China Parliament
China adopts 13th Five Year Plan, Charities law passed. Picture China's President Xi Jinping (L) and Premier Li Keqiang vote during the closing ceremony of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 16, 2016.

China, the second-largest economy of the world, adopted Wednesday its 13th Five-Year Plan for the years 2016 to 2020. A blueprint for economic development, the plan pledges to grow the slowing economy at 6.5 percent over the years, reported Channel News Asia (CNA).

The Communist Party of China (CPC)-led Parliament adopted the plan at the fourth and concluding session of the 12th National People Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

According to the plan, China envisions its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to rise to 92.7 trillion yuan ($13 trillion) in 2020 from its existing 67.7 trillion yuan ($10.4 trillion). It intends to keep a medium-high growth over the plan years, reports Reuters.

The news agency explained 2021 being the centenary year of the CPC's formation, China wants to build a moderately prosperous society by the target year of 2020. It wishes to see its GDP and per-capita income double from the 2010 level.

There were 2,778 "yes" votes for the 13th Five-Year Plan, or 97.27 percent of the total, reported the official Xinhua news agency.

Voting at the NPC, added the news channel, was generally a majority approval for plans and policies decided much earlier by the CPC. The party's plans are a legacy of China's controlled economy, yet they assist in public policy formulations, it said.

Charities Law

The five-year plan is also keen on significantly reducing the poverty level by 2020. Riding on it, the parliament also passed a Charities Law, reported CNA.

The new law, adopted at the annual legislative session coinciding with the NPC, received 2,636 votes in favour, or 92.49 percent of the total, reports CNA quoting Xinhua news agency data.

CNA reported officials have declared charitable organisations as essential to achieve the goal of poverty reduction, and the law will help develop a culture of giving.

To be implemented from September 2016, the law eases restrictions on charities in fundraising and operation, also promising tax benefits, while tightening scrutiny on internal management, said Reuters.

Recent data by the Charities Aid Foundation, quoted by CNA, said the country ranked 144th among 145 counties in giving. It said one of the world's biggest economies has lagged in charitable giving.

China Charity Information Center's data on Chinese citizens donating just $16 billion in 2014, amounting to 0.2 percent of annual GDP, was brought by CNA.

The law intends to "recruit help from good Samaritans in realising the 2020 poverty alleviation target," Xinhua was quoted as saying.

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