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China to detail tech self-sufficiency plan at showcase ‘Two Sessions’ meetings

14th five-year plan to be revealed, national digital currency also makes the agenda

China will today open its annual “Two Sessions” parliamentary meetings, and has said the nation’s technology strategy will be among the top three items up for discussion.

The Two Sessions involve around 5,000 delegates, and are where the country's two main political bodies review and disclose plans for trade, diplomacy, and the military and economy.

Just under 3,000 attend the National People’s Congress, a body of people installed by the ruling Chinese Communist Party that pretty much rubber-stamps whatever the party wishes. The rest attend the People's Political Consultative Conference, a group of retired officials and those recognized politically that provides an oversight role, not too far off from the House of Lords in England.

The Two Sessions are thus more a showcase of what China hopes to achieve, and the decisions already made by the leadership. Among those decisions is the content of China’s 14th five-year plan, the overarching policy platform the nation plans to pursue for the next half-decade.

Drafts of the five-year plans have been circulating since late 2020 and technology features prominently as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “dual circulation” dream to increase domestic demand and therefore give local manufacturers a bigger internal market to target. China has already indicated it sees numerous categories of electronics manufacturing and software developed as key industries it wishes to foster, with smartphone-related tech high on both lists.

The Two Sessions are expected to offer more detail about exactly how China will go after those goals, including a response to US sanctions that appear designed specifically to stifle China’s technological development. Plans for 5G and quantum computing are also likely to be fleshed out.

Deputies attending the People’s Congress have also told state-controlled media that they’ve placed discussion of China’s digital currency on the agenda.

The Two Sessions run for up to a fortnight and produce forests-worth of documentation. The Register will attempt to sift them to find the most important news that impacts the wider technology world. ®

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