The National People’s Congress (NPC), Beijing’s highest-profile annual political meeting, opens today. Conducted mostly virtually, the meeting will conclude on March 11.
Although the NPC is China’s main legislative body, the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership normally ensures important decisions have been made before proposals reach the Congress. Nevertheless, the meeting remains the paramount political summit and will signal China’s short- to medium-term strategy.
The 2021 meeting is set to focus on domestic budgets and the 14th Five Year Plan, a policy blueprint for the 2021-2035 period focusing on a range of topics including China’s technological ambitions and prospects on transitioning towards a green economy. Expect this year’s NPC to focus on technological self-sufficiency, specifically in chip manufacturing, following Chairman Xi Jinping’s longstanding policies like “Made in China 2025” and the “dual-circulation strategy”. Due to increased US-China tensions in global trade, China will likely lay out a plan to address the current chip shortage crisis and create its own domestic chip industry.
Given the omission of the ‘one country, two systems’ phrase by top liberal Wang Yang at yesterday’s political conference, expect Beijing to continue attacking Hong Kong’s eroding democratic system and to increase economic and military pressure on Taiwan.
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