Press conference: Securing and improving people's livelihood

A press conference was held to introduce work related to meeting people’s new aspirations and improving their livelihood. 25, 2017


Mr. Chen Baosheng, secretary of the Leading Party Members' Group and minister of the Ministry of Education

Mr. Huang Shuxian, secretary of the Leading Party Members' Group and minister of the Ministry of Civil Affairs

Mr. Yin Weimin, secretary of the Leading Party Members' Group and minister of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security

Mr. Wang Menghui, secretary of the Leading Party Members' Group and minister of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development

Ms. Li Bin, secretary of the Leading Party Members' Group and minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission


Guo Weimin, spokesperson for the 19th National Congress of the CPC and deputy director of the State Council Information Office


Oct. 22, 2017

The press center of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) holds a press conference on securing and improving people's livelihood, in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 22, 2017.

The press center of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) holds a press conference on securing and improving people's livelihood, in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 22, 2017. China's Minister of Education Chen Baosheng, Minister of Civil Affairs Huang Shuxian, Minister of Human Resources and Social Security Yin Weimin, Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Wang Menghui, and Minister of National Health and Family Planning Commission Li Bin attended the press conference. [Photo/Xinhua]

Guo Weimin:

Ladies, gentlemen, friends from the media, good morning. Welcome to the fifth in the series of press conferences held at the Press Center of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Attending today's press conference are: Mr. Chen Baosheng, the secretary of the Leading Party Members' Group and the minister of the Ministry of Education; Mr. Huang Shuxian, the secretary of the Leading Party Members' Group and the minister of the Ministry of Civil Affairs; Mr. Yin Weimin, the secretary of the Leading Party Members' Group and the minister of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security; Mr. Wang Menghui, the secretary of the Leading Party Members' Group and the minister of the Ministry of Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development; and Ms. Li Bin, the secretary of the Leading Party Members' Group and the minister of the National Health and Family Planning Commission.

They will introduce work related to meeting people's new aspirations, and securing and improving people's livelihood. They will also answer some of your questions.

I will now give the floor to Mr. Chen Baosheng.

Chen Baosheng:

Good morning. Education is quite integral to people's well-being. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, China's education has made remarkable progress. General Secretary Xi Jinping fully endorsed the achievements in his report to the 19th CPC National Congress, saying that all-round progress has been made in the development of education, with remarkable advances made in the central and western regions and in rural areas.

The achievements can be summarized in the following aspects.

First, there are more distinctive Chinese characteristics in education over the past five years than before. We have upheld and strengthened the Party's leadership over education and guided those engaged in education to maintain political integrity, think in terms of the big picture, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the central Party leadership. We have strengthened and improved our ideological and political work and promoted core socialist values. Regarding these as fundamental projects, we have guided students to develop an accurate understanding of history, ethnicity, country and culture, enhancing their pride and confidence as Chinese nationals.

Second, modernization of education has been accelerated over the past five years. Investment in education has increased to more than 3 trillion yuan from 2 trillion yuan five years ago. And that figure is expected to reach 4 trillion soon. Investment in education accounted for 4 percent of GDP in 2012, and that proportion has remained stable over the past five years. More than 90 percent of schools of various types and at all levels have access to the internet, up from 20 percent five years ago. Over the past five years, the education sector won two-thirds of the top national prizes for major scientific and technological achievements, namely the State Natural Science Award, National Science and Technology Progress Award and State Technological Invention Award, indicating that we have a strong buttress for improving educational quality. A total of 65 million graduates who have received higher education or training in professional skills entered the workforce in the past five years, having markedly enriched China's human capital and boosted the implementation of innovation-driven development strategies.

Third, the people's sense of fulfillment in regard to education has grown stronger. Over the past five years, bearing in mind the principle that "no one should be left behind," we have increased investment in poor rural areas and ethnic group-inhabited areas. We have reached the outstanding goal that no child drop out of school due to financial difficulties. More than 90 percent of disabled children have access to education. More than 80 percent of the children of migrant workers have received education in public schools in the cities and towns where they and their parents live, and they are also allowed to take the college entrance exam in their cities of residence. In 2017, around 150,000 such students registered for the college entrance exam in their cities of residence, 35.6 times that of five years ago.

