Five-Year Plans of China: Wikis


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The Five-Year Plans of China (simplified Chinese: 中国五年计划traditional Chinese: 中國五年計劃pinyin: Zhōngguó Wǔnián Jìhuà) are a series of economic development initiatives. The economy was shaped by the Chinese Communist Party through the plenary sessions of the Central Committee and national congresses. The party plays a leading role in establishing the foundations and principles of Chinese communism, mapping strategies for economic development, setting growth targets, and launching reforms.

Planning is a key characteristic of centralized, communist economies, and one plan established for the entire country normally contains detailed economic development guidelines for all its regions. As China has transitioned from Soviet-style planned economy to a market economy termed socialist market economy (socialism with Chinese characteristics) following reforms under Deng Xiaoping, the name for the 11th five-year program was changed to "guideline" instead of "plan".


The First Five-Year Plan, 1953-57

Having restored a viable economic base, the leadership under Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, and other revolutionary veterans was prepared to embark on an intensive program of industrial growth and socialization. For this purpose the administration adopted the Soviet economic model, based on state ownership in the modern sector, large collective units in agriculture, and centralized economic planning. The Soviet approach to economic development was manifested in the First Five-Year Plan (1953-57) (see The Transition to Socialism , ch. 1; Organization , ch. 7). As in the Soviet economy, the main objective was a high rate of economic growth, with primary emphasis on industrial development at the expense of agriculture and particular concentration on heavy industry and capital-intensive technology. Soviet planners helped their Chinese counterparts formulate the plan. Large numbers of Soviet engineers, technicians, and scientists assisted in developing and installing new heavy industrial facilities, including many entire plants and pieces of equipment purchased from the Soviet Union. Government control over industry was increased during this period by applying financial pressures and inducements to convince owners of private, modern firms to sell them to the state or convert them into joint public-private enterprises under state control. By 1956 approximately 67.5 percent of all modern industrial enterprises were state owned, and 32.5 percent were under joint public-private ownership. No privately owned firms remained. During the same period, the handicraft industries were organized into cooperatives, which accounted for 91.7 percent of all handicraft workers by 1956.

Agriculture also underwent extensive organizational changes. To facilitate the mobilization of agricultural resources, improve the efficiency of farming, and increase government access to agricultural products, the authorities encouraged farmers to organize increasingly large and socialized collective units. From the loosely structured, tiny mutual aid teams, villages were to advance first to lower-stage, agricultural producers' cooperatives, in which families still received some income on the basis of the amount of land they contributed, and eventually to advanced cooperatives, or collectives. In the advanced producers' cooperatives, income shares were based only on the amount of labor contributed. In addition, each family was allowed to retain a small private plot on which to grow vegetables, fruit, and livestock for its own use. The collectivization process began slowly but accelerated in 1955 and 1956. In 1957 about 93.5 percent of all farm households had joined advanced producers' cooperatives.

In terms of economic growth the First Five-Year Plan was quite successful, especially in those areas emphasized by the Soviet-style development strategy. A solid foundation was created in heavy industry. Key industries, including iron and steel manufacturing, coal mining, cement production, electricity generation, and machine building were greatly expanded and were put on a firm, modern technological footing. Thousands of industrial and mining enterprises were constructed, including 156 major facilities. Industrial production increased at an average annual rate of 19 percent between 1952 and 1957, and national income grew at a rate of 9 percent a year.

Despite the lack of state investment in agriculture, agricultural output increased substantially, averaging increases of about 4 percent a year. This growth resulted primarily from gains in efficiency brought about by the reorganization and cooperation achieved through collectivization. As the First Five-Year Plan wore on, however, Chinese leaders became increasingly concerned over the relatively sluggish performance of agriculture and the inability of state trading companies to increase significantly the amount of grain procured from rural units for urban consumption.[1]

The Second Five-Year Plan, 1958-1962

This plan was created to accomplish several tasks, including:

