus and a spiritual core will be achieved. Cultural construction will benefit all people, ensure the completion of a public cultural service system with universal coverage, and comprehensively improve public values, ethical standards, and civic-mindedness. It will also enrich people’s spiritual and cultural lives. Cultural construction can only be realized based on the development of China’s cultural industry. Therefore, China shall vigorously enhance the scale, intensification, and professional level of its cultural industry, transform it into a pillar industry of the national economy, and continuously strengthen the international influence of the Chinese culture.

Comrade Xi Jinping values both socialist and Chinese culture. He has stated that: “Socialist culture with Chinese characteristics is derived from China’s fine traditional culture, which was born from the Chinese civilization and nurtured for more than 5000 years; it has grown out of the revolutionary and advanced socialist culture that developed over the course of the Chinese people’s revolution, construction, and reform under the Party’s leadership; and it is rooted in the great practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics.”Footnote 7The cultural construction of socialist modernization will be developed closely around the fundamental characteristics of Chinese culture. These traits comprise socialist-oriented, people-oriented, and nation-oriented characteristics, which together are continuously creating a unique Chinese culture and will eventually realize the goal of developing a great socialist culture in China.

The socialist-oriented characteristic is a core value of Chinese culture; it indicates the direction Chinese culture should take and the path it should follow as it develops. The people-oriented characteristic also plays a leading role in Chinese culture, and reflects the contemporary traits of a culture created and enjoyed by the people. Finally, the nation-oriented characteristic is the historical source of the Chinese culture, and provides inexhaustible driving forces for cultural creation and development.

Among these fundamental traits, the socialist-oriented characteristic requires the strengthening of the socialist core value system, so as to guide the Chinese ethos, ensure social consensus, and form a unified guiding ideology, common faith, strong spiritual power, and basic morals throughout the Party and Chinese society. Only by adhering to a socialist culture with Chinese characteristics can we inspire the cultural creativity of our nation, and develop a great socialist culture in China. China will intensify its study of the socialist theories, continue to adapt Marxist theory suited to China’s conditions, and keep learning up to date. Furthermore, it is important to strengthen the study, research, and application of the socialist theories with Chinese characteristics throughout the Party and society, and to enhance their popular appeal. In this way, the theories will become integral to, and play a valuable role in guiding, people’s lives. Aided by the provision of events to increase public awareness, people will be able to develop firm ideals and convictions, vigorously foster a Chinese ethos, and be ready to respond to the call of our times. It is also important to actively nurture and practice core socialist values, enrich people’s inner worlds, improve their spiritual power, and provide a continuous intellectual impetus for socialist modernization. To improve the level of public cultural service and to enrich people’s spiritual and cultural lives, China must have a strong government that leads the way, and strengthen the development of cultural infrastructure in accordance with the requirements for standardization and equitable access. China must also improve its public cultural service network, for example by building practical and efficient public cultural service systems covering urban and rural areas with reasonable structures and sound functions, so that the people can enjoy free or affordable public cultural services.

The people-oriented characteristic requires that socialist cultural construction be co-created and shared by the people. It also requires that we complete the formation of a public cultural service system with universal coverage and significantly enhance public values, ethical standards, and social values and civility. Contemporary Chinese culture is co-created, shared, and collectively owned by China’s 1.4 billion people. These important features distinguish Chinese culture from other cultures around the world, and they are the foundation for the strong creativity and vitality of Chinese culture. China will accelerate the development of its cultural industry, and it will build a modern cultural industry system. Cultural creativity affects the whole society; it helps to establish a creative economy, and inspires creativity within everyone. Furthermore, it creates a cultural industry pattern based on public ownership, accompanied by the common development of diversified ownership. China will strive to enrich and benefit the people via culture; it will promote cultural and technological innovation and develop new forms of business in the cultural sector. Also in line with the people-oriented characteristic, China will promote the construction of socialist morality, and will strengthen social morality, professional ethics, family virtues, and individual moral education. Great importance will be attached to education and personal credit projects, and China will normalize learning activities based on moral models, and comprehensively improve public ethical standards. Furthermore, there will be a focus to improve and perfect ideological and political efforts, and greater attention will be paid to humanistic healthcare and counseling, as well as the promotion of extensive volunteer activities. China will create a positive social atmosphere of mutual help, promote good mental health and optimism, and create people-centered cultural works. Various cultural activities will be organized, and reading will be promoted nationally, as will fitness and Internet use to enrich the cultural life of the people.