We have established a system for subsidizing students from preschool to higher education, under which children from poor families are able to pursue their studies. Here are two examples. Two students, Wei Xiang from Gansu Province and Pang Zhongwang from Hebei Province, enrolled in Tsinghua University this year thanks to the special admission plans for students from rural areas.

Fourth, China's education has gained an increasing influence internationally. Over 180 countries and regions have established cooperative relations in education with China. Forty-seven countries and regions have signed agreements with China on mutual recognition of education qualifications and degrees, signaling that Chinese education has been recognized across the world. A total of 516 Confucius Institutes and more than 1,000 Confucius classrooms have been established in 140-plus countries, giving a strong boost to Chinese-language education and the promotion of Chinese culture. China has become the largest overseas study destination in Asia and the third-largest in the world.

Lastly, education reform has been consistently deepened. A number of signature and leading reform plans have been adopted, and the "multiple pillars" supporting the new education systems have been erected.

Above are the five characteristics of China's education in the past five years. According to the report to the 19th CPC National Congress, with decades of hard work, socialism with Chinese characteristics has crossed the threshold into a new era. And the principal contradiction facing Chinese society has evolved. What we now face is the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life. Our task in the next step will be to actively respond to what the people expect for education by seizing the principal contradiction and analyzing the phenomena reflecting the imbalance and inadequacy in this field.

Guo Weimin:

Now let's invite Minister Huang Shuxian to give an introduction.

Huang Shuxian:

Friends from the media, I'd like to brief you on the major developments of civil affairs work. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, the Party Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core has attached great importance to people's livelihoods and civil affairs, and has made a series of important decisions and deployments. We have implemented in a comprehensive way the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and made remarkable progress in the work of safeguarding the livelihoods of people in difficulty.

First, the social assistance has been effective in guaranteeing people a basic standard of living. All people in need have been provided with subsistence allowances. Temporary assistance systems have been established comprehensively. All county-level governments have established coordination mechanisms led by the heads of local governments to secure the basic living for people with special difficulties. Subsistence security systems in rural areas have been promoted to link up with poverty alleviation and development. Urban and rural subsistence security standards have increased by 59 percent and 97 percent respectively, with an accumulated expenditure of 731.7 billion yuan. The basic living of nearly 60 million people taking subsistence security allowances and with special difficulties has been guaranteed effectively.

Second, the work in response to natural disasters has been performed efficiently and orderly. The country has activated natural disaster relief emergency responses 117 times, allocated 45.4 billion yuan of central government relief funds, provided assistance for 350 million disaster-affected people and resettled 45 million. In doing this, social stability in the disaster-stricken areas has been strengthened and the smooth operation of post-disaster rehabilitation has been safeguarded.

Third, the elderly care service industry has been accelerated. The Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly has been revised and implemented. The elderly care service market has been fully opened, the service quality has been improved, and related programs have been implemented. A series of policies and regulations have been introduced on the national ageing-related undertakings and elderly care system building in the 13th Five-year Plan. The subsidy system for the very elderly and the elderly with difficulties or disabilities has been gradually promoted throughout the country. More than 28,000 elderly care homes have been registered with nearly seven million beds. Elderly care service facilities have been made available in all the urban communities and over 50 percent of communities in rural areas.

Fourth, social welfare and children protection systems have become sounder. The system of the basic living subsidy for the disabled in difficulty and the nursing subsidy for the severely disabled has been full established, each benefiting more than 10 million people with disabilities. The care and protection system for left-behind children in the countryside has been fully built. The efforts to secure the welfare of children living in difficult circumstances have been strengthened. With these efforts, nearly 500,000 orphans and HIV-infected children have been included in the government's protection system.

