Premier Li Keqiang delivers the Government Work Report at the opening meeting of the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing on March 5. XINHUA
Every year in spring, the meetings of the National People’s Congress take place in Beijing.
This year, it opened on March 5, announcing actions that will shape efforts in the years to come to make China a great modern socialist country.
In front of 2,970 NPC deputies who were gathered at the Great Hall of the People, Premier Li Keqiang delivered the Government Work Report. The premier struck a confident note as he went over the “historic achievements” made in the past five years.
During his speech, Premier Li said that in the last five years, China’s gross domestic product has risen from 54 trillion yuan to 82.7 trillion yuan, more than 68 million people have been lifted out of poverty, and 66 million new urban jobs have been created.
And the country is leading the world in high-speed rail, e-commerce, mobile payments and the sharing economy.
As for this year, the central government has set the GDP growth target at around 6.5 percent. The target is the same as last year’s, but is expected to deliver different growth as China makes quality a priority over speed. “We will strongly promote high-quality development,” Premier Li said.
He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, expressed confidence in achieving the 6.5 percent annual growth target, as domestic consumption is expected to become a stronger force driving economic development.
Li stressed increasing support for the “three critical battles” against risk, poverty and pollution. Among the targets announced, the government aims to reduce the rural poverty population by over 10 million, reduce air pollution in key areas, and work to prevent local government debt risk.
This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the country’s reform and opening-up policy. Premier Li said China would be bolder in future reform and opening up. He went on to say the government will better protect intellectual property while opening up wider to foreign investors, from the general manufacturing sector to telecommunications, medical services, education, elderly care and new-energy vehicles.
To meet people’s demand for high-quality imported goods, Li said, China will lower import tariffs on products ranging from automobiles to daily consumer goods.
The report also contains plans to improve people’s livelihood. “We will raise the personal income tax threshold,” said Li. He added that rates for mobile internet services will be reduced by at least 30 percent.
Li also expressed more efforts will be put on education, such as reducing the rural dropout rate and addressing the problem of heavy extracurricular burdens on primary and secondary school students.
Although there’s still much work to be done, Premier Li believes the future will be shaped by good, solid work. “The people’s government does not let the people down,” Li said.