Zhoushan, a city located in the coastal region of eastern Zhejiang, has experienced rapid economic development over the past ten years. In 2022, the Port of Ningbo Zhoushan recorded a cargo throughput of over 1.25 billion tonnes, ranking first globally for the 14th consecutive year.
However, as it consists of a group of islands separated from the mainland, Zhoushan used to face limitations in development due to its lack of connectivity.
In January 2003, Xi Jinping, then-secretary of the CPC (the Communist Party of China) Zhejiang Provincial Committee, visited Zhoushan. After conducting field research, he said a cross-sea bridge would fundamentally promote Zhoushan's development, as infrastructure interconnectivity is crucial for regional openness and growth.
In the following years, the Zhoushan Cross-sea bridge which connects Zhoushan, Ningbo and Shanghai, stepped up construction. Once the bridge officially opened to traffic in 2009, Zhoushan ended its isolation from the mainland and gradually grew into a prosperous city.
"Xi realized the difficulties that Zhoushan faced and saw its potential for development, said Guo Jianbiao, the then-mayor of Zhoushan.
"What he concerned most was the sustainable development of Zhoushan," Guo said, adding that the marine economy development strategy that Xi proposed at the time provided unprecedented opportunities for its development.
The development of Zhoushan is part of the fruit of China's efforts to promote high-quality development, which is stressed in the report Xi delivered to the 20th National Congress of the CPC last October.
"We have fully and faithfully applied the new development philosophy on all fronts, focused on promoting high-quality development, and worked to create a new pattern of development," he said, noting that China aims at making breakthroughs in promoting high-quality economic development in the next five years.
The concept emerged once again as a prominent catchphrase during this year's Two Sessions.
Pursuing development for people's well-being
China's development must serve to continuously strengthen the people's sense of fulfillment, happiness and security, Xi said during a deliberation with his fellow deputies from the delegation of Jiangsu Province at the first session of the 14th National People's Congress (NPC).
The ultimate goals of promoting high-quality development are the happiness and well-being of the people, he noted.
Protecting people's fundamental interests and improving their well-being is also stressed in the report of the 20th National Congress of the CPC.
"We must do a better job of seeing that the gains of modernization benefit all our people fairly," he said.
In 2022, China saw a 5 percent year on year growth in per capita disposable income in nominal terms, coupled with a reduction of 4.2 trillion yuan (about $609 billion) in tax and fee burden. The annual growth target of around 5 percent in 2023 reflects China's improved handling of the relationship between quantity and quality of development.
Over the past decade, the average number of urban jobs created annually exceeds 13 million. And this year, China aims to create around 12 million urban jobs, up from last year's target of over 11 million.
Continuous momentum for modernization
High-quality development, as Xi noted during the deliberation, is the "first and foremost" task in China's path to modernization. It calls for seeking innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared growth, high-quality development.
Efforts will be ramped up to apply the new development philosophy and foster a new development pattern to advance high-quality and sustainable economic and social development, Xi noted.
The priorities of high-quality development include achieving greater self-reliance in science and technology, creating a new development pattern, and promoting agricultural modernization, said Xi during the deliberations.
Over the past five years, scientific and technological progress has contributed to over 60 percent of China's economic growth, while its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP have decreased by 14.1 percent.
China pledges to further reduce pollutant emissions and energy intensity this year, creating a continuous momentum for the modernization drive, while simultaneously advancing a more advanced, balanced, and eco-friendly economy that benefit Chinese people.
As is mentioned in the report to the 20th National Congress of the CPC, China has implemented a people-centered philosophy of development and put efforts in bringing about an all-around improvement in people's lives.