Fifth, standards of preferential treatment for servicemen have been promoted in successive years. Standards of pension and subsidies for disabled servicemen, families of martyrs, servicemen who lost their lives on duty or died of illness have been continuously raised at an integrated standard in urban and rural areas. Demobilized soldiers that are eligible for job placements have taken much better positions, and the efforts to encourage them to look for jobs on their own or start up their new business have been stepped up. The management on the resettlement of retired military officers has also been continuously promoted. Therefore, the legitimate rights and interests of the people who are eligible for preferential treatment have been better secured.

Sixth, charity and voluntary service undertakings have developed vigorously. With the promulgation and implementation of the Charity Law and the Voluntary Service Ordinance, social donations have exceeded 50 billion yuan a year. Teams of professional social workers and voluntary services have been enlarging, with a total of 330,000 certificated social workers, nearly 57 million registered volunteers and 390,000 registered voluntary groups.

In addition, special assistance projects such as "Bringing Warmth in Cold Winter" have been carried out with continuing efforts. Efforts to encourage land-saving and eco-friendly cemeteries, as well as green funeral and interment have been actively promoted. Services related to marriage and adoption have also been further enriched. Moreover, our work on optimizing the administrative divisions have moved on steadily and the overall civil service support capacity has continued to increase.

Guo Weimin:

Now, let's welcome Minister Yin Weimin to deliver his briefing.

Yin Weimin:

The work of employment and social security is a major issue that has a direct bearing on people's wellbeing, drawing wide attention from society. In the report to the 19th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping gave full affirmation to the work of employment and social security in the past five years. In terms of employment, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that employment has registered steady growth over the past five years. So what is the key mark of steady growth?

First, in the past five years we have created more than 65 million jobs. That is to say, we have resolved the employment problem of 65 million people, mainly young people.

Second, in the past five years we have solved the reemployment problem of over 27.9 million laid-off workers and the unemployed.

Third, in the past five years we have solved the employment problem of more than 8.8 million vulnerable urban residents who had difficulty finding jobs, including those people from 280,000 families where no one had a job, known as "zero-employment" families. During the process of cutting overcapacity over the past two years, we have provided effective assistance to millions of laid-off employees. At the same time, we have solved the employment problem of more than 4.8 million rural people registered as living under the poverty line. General Secretary Xi Jinping said that employment has registered steady growth, and I think the several statistics mentioned above can fully illustrate this point.

In terms of social security, General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out that a social security system covering both urban and rural residents has taken shape. This can be seen from the following three aspects.

First, continuous improvements have been made in building the system and institutional framework. In the past five years, we have established a unified national basic old-age insurance system for both urban and rural residents, made steady progress in reforming the pension system for employees of Party and government offices and public institutions, and solved the problem of the "double-track" pension system which has long been a concern of the people. [Under the double-track system, civil servants in government organizations and institutions don't have to pay pension premiums during their time in office, while employees in enterprises and their employers have to pay a lot.] At the same time, we have deepened the reform of the medical insurance system, and one of the breakthroughs we have made is that medical expenses can be settled where they are incurred via basic medical insurance accounts. In addition, the improvements include the establishment of some other systems.

Against a backdrop of slowing economic growth, further structural adjustments and ample labor force joining the job market, we have still made remarkable progress in ensuring employment. The progress has become a highlight of economic and social development, and has played a basic supporting role in the country's economic development.

Second, social security coverage has rapidly expanded. We have established the largest social security network in the world, with the basic old-age insurance system now covering more than 900 million people. Here, the people who are covered by the system refer to all the eligible workers as prescribed by the law and does not refer to the whole population. In other words, after the deduction of preschool children and school students, the number of people covered by the system should be around 1 billion, and therefore the coverage rate has now exceeded 90 percent. In terms of medical insurance, its network covers over 1.3 billion people, so it can be said that a nationwide medical insurance has already been achieved. In a developing country with a population of more than 1.3 billion, such a large coverage, in terms of basic old-age insurance and medical insurance, has been highly praised by the world. During the meeting held by the International Social Security Association at the end of last year, an award was specially presented to the Chinese government in honor of its outstanding achievements made in the social security sector, which is a very tough job to accomplish not only for developing countries, but also for developed countries.

