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Facts and Figures Show Rising Prosperity (09/16/02)
The past 13 years have witnessed unprecedented improvement in the living standards of the overwhelming majority of China's 1.3 billion people, and in economic and social areas.

The following facts and figures illustrating this trend are based on information provided by Qiu Xiaohua, deputy director of the National Bureau of Statistics:

GDP: -- China's gross domestic product (GDP) totaled 9.5933 trillion yuan (US$1.16 trillion) in 2001, nearly doubling that of 1990, according to fixed prices.

China ranked sixth in the world in terms of GDP last year, compared with 10th in 1990, becoming one of the world's major economic powers.

This change in the poor, populous and vast country represents a significant event in world economic history.

People's lives: -- The centuries-old dream of the Chinese people to become relatively well-off has come true.

By the end of last century, China's GDP exceeded US$1 trillion for the first time in history, and per capita GDP reached US$800, while the people in general enjoy a fairly comfortable life.

China's per capita GDP exceeded US$900 in 2001.

The achievement in reducing poverty and enabling the whole nation to lead easier lives in the past decade is also unprecedented and an aspiration of ordinary Chinese for centuries.

Good-bye to short supply: -- The Chinese market began to shift from a seller's to a buyer's market by 1998 thanks to fast economic growth.

A survey by the State Economic and Trade Commission shows that currently no single product on the Chinese market is in short supply, and the supply of 86 percent of the goods on the market exceeds demand.

China's annual output of iron and steel, coal, chemical fertilizer, TV sets, program-controlled telephone switchboards, grain, meat, cotton, aquatic products and fruits ranks first in the world.

Economic restructuring: -- The past 13 years have seen China's historic transition from a planned economy to a market one.

China has basically established a socialist market economic system during that time with the market playing a fundamental role in the distribution of resources.

Only five industrial products are subject to mandatory controls while the prices of 90 percent of goods and services are determined by the market.

Foreign trade: -- China has become the sixth biggest foreign trading power in the world with overall foreign trade worth US$509.8 billion in 2001, 3.4 times that of 1990 when it ranked only 16th in the world.

China's foreign exchange reserves exceed US$250 billion at present, ranking second in the world. The figure was US$5.55 billion in 1989.

China used US$510.8 billion of foreign fund during 1990-2001, including US$378 billion of foreign direct investment.

The accession to the World Trade Organization last year marks China has entered a new stage of opening to the outside world.

Fiscal revenue: -- The financial resources at the government's disposal increased to 1.637 trillion yuan (US$198 billion) in 2001 from 293.7 billion yuan (US$35.5 billion) in 1990.

The government's fiscal resources are mainly used to meet the needs of the general public and social security.

Economic structure: -- The manufacturing and tertiary sectors are becoming the driving force behind China's economic growth, compared with the dominant role of primary and manufacturing industries in the past.

The rising tertiary industry is the new fast-growing section of the economy and is playing a leading role in creating jobs.

Economic layout: -- In a move which will change the country's economic map, economic development in the vast but poor central and western parts of China has attracted great attention since 1999, balancing the former strategy which focused on coastal and eastern regions.

More than 30 major projects were put into construction in the western region in the last three years, with total investment exceeding 600 billion yuan (US$73 billion).

Increasing capability for sustainable development: -- China has made great progress in implementing a sustainable development strategy as seen from the drop in the population growth rate and increased investment in projects to protect farmland, water and mineral resources, and the environment.

China's natural population growth rate dropped to 6.95 per thousand last year from 15.04 per thousand in 1989, while its energy consumption index per 10,000 yuan (US$1,210) in GDP dropped by 32.8 percent.

The overall investment in environmental protection totaled 490 billion yuan (US$59 billion) during the past five years, about 1.7 times the total investment made in the decades before 1997.

Progress in science and education: -- China has made remarkable achievements in science and education during the past decade. Major programs in this field include its involvement in the Human Genome Project, an international project designed to decode the secret of human life, and manned space flight.

China has basically reached its target of making nine years of compulsory education available to school-age children, and eliminating illiteracy among adults.

Higher education is also on a fast track with 12 percent of senior high school graduates entering universities and colleges for further study in 2001, compared with 3.4 percent in 1990.

China's strategy of invigorating the country through science and education, launched in 1995, and increased investment in human resources, will help make the nation more competitive in the global arena.
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