The nation-oriented characteristic requires that China inherits, innovates, and carries forward traditional Chinese culture. China must also enhance the overall strength and competitiveness of its culture, thus ensuring its longevity, vitality, and global influence. Chinese people shall inherit and fully understand the history, tradition, nation-oriented characteristic, and innovativeness of Chinese culture, while also respecting the cultures of other nations. They will also realize the contemporary re-innovation and redevelopment of the crystallization of their wisdom. This will occur via social development and meeting the people’s cultural needs. China shall give priority to social benefits, whilst also giving due consideration to economic benefit. Furthermore, it will accelerate the development of its cultural industry, and improve its scale, intensification, and professional level by integrating culture and industry. In this way, China’s cultural industry will become the pillar industry of the national economy, and will enjoy a high level of international competitiveness and large international market share. China shall promote the integration of culture and science and technology, develop new forms of business in the cultural sector, and enhance its cultural transmission capacity. China will also provide more cultural products for the people and further enhance the competitiveness of its cultural industry. Our nation will keep an open mind towards world culture, actively absorb and learn from the cultural achievements of foreign nations, and strive to ensure the influence of Chinese culture on the rest of the world. Proceeding with high levels of cultural awareness and self-confidence, we will promote the integration and development of the Chinese culture with world culture.

China’s cultural soft power and competitiveness are important symbols of national prosperity and rejuvenation. China shall give priority to social benefits, unify social and economic benefits, and promote the comprehensive prosperity of cultural undertakings and the rapid development of cultural industry. Thus, cultural products will become more abundant, and we shall complete the establishment of China’s modern public cultural service system. As the cultural industry becomes an economic pillar, China’s cultural soft power will be significantly increased, and Chinese culture will move faster in going global. The above steps will result in solidifying the foundation of China’s great socialist culture.

5.4 Social Construction

Socialist modernization requires that living standards are improved, and a socialist society with common development and prosperity is built. It is imperative to improve and ensure equitable access to public services (e.g., education, employment and healthcare) and to promote multi-dimensional indicators (e.g., the levels of income, education, health and public services). Similarly, China must ensure balance and confirm the superiority of the socialist system.

People-centered social construction is the basic political principle of the Party. As stated in the report delivered at the 19th Party Congress: “Everyone in the Party must keep firmly in mind that the nature of a political party and a government is determined by those whom they serve. To lead the people to a better life is our Party’s abiding goal. We must put the people’s interests above all else, see that the gains of reform and development benefit all our people in a fair way, and strive to achieve shared prosperity for everyone.”

The fundamental objective of China’s development is to improve the well-being of over a billion people. This means that everyone enjoys a rich and decent life, a higher degree of education, and living longer and healthier lives.

China will further expand lifelong learning opportunities for everyone, and create a modern education system that is more suitable for learning. The professional education system will be further improved, and preschool education opportunities will be increased. Furthermore, China will consolidate and enhance the compulsory education qualifications, and ensure that both senior secondary education and higher education are universally available. The participation rate in continued education will increase significantly, and there will be great improvements in the aspect of a learning society.

