Premier Li Keqiang delivers the annual Government Work Report in Beijing on March 5. XINHUA
Every year in spring, the meetings of the National People’s Congress (NPC) take place in Beijing.
This year, the NPC opened on March 5. Targets were announced for 2019, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
In front of nearly 3,000 NPC deputies who gathered at the Great Hall of the People, Premier Li Keqiang delivered the Government Work Report.
The country set the target for economic growth at between 6 and 6.5 percent in 2019, said Li. China’s year-on-year GDP growth came in at 6.6 percent in 2018.
“The lowered growth target reflects both domestic and external uncertainties the Chinese economy faces,” said Cheng Shi, chief economist at ICBC International. “On the other hand, it is in line with China’s transition from high-rate growth to high-quality development.”
Meanwhile, the country plans to create 11 million new jobs this year. The central government will work to ensure employment for key groups, such as college graduates, demobilized soldiers and migrant workers, and will give stronger support to urban job seekers facing difficulties in landing jobs, Li said.
The government will increase support for flexible employment and new forms of employment, work to end gender and identity discrimination in employment and develop vocational education as ways to ease pressure on people.
“Examinations and enrollment by vocational colleges will be reformed and improved to encourage more high school graduates, demobilized soldiers, laid-off workers and migrant workers to apply,” Li said, adding that enrollment in vocational colleges in 2019 will increase by 1 million.
In addition, the government will reform and refine its systems to facilitate the country’s pursuit of high-quality development and environmental protection.
The country plans to reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by 3 percent in 2019, while making continuous efforts to reduce the density of PM2.5, a major particle pollutant, in key locations, including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cluster, the Yangtze River Delta region and the Fenhe-Weihe River Plain area, most of which is located in the Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces.
“Promoting green development comes down to every last one of us. Its success hinges on action and commitment. We must all work together to create a beautiful and livable environment for our people,” Li said.