The Political Bureau of the CPC had determined that gross value of agricultural products should increase 270%; in fact, the gain was a considerably more modest 35%.[2] Nevertheless, the plan was successful in some respects. The country saw increases in capital construction over those observed during the first Five-Year Plan and also saw significant increases in industry (doubling output value) and income (workers and farmers, increase by as much as 30%).[2]

However, the Great Leap Forward, which diverted millions of agricultural workers into industry, and the great sparrow campaign, which led to an infestation of locusts, caused a huge decrease in food production. Simultaneously, rural officials, under huge pressure to meet their quotas, vastly overstated how much grain was available. As a result, most of it was allocated to urban areas or even exported, while tens of millions of peasants starved to death.[3]

The Third Five-Year Plan, 1966-1970

The goals of this plan were:[4]

  • developing agriculture to feed the populace and meet other basic needs (such as clothing).
  • strengthening national defense (a priority given Chinese concerns of a potential war).
  • advancing technology.
  • developing infrastructure.
  • encouraging economic self-reliance.

This plan was more successful than anticipated, with the industrial and agricultural goals exceed by 14.1% and industrial gross output value goals by 21.1%.[4] Agricultural gains also exceeded goals, but more moderately, with a 2.2% rise above expectations. According to the Official Portal of the Chinese Government, however, the focus on accumulation and rapid development in this and preceding plans were impediments to long-term economic development.[4]

The Fourth Five-Year Plan, 1971-1975

In September 1970, the Plan was drafted with such goals as maintaining an annual growth rate of 12.5% in industry and agriculture as well as specific budget allowances for infrastructure construction (130 billion yuan over the period of the Plan).[5] In July, 1973, some of the specific provisions of the plan were amended to lower the targets. All targets had been reached or surpassed by the end of 1973.[5] China experienced a vibrant economy in the years 1972 and 1973.[5]

The Fifth Five-Year Plan, 1976-1980

In 1975, China arrived at a draft for a "Ten Year Plan Outline of Developing National Economy" which set out the Fifth Five-Year Plan.[6] The gross domestic product and gross output values of industry and agriculture soon surpassed expectations, but the goals were felt to be unrealistic and unsustainable and were amended in March 1978.[6] The Communist Party Central Committee began to refocus in December of that year, and by April 1979 had embraced a set of principles engineered to modernization and economic exploration, mindful of economic rules.[6]

The Sixth Five-Year Plan, 1981-1985

Although the Sixth Five-Year Plan had been incorporated into the "Ten Year Plan Outline of Developing National Economy", the process of redafting it began in February 1980 and was not completed until December, 1982.[7] The goal of the Sixth Five-Year Plan was to promote sustaining economic growth. The plans included:

  • Achieving a 5% annual growth rate for industry and agriculture.
  • Stabilizing commercial prices and ensuring that production matched demand.
  • Conserving energy and other resources.
  • Updating technology particularly in the area of energy consumption.
  • Strengthening education with an emphasis on science and the application of new technologies.
  • Strengthening national defense.
  • Balancing the governmental budget while also increasing governmental spending on the economy and culture.
  • Developing trade.
  • Strictly regulating population growth.
  • Protecting the environment.

During the period, China achieved a stable growth in its national economy, with an 11% average annual gain in industry and agriculture and a 10% average adjusted annual gain in gross national product.[7] Production was up in key products, and the governmental budget balanced. China made strides in developing international trade, rising from number 28 in the world export volume ranking in 1980 to number 10 in 1984.[7] Advances were also made in constructing infrastructure and updating technology. However, consumption also rose quickly.

The Seventh Five-Year Plan, 1986-1990

The Seventh Five-Year Plan was the first in the history of the Five-Years Plans when a comprehensive Plan was created and ratified at the start of the five-year plan period (in March 1986).[8] Among the plans basic goals were maintaining balance in the national budget and in ensuring that supply met, but did not exceed, demand; ensuring the efficient production of quality products; furthering international trade and the development of infrastructure to keep pace with a modernized economy; and maintaining the social and economic ideals of China by emphasizing education, culture and the socialist ideology.[8] From a practical perspective, the goals included a 38% increase in gross national and industrial agricultural output during the time and a 44% increase in gross national output.[8]