Third, social security benefits have been steadily increased. In recent years, social pension benefits for participants of the basic old-age insurance have increased year by year, with the monthly average level of basic pension insurance for urban employees exceeding 2,300 yuan, and that of the basic old-age insurance for rural and non-working urban residents standing at over 120 yuan.

Meanwhile, we still face a lot of problems in employment and social security. As General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out, our people face many difficulties in employment and many challenges in social security. In our next step, we will seriously implement the guiding principles of the report to the 19th CPC National Congress. Particularly in terms of employment, the report said we must strive to achieve fuller employment and create better quality jobs. In terms of social security, the report said that we will act on the policy requirements to help those most in need, to build a tightly woven safety net, and to build the necessary institutions, as we work to develop a sustainable multi-tiered social security system that covers the entire population in both urban and rural areas, with clearly defined rights and responsibilities and support that hits the right level. We will strive to do a better job in employment and social security, so that our people will have a stronger sense of fulfillment and happiness.

Guo Weimin:

Now let's welcome Minister Wang Menghui for his presentation.

Wang Menghui:

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the housing and urban-rural development sector has seen outstanding achievements in its reform and growth. The progress made in ensuring and improving people's livelihoods has been particularly notable, and can be exemplified in the following aspects:

Firstly, outstanding achievements have been made in housing security and the living conditions were upgraded for around 80 million people in need. Over the past five years, strenuous attempts were made to advance the renovation of houses in run-down areas, helping over 60 million residents there move into apartment buildings. The supply of public-rental housing was greatly increased, accommodating more than 19 million people in need of homes. The living conditions for urban low-and-medium income households were improved substantially. Access to housing is guaranteed for almost all the urban households with subsistence allowances and urban low-income families.

Secondly, clear efforts were seen in real estate regulation, and the general real estate market remained stable. Since our basic guideline for housing is that it is for "living in," not for "speculating on," we launched categorized control and localized strategies to carry out a slew of policies observed largely by local governments to stabilize the target markets. This year, the growth of the newly-built commercial housing prices in first-tier cities and some major second-tier cities slowed down on a year-on-year basis, while the growth of the housing prices in the third- and fourth-tier cities was stable. Rental housing pilot projects have been initiated in 12 large and medium cities and the attempts to share housing ownership are encouraged in Beijing and Shanghai. A long-term real estate mechanism is under research and formulation, and efforts have been made to accelerate the enactment of rental housing laws. Real estate regulation has shown consistent effects.

Thirdly, continuous advances were made in urban planning reform, and the transformation in urban development modes was stepped up. Putting new development concepts into practice, we have carried out pilot projects on the formulation of urban planning, focusing on implementing urban plans and stepping up urban transformation. We fully implemented urban design, strengthened the preservation of historical architecture, as well as the ecological and city rehabilitation. With these efforts, city environments have been improved constantly and urban public services have been enhanced accordingly.

Fourthly, urban development has steadily improved and urban environments have become more suitable for living. During the last five years, we have built 55,400 kilometers of urban road and 1,600 kilometers of urban rail. At the same time, we have turned 458,000 hectares of land into green spaces, ensured an increase of 38.9 percent biosafety disposal capacity of municipal solid waste and witnessed the rise of sewage treatment to 92.5 percent nationwide. To add one more point, we have made large strides in developing "sponge cities" (i.e. cities which use the full potential of rain water) with the construction of underground utility tunnels extending more than 1,600 kilometers.

However, to be frank, there are still remaining problems on housing and urban-rural development - especially, as most of you would be concerned about, the demand for a house to live in. Thank you.

Guo Weimin:

I'll give the floor to Madam Li Bin.

