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China faces huge climate and tech challenges in its bid for global leadership

March 7, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.9%. 1 min read.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivers a work reports during the opening session of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Friday, March 5, 2021. China???s No. 2 leader announced a healthy economic growth target Friday and plans to make this nation self-reliant in technology amid tension with Washington and Europe over trade, Hong Kong and human rights. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

China's leaders are finalizing their political and economic agenda for the rest of 2021 and beyond. How the country achieves technological independence and tackles the climate crisis will be near the top.

This year's "Two Sessions" meeting — the most important annual event on China's political calendar — is particularly noteworthy because Beijing will ratify its 14th five-year plan, a broad outline of goals through 2025 that policymakers have been working on for months.

After dodging a recession last year, Beijing said Friday it expects the world's second largest economy to grow by more than 6% in 2021, which if achieved will keep China on pace to match US GDP as early as 2028.

One key goal that Xi has already outlined is a desire for China to shed its reliance on the United States for key technology, such as parts that power smartphones, computers, telecommunications gear and next-generation gadgets.

The government has made clear in recent months — and in its new five-year plan — that such companies will be expected to toe the Chinese Communist Party line if they want to succeed.

"As Xi pursues ambitions for China at the cutting edge of technology, Beijing recognizes that a top-down approach has limits," Eurasia Group analysts wrote in a recent research report.

Xi unveiled a bold plan last year for China to become carbon neutral by 2060.

But some climate experts argue that the five-year plan still lacks significant detail about how China will ultimately move away from coal in a more meaningful way.

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