The Eighth Five-Year Plan, 1991-1995

The Eighth Five-Year Plan was approved in March 1991 in concordance with a Ten-year Layout for National Economy and Social Development.[9] The Chinese government reported success for the plan, with ongoing growth in the gross national product and an 11% annual growth in the economy.[9] Expansion continued of the infrastructure, including transportation, and industrial growth continued. Taxes were restructured, with a value added tax prioritized.[9] China continued to focus on foreign trade, standing in 1995 at 11th in the world by import and export trade volume.[9] Population growth dropped from 14.39% in 1990 to 10.55% in 1995.[9]

The Ninth Five-Year Plan, 1996-2000

The Ninth Plan was adopted on September 28, 1995 by the Fifth Plenary Session of the 14th CPC Central Committee.[10] Its goals included capping population growth at 300 million, continuing modernization, eliminating poverty and quadrupling the gross national product in comparison to the gross national product of 1980.[10]

The Tenth Five-Year Plan, 2001-2005

The Tenth Five-Year Plan focused on achieving economic growth at an average of 7% per year; stabilizing prices and balancing the national budget; controlling unemployment rates in urban areas; upgrading industry and improving information technology; urbanize underdeveloped areas; improve education; reduce population growth rate to less than 9 per 1000; expand green space and reduce pollution; conserve natural resources; and increase disposable income levels of the population as well as improving access to housing space, cable television and medical care.[11]

The Eleventh Five-Year Plan, 2006-2010

Among the main purposes of the Eleventh Five-Year Guideline are securing economic growth and economic structure, urbanizing the population, conserving energy and national resources, encouraging sound environmental practices, and improving education.[12] In addition, the plan seeks to increase access to employment and medical care and to improve pensions for the elderly.[12]

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is traditionally not mentioned in the Five-Year guidelines as under the framework of one country, two systems, Central Government does not take Hong Kong into the national administrative planning. For the first time however, pledges were made to uphold Hong Kong's international centers status and strengthen cooperation. Nevertheless, this is more of a symbolic gesture aimed at clarifying the Central Government's stance instead of making detailed plans on behalf of Hong Kong.[13] [14]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.

  1. ^ "China The First Five-Year Plan, 1953-57". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  2. ^ a b Pan, Letian (2006-04-05). "The 2nd Five-Year Plan (1958-1962)". Official Web Portal, Government of China. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  3. ^ See detailed discussion in Great Leap Forward
  4. ^ a b c Pan, Letian (2006-04-05). "The 3rd Five-Year Plan (1958-1962)". Official Web Portal, Government of China. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  5. ^ a b c Pan, Letian (2006-04-05). "The 4th Five-Year Plan (1958-1962)". Official Web Portal, Government of China. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  6. ^ a b c Pan, Letian (2006-04-05). "The 5th Five-Year Plan (1958-1962)". Official Web Portal, Government of China. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  7. ^ a b c Pan, Letian (2006-04-05). "The 6th Five-Year Plan (1958-1962)". Official Web Portal, Government of China. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  8. ^ a b c Pan, Letian (2006-04-05). "The 7th Five-Year Plan (1958-1962)". Official Web Portal, Government of China. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Pan, Letian (2006-04-05). "The 8th Five-Year Plan (1958-1962)". Official Web Portal, Government of China. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  10. ^ a b Pan, Letian (2006-04-05). "The 9th Five-Year Plan (1958-1962)". Official Web Portal, Government of China. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  11. ^ Pan, Letian (2006-04-05). "The 10th Five-Year Plan (1958-1962)". Official Web Portal, Government of China. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  12. ^ a b Yan, Yangtze (2006-03-06). "Facts and figures: China's main targets for 2006-2010". Official Web Portal, Chinese Government. Retrieved 2009-05-12. 
  13. ^ "The Globe and Mail: Why Hong Kong's getting with the five-year plan". 2009-12-29. Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  14. ^ "The Eleventh Five-Year Plan and Hong Kong Economy". 2006-03-06. Retrieved 2010-01-13. 

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