Li Bin:

Good morning, friends from the press. There will be no moderate prosperity without the overall health of the population. Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has adhered to the guiding principle of putting people first and established the initiative of a healthy China. It has thus elaborated the significance, major policies as well as goals and priority tasks of building a healthy china. Thanks to our unremitting efforts of the past five years, as outlined in General Secretary Xi Jinping's report to the 19th National Congress of the CPC, we have seen great progress in people's health and healthcare services. Here are some of the highlights:

First, we have made significant progress in the reform of the medicine and healthcare system. The essential healthcare system with Chinese characteristics has built its policy framework. The integrated tiered healthcare system has been preliminarily established. We have made allotments of medical resources with an emphasis on healthcare capacities at the community level. More than 80 percent of residents have access to the closest clinics within 15 minutes of their homes. As a general practitioner service system accessible to 430 million people has been established, the Chinese people can have their own family doctors. The Chinese people can have access to high-standard medical services close to their homes thanks to the development of medical groups and telemedicine partnership networks. The rate of residents receiving medical services in their home counties has already reached 82.5 percent. Thanks to reforms, we have abolished the old mechanism of bolstering hospital revenues by selling pharmaceuticals, which has been in place for over 60 years. We have established a new system which is more non-profit, proactive and sustainable. Over 57 percent of hospitals are now private as China has encouraged private funds. We are also addressing problems regarding the shortage of clinic drugs, low-price drugs and pediatric medications. We have set up a basic medical care system involving basic medical care, major disease insurance, a medical aid system, and an emergency response and aid system. We are also improving the insurance system so as to ensure the direct settlement of inpatient bills for offsite medical treatment. The proportion of residents' out-of-pocket payments to the total health expenditure has decreased from 40.4 percent in 2008 to below 30 percent in 2016, the lowest level in the past two decades.

Second, new progress has been made in the overall public health system. We are paying more attention to prevention and expanding free basic public healthcare services to 14 categories. We have improved the prevention and treatment of major diseases. The rate of major infectious diseases has decreased greatly. We have implemented the policy that all couples can have two children, and increased services in the obstetric and pediatric sectors. Moreover, we are providing medical care services for the entire process of childbirth to ensure mothers' and children's security. We have significantly reduced the maternal mortality rate and infant death rate, achieving the U.N. Millennium Development Goals ahead of schedule.

We are making efforts to build a healthy Silk Road. We won the battle of assisting African countries in fighting against Ebola without any infection among our medical staff. China has given full play to its role as a responsible major country in global health governance.

Third, we have significantly improved the quality and level of health services. We have launched campaigns in the past three years to improve medical services. The quality of China's supply of blood has been at the forefront of the world. We have launched a national action plan over antimicrobial drug resistance and greatly reduced the use of antibiotics. We are bringing out the unique advantages of traditional Chinese medicine. We have made breakthroughs in key medical technologies and world-leading achievements in specific medical fields through a collaboration between medical treatment and teaching, which greatly improved China's overall level of diagnosis and treatment. The health poverty alleviation project has been implemented. We have assisted over 3.6 million impoverished patients under the guideline of "adjusting measures to patients and diseases." We also provided partnership medical assistance. Therefore, the level of medical treatment in impoverished areas has been improved significantly.

Generally, over the past five years since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, China has seen the biggest input into the health industry, which ensured the rapid progress in this sector and more benefits to our people. The international community also recognized China as one of the countries in the world which has made the fastest development in improving its overall healthcare services.

General Secretary Xi Jinping pointed out in his report to the 19th National Congress of the CPC that "a healthy population is a key mark of a prosperous nation and a strong country," and noted that we will continue to promote "the Healthy China initiative." We will be guided by Xi Jinping's Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and step up efforts to implement our mission of providing all-around services to the Chinese people in a bid to meet their increasingly diversified medical and healthcare demands. Hence, the entire Chinese population will enter a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics in a healthier manner. Thank you.

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