Media Analysis of the New Meanings of the “New Four Modernizations”: From Giving First Place to Materials to Putting People First

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(People’s Daily, 17 January 2013)

Where Are the New Ideas of the “New Four Modernizations?”

The first “new”, a strategic focus on going from stressing development objectives to stressing development trajectories.

The second “new”, a development concept changing from “first place to materials” to “putting people first”.

The third “new”, the relationship of the “Four Modernizations” changes from mutual independence to an integrated mix, to complement each other.

Dreams encourage people to advance, realizing them require being earnest and down-to-earth. The magnificent ideal of the “Four Modernizations” encourages Chinese people to struggle for this, and today’s China has gained huge achievements because of this. On the 15th, Comrade Li Keqiang stressed, when he investigated and researched the State Grain Bureau, that pushing forward the construction of the “New Four Modernizations”, new industrialization, informatization, urbanization and agricultural modernization, is the road China must follow for modernization. The “New Four Modernizations” have outlined the concrete path for constructing China’s modernization with an even closer feel for the times.

Where is the new in the “New Four Modernizations”? What is their significance in promoting scientific development?

First and foremost, the “new” is in the transformation of stressing development objectives to stressing development trajectories. This concept of the “Four Modernizations” has a special historical position in China. In December 1964, Zhou Enlai put forward for the first time in his Government Work Report that, within the 20th Century, China was to be built into a strong Socialist country with modern agriculture, modern industry, modern national defence and modern science and technology. In December 1979, Deng Xiaoping, when talking with the Japanese Prime Minister Masayoshi Ohira, quantified the Four Modernizations as “by the end of the 20th Century, striving to obtain that the Chinese GDP reaches 1000 US Dollar per capita, realizing a relatively well-off living standard”, this objective was clear and explicit. Although the wording and context of the “Four Modernizations” was different, and the content was different, we still can see from them the process that China’s modernization construction has experienced and the characteristics of the phase nature. The “New Four Modernizations” put forward today refer to new industrialization, informatization, urbanization and rural modernization. In 2011, China’s GDP per capital reached 5432 US Dollars, and the total amount ranks second in the world, this has exceeded the objective of the “Four Modernizations” put forward 33 years before by far. In the future, to realize an even greater “Chinese dream”, we must have even higher-level “Four Modernizations”, the realization of these can all be grasped through the “New Four Modernizations”.

Furthermore, “new” is found in the transformation from “giving first place to materials” to “putting people first”. In more than 30 years of reform and opening-up, China has obtained huge achievements, but “post-development problems” have also emerged. In past urbanization, the regretful matter of “materials are important, people are not important” exists as well. Even though China’s urbanization rate reached 51.27 per cent in 2011, and the scale of urban construction has become ever greater, the urban registered population only occupies a proportion of about 35% of the total population. More than 200 million peasant workers who live in cities have realized a shift of region and a professional transformation, but have not realized a transformation of identity and status, and thus far have not been able to enjoy same levels of public services, this creates unfairness, and also buries hidden dangers of social instability. When putting forward the “New Four Modernizations”, Li Keqiang especially stressed that the “human” factor, is directly aimed at the crux of the problems. The core of China’s future urbanization will be “human” urbanization, which benefits the common people and makes the peasantry well-off by raising “human” living quality. Similarly, among the other “Three Modernizations”, prominence is given to energy-saving and environmental protection in industrialization, prominence is given to intelligent cities in informatization and to the pursuit of better food safety in agricultural modernization, “people” are also their final service target. The future “New Four Modernizations” certainly will give more prominence to the basic concept of “putting people first”.

Finally, “new” is found in an even stronger focus on the integrated mix and mutually complementing relationship. China has a large quantity of surplus agricultural population, and we must rely on industrialization to further absorb this; China’s traditional industries must rely on industrialization to raise efficiency; cities and towns must rationally accommodate the large numbers of rural dwellers who participate in industrialization, and let peasant workers become townspeople; agricultural production must transform from “stressing quantity and resolving the issues of food and clothing” to “stressing quality, and satisfying grades”. These have decided the new types of relationship  of the “New Four Modernizations”, which are too close to be separated, and complement each other: urbanization has the largest potential for internal demand, and is the crux for broadening the production capacities of industrialization, informatization and agricultural modernization, urbanization also requires support from industry, industrialization, informatization and rural modernization, conversely, are also the locus of the industries that urbanization must rely on. For the same reason, informatization and industrialization are “twins” at a certain stage of development, their deep integration is the orientation and driver of industrial upgrading; agricultural modernization is the locus of the basis for industrialization and informatization to develop greatly. These sorts of relationships of the “New Four Modernizations” may raise efficiency and guarantee the sustainable development of the Chinese economy.

Continue history, link up with the future. These three “news” will let us see that the future march of China’s economy must be a path of adjusting structures and transforming methods.

媒体析“新四化” 新意:从以物为主转向以人为本
“新四化” 新意在何处(新论)









承接历史,对接未来。这三个“新”,让我们看到,中国经济的未来走向,必是一条调结构、转方式的道路。(作者为国家发改委城市和小城镇中心研究员 易 鹏)


One thought on “Media Analysis of the New Meanings of the “New Four Modernizations”: From Giving First Place to Materials to Putting People First

    […] to look at the concrete measures and plans that the new leadership will put forward. Today, another People’s Daily article introduces the “Four New Modernizations”, which were presented by Li Keqiang on a visit to the […]

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