The report delivered at the 19th Party Congress assigned priority to developing education, speeding up the construction of socialist modernization education, and pushing China to join the ranks of those countries that are strong in both human resources and talent. We will implement education modernization in all respects, implement 15 years of compulsory education (3 years of preschool education and 12 years of primary and secondary education) in all areas, achieve a 70% university admission rate, complete the building of a nationwide lifelong learning system and society, and achieve 12.8 per capita schooling years by 2050. The quality of education in all areas will be improved, with particular attention to promotion of the development of 3-year preschool education, and balanced and fair development of 9-year compulsory education. Furthermore, high-quality senior secondary education will be universally available, and modern vocational education will be further developed. We will actively develop continued education, and form a lifelong multi-level education system in every area, so as to meet the increasingly diversified educational needs of the people. China will vigorously promote educational fairness, reasonably allocate educational resources, support education development in rural, remote, and poverty-stricken areas nationwide, support special education development, and encourage input from various social entities. We will guarantee the right of every child to receive education, and develop world-leading higher education. Thus, Chinese universities and disciplines will join the global ranks of first-class tertiary education.

Under the Healthy China Initiative proposed by the CPC Central Committee in the report delivered at the 19th Party Congress, China will improve both its health security system and health service capacity. As a great modern socialist country it will be characterized by a healthy population and first class health provision. China shall further promote the supply-side structural reform of health services, perfect its universal health insurance system, and provide fair, available, systematic, and continuous medical services covering the entire life cycle. Furthermore, China will promote the transformation and development of the health industry, strengthen the supply of health products and services, and fully meet the people’s health needs. Health literacy will be improved, enabling people to form independent and self-disciplined healthy lifestyles that meet their own needs, and we will effectively control major health risks. China will also create a productive living environment that contributes to good health. By 2050, China’s major health indicators will be among the best in the world. Whilst realizing the second centenary goal of achieving socialist modernization in all areas, we will also have created a healthy China that is capable of supporting the goal. We expect that China’s average life expectancy will be more than 81 years by 2050. Furthermore, while its total population will be lower than that of India and rank second in the world, China’s healthy human capital will rank first, and China’s national health will join the front ranks with other developed countries.

China shall improve and perfect its multi-level employment mechanism, which encourages people to find jobs on their own or start their own business, while ensuring the combination of both market-led and government-supported employment. China shall also improve the human resource market, refine its employment service system, and strengthen the employment information supply mechanism. Efforts will be made to improve the coordination mechanism of the labor system and relations, as well as to improve and strengthen labor security supervision and dispute mediation and arbitration. Quality services will be provided to help people find employment and build harmonious labor relations. Such steps will realize the full potential of China’s human resources.

We will improve China’s per capita income level, bringing it to the level of developed countries, and we will narrow the income gap within China. We will deepen the reform of the income distribution system, continuously improve the proportion of remuneration in primary distribution, and work to ensure that individual incomes grow in step with economic development. Pay increases will move in tandem with increases in labor productivity, such that the people will personally benefit from China’s economic development achievements. China shall accelerate improvements to the redistribution mechanism, mainly by means of revenue, social security, and transfer payments. Furthermore, we will ensure a reasonable distribution of social wealth, and increase and guarantee income growth for low-income earners. Social justice will be guaranteed, as will economic efficiency. In this way, China’s economic development achievements will benefit all the people and reflect the superiority of the socialist system.

China will usher in an era of common development, prosperity and wealth. Common development creates common prosperity, and common prosperity promotes increased income for everyone. China will constantly narrow three major gaps: the gap between urban and rural areas, the gap between regions, and the gaps among people. These gaps exist not just in terms of income, but also in terms of development in a broader sense. They include multi-dimensional indicators such as income, education, health, and public services. As we move forward, all people in China will be able to live a relatively rich life, obtain relatively high-quality public services, and fairly share in China’s development achievements.

5.5 Ecological Civilization

The report delivered at the 19th Party Congress notes that the building of a beautiful China is among the most important of the current development goals. To achieve this goal, we must cherish the environment as we cherish our own lives. By protecting the ecology we are protecting our productive forces. We will adopt a holistic approach to conserving our mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, and grasslands. We must pursue a model of sustainable development featuring increased production, higher living standards, and healthy ecosystems.

