2017: China's year in review

[InKunming--China] Editor's note: 2017 was witness to a series of remarkable events in China — from the all-important National Congress of the Communist Party of China to the introduction of the country's first general civil law, from the first domestically-produced large passenger plane to more high-speed rail networks. As the year draws to a close, let's look back at the biggest stories from 2017 and consider what they mean for China's future.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) opens the 19th CPC National Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Oct 18, 2017. [Photo by Edmond Tang/China Daily]

Party congress heralds new era

The twice-a-decade National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held in October, laying out the blueprint for the country's development over the next five years and beyond.

In the report delivered at the 19th CPC National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping said the principal contradiction facing China has evolved, as socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era.

The principal contradiction the country now faces is one between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life. Previously, the principal contradiction was described as being between the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and backward social production.

In the report, the CPC has also drawn up a two-stage development plan for the period from 2020 to the middle of the 21st century to transform China into a great, modern socialist country.

A lawyer gives business owners a lesson about the General Provisions of Civil Law at a law firm in Chongqing on Nov 21, 2017. [Photo by Chen Shichuan/Asianewsphoto]

Civil code to enhance rights protection

As the opening chapter of China's first comprehensive civil code, the General Provisions of the Civil Law took effect Oct 1.

The civil code, a dream of generations of Chinese legal professionals, is expected to better protect the property and personal rights and serve as an "encyclopedia" where people will be able to find answers if they encounter civil disputes.

The civil code, scheduled to be introduced in 2020, would unify laws related to non-criminal and non-administrative areas of the legal framework under a single piece of legislation.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. [Photo/VCG]

Forum charts blueprint for B&R Initiative

The First Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing in May. As the highest-level meeting of its kind since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed in 2013, the event attracted heads of state and government of 29 countries and representatives from 70 international organizations and 130 countries.

At the forum, leaders pledged to build an open economy within the framework of the B&R Initiative and a list of more than 270 outcomes was formulated.

The initiative, comprising an overland Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, envisions reviving and enhancing the ancient Silk Road trade routes to create infrastructure, trade and people-to-people links between Asia, Europe and Africa.

A C919 passenger plane on a test flight in Pudong, Shanghai, on Nov 5, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

Made-in-China large passenger jet takes off

China's first domestically produced large passenger plane, the C919, completed its maiden flight in May, marking a crucial step for the nation to become a force in global aviation by building its own aircraft with homemade engines.

The twin-engine C919 is for short and medium-haul flights. It has high aerodynamic efficiency, low operation and maintenance costs, low fuel consumption and low engine noise.

An aerial view of a village in Rongcheng county of Hebei province Oct 5, 2017. Rongcheng is part of the Xiongan New Area. [Photo/VCG]

New area a 'millennium plan'

China announced it will establish the Xiongan New Area in Hebei province on April 1. The move is aimed at advancing coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

Situated about 100 kilometers southwest of Beijing, Xiongan is another new area of national significance, following the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and the Shanghai Pudong New Area.

Called by President Xi a "major historic and strategic decision" that would be "crucial for the millennium to come", the move will help phase out functions from Beijing not directly related to the capital and explore a new model of optimized development in densely-populated areas.

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