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China has experienced profound economic and social transformation over the last 35 years, achieving extraordinary success in human development and poverty reduction. The economy has grown at an average of over 9% since economic reforms began in 1978. Per capita incomes have increased fifty-fold over the same period and 600 million people have been lifted out of poverty. National GDP increased from RMB 10.0 trillion in 2000 to RMB 63.6 trillion in 2014, meaning that China now ranks second in the world.  China’s fast economic growth has offered the strong support to the growth of the incomes of its urban and rural residents and to its poverty reduction process.
China has attached great importance to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Over the past 15 years, China has made notable progress in many areas such as eliminating poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, ensuring healthcare for women and children, disease control and prevention and environmental protection. Its Human Development Index (HDI) increased from 0.423 in 1980 to 0.719 in 2013, a change of 70%, placing China in the high human development category at 91 out of 187 countries and territories.

Unprecedented economic growth and tremendous achievements at the national level have been accompanied by challenges such as  severe environmental issues and domestic disparities, including unequal access to social services and opportunities for development. China has now entered a new and more complex stage of development with the focus on improvement of the quality and depth of socio-economic growth and more equal distribution of national prosperity to create a sustainable and harmonious society.

Being well aware of the challenges borne of ‘unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development’, the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China laid out China’s reformation agenda for the next 5-10 years in November 2013, outlining a comprehensive reform process with a transformation of government and the way it relates to the economy, to the private sector and to society at large. Combined with the concrete targets to be set out in the 13th Five Year Plan, this will be the path that China will follow in order to achieve ‘the Chinese Dream’.


Source: MDG Report 2015, UNDAF (2016-2020), UNDP The Human Development Report 2014,Explanatory Notes for the ‘Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening the Reform’, XiJiping, 2014

Sources: 2014 Human Development Report;World Bank;China National Bureau of Statistics 2014

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