Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Paris, Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015.

Read more

REPORTERS

Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

2014-07-11 21:47 AFRICA NEWS

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Finally, a good use for new app "Yo"

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 11 July 2014

Read more

#THE 51%

Sweden: A Feminist's Paradise?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Politics: parties under pressure

Read more

FOCUS

In Burma, the rise of radical Buddhism

Read more

  • UN Security Council calls for Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire

    Read more

  • Holland beat hosts Brazil 3-0 to finish third in World Cup

    Read more

  • Afghan presidential candidates agree to full vote audit, Kerry says

    Read more

  • France’s Kadri wins eighth stage at Tour de France

    Read more

  • Legal challenge to French mayor’s ban of Muslim hijab on beach

    Read more

  • Last of the Ramones, Tommy Ramone, dies aged 62

    Read more

  • Video: Outrage in wake of deadly Casablanca buildings collapse

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces ‘executed prisoners in reprisal’ for ISIS killings

    Read more

  • Ukraine promises retaliation after rebel assault

    Read more

  • Putin revives old Cuban flame and eyes Latin American minerals

    Read more

  • Amazon snubs French free delivery ban with one-cent charge

    Read more

  • Cleveland's NBA fans hail 'return of king' LeBron James

    Read more

  • Exclusive: an unlikely victim of the 'War on Terror'

    Read more

  • Magnitude 6.8 quake, small tsunami hit east Japan

    Read more

  • Suspect in Brussels Jewish Museum shooting drops extradition appeal

    Read more

Asia-pacific

China to curb inflation, boost demand

©

Video by Henry MORTON

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-03-06

China will spread the benefits of economic growth and tackle inflation, the country’s Premier Wen Jiabao said Saturday in his annual address to parliament, hinting that China is worried about risks of unrest stemming from wage gaps.

REUTERS - China is on course for another five years of robust growth although inflation threatens social stability and must be tamed, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Saturday.

In China's version of a "State of the Union" address to the annual parliament session, Wen said the top priority this year was to curb price rises that are hurting ordinary people in the world's second-largest economy.
 
Laying out a plan for the next five years, Wen said the drivers of China's meteoric economic rise remained firm.
 
He vowed to boost spending on education, health care and public housing, initiatives intended to narrow a chasm between the rich and poor in China that has stirred resentment.
 
A huge police presence in Beijing and a public warning against protests also underscored the government's sensitivity to the faintest possibility that the sort of unrest roiling the Middle East could spread to China.
 
 Building a fairer society in China has been a core goal for Wen, but the income gap has widened during his eight years in power and he is trying to lay the groundwork for an improvement before a leadership reshuffle in late 2012.
 
"As Deng Xiaoping said, the first step is to make a part of the people rich and the next step is to make everyone rich," said Shen Jianguang, economist with Mizuho Securities, referring to the Chinese leader who launched market reforms in the late 1970s.
 
"They have already done a great job on the first step. Some people have gotten very rich. But the second step is lagging behind."
 
The premier's annual address is given in the cavernous Great Hall of the People, crowded with thousands of delegates vetted by the Communist Party to acclaim and approve its policies.
 
But Wen's televised speech is also aimed at hundreds of millions of ordinary citizens who Party leaders fear could become sources of anger unless grievances about price rises, unaffordable housing and expensive healthcare are eased.
 
Wen made clear that addressing those concerns would preoccupy China's economic policy, shaping decisions on everything from farmers' incomes to the yuan exchange rate.
 
"Recently, prices have risen fairly quickly and inflation expectations have increased," Wen said. "This problem concerns the people's well-being, bears on overall interests and affects social stability. We must, therefore, make it our top priority in macroeconomic control to keep overall price levels stable."
 
For 2011, the government aimed to contain average inflation to 4 percent, Wen said. Inflation has been running near a two-year high of more than 5 percent in recent months. Lofty home price rises have also defied government cooling efforts.
 
Confidence
 
Wen used his speech to lay out a series of targets, including the customary objective of 8 percent growth this year, which, as in previous years, is sure to be surpassed.
 
There were no surprises, as all the targets had previously been announced. More telling was the tone of Wen's comments, brimming with the confidence of a government that has presided over two decades of nearly uninterrupted double-digit expansion.
 
"There is huge potential demand in the market, the supply of funds is ample, the overall scientific and educational level of the people is rising," Wen said.
 
"The government's ability to exercise overall control and respond to major challenges has increased significantly."
 
China will stay in the fast lane, with tens of millions of people moving to cities from farms, more openings to global trade and investment, and factories and computers spreading into the hinterland, he said.
 
China's gross domestic product was on track to exceed 55 trillion yuan in 2015. That would make the Chinese economy nearly half the size of the U.S. economy. In 2010, it was a little more than a third as big. China became the world's second-largest economy last year, surpassing Japan.
 
New sources of growth
 
Wen also said China was looking to generate new sources of domestic demand that would wean economic growth off its reliance on cheap exports and infrastructure projects.
 
Wen did not mention the popular uprisings that have shattered authoritarian governments across the Middle East, and observers see scant risk of China's one-party state soon succumbing to mass unrest.
 
But his speech showed that leaders in Beijing want to head off such risks, particularly anger stemming from price rises and wage gaps.
 
"The world economy will continue to recover slowly, but the foundation for recovery is not solid. Economic growth in developed economies is weak," Wen added, noting that some countries still faced sovereign debt crises.
 
Wen has said government policies would focus on a rural population of 720 million people, including 153 million migrants who usually live and work outside their home towns, many working at building sites and factories that make cheap exports.

 

Date created : 2011-03-05

  • CHINA

    China’s military budget hike causes concern among neighbours

    Read more

  • CHINA

    China cracks down on protests inspired by Arab revolts

    Read more

  • CHINA

    China becomes world's No.2 economy after Japan contracts in 2010

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)