Looking ahead: Hopes for 2016
Updated: 2016-01-01 07:47
Major figures from academia, the military, social organizations and government predict their highlights for the year to come
1 Justin Yifu Lin, economics professor at Peking University and former World Bank chief economist
The economic slowdown will remain one of China's major challenges next year. The world's second-largest economy is suffering the longest decline in its rate of growth since the government launched the reform and opening-up policies more than 30 years ago. Year-on-year GDP, which contracted to 6.9 percent in the third quarter from 10.3 percent in 2010, is likely to continue to decline in 2016, as the overall economy is still in a cyclical downtrend which is seriously affected by the global economic recession environment.
To curb this slowdown, it is necessary to both push forward restructuring reforms, and introduce stimulus measures to stabilize growth. Only focusing on one aspect will result in the fast growth of unemployment or a systematical financial crisis.
It requires macroeconomic policies to stress supply-side reforms, as well as moderately expanding the demand. To increase effective investment is one of the methods to improve the quality of supply and promote industrial upgrading, which will at the same time increase people's incomes while boosting domestic consumption.
2 Huang Jianxiang, sports commentator
I hope that more children will become interested in playing soccer and that they will be willing to devote more time to it－say, play once or twice a week. I hope teachers and parents will recognize the numerous advantages brought to children by playing soccer. It is my wish for 2016 that people will no longer think playing soccer is useless or even a negative thing to do, but agree that it is a good form of education.
3 Bernhard Schwartlander, WHO representative in China
I hope to see tobacco control in China take another leap forward in 2016 through the adoption of the draft national smoke-free law currently before the State Council. We've seen incredible progress this year, with the Beijing smoke-free law in effect since June. Beijing has shown that with a robust, comprehensive law, strong enforcement and publicity, and political leadership, it can be done!
This is great news for the 20 million plus residents of Beijing who are now protected from the harm of secondhand smoke. But there are hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens outside of Beijing who are exposed to dangerous secondhand smoke every day. This is very bad for health. We need to take the next step and extend the protection afforded by the Beijing smoke-free law to the rest of the country.
4 Li Yinhe, sexologist and sociologist
I wish you all a happy New Year. My short story collection, Black Knight's Kingdom, will be published in 2016. I hope everyone will like it. I expect I'll keep up my passion for writing and produce more stories and essays in the coming year. I hope that our country will achieve more progress, that society will become more diversified and more open to different voices and that all people will voice their opinions on important issues that concern everyone. Together we can discuss and explore paths to achieve social progress.
5 Xue Gang, volunteer dedicated to raising the quality of life of China's WWII veterans
The year 2015 was a very special year, not only because it marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, but because in the past 12 months I've witnessed the deaths of more veterans than in any previous year. There were 12 of them, the last having died on Dec 19. I have a feeling that I've entered a running competition with time, but am always on the losing end.
To see the veterans, especially those who fought the invading Japanese as Nationalist soldiers more than 70 years ago, passing through Tian'anmen Square as part of the celebratory military parade on Sept 3 was a huge emotional comfort－and boost－for anyone who has championed honoring to the nation's heroes for years.
However, as far as I know, the medals promised by the Central Government for every Chinese soldier who had fought for the sake of their country during the war haven't materialized for many of the veterans. This is largely due to the lack of commitment at various levels of local government.
It's my biggest hope that honors will arrive before it is too late.
6 Dai Bin, director of the China Tourism Academy
I am very confident that China will continue its fast-growth pace and see more innovations in the tourism industry in 2016.
Domestic tourism, as well as outbound and inbound tourism, will see rapid growth in visitor numbers, tourist consumption and revenue. Chinese tourists will enjoy more high-quality trips, thanks to the efforts of the tourism authorities and travel service providers. Tour companies in China will also see more mergers and acquisitions in the future.
Tourism will become a part of ordinary people's lives and will have a positive impact on the macro economy, investment, the job market and even the reputation of our country. "Tourism" diplomacy has helped China's voice be heard by the rest of the world.
7 Wesley Sneijder, soccer star from Holland and co-founder of Sport 8
I have seen the Chinese National soccer team's recent struggles in the World Cup Qualification matches. As you may recall, the Dutch football team also failed to qualify for next year's European Championship Finals. So I can definitely feel your pain. My company Sport 8 has been continuously bringing qualified Dutch coaches to China to help with soccer development, and I hope we can join forces to build a solid foundation in youth soccer training in China. This is the only way to create a soccer culture. Let's make it happen.
8 Alistair Michie, secretary-general of the British East Asia Council and senior adviser to the State Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs
Looking forward into 2016, China has a great opportunity to become the chair of the G20. This means there will be growing international media focus on China leading up to the G20 Summit in Hangzhou in September. China could use this global media attention to explore new and more effective ways of communicating with the world. The reward for such innovation would be much deeper understanding of the reality of China today.
For those with a privilege to travel the world, it is obvious how different cultures communicate in different ways. What works inside China will not attract big foreign audiences. If China wants to win much better understanding, then it should look into great examples of Chinese media, which communicate in a style that optimizes the impact on Western audiences.
9 Wang Mengshu, tunnel and railway expert and member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering
In 2016, China will continue its investment of 600 billion ($92.5 billion) to 800 billion yuan in the railway sector. The most important task is connecting Beijing with more provincial capitals, such as those in Northwest China, including Yinchuan and Lanzhou. Once the network is completed, resources in western China can be transported to the East at lower cost and with less pollution.
We also plan to improve the underground transportation systems in cities, connect subways with the railway system and move public facilities, including hospitals and schools, closer to subway stations. Such planning could ease traffic jams and curb emissions. In the past, we made transportation plans according to the location of major facilities. Now we need to work the other way around."
10 Liu Jianchao, director of the International Cooperation Bureau of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection
To date, nearly half of the corrupt Chinese officials that have fled the country are still at large in some major destinations, such as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is our priority to nab them, but we face difficulties. All countries should strengthen cooperation in law enforcement.
China and the US have decided to cooperate on some major cases, and we have also started a smooth dialogue with our counterparts in Canada, Australia and New Zealand on hunting down fugitives. With a deepening judicial cooperation, the fugitives' happy days abroad will soon be over.