Aerial photo taken on Dec. 7, 2022 shows the container terminal at Lianyungang Port, east China's Jiangsu Province.(Photo by Wang Chun/Xinhua)
BEIJING, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- China has made outstanding achievements in both economic development and epidemic control over the past three years, with positive results delivered on both fronts, demonstrating huge potential for continued prosperity.
Having withstood waves of the pandemic while effectively safeguarding the life and health of its 1.4 billion population, the country has maintained the lowest COVID-19 infection and fatality rates among all major countries over the past three years.
It has so far issued nine editions of COVID-19 control protocols, together with the 20 measures announced in November and the latest 10 released earlier this month, and quickly adapted to the constantly evolving epidemic situation with a flexible string of control measures.
"China has been optimizing control measures in line with the evolving epidemic situation to make its COVID-19 response more targeted and scientific," said Zhang Boli, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
China's virus containment efforts have proven effective and helped the country navigate the epidemic-induced economic trough. The country's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at an average annual rate of 4.6 percent from the third quarter of 2019 to the third quarter of 2022, which is well above the world average, according to data released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
During the same period, the GDP growth of India and the United States stood at 2.2 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, and those of other major countries including Japan, Germany, France and Britain were below 0.5 percent, the data showed.
Apart from the overall economic growth, China has also outstripped the majority of countries in terms of trade volume, goods production and energy production over the past three years, and kept its inflation rate at a relatively low level.
Chinese people's basic livelihood has been guaranteed during the pandemic. A total of 11.45 million new urban jobs were created nationwide in the first 11 months of this year, and the consumer price index has been kept generally stable over the years despite mounting global inflation pressure.
The increase in life expectancy during the pandemic also bespeaks China's anti-COVID success. China's average life expectancy rose from 77.93 years in 2020 to 78.2 years in 2021.
STRENGTH AND POTENTIAL
Despite disruptions caused by the arduous battle against COVID-19 over the past three years, the Chinese economy has managed to consolidate its resilience, foster greater potential, and maintain sound fundamentals.
For a start, China's demographic dividend is now translating into a talent dividend. The country's working-age population stands at 880 million, with an average age of 38.8, and the number of people that have received higher education exceeds 218 million, indicating an abundant labor force.
The country's capital stock per capita is still relatively low compared with major developed economies, meaning China has more room for investment to further improve its modern infrastructure system, push for new modernization and rural revitalization, and boost green development.
Over the years, innovation has always been the main driver propelling China's economic growth. By the end of June, the number of valid invention patents held by the country stood at more than 3.9 million, up 17.5 percent year on year.
"The Chinese economy is undergoing major adjustments featuring growth model transformation, structural optimization and growth driver shift. After crossing this threshold, it will be able to break new ground and embrace greater opportunities," said Wang Changlin, president of the Academy of Macroeconomic Research.
As a major manufacturing powerhouse, China has the most complete industrial categories and is capable of making most of the industrial products in the world.
Infrastructure is also a strong underpinning for China's economic growth, as the country boasts the world's largest railway and expressway networks, as well as the world's largest 5G network and optical fiber network.
"In the long run, China has the conditions to maintain a medium-high rate of growth," said Wang Xin, an official with the People's Bank of China, adding that the country's economic growth will gradually slow down to a relatively stable level in the future, but will still remain higher than that of most countries.