China’s green approach to modernization, with its commitment to the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature, is the only way to achieve modernization in China in the twenty-first century. It is also the innovative pathway for human development. China will respond to global climate change, develop a green economy, and adjust its industrial structure; more specifically, it will develop green industries, invest in green energies, and promote green consumption. Such steps will promote the long-term economic growth of China, improve the quality of economic growth, and expand social welfare. As such, they will lead to “multi-win” outcomes for economic development, environmental protection, ecological safety, and adaptation to climate change. In the twenty-first century, China will take the lead in innovating a green development mode in which economic growth is accompanied by a slowdown of greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, this mode may not contribute to such emissions at all.

The theme of China’s modernization in the twenty-first century is green development. In this period China will complete the transition from black industrialization, urbanization, and modernization to green industrialization, urbanization, and modernization. We will also see a move from black manufacturing to green manufacturing and from black energy to green energy. Black trade will become green trade, and black cities will be transformed into green cities. Furthermore, green consumption will replace black consumption.

China will enter a period of ecological surplus in 2030. In more detail, this means that economic growth will be unrelated to energy consumption, coal consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, water consumption, and pollutant emissions. Moreover, humans will nurture nature, improve the environmental quality, and significantly improve ecological assets such as forests, grasslands, and wetlands. In this way, the ancient Chinese concept of “harmony between human and nature” will be truly realized. Thus, human development will not be achieved at nature’s expense, and there will be harmonious coexistence and co-prosperity between humans and nature. This is of great significance for China’s future development, and it will also ensure a huge contribution to human civilization.

By 2050, China’s carbon dioxide emissions will have been significantly decreased, to around half the levels of 1990. The proportion of renewable energy sources will be more than 55%, while the proportion of coal consumption will be reduced to 25–30%. Clean utilization will be fully achieved. Furthermore, China’s forest coverage will reach 28%. China will also file the largest number of green technology patent applications in the world. China will have essentially achieved its green modernization, reached the level of developed countries, made a significant green contribution to humankind, and developed a society of ecological civilization.

5.6 National Defense Construction

The report delivered at the 19th Party Congress clearly states that Xi Jinping’s strategy to strengthen military capabilities is guiding the construction of the national defense system and the armed forces (see Special Column 5.1).Footnote 8

The modernization of China’s national defense system has always been an important part of the country’s socialist modernization. Similarly, the strengthening of its military capabilities remains a core objective to create a great modern socialist country.

With a view to building a great modern socialist country in all respects, the 19th Party Congress expressed the Party’s continued commitment to the construction of strong armed forces. It formulated a strategic plan to fully advance the modernization of China’s national defense system and military, and an objective plan to build the people’s forces into a world-class force. By 2020, mechanization of infantry will be essentially achieved. Furthermore, significant developments will have taken place in both IT application and strategic capabilities. By 2035, the modernization of our national defense system and forces will be essentially complete. By the mid-twenty-first century, our people’s armed forces will have been fully transformed into a world-class force.Footnote 9

Special Column 5.1: Xi Jinping’s Strategy to Strengthen Military Capabilities

The Party is upholding its absolute leadership over the people’s armed forces. It is strategically important to build the people’s forces, which obey the Party’s command and can fight and win, and maintain a high level of conduct, to achieve the two centenary goals and national rejuvenation. To realize the Party’s goal to build a powerful military in the new era, we must fully implement the fundamental principles and systems of Party leadership over the military, and ensure that Party strategy to strengthen military capabilities for the new era guides the development of China’s national defense and armed forces. We must continue to enhance the political loyalty of the armed forces, strengthen them through reform and technology, and operate them in accordance with the law. We must place a greater focus on combat, encourage innovation, build systems, increase efficacy and efficiency, and further ensure military–civilian integration.

Data source: Report at the 19th Party Congress, Oct. 18, 2017.

The construction of China’s national defense system represents the foundation for building China; it is an important guarantee for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, as well as an important aspect of the six-sphere integrated plan for modernization. We will propel China into a leading position in terms of economic and technological strength, defense capabilities, and composite national strength. Currently, China’s defense capabilities are completely separate from its economic, technological, and composite national strength, and neither adapts to the national needs for a security guarantee, nor matches China’s international status. Consequently, with regard to China’s socialist modernization, we fall short in terms of our national defense system, and must therefore accelerate efforts to modernize that defense system and armed forces. In terms of international comparisons with other world powers, China still lags behind in its defense budget. In 2015, China’s defense expenditure was just 1.33% of its GDP. While it is clearly difficult to meet the national defense needs of such a large country, China’s expenditure was far lower than that of the United States (3.31% in 2015), Russia (5.01%), and India (2.42%); indeed, it was one of the lowest in the world (although Japan’s was lower). National defense is also a productive force. Therefore, China needs to determine a reasonable proportion of defense expenditure in GDP, achieve a degree of coordination between national security and development, and ensure that efforts to make our country prosperous and our military strong go hand in hand. The proportion of defense expenditure in GDP should be no lower than 2.0%, while aiming for 2.5%.

China will vigorously promote its strategy for greater military–civilian integration. This is a strategy not only to invigorate China, but also to strengthen our military capabilities. It is vital to achieve national rejuvenation by invigorating China and strengthening its military capabilities. The report delivered at the 19th Party Congress states that: “We should ensure that efforts to make our country prosperous and efforts to make our military strong go hand in hand. We will strengthen unified leadership, top-level design, reform, and innovation. We will speed up the implementation of major projects, deepen the reform of defense-related science, technology, and industry, achieve greater military–civilian integration, and build integrated national strategies and strategic capabilities.”

China will achieve integration in four areas: the socialist market economy, the mixed socialist economy, the regional and local economy, and the Chinese and world economies.Footnote 10 To promote military–civilian integration, China must firmly rely on the advantages of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and improve the top-level design of military–civilian integration and the construction of its superstructure system. Furthermore, it must perfect the policy enforcement mechanism, and include system dividends for military–civilian integration.

Military–civilian integration means giving full play to the positive role of the government (armed forces) and the market in the effective allocation of defense resources, the maximization of defense output efficiency, and the transformation of China’s armed forces into a high-level, efficient, and science and technology-intensive unit. China will not rely on the government alone, but also on the markets, both domestic and international. It will also improve the comprehensive benefits of resource allocation throughout society, and establish a resource sharing system, a collaborative science and technology innovation system, and a system for training military personnel in military–civilian integration. Such actions will fundamentally resolve the bottleneck of China’s national defense development. Finally, China’s national defense system and market mechanism will be integrated and harmonious and will complement, inspire, and promote each other.

China will realize the integration of the military and civilian science and technology systems,Footnote 11 including the greater integration of domestic technology and market innovation, and of international high-tech market innovation. To achieve this, China will establish closer, smoother, and more integrated systems and mechanisms for science and technology, market, and innovation integration. It will make efforts to achieve the development of integration in multiple fields, including the economy, science and technology, talent, and defense. China will transform its economic strength and composite national strength into defense capabilities, and its science and technology strength into defense science and technology strength. This in turn will further reinforce China’s science and technology strength and the composite national strength.

The construction of China’s national defense system will also produce huge externalities and promote economic and social construction. Market-oriented production and military–civilian integration will become an important part of national defense construction, and provide a universal guarantee for national defense construction.

In conclusion, the six-sphere integrated plan of socialist modernization fully reflects the strategic and long-term plan of socialist modernization for the well-rounded development of China’s 1.4 billion people. In accordance with this integrated plan, China will promote coordination among all aspects of socialist modernization, and between productive forces and production relations. Similarly, coordination between China’s economic foundation and superstructure will be a priority.