China solicits public opinion for new five-year plan

A "mobile ballot drop box" is sent to people living in remote areas of Longnan, northwest China's Gansu province to maximumly ensure voting justice and help citizens exercise their democratic rights in a just manner. Photo by Li Xuchun, People's Daily Online

Internet user Yunfan would never have imagined that he could one day contribute to the proposals for formulating the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development.

Chinese President Xi Jinping this year underlined the need to combine top-level design and public opinions in compiling the 14th Five-Year Plan, encouraging people from all sectors of society to give advice on the new policy blueprint for the next five years.

A few months ago, a new section was simultaneously launched on the official websites and applications of People’s Daily, Xinhua News Agency, and China Central Television, to solicit public opinions on the making of the 14th Five-Year Plan.

It’s the first time for China to collect opinions and suggestions from the society online for the making of a Five-Year Plan.

Yunfan suggested that rural vitalization start from “mutual elderly care” mode in the countryside, which could not only offer sound services for the left-behind seniors, but also assure their children working out-of-town. He proposed that the government build free public cafeterias and dormitories at rural population clusters, so that seniors can live together. Thus, the younger ones can take care of the older, and a mutual care system can be formed, he explained.

Yunfan’s suggestion was soon delivered to the drafting office of the 14th Five-Year Plan and received high attention.

After comprehensive studies, the plan took “responding to population aging” as an individual strategy, and the “mutual care” mode is also formally written into the document as a response to people’s expectation for the issue of elderly care.

Yunfan’s story is just a miniature of the efforts made by the Communist Party of China (CPC) to govern for the people, carry forward democracy, and respect the will of the people.

It took around 200 days to make the draft of the 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development. Livelihood, social governance, economic development, ecological environment, Party construction, and rural vitalization were the fields that concerned most of the people. The scope, participation and forms of the opinion soliciting were all unprecedented.

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