Xi Jinping gives a speech in a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on November 10, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping has set out China’s approach to strengthening the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) cooperation while meeting challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has accelerated the evolution of the international landscape, and the world is experiencing major tests of promoting multilateralism or unilateralism, openness or isolation, cooperation or confrontation, Xi said.

“History has proven and will continue to prove that good neighborliness and friendship will prevail over a beggar-thy-neighbor approach. Mutually beneficial cooperation is certain to replace zero-sum game, and multilateralism will win over unilateralism,” he said, noting that humanity lives in a global village where the interests and destinies of all countries are intertwined.

Xi said the trend toward peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit is unstoppable.

Xi made the remarks on Tuesday when attending via video link the 20th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO, a regional bloc representing nearly half of the world’s population and more than 20% of global gross domestic product.

Founded in 2001, the SCO has developed into an important, constructive force in the Eurasian region and for world affairs by sticking to the Shanghai Spirit, with deepened cooperation in the fields of politics, economy, security and culture, Xi said, hailing the example set by the bloc for a new type of international relations.

Widely deemed the SCO’s bedrock principle, the Shanghai Spirit features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for cultural diversity and the pursuit of common development.

Xi also called on the SCO to carry forward the Shanghai Spirit and explore more ways to build a community with a shared future for humanity. He called for real action to practice multilateralism, improve global governance and safeguard international order.

Highlighting the importance of the principle of consultation and collaboration for shared benefits, he urged addressing global issues through consultation, building the governance system with joint efforts and enabling people from all countries to share the benefits of development.

Vision for future

During the SCO meeting, Xi voiced firm opposition to interference by external forces in the domestic affairs of the SCO member states under any pretext.

He stressed the need to firmly support relevant countries in steadily advancing major domestic political agendas according to law and safeguarding political security and social stability.

Xi urged deepening pragmatic cooperation for common development.

“Common development is the real development, and sustainable development is the good development,” he said, championing the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development.

Noting that each civilisation is distinctive and no one is superior to others, Xi underscored the need to boost mutual learning among civilisations, and good-neighborly friendship among countries to lay a solid foundation of public support for the long-term development of the SCO.

Xi said China cannot develop without the rest of the world, nor can the world as a whole prosper without China.

Quality of listed companies

China’s top securities watchdog on Tuesday pledged more efforts to improve the quality of listed companies, vowing better corporate governance and exit mechanism, as well as harsher punishment for illegal acts.

A targeted campaign will be launched to enhance corporate governance of listed firms, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said, adding that the campaign should run alongside the three-year action plan on the reform of state-owned enterprises.

Supervision over the exit mechanism for listed companies will strengthen, while the criteria for delisting will be fine-tuned, and relevant procedures will be streamlined, said the CSRC.

The CSRC also promised to reduce risks related to stock pledges of listed companies and have “zero tolerance” over illegal activities in the country’s capital market.

ICT market

China’s information and communication technology (ICT) sector will continue to expand in 2021, according to the global market intelligence firm International Data Corporation (IDC). The sector’s total revenue is expected to increase 9.3% to US$711.1 billion in 2021 from this year.

China’s expenditure on digital transformation is estimated to reach US$1.5 trillion in the 2021-2024 period, with an average annual growth rate of 17%, the IDC said.

As of 2025, the digital economy is expected to account for 70% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), boosted by the new infrastructure, dual-circulation and technological self-reliance strategies.

Hainan duty-free sales surge

Sales of offshore duty-free shops in South China’s island province of Hainan exceeded 12 billion yuan (about US$1.8 billion) in the four months ended October 31, up 214.1% year-on-year.

According to Haikou Customs, offshore duty-free shops had 1.78 million customers and sold 12.87 million duty-free products during the period, up 58.8% and 139.7% year-on-year, respectively.

The top three goods in terms of sales volume were cosmetics, watches and jewelry, accounting for 72.8% of the total duty-free sales in the same period.

Starting from July 1, Hainan increased its annual tax-free shopping quota from 30,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan per person. The range of duty-free goods has also expanded from 38 categories to 45, while the previous tax-free limit of 8,000 yuan for a single product has been lifted.

The stories were compiled by Nadeem Xu and Shan Hui and first published at ATimesCN.com.