Vol. 5 Num 630 Tue. March 07, 2006  

China projects 8pc growth

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao promised a modest economic growth rate of eight percent for 2006, and a massive US$420 billion budget spending to improve the relatively weak rural sector and create another economic wonder in the populous countryside.

The prime minister, in the eyes of millions of Chinese Internet readers, promised to implement the strategy of reinvigorating China through science and education, and an enlarged pool of high-calibre human resources.

On how to resolve the national reunification problem, Wen pledged that Beijing will adhere to the basic two principles of peaceful reunification and "one country, two systems," in which Taiwan could keep its present political, economic and social systems.

"We will unswervingly uphold the one-China principle and never give up our efforts to achieve peaceful reunification. We will never change the principle of placing our hopes on the people of Taiwan.

"We will uncompromisingly oppose secessionist activities aimed at Taiwan independence," Wen said in his annual government work report to the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People Sunday (March 5) morning.

Major economic targets planned by the State Council, China's top governing body, are: GDP grows by about eight per cent, energy consumption per unit of GDP falls by about four per cent, inflation be kept under three per cent, urban employment increases by nine million persons, urban registered unemployment rate be kept under 4.6 per cent, and an equilibrium in imports and exports will be achieved.

On top of the government's economic work agenda this year, Wen said that the State Council will pay closer attention to the well-being of the people, trying to balanced economic growth between urban and rural areas, promoting fairness among the public, and "enable all our people to share in the fruits of reform and development."

There are rising worries that an income gap between the rich and the poor in China, partly a by-product of China's 28 years reform and opening-up efforts since 1978, is creating new social problems. But overall, China's government has made a miracle in improving the majority of Chinese people's livelihood, and China's GDP reached US$2.3 trillion in 2005, the world